Sunday night sees the return of “The Prodigy” to the UFC’s octagon, but for many, the nickname could coincide with a passing of the torch. One of the sport’s first stars is widely being considered as a stepping stone for potentially, “The Next Prodigy”.
BJ Penn is set to headline the UFC’s event in Phoenix opposite one of the most artistic yet unpredictable strikers in the game today: Yair Rodriquez.
On Friday’s Fightful MMA podcast, Reed Kuhn, author of Fightnomics, eloquently broke down some of the numbers between these two athletes, and it does not look good for Penn. The youth advantage goes to Rodriguez and a scary situation is unfolding with Penn being a low volume striker vs. an opponent who generally out strikes his opponents big time.
Penn is the biggest underdog on the card sitting at +350, with Rodriguez obviously the biggest favourite at -440. As we know, the problem with Yair’s number is that there isn’t much value there. To find some, we need to look at some props being offered in this bout.
The overriding sentiment is that the younger fighter will win this bout via some sort of T/KO. Even that doesn’t pay much (-130) but it’s better than the aforementioned -440. Some interesting numbers are in the finishes by round category. Chronologically speaking, some intriguing numbers to say the least:
Round One: +325
Round Two: +425
Round Three: +550
Round Four: +775
Round Five: +1175
In essence, these odds are telling us that if Yair is going to finish BJ, it will likely happen in the first round, but one thing to consider is that BJ can take a shot … or seven. And if he can somehow survive, and I know it’s a massive long shot, but how crazy would it be if he can pull off a submission? It hasn’t happened since 2009, but this is MMA, and crazier things have happened. Feeling nostalgic and thinking Penn can win by sub? You can get that for +675.
In the evening’s co-main event, lightweight vet Joe Lauzon (-120) will be taking on Marcin Held (+100). Right off the top, we can see that this one is pretty much a pick’em fight, with the slight edge going to “J-Lau”.
Finishing Lauzon will not be an easy task and Held, despite being a blackbelt in MMA, may have a challenge with Joe’s BJJ for MMA. My natural assumption is that Marcin can handle it, but the American seems to often find a way to dominate on the ground. This one will likely go the distance and I’m thinking Lauzon will take it. If you agree, you can get it at +175.
Looking at the rest of the card, there are some options that will raise an eyebrow or two, and potentially put some extra coin in your MMA piggy bank. Here are few that I like:
Ben Saunders submits Court McGee: +585
John Moraga via T/KO vs. Sergio Pettis: +660
And when you have two heavyweights like Chase Sherman and Walt Harris matched up, one could naturally assume that somebody is going to sleep courtesy of his opponent’s fists. If you agree, and think this will happen, you can get Sherman via T/KO at +320 or Harris via T/KO at +165.
While this card, from top to bottom, may not have massive name value, fun bets are colour blind … well sort of … they do see the colour green.
Best of luck to all of you looking to drop some coin on Sunday’s action. Feel free to share your picks and results with me at anytime, via @ShowdownJoe on social media.