Posted 07/03/2014 by Mike Fagan in Untethered MMA

UFC 175: Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida Preview

Some hack might try to tell you that it’s hard to remember or get excited for the truly great fights what with all the watered-down cards and people popping hot for steroids (or running out the back door to avoid popping hot) and issues with fighter pay and injuries and whatever. But it’s not. If you’re a fight fan, you know Chris Weidman defends his title against his first non-Anderson Silva opponent in Lyoto Machida. You’ve had July 5th circled on the calendar since the UFC announced the fight’s date.

It’s the casual fan that forgets these things, and who can blame them? The UFC sandwiched UFC 175 between a strange, sad doubleheader and a The Ultimate Fighter Finale featuring a trilogy blowoff that no one asked for. Now, the event has now been overshadowed by news of Chael Sonnen’s comprehensive drug use and subsequent removal from the Fox Sports studio. Whatever marketing’s been done for this event seems to have dissipated into the ether. And what should be a tentpole event for the UFC feels like just another event.


The UFC 175 poster features Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida with the American and Brazilian flags superimposed over the faces, respectively. (If there’s been a traditional TV promo for the event, I’ve forgotten it. I’m assuming it involves Rogan “OHHHHHing” and Goldberg shouting “What a fight!” and a weird Anik tag at the end for whatever reason.) The UFC marketing team probably thinks this plays really well with the Independence Day/World Cup nationalism nonsense.

This is an unfortunate way to market this fight. Chris Weidman isn’t just an American champ. He’s a guy who, more-or-less, came out of nowhere to beat the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet not once, but twice, in insane fashion both times. He’s both talented and unproven, and projecting the length of his title reign is a speculative prospect at best. Lyoto Machida isn’t just a Brazilian dude, and he doesn’t fight like your typical Brazilian fighter. His parents are of Japanese, Portuguese, and Italian descent, and his karate-based style has befuddled all but two opponents. The UFC has no idea how to market this beyond calling Machida’s style “awkward” and “elusive.”

Weidman and Machida aren’t two-dimensional fighters, though. Weidman isn’t your typical American wrestleboxer, and Machida isn’t just the weird karate guy. Weidman qualified for the Abu Dhabi Combat Club submission wrestling world championship with one year of formal Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training. Machida is a BJJ black belt, and his sumo background gives him an extra wrinkle in his takedown defense. This makes the style matchup fascinating in every phase of the fight.

The stakes are high as well. Weidman needs to prove to some people (not me) that both Silva fights weren’t flukes. For Machida, this probably represents his last, and almost certainly best, chance to win another UFC title. By the end of Saturday night, we’ll have a better idea if Weidman will be THE MAN at middleweight for years to come, or whether we’ll have the Machida Era 2.0 to celebrate.


Fellow MMA Owl McKinley Noble asked how to best express the betting lines for Ronda Rousey’s bout with Alexis Davis. Is she an 18-1 favorite? Is Davis an 8-1 underdog? Are both true? How can that be?

For simplicity, there’s nothing wrong with calling Rousey an 18-1 favorite or Davis an 8-1 underdog. That said, it’s not the most accurate representation of the line. The gap between the two lines represents the vig (the sportsbook’s take on a wager), and the true line falls somewhere between the two.

I’ve written about finding the true odds of a fight before, but here’s a quick refresher:

1. Convert the betting line into a decimal. We’ll use Bovada’s line at the time of writing (Rousey -1000/Davis +600). For the favorite, we divide the absolute value of the line by the absolute value of the line plus 100. For the underdog, we divide 100 by the line plus 100.

Rousey: 1000/1100 = .909
Davis: 100/700 = .143

2. Add the two decimals together.

.909 + .143 = 1.052

Subtracting 1 from this would give you the vig. (In this case, about 5.2%.)

3. Divide the decimals lines by the vig.

Rousey: .909/1.052 = .864
Davis: .143/1.052 = .136

4. (Optional) Convert back to Vegas odds. (You can use an odds converter for this.)

Rousey: .864 = -635
Davis: .136 = +635

So, there you go. There’s a TON of vig on this fight, and you’re paying for most of it on the Rousey side of things. Factor that out, and you find Bovada actually believes Rousey is more of a 6-1 favorite than 10-1.

Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter

Mike Fagan