The UFC 166 card comes to us this weekend from Houston, Texas and it is one of the stronger cards of the year. Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez defends his belt against Junior Dos Santos in what is a 3rd meeting between the two men, and the undercard has some several intriguing battles involving title contenders. Let’s take a look at where the lines are with the fights 4 days away.
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Currently, Velasquez is a little better than a 2 to 1 favorite, at (-205) with the comeback on Dos Santos sitting at (+175). The two men are 1-1 in their previous two meetings, and Dos Santos has a better chance of finishing with the KO, as Velasquez has already been dropped by him in their first meeting and Velasquez, though dominant, could not take Dos Santos out after throwing a lot of offense his way the second time around.
Another Heavyweight bout on the card features veteran Roy Nelson taking on top contender Daniel Cormier. Cormier is a prohibitive (-500) favorite, with Nelson paying back at (+390). Nelson was riding high after three KO victories in a row, but in his last outing against Stipe Miocic, he looked old and slow. Being at an athletic disadvantage to Cormier is not a good thing, as the wrestler brings a lot of pressure when he is on his game. Nelson will absorb boatloads of punishment to try to test Cormier’s chin, while Cormier has his sights set beyond Nelson.
Perhaps the most intriguing fight of the night is the Lightweight tilt between Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez. Melendez is a strong (-600) favorite over Sanchez, who returns (+450). Melendez is coming off a loss in his title bid against Benson Henderson, but still rates among one of the top 5 in the weight class. He needs to win this fight to stay in the hunt for a title shot and avoid losing two in a row.
The mercurial Sanchez is coming off a win against Takanori Gomi. Prior to that he lost to Jake Ellenberger at 170 lbs. Sanchez may have some height and reach on Melendez, and he is a game fighter, but he has not broken through with a big win in a long time, and Melendez is the wrong guy to expect to break with his antics.