DAVID Walker (@WalkerDavid32) makes his WLB debut with a view on Sunday morning’s UFC action from Melbourne.
Sunday morning brings around, what should be, one of the biggest PPV events of the UFC's calendar. Not because of an incredibly deep card but because the biggest name in mixed martial arts is headlining the event: Ronda Rousey.
Considering less than five years ago, Dana White was adamant that women would NEVER fight in the UFC's infamous Octagon, it is testament to both the fighting ability and the marketability that Rousey has brought to the sport.
UFC 193 was due to be headlined by the welterweight title fight between champ Robbie Lawler and striker Carlos Condit, however, an injury to Lawler saw this fight pushed back and when the UFC needed someone to step in to maintain the card, Rousey and her opponent Holly Holm were happy to move their fight forward from their proposed date of January.
The UFC have invested heavily in this 193 event with it being their first foray into Melbourne with the Australian government recently changing their laws to allow MMA in that part of the country. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, the UFC quickly acted and have chosen to put their event on in the Etihad Stadium in the hope of having the highest ever attendance.
The build up saw the UFC head brass build up the hopes of filling the 70,000 seater stadium, however, the talk is that 55,000 might be as many attendees that the event managed to pull. Nevertheless, the UFC will be more than happy with that number, particularly if Rousey pulls anywhere near her usual million PPV buys.
The prelims start at 1am on Sunday morning and the main card at 3am.
Ronda Rousey v Holly Holm | Sunday 05.10 | BT Sport 2
In terms of the main event fight between Rousey and Holm, it is going one way and probably very quickly. A Rousey win.
However, there is absolutely no point in backing a best price of 1/10 (Betfred). Rousey, an Olympic medalling Judoka, is undefeated in 12 MMA fights and has destroyed eight of her 12 opponents inside one minute. Only 1 of Rousey's fights has ever made it past the 1st round and that was against former Strikeforce champ, Meisha Tate.
Holm, conversely, has had two fights for the UFC and has only managed to win each by decision against fairly mediocre opponents. Holm is undefeated as a mixed martial artist (9-0) and is a former multiple time world boxing and kick boxing champion.
Her striking is of a good standard but she is not considered a heavy hitter. Rousey's ground game will be far too strong for Holm and if the champ decides to take it to the mat, there is no question that Holm will be quickly submitted.
Boylesports are offering new customers 3/1 for Rousey to win by submission and this should be snatched up as it is excellent value. The best price offered by other bookmakers is 1/2 (Bet Victor) and this is much less appealing.
A more appealing value bet is Rousey to win by KO or TKO (11/4 Betway). Rousey was riled at the weigh-ins when Holm put her fist into the champ's face. I have a feeling that Rousey will go out and quickly get into Holm's face and look to land heavy strikes.
If she takes the challenger to the ground, her first choice will be to ground and pound and I can see the referee stepping in to hand a TKO victory to Rousey.
Joanna Jerdrzejczyk v Valerie Letourneau | Sunday 04.40
In the co main event is the strawweight championship bout between belt holder and striking phenom, Joanna Jerdrzejczyk (9-0) and her Canadian challenger Valerie Letourneau.
This fight should be an incredibly one-sided event with the movement and vicious striking of the Pole Jerdrzejczyk being too much for Letourneau. If anyone watched Joanna's last fight against Jessica Penne, they will understand why many consider her the most diverse and talented striker in female MMA.
Penne was pummelled from every angle possible for almost three rounds and was a bloody mess by the time ref Marc Goddard stepped in to stop the onslaught. Penne is incredibly tough and whilst, I am not questioning the heart of Letourneau, I do not believe she is as durable as Penne and she will not have met anyone as talented as the strawweight champ before.
Boylesports are both offering 4/9 for Jerdrzejczyk to win by KO or TKO and this is pretty good value as I cannot see how Letourneau makes it to the end of the fight. However, the best value comes in the total rounds market. Under 1.5 rounds is a standout 13/8 with Betfred and with the pace that Jerdrzejczyk will start at, this is a very tempting price.
However, a much safer bet that also provides plenty of value is to back Under 2.5 Rounds at 8/11 with Betway. This means that if the fight ends in rounds 1 or 2, we have a winner.
Antonio Silva v Mark Hunt | Sunday 04.10
The final bet for UFC 193 comes in a rematch between heavyweights Antonio Silva and New Zealander Mark Hunt. In late 2013, these giants put on one of the most entertaining heavyweight fights I have ever seen.
Standing toe to toe for 25 minutes, swinging with the intention of taking each other's head clean off, the warriors fought to a majority draw and no one complained.
Since then, Hunt has had two very tough defeats to heavyweight champ Fabricio Werdum (who Hunt was beating in the early exchanges) before he followed this up with a demoralising hiding handed out by Croat Stipe Miocic.
Silva has lost two and won once since his fight with Hunt, however, he was suspended for nine months immediately after the Hunt fight due to elevated testosterone levels.
Silva has noticeably changed physically since the suspension and since the introduction of more stringent drug testing in the UFC. I would be greatly concerned as to the legitimacy of many of his wins in the past due to possible performance enhancing drugs.
In this fight, I cannot see past a Mark Hunt win. He looked as good as he ever has on the scales and mentally seems to have exorcised a few demons through releasing his autobiography detailing many of the demons (figuratively and literally) that he has faced in his life.
With Silva ageing quickly and appearing to be mush less durable without his TRT, I see Hunt ending this quickly with his very heavy hands. A 1st round win is 13/10 with Betway.