“If Munoz can get a hold of Machida and use his wrestling, then this is a fight where Munoz bettors can profit,” said Jack Randall of Odds Shark in an interview with me on Friday. “But Machida is slick and elusive and he is also the bigger man in this fight.”
Indeed, Machida is a former UFC champion at 205 pounds who has to cut weight to make his debut at 185 pounds. He has been in the Octagon against the best light heavyweights (Jon Jones, Shogun Rua, Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson, to name a few), and the fear for Munoz backers is that "The Dragon" will be both more elusive and more powerful.
Machida naysayers point to the fact that all four of his career losses have come in his last seven fights as evidence of the Brazilian’s decline. His lame loss to Phil Davis at UFC 163 and uninspired win over Henderson in recent fights have fueled this opinion.
The co-main event on the card from Manchester is a scrap between former lightweight contenders who are trying to remain relevant at 155 pounds.
Ross Pearson is a small underdog but will have the home crowd on his side when he faces explosive Melvin Guillard. Pearson was plus-115 at most sportsbooks as of Friday and has won two straight since getting knocked out by Cub Swanson at UFC on FX 4.
Guillard meanwhile can win quickly with a flurry of kicks and punches or lose quickly via submission when he gets sloppy. He has lost four of six overall and tends to lose whenever he steps up in class.
The biggest underdog on the card is UFC newcomer Robert Whiteford, who challenges American Jimy Hettes as a minus-525 favorite. Both men are 10-1; Whiteford has won 10 straight, while Hettes is coming off a 13-month layoff since losing his first pro fight last September.
UFC Fight Night 30 Odds (courtesy of BestUFCOdds.com)
|Michael Kuiper (-275)||Brad Scott (+235)|
|Jim Hettes (-525)||Robert Whiteford (+415)|
|Cole Miller (-190)||Andy Ogle (+165)|
|Rosi Sexton (-120)||Jessica Andrade (+100)|
|Al Iaquinta (-145)||Piotr Hallmann (+125)|
|Andrew Craig (-185)||Luke Barnatt (+160)|
|John Lineker (-380)||Phil Harris (+315)|
|Alessio Sakara (-210)||Nicholas Musoke (+175)|
|Norman Parke (-155)||Jon Tuck (+135)|
|Jimi Manuwa (-165)||Ryan Jimmo (+145)|
|Melvin Guillard (-135)||Ross Pearson (+115)|
|Lyoto Machida (-380)||Mark Munoz (+315)|