UFC Picks: Weidman vs. Machida UFC 175 Preview

Jason Lake

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 6:08 PM GMT

Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida were supposed to fight this Saturday. They’ll have to wait until July instead, but the MMA odds for their Middleweight title bout at UFC 175 are already up on the board.

Jason’s record on his final MMA picks, up to May 20 inclusive:
2-0 (+4.26 units)

This just in: MMA is hard. Not just for the fighters, but for the promoters, too. It seems every time Dana White and his crew put together a big UFC event, at least one of the featured attractions has to be shuffled around. Consider this week’s UFC 173 event at the MGM Grand; Middleweight champion Chris Weidman was supposed to defend his strap against Vitor Belfort, but he had to be replaced by former Light Heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida. Then Weidman suffered a knee injury, and the fight had to be moved to Mandalay Bay for UFC 175 in July. 

Fortunately for us, we don’t have to wait to get our UFC betting fix. This key title bout is already available at select online sportsbooks on our MMA odds board, and Weidman is pegged as the favorite, from as low as –217 to a healthy –250. Machida’s odds range from +165 to +200. This is the first time Machida’s been the underdog since he took on Jon “Bones” Jones at UFC 140, and only the second time since way back in 2007. Is he worth a look against the undefeated Weidman?

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Sweep the Leg
There was a time when Machida was the undefeated title holder. That was six years ago, when the Shotokan karate expert (Machida owns a third-degree black belt) knocked out Rashad Evans for the Light Heavyweight title at UFC 98. Machida’s would improve to 16-0 with a unanimous decision over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (+300) before dropping the strap to Rua (+157) in the rematch. 

It’s been a mixed bag for Machida since then. He split his next six fights, capped off by a decision loss to Phil Davis (+190) last August at UFC 163. So Machida does what veteran fighters often do: He dropped down in weight and started fresh, picking up a pair of convincing UFC Fight Night wins over Mark Muñoz (+265) and Gegard Mousasi (+200) to vault him back into title contention.

Machida’s advantage has always been in his unusual and varied fighting style – a cerebral style that didn’t always earn appreciation from the fans, except for the times when he’d unleash one of his vicious strikes, like the crane kick that retired Randy Couture three years ago. In addition to his karate proficiency, Machida (who was born and raised in Brazil) has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and was also a champion sumo fighter in his native country. This well-rounded background allows Machida to play solid defense and strike when he sees fit.

Compare the opening UFC 175 Betting Lines!

Break the Leg
Weidman made his name by doing what no one else had done before him: beat Anderson Silva in the Octagon – not just once, but twice. But neither fight was very satisfying from a technical standpoint. In their first meeting at UFC 162, Weidman (+180) knocked out Silva and took his Middleweight title after Silva made the very big mistake of clowning around. The rematch at UFC 168 ended when Weidman (+151) checked one of Silva’s low kicks – and Silva’s left leg snapped across Weidman’s knee. 

Although the finishes were out of left field, Weidman did perform well during both fights. He’s an accomplished NCAA Division I wrestler out of Hofstra with a degree in psychology and a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, giving Weidman plenty of poise on top of his strong grappling skills. He’s been able to land four takedowns per fight while running his record to 11-0 (7-0 in the Octagon). But can he keep Machida down? If not, Machida’s speed advantage could be the difference – and he’s only faster now that he’s trimmed down to 185 pounds.

Early UFC Pick: Take Machida +200 at 5Dimes