If you’re planning on betting on UFC 198, you know the main card comprises five matches, following the deus ex machina that delivered us from the superfluous Anderson Silva-Uriah Hall bout. The Spider is so inessential that the UFC didn’t even bother coming up with a replacement match. Either way, that leaves plenty for UFC betting fans to sink their teeth into.
Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum (20-5-1) vs. Stipe Miocic (14-2-0). The UFC heavyweight champion is the betting on UFC favorite (-160) against the challenger (+140). Miocic has a greater reach and lands more strikes per minute, but Werdum is the slightly more accurate striker. This will be a match pitting an overrated, aging champion versus a slightly younger and underappreciated fighter. Werdum is thought of as unstoppable by many but lacks defensive skills; he was hit 88 times in 12 minutes by Cain Velasquez – much higher than his average of 2.17 strikes absorbed per minute. Meanwhile, Miocic is seen as a brawler but is a sound boxer with a strong mat game.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (22-4-0) vs. Vitor “The Phenom” Belmont (25-11-0). If Belfort (+260) beats the UFC betting favorite Souza (-320) he will very well be inserting himself in the championship picture – specifically, a rematch with middleweight champ Luke Rockhold. Unfortunately for him, Belfort tends to crack under pressure.
Cris Cyborg (15-1-0, 1NC) vs. Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith (8-6-1). You have to be a lean, mean fighting machine when your nickname – which happens to bring to mind the likes of Robocop or the Terminator – pretty much replaces your actual last name. These two lovely gals are pretty even in terms of weight and height, but somehow Smith – seems smaller and weaker. On the other hand, this is Cyborg’s debut in the UFC and in the 140 lbs category, so first-time jitters may not be unexpected.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (23-10-0) vs. Corey “Beastin 25/8” Anderson (9-1-0). A seasoned veteran versus a relative newcomer. Experience counts but so does youth, and Anderson is the favorite (-250) against Rua (+210). Anderson is definitely a riddle, or at least his nickname is.
Anderson Silva vs. Cholecystitis. Just kidding, we wish the Brazilian Muay Thai expert a successful surgery and a speedy recovery – which does not change the fact that his match with Hall was pretty pointless, unnecessary, and a disservice to both fighters, so it being scrapped makes winners of all fans, those betting on UFC and the rest as well. Silva had been noticeably reluctant to pull the trigger on strikes since his leg injury at UFC 168, and Hall is way too passive for someone whose line of work is beating people up – and getting beaten up by people – all of which would’ve made for morose contest.