It's a cringe-worthy moment anytime a fight announcer dubs someone unbeatable or that a new, dominant era has begun. UFC analyst Joe Rogan made that mistake in 2009. Wowed by Lyoto Machida's win over Rashad Evans, Rogan said the "Machida Era" was here. Since that win at UFC 98, Machida is only 1-1. Not learning from past mistakes, Rogan did the same thing on Saturday night. When Cain Velasquez destroyed Brock Lesnar to take the UFC heavyweight title, Rogan suggested the new champ may be on the verge of his own era.
With the depth inside and out of the UFC in the heavyweight division, that's a tough one to buy. Velasquez (9-0, 7-0 UFC) certainly has a chance to be a good champion but can anyone truly think he can pull off what Anderson Silva (13 straight wins since Apr. of 2006) or Georges St. Pierre are doing right now (13-1 since Apr. of 2007)?
How about we allow him to successfully defend his title once before we start pushing him toward "era" status?
That said, Las Vegas sportsbook insiders are saying that when Velasquez faces Junior Dos Santos (12-1, 6-0 UFC), he'll be a sizable favorite at minus-240. That seems like a big number against a guy who's finished all but one of his UFC opponents. If JDS is up to snuff in the wrestling department, that heavyweight title fight may come down to which fighter lands the first big shot. Keep in mind, betting numbers are also set to draw two-way betting so if sportsbooks fear that Velasquez may be too heavily hyped, they set the number a little higher.
Players are getting more savvy when it comes to betting on MMA. For UFC 121, they turned in what looked like a 3-1 mark on the big fights.
The original Lesnar number went from minus-200 to as low as minus-135 before it settled on minus-160. So plenty of Velasquez money came pouring in. Underdog players just missed on Martin Kampmann, who was as high as plus-220. Kampmann, who's final number settled on plus-150, lost a narrow split decision to Jake Shields.
The biggest win of the night came with Brendan Schaub. Gabriel Gonzaga was a minus-200 favorite at one point. The betting was mostly one-sided and by fight time the Brazilian was only minus-140 at some houses. Even though there was heavy dog play on those three, the bettors didn't buy Tito Ortiz's chances and they were right. Matt Hamill was driven from minus-160 to minus-185 and still cashed easily.
UFC 121 odds courtesy Lagasse Stadium and M Resort sportsbooks
- Cain Velasquez
- Lyoto Machida
- Joe Rogan
- Brock Lesnar