Who are the biggest stars in the UFC right now? A fan who somewhat casually follows the sport likely would say Conor McGregor, Tyron Woodley, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre, Daniel Cormier, Brock Lesnar and Stipe Miocic or something along those lines. Those are all bigger guys – lightweights or heavier.
For whatever reasons, American fight fans, both in boxing and MMA, tend to not get as excited over the smaller guys. Perhaps that could begin to change on Saturday night at UFC 227 in Los Angeles, a card that is headlined by title fights in the 125-pound and 135-pound divisions. Two of UFC’s top six pound-for-pound fighters will be defending their belts, including an all-time great.
The main event features bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw (15-3) as a very slight -120 favorite on the UFC 227 odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com taking on No. 1 contender Cody Garbrandt (11-1) in a rematch of their brutal November 135-pound title fight.
At UFC 217, Dillashaw was knocked down late in the first round and might have only been saved by the bell. However, the 32-year-old rallied in style in Round 2, putting Garbrandt down twice. The referee called it at 2:41 via TKO (punches).
That Garbrandt, 27, put Dillashaw on the canvas in Round 1 was no surprise as Garbrandt has at least one knockdown in all seven of his UFC fights and averages 1.91 knockdowns per 15 minutes of fight time. Dillashaw lands only 0.56 knockdowns per 15 minutes and Garbrandt had never been knocked down in his UFC career. Both fighters are terrific strikers so this should be a fight with both standing up nearly the entirety. Dillashaw is ranked as UFC’s No. 6 pound-for-pound fighter.
In the co-main event, Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1) puts his flyweight belt on the line – he remains the only flyweight champion in UFC history (fairly new division) — against No. 1 contender Henry Cejudo (12-2). Johnson is a sizable -500 favorite with Cejudo at +350.
“Mighty Mouse” Johnson is a UFC legend and ranked the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the organization behind Cormier. Johnson broke Anderson’s Silva’s all-division record of 10 straight successful title defenses with No. 11 in October via submission over Ray Borg. No. 8 in Johnson’s run was a first-round TKO (knees to the body) win over Cejudo in April 2016.
Cejudo, a 2008 U.S. Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling, is now 6-2 in the UFC. He’s 2-1 since the loss to Johnson.
There has been speculation of a Johnson vs. Dillashaw dual title fight if all breaks right Saturday.
For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.
Source: Heavy Sports