If you haven’t heard, UFC 196 was originally scheduled to be a heavyweight showdown between Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velaquez, but with neither big man available, the UFC canceled the main event and moved the main card down to Fox Sports 1 as part of its Fight Night 82 card featuring the main event matchup between Johny Hendricks and Stephen Thompson.
Shortly thereafter, the UFC announced that its former UFC 197 card is now UFC 196: Dos Anjos vs. McGregor. Now, MMA betting enthusiasts have a pair of main card bouts that are both offering a ton of value as UFC 196 quickly approaches.
Let’s examine both matchups.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) February 1, 2016
Betting on Rafael dos Anjos vs. Conor McGregor
Lightweight Title Fight
|Rafael Dos Anjos||Conor McGregor|
Analysis: If you don’t like Conor McGregor (I don’t) and you’d like to see the reigning UFC featherweight champion get his ass kicked, then you’re in for a treat; I believe that’s exactly what’s going to happen when he throws down against lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos. They’ll take to the octagon in Las Vegas for their UFC title bout on Saturday, March 5.
Rafael dos Anjos
Dos Anjos is 25-7 in 32 career bouts and enters this affair riding a five-match winning streak that includes his first round TKO (body kick and punches) of Cowboys Donald Cerrone at UFC on Fox on December 19.
Dos Anjos has recorded five wins by KO, eight via submission and a dozen by way of decision. The reigning lightweight champ has also been on the wrong end of 1 KO loss, 1 submission defeat and five decision losses. Dos Anjos holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a black praijed in Muay Thai.
McGregor is 19-2 in 21 career bouts, including his stunning first round featherweight title KO win over Jose Aldo at UFC 94 on December 12.
McGregor has won an impressive 15 consecutive fights coming into his matchup against Rafael dos Anjos. 17 of McGregor’s career victories have come by way of knockout, with one win coming via submission and one via decision.
McGregor has also been on the wrong end of two submission losses in his career, though his last defeat cam way back in 2010.
Fight Prediction: Let me start by saying that Conor McGregor is absolutely explosive with his fists and could end any bout with one well-placed strike.
Unfortunately, McGregor will be facing a slightly bigger – and stronger fighter in dos Anjos and it is this edge in power, not to mention Anjos’ huge edge in experience that I believe will be the difference in this bout.
As a matter of fact, dos Anjos’ recent wins over Cerrone – and prior to that – his wins over elite lightweights, Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz and Ben Henderson, that I believe provide a great glimpse of what will take place in this bout.
Dos Anjos has excellent striking power, both at close range and on the outside, not to mention well-polished wrestling skills and a nearly unrivaled BJJ skill set.
While McGregor may have the slight edge in speed, I also think he’s going to feel the difference in power that lightweights have over their smaller featherweight counterparts.
In the end, I believe that Rafael dos Anjos is too versatile to lose to a powerful, but one-dimensional fighter like Conor McGregor.
The Pick: Rafael dos Anjos via Third Round Submission
Betting on Holm vs. Tate
Bantamweight Title Fight
|Holly Holm||Miesha Tate|
If you’ve either been living on another planet – or simply weren’t paying attention – Holly Holm (33-2-3) recently pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent sporting memory by completely annihilating former UFC bantamweight champion Rhonda Rousey in their UFC 193 title bout on November 15 in Melbourne, Australia.
Holm dominated Rousey from the outset before finishing off the former champ with a vicious straight left and kick to the head that shocked the world.
Now, Holm will look to do likewise against a talented fighter in Miesha Tate.
Holm is the first person to win world championships in both, boxing and mixed martial arts and has won all 10 of her MMA fights since transitioning to the sport in 2010 with seven wins coming by way of KO and three via decision.
Holm is a world class boxer with outstanding striking g skills and has increasingly employed a series of improving kicking techniques.
Tate has compile d affine, 17-5 record in 22 career MMA fights and enters into her title but against Holly Holm riding a four-fight winning streak in which all four wins came via decision.
Prior to her recent winning streak, Tate suffered consecutive losses, the second of which was a third round submission loss (armbar) against Rhonda Rousey at UFC 168 in December of 2013.
The attractive-looking Tate holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has excellent wrestling skills that could come into play if she’s able to get Holly Holm on the ground.
Fight Prediction: If you don’t know, Miesha Tate is an excellent fighter with a stupendous set of skills that can challenge any female fighter on the planet, including Rhonda Rousey.
Having said that, I just can’t bring myself to bet against Holly Holm after the way she obliterated Rousey in her last fight.
Miesha Tate isn’t nearly as big or strong as Rousey and the former champ was no match for Holm’s smart game plan, superior boxing skills and vicious punching ability.
I’m expecting Tate to fight a smart bout as well, but I don’t think she’s going to be able to get close enough to Holly Holm to put her in a position where she can lose this fight by KO or submission.
In the end, I’m going with Holly Holm for the decision win, because she’s the champ and a loss here would completely ruin Dana White’s plans for Holm and Rousey to stage their rematch later this year.
The Pick: Holly Holm via Decision