UFC 166 has the mouthwatering headline of Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos III. The rubber match between, quite possibly, the men who may go on to be known as the two greatest heavyweight mixed martial artists of all time is something all MMA fans can get excited about.
You know what makes everything more exciting, though? The chance to make some money off it.
The prop bets, wagers on factors more specific and elaborate than simply picking a winner, are difficult to determine due to the radically different nature of the first two fights between dos Santos and Velasquez. The first bout saw dos Santos knock Velasquez out in just over a minute, while the second bout saw Velasquez throw dos Santos around for the full five rounds.
When it comes to the fight itself, Velasquez finds himself as a modest-yet-clear favorite to win, sitting at -205. Dos Santos, meanwhile, is a +165 underdog.
The prop bets for this fight offer many intriguing options for the gambling man.
|UFC 166 Prop Bets: Method of Victory|
|Velasquez via Decision||33/20||dos Santos via Decision||8/1|
|Velasquez via Stoppage||8/5||dos Santos via Stoppage||21/10|
|Velasquez via TKO, KO or DQ||37/20||dos Santos via TKO, KO or DQ||12/5|
|Velasquez via Submission||9/1||dos Santos via Submission||15/1|
|Draw or Technical draw||70/1|
While oddsmakers are clearly favoring Velasquez, they are fully anticipating him to win by either a decision or TKO. If dos Santos wins, they firmly believe it will come via TKO or KO.
Velasquez owns a record of 12-1. 10 of his victories came via knockout, with the other two (including his UFC 155 win over dos Santos) coming via decision. His one loss is the aforementioned first-round knockout suffered at the hands of dos Santos at UFC on Fox 1.
Dos Santos, meanwhile, has a 16-2 record. 12 of those wins have come via knockout, two via submission (though one of those submissions was his win over Mirko Cro Cop, which came from an eye injury) and two via decision. Outside his loss to Velasquez, dos Santos' only other loss came via first-round armbar during a 2007 regional fight in Brazil.
|UFC 166 Prop Bets: Round Betting|
|Velasquez Victory||Odds||Dos Santos Victory||Odds|
|Round 1||5/1||Round 1||4/1|
|Round 2||15/2||Round 2||11/1|
|Round 3||19/2||Round 3||18/1|
|Round 4||12/1||Round 4||25/1|
|Round 5||20/1||Round 5||35/1|
Of Velasquez's 10 T/KO wins, eight have come in the first round, and two in the second. Of dos Santos' 14 stoppage victories, 11 came in the first round, one came in the second, and two came in the third.
Interestingly, while Velasquez is the favorite to win the fight, dos Santos is projected as more likely to earn a first-round stoppage. As the fight wears on, however, the odds increasingly show Velasquez as more likely to finish the fight.
How does the fight end?
Either fighter's record greatly favors this fight ending without making the judges earn their paycheck, as Velasquez, to this point, has only gone the distance in 15.4 percent of his fights, and dos Santos in 18.8 percent.
The safest bets would be either Velasquez by T/KO or DQ, or Velasquez by Decision. If you're leaning dos Santos, the best bet would be choosing him to win via T/KO or DQ. That said, the most intriguing bet on the board, in my opinion, is the 8/1 return on a dos Santos decision victory.
Everything comes down to dos Santos' takedown defense, and he seems to have dedicated his entire camp to working on precisely that. If he stuffs takedowns and makes it a striking affair, he is good enough to land more strikes than Velasquez, but Velasquez can still work the clinch game to counteract that striking.
Because of that, I'd go so far as to say if dos Santos does win, the most likely way for him to do so would be via decision. While I favor Velasquez in the fight, that's a strong ROI for a relatively likely outcome to the fight.
Another deceptively strong bet is the 9/1 on Velasquez winning via submission. While Velasquez has never made a fighter tap on the record, if he rocks dos Santos standing or on the ground he is just as likely to end the fight with a choke, be it guillotine, rear-naked or arm-triangle, as he is with punches, perhaps even moreso. Simply consider that a successful $100 bet on Cain winning by T/KO would yield $185 while a successful $100 bet on him winning by submission would yield $900 and you have a pretty appealing bet right there.
Those are the prop bets I like the most. Have any you like? Feel free to comment!
All numbers taken from Bovada.LV.