If you're a fight fan who isn't excited about the main card at UFC 166 yet, you may want to seek medical attention. You may not have a pulse.
Saturday's card is obviously headlined by a colossal match between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos for the heavyweight championship. But it also features a strong lineup from top to bottom, as fan favorite Roy Nelson takes on top contender Daniel Cormier and Gilbert Melendez makes his long-awaited UFC debut.
With the prelims merely hours away, here's a look at the latest odds from Bovada and predictions for each of the main card bouts.
|Predicted Winner (with odds)||Predicted Loser (with odds)||Method of Victory|
|Cain Velasquez (-205)||Junior dos Santos (+165)||TKO (Round 4)|
|Daniel Cormier (-500)||Roy Nelson (+350)||Decision|
|Gilbert Melendez (-600)||Diego Sanchez (+400)||Decision|
|Shawn Jordan (-185)||Gabriel Gonzaga (+150)||TKO (Round 2)|
|John Dodson (-375)||Darrell Montague (+285)||Decision|
Odds via Bovada
Cain Velasquez Will Finish Junior dos Santos
Junior dos Santos has exactly one way to regain the heavyweight championship against Cain Velasquez—and that's knocking him into oblivion with his impressive one-strike power.
Conversely, Velasquez can beat dos Santos in so many different ways. He can wear him out in the clinch, outwrestle him on the mat and even get the better of him in a technical kickboxing matchup, as he proved in their rematch.
While it's certainly in the realm of possibility that dos Santos can turn this bout on its head at any moment with just one punch, it's always best to go with the guy that has the most ways to win. At this point in their rivalry, that's Velasquez.
Cormier Will Take Next Step with Decision Win Over Roy Nelson
According to MMA Junkie, this will be Cormier's last fight in the heavyweight division. He'll reportedly head down to the light heavyweight division to avoid fighting training partner Cain Velasquez and eventually earn a shot at UFC gold of his own against Jon Jones.
That means objective No. 1 for him tonight will be making sure he enters that division with his undefeated record intact.
Though Nelson has the tools to give him some trouble, Cormier should be able to do just that. Essentially, this fight is just the poor man's version of the night's main event.
Nelson will play the part of the heavy-handed slugger who can end the fight at a moment's notice. Cormier will be playing the part of versatile wrestler who can apply endless pressure and slowly wear down his opponent.
Expect Cormier to pick up a decision as Nelson's chin once again ensures he isn't finished in the UFC.
Gilbert Melendez Will Be Tested in Close Win Over Diego Sanchez
While watching the gargantuans of the heavyweight division slug it out is always fun, the lightweight division will prove to be just as fun when Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez go toe-to-toe on the main card.
Melendez is the big favorite coming off of a razor-thin decision loss to Benson Henderson in a lightweight title fight, but Sanchez is never to be taken lightly. He's one of the UFC's most experienced veterans and has won Fight of the Night honors in three of his last four fights.
Melendez deserves to be the favorite. Hanging with the former champion is an impressive feat, and his reign as the Strikeforce lightweight champion can't be overlooked. But to think he's going to easily dispatch of a fighter as experienced and skilled as Sanchez would be a mistake.
This should be a favorite for Fight of the Night, as Sanchez will go down swinging against the more well-rounded Melendez.