UFC 205 CHAMPION UNDERDOGS
I don’t profess to be a gambling guru, so if you’re simply looking for betting tips, I’ll start off by admitting that I’m not the man you should come to for such advice and my mediocre UFC Pick ‘Em score will confirm this. Though, if you are looking for in-depth professional breakdowns to help you decide a winner, you’re already in the right place, here on Kobeskorner.com, as I’ll hope you’ll already know that this is the place to find original, uniquely informative and on point fight analysis, by none other than Kobe Kay himself.
The motivation for this article is the fact that 2 out of the 3 champions looking to defend their belts at UFC 205 this Saturday, November 12th, have come in as underdogs to do so, and in randomly combining this with today’s ‘to win’ percentages on UFC Pick ‘Em, it would seem that a large proportion of the fans would agree with that decision as well.
LW [C] EDDIE ALVAREZ (+135/ 36%)* vs [FTW C] CONOR MCGREGOR (-155/ 64%)
For me, it’s a combination of factors that has created this lack of confidence in the newly crowned Lightweight Champion to make a successful first defence of his title, but I’ll just touch on a few of them. Going solely on what Alvarez has done in the UFC, many fans were uninspired by his previous 2-1 record and saw his own FN90 title shot as being somewhat circumstantial, because of the UFC196 title fight that never happened between RDA and McGregor (due to the then champion’s broken/bruised foot). Although highly praised at the time, for the manner in which he ended RDA’s dominant run to claim the belt for himself, facts are soon forgotten into fiction as soon as you enter the McGregor pantomime.
And that’s a big part of it here, in that his opponent is a complete UFC anomaly. Whilst everyone else has been forced to play Chutes and Ladders, that Notorious Irish One has created a Chess-like career-defining path for himself, resulting in him never being far away from any discussion about modern MMA these days. In bringing his unique level of attention to this MSG Main Event, his captivated media and fan base audiences (some of whom are more interested in the man, than the sport of MMA) inevitably swing the favour in his direction. That’s not saying that this McGregor phenomenon hasn’t been backed up with incredible performances to seal his notoriety, but don’t forget that Alvarez is already well accustomed to being counted-out and considered an underdog during his short UFC run to the top. The 155lbs champ is no joke and certainly capable of ‘pulling a Diaz’ this Saturday in rewriting the proposed script for The McGregor Show.
WW [C] TYRON WOODLEY (+150 32%) vs [#2] STEPHEN THOMPSON (-190 68%)
Maybe suffering from the same, yet ‘proven’ as a champion, fan doubt, Welterweight Champ, Tyron Woodley seemed perplexed by not coming into UFC 205 as the favourite, but simply intends to prove to those doubters, that fights aren’t fought on paper. The only newly crowned champion of 2016 not to end up with their preferred first title defence, Woodley is far from winning the popularity contest either. Part of the problem here is The Chosen One’s previous decision to side line himself for the best part of 18 months in wait of his title shot. Given the changes in the UFC landscape and the waves of new fans attaching themselves to the sport during this time, it could simply a case of being either unknown or forgotten about for a lot of people. Equally, his understandable ‘money fight’ desires didn’t do him any favours either, but similarly to Alvarez’s situation, the sheer popularity and support held by his opponent, plays a pivotal factor here when people assess his chance of coming away with a MSG ‘W’.
Because in comparison, during Woodley’s absence from competition, WonderBoy instead built upon his notoriety nicely, and thoroughly deserves all the credit he is getting. With only a UD lost to Matt Brown in his career, his current 7 fight win streak, ‘Performance of the Night’ finishes and crowd pleasing style has not only earned him this title shot, but also the respect of the MMA fans worldwide. As a result, the sheer public outcry for Thompson to be next was on a relatively unprecedented scale, and with such a level of demand, subsequently #AndNew becomes the favoured outcome for the majority. However, all those discounting Woodley should remember that, his 1st Round finish to win that Welterweight belt from ‘Ruthless’ was his 4th in the UFC and subsequently he holds the highest finishing rate out of all of the current UFC champions. If he isn’t getting the respect that he deserves, for whatever reason, surely a successful defence against the dangerous calibre of challenger that WonderBoy presents, would surely leave fans little choice but to recognise his skills from there on out.
A fascinating Match, that I honestly still haven’t made my pick for, but it’s certainly not the one-sided affair that many people would have you believe it to be.
[W.SW C] JOANNA JEDRZEJCZYK (-400 90%) vs [#1] KAROLINA KOWALKIEWICZ (+280 10%)
Joanna is the only champion being universally given the nod to win the Polish Civil War that’ll go down in the Big Apple that same night, and with no disrespect to her evidently skilled, equally ‘tough as nails’ challenger, this favouring is somewhat logical. The undefeated JJ is the most dominant female fighter on the UFC roster at the moment, with the potential to eventually surpass the legacies of the likes of Rowdy & Cyborg, if she continues on her current undefeated trajectory.
Many a useless UFC crystal ball had in fact predicted Rose Namajunas would have been fighting for the belt next, but although KK’s 3-0, undefeated in the UFC, run has unquestionably earned herself this shot, it’s as much the idea that she is the only woman deemed (possibly) ready to challenge the ever improving JJ at this moment in time.
A great match up, that I’m confident will reaffirm to a worldwide audience, just why WMMA has been kicking arse and taking names this year.
In conclusion, I know there’s probably a 101 factors, that someone, more gambling savvy than I, can weigh in on this with, but just through these objective eyes, the champions going into this event as underdogs are as much a victim their opponents’ popularity as much as anything else. Though, I know the majority of fans will often choose a winner based on what their heart tells them and bookies are simply motivated by making money. Anything is possible once that octagon door closes and anyone with half a MMA brain will tell you that these title fights are much closer than the odds or the fan boy motivated hype would have you believe.
Which is therefore yet another reason why, a predicted record-breaking audience will be tuning into this already unmissable UFC 205 card this Saturday night.
*AS TAKEN FROM: oddsshark.com AND UFC Pick ‘Em (% to win) November 9th 2016