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Eduardo Dantas (+155)
While I’m not entirely sure I’d set Eduardo Dantas as the favorite in this fight, I believe there is clear value here based on the odds. Dantas opened at +125 before moving to -115. Then, he skyrocketed to a +190 underdog, but the odds are correcting, as he’s back down to +155. There was a point in time within the last couple of years where Dantas was seen as one of the best bantamweight fighters in the world, and, arguably, the best bantamweight fighter outside of the UFC. He has tailed off a bit recently, though, losing two of his last three fights. Those losses were against elite competition in Michael McDonald and Darrion Caldwell. He gets a matchup against Juan Archuleta, who is coming off of a victory against Ricky Bendejas. If Bendejas’ name sounds familiar, he’s the man that knocked out and derailed the James Gallagher hype train. There are a few major differences between these two fighters. This fight will take place at featherweight. Dantas will be moving up a weight class, while Archuleta has fought at this weight class before. That is likely the biggest reason for the line shift, as moving up a weight class against a larger fighter is never an easy task. Archuleta also owns the significantly better record, but he hasn’t fought nearly the competition of Dantas. The latter has fought in seven Bellator bantamweight championship fights, recording a 5-2 record. He has the talent to win this matchup, but the difference in size, weight, and strength is likely to come into play. If Dantas can manage to handle that, he has a great chance at winning this fight, and I’m willing to take the risk for +155 odds.
Bet 1 unit on Dantas to win 1.55 units
Rory MacDonald (-165)
It looks like bettors are siding with Rory MacDonald, as he opened at -125, only a slight betting favorite over Neiman Gracie, but the odds are widening, as he is now a -165 betting favorite to pick up his first victory since his draw with Jon Fitch. In the post-fight interview, MacDonald seemed hesitant about the future of his fighting career, which is likely why Gracie is receiving so much attention in the upcoming bout. Gracie has yet to lose in his professional fighting career, but he was very recently a rather sizeable underdog against Ed Ruth. He found a submission and ended the fight inside the distance in the fourth round. Ruth, however, does not have the same skill set that MacDonald does. The former UFC welterweight title challenger has an extremely effective jab that has kept the most elite strikers and grapplers in the world at a distance. If Gracie can’t close the distance, he is in trouble. It will be interesting to see just how much wrestling and grappling MacDonald will commit to using, as his dominant top game should be somewhat thwarted by the Brazilian jiu-jitsu mastery of Gracie. MacDonald is a black belt in his own right, but Gracie is extremely effective off of his back, and with MacDonald being a far superior striker, Gracie will likely want the fight to take place there. That said, if MacDonald finds himself in trouble, he has enough BJJ training to ward off a majority of Gracie’s submission attempts, and his long reach and defensive wrestling skills should allow him to keep this fight on the feet. Gracie is coming off the most impressive win of his short MMA career, and there are question marks regarding the mindset that MacDonald is entering into this fight with, but he is the far superior fighter. As long as he doesn’t quit in the middle of the fight, he should cruise to victory.
Bet 1.65 units on MacDonald to win 1 unit