It's the biggest betting weekend of the year around the world, with the Super Bowl taking place on Sunday night in New Jersey. Before the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks settle their differences on the gridiron though, the UFC will allow 24 men to do the same inside the Octagon.
There's already been plenty of talk about the card in terms of odds and good bets, but the main event between Urijah Faber and Renan Barao deserves a little special attention.
Get your bookie on the phone—we've got you covered on odds to look for.
Considering Faber is universally seen as the underdog in this one, you'll get good value on him in most ways you can approach a bet. That's the case for a win by decision, which seems one of his more likely ways to pull out the W.
If you like Faber to win, it's easy to imagine him grinding out Barao for three of the five scheduled rounds, using his strength and grappling prowess to wear down the champion while softening him up with heavy punches.
There are worse bets on the Faber side of things than him taking home a decision win.
This is probably the safest bet imaginable, given how their first fight looked and how they match up. Actually, if you're into this whole thing to make money by wagering, this isn't even worth your attention.
Barao is far quicker, more diverse and more technical on the feet and is among the hardest guys in the division to take down. Add all that up and he's pretty much the worst opponent for Faber.
Faber is cagey and durable though, and he'll never go away. Barao will have to punish him to keep him from coming or at least get some input from the judges.
That's probably what will happen on Saturday night.
While Faber is the underdog, a submission win is his most likely avenue to victory. Most odds that you'll see around will probably reflect that—installing him as a probable loser who holds a potential ace with his submission game.
In terms of envisioning success for "The California Kid," it is plausible to imagine a frenzied exchange where he lands a swinging hook to flatten Barao and then jumps on him with a rear-naked choke or a guillotine for the upset win.
It's likely to be the worst value you'll get on a Faber prop, but that's because it's the most conceivable way he'll win, and it's still a pretty good bet.
People often forget just how good Barao is on the ground, which is outrageous considering his highlight reel on the mat. No one in the sport may be better at taking the back, and his quickness and aggression are unparalleled.
Faber, however, has never been submitted and hasn't often been in much trouble. He's a great scrambler and understands mat tactics as well as anyone in the game. Latching onto an arm or neck against him isn't going to be easy.
A Barao submission win is not out of the realm of possibility, and you'll probably see some crazy numbers out there that make it a good bet but don't go into it thinking it's easy money.
Given how good Barao has looked on his feet over the course of his rise through the WEC and UFC, it seems unlikely that Faber will outdo him in the stand-up. It also doesn't seem wildly likely that he'll take Barao down and beat him up there, which makes a bet on a Faber knockout a bit of a long shot.
While he has improved at hiding his punches and combinations, and his footwork is far and away the best it's ever been, he's fighting a guy with better technique and more weapons.
If you want to go big, go with a Faber (T)KO. If you want to hedge a little, stick to another choice of finish.
The odds seem to suggest that if Barao scores a stoppage, he's going to do it via strikes. Given Faber's experience and track record, it seems odd that people would suggest such a thing.
Barao only has seven knockouts in his 31 career wins, and his stoppage of Eddie Wineland (which may have even been early) was his first in nearly five years. He has remarkable technical acumen and plenty of flashy artillery, but he's no knockout artist.
His lack of stopping power and Faber's durability make Barao by (T)KO a bad bet unless the odds are too good to pass up. Steer clear of it unless you can't help yourself.
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