UFC's Main Event Could Pack a Real Punch

Lawlers vs Dos Anjos

Andreas Hale

Thursday, December 14, 2017 8:23 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 8:23 PM UTC

The "Fight of the Year" could take place Saturday when former champions Rafael dos Anjos and Robbie Lawler meet in UFC on Fox 26.  

UFC on Fox 26: dos Anjos vs. Lawler

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The UFC heads to Winnipeg on Saturday for the 26th UFC on Fox card headlined by two former champions looking to stake their claim at the welterweight throne. Former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos looks to continue his successful campaign as a welterweight when he faces ex-welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in a main event that will surely be stockpiled with violence.

Overall, it’s a card that has its fair share of matchups where there is opportunity to make a few coins. So let’s take a closer look at what we have ahead of us.

The main event is destined to be a “Fight of the Year” candidate, as Lawler is rarely in a dull fight and dos Anjos never backs down from a challenge. There really is no way to bet this fight straight up as it’s even with RDA at -115 and Lawler at -105. However, the over/under is interesting with over 2.5 rounds sitting at -155 while the under stands at +135. Although both fighters are harbingers of violence, they are also pretty durable. Lawler has gone more than 2.5 rounds in eight of his last 10 fights. He was starched in one round by Tyron Woodley in July 2016, and his other fight that ended inside of 2.5 rounds was when he knocked out Bobby Voelker in 2013.

As for dos Anjos, he has had a little more success with finishing fights in under 2.5 rounds, as four of his last 10 fights ended in less than 7.5 minutes. However, most of those finishes were at lightweight. RDA could catch Lawler cold in the opening round, but I’d expect these two to be a little more measured considering the stakes of a title shot being on the line. Go with over 2.5 rounds at -155.

Another matchup that could take home “Fight of the Night” honors is the welterweight showdown between Santiago Ponzinibbio and Mike Perry. Ponzinibbio is coming off a shocking first-round knockout of Gunnar Nelson in July, which extended his winning streak to five. Perry has back-to-back decimations of Alex Reyes and Jake Ellenberger. He does have a decision loss to Alan Jouban, but had finished nine fighters in a row to start his professional MMA career. Nobody expects this fight to go the distance, but it is a little surprising to see Perry as a +165 underdog to Ponzinbbio’s -190. With two guys who throw heavy hands, the line should be a little closer to even. With Perry’s penchant for annihilating his opponents (honestly, that’s the only way he wins), it would be wise to snatch up Perry at +165.

In a battle of light heavyweights, Glover Teixeira seeks to get his mojo back against Misha Cirkunov as the two jockey for position in the 205 division. Despite Cirkunov being annihilated in less than a minute by Volkan Oezdemir in May, he has been bet up as the favorite. After opening at -125, the line has moved to -165, while Teixeira went from +105 to +145. This is another fight where the expectation is that this will end inside of distance. Cirkunov hasn’t gone to a decision in 10 straight fights, while Teixeira has seen the judges' scorecards only once in his last six fights.

Teixeira is the more experienced fighter, despite going 4-4 after going on a 20-fight winning streak. He’s an excellent jiu jitsu practitioner, which might nullify Cirkunov’s greatest strength (five of his last eight fights ended with him winning by submission). Teixeira has been stopped only three times in his career, and only one came by flash knockout against Anthony Johnson. He’s durable and with his ground game, this should go more than 1.5 rounds (-160). I also like Teixeira to win this fight with his solid striking and advantages if the fight hits the canvas. The line is just too disrespectful for the former title contender.

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