Reigning champion Ronda Rousey is a moderately heavy favorite in UFC 170 betting picks against challenger Sara McMann in a women’s fight that is totally worth betting. Coming to you live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on February 22nd, the UFC 170 odds on the three biggest fights are very intriguing. There’s a ton of value here. Be sure to check out the sportsbook to back your favorite fighters.
UFC Women’s Championship – Sara McMann +325 over Ronda Rousey -400
The women’s division has its champion in Ronda Rousey. The next step is finding a suitable list of challengers to make this division interesting. Maybe it would help if armbar submissions on women weren’t the equivalent of a kick to the groin for men. Rousey has won every single one of her eight fights with that move.
Like Rousey, McMann is a former Olympian and she’s also 7-0 SU in just under three years as a professional mixed martial artists. Perhaps the only reason for creating such a wide gap between Rousey and McMann in the sportsbook is the latter’s age. McMann is 33 years old compared to the 27-year old champion. But that shouldn’t deter you from plugging McMann as a nice underdog play in your own UFC 170 betting picks.
If McMann has proven anything, it’s that she’s versatile. I doubt that Rousey will want to take her to the ground because it’s any women’s game on the mat when these two are fighting. McMann is just as capable on the ground, and has a ton of international experience in terms of grappling. If any woman can avoid Rousey’s armbar, it’s her.
On top of that, McMann is a tough as nails striker. She is coming off an absolute obliteration of Shelia Gaff in her UFC debut from last April where she notched a TKO victory. I simply prefer the dynamic style McMann brings to this fight, and she’s a relentless pursuer who will look to challenge Rousey early and often.
The value play here is McMann’s UFC 170 odds, which pay out at just over 3-to-1. You have to risk much less to get far more compared to Rousey who has much harsher odds. I wouldn’t swing for the fences on McMann but a heavy chipshot is well warranted. This will be Rousey’s toughest fight to date and could serve as a springboard for the women’s division. For once, I’m actually genuinely excited for a women’s bout and I like McMann as a soft play in UFC 170 betting picks.
Damian Maia +245 over Rory MacDonald -285
Both Maia and MacDonald have been on the championship doorstep in the welterweight division, but have never been able to crack through to the other side. The fact that both are coming off losses makes this one of the tougher UFC 170 betting picks. Damian Maia lost a questionable split decision against Jake shields last October in his native Brazil at UFC Fight Night. That loss dropped him to 18-5 SU overall.
MacDonald was a reasonably strong favorite heading in to his fight against the underappreciated Robbie Lawler at UFC 167, but lost via split decision as well. The younger, more explosive MacDonald is now 15-2 SU and still has tons of potential. He is the type of fierce striker that Maia usually shrivels against.
But Maia has improved his tactical game lately, earning wins over heavy hitters like Dong Hyun Kim and Jon Fitch recently. I am less deterred by Maia’s inability to beat Shields (who always seems to get the benefit of the doubt from the judges) than I am by MacDonald’s recent loss against Lawler.
The 36-year old Maia may never have become the prodigal son he was touted to be midway through his career, but he has become a refined strategist and patient game planner. That gives him the edge over MacDonald who is desperate to prove himself and will overreach in this fight. Experience trumps youth in my UFC 170 betting picks.
Daniel Cormier -270 over Rashard Evans +230
The undefeated Cormier will look to take down yet another big name star since migrating to the UFC. Cormier has already dispatched Frak Mir and Roy Nelson, but chose to take a stop down in to the light heavyweight division. The former two-time heavyweight champion gives up a slight reach advantage to his opponent, but has a decisive weight and power advantage. Evans will be the spriest opponent he’s ever faced, and this will be the last chance for these 34-year olds to make a big impact on this sport.
Whomever wins gets closer to a championship fight. The loser will likely find in to the background of a dense division.
After Evans lost to Nogueira at UFC 156 in February, I thought he was finished, but he’s bounced back admirably with a split decision over Dan Henderson and a shocking upset of Chael Sonnen at UFC 167 this past November. Evans might be “back”, but I still see way too much wear and tear on his body. That’s what happens when you’ve fought 25 times in your career, and Evans has been waging all out wars for the past five years since he won The Ultimate Fighter 2 finale. I just don’t know if Evans has enough in the tank to stop a relatively fresh and furious Cormier who is undefeated at 13-0 SU.
If you want to take one last swing with Evans, you’re more than welcome to. But the smart money is on Cormier and his odds in UFC 170 betting picks aren’t large enough to scare me to the other side of the line on what should be an awesome fight.