When betting on MMA, one strategy is to look at the closest lines and seek a fight you’re confident in the outcome of. UFC Fight Night 137, which takes place on Saturday, has four really close fights per betting odds.
Thales Leites (-120) vs. Hector Lombard (Even)
Both men could desperately use a win. Lombard enters the fight on a five-fight losing streak and hasn’t won since March 2014 over Jake Shields. Leites 0-2 in his last two. This fight could very well come down to who’s less shopworn. Leites, who has looked better than Lombard in recent appearances, is being backed by the betting odds ever so slightly.
It will be interesting to see if Leites can get his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu offense going against Lombard and his strong takedown defense. Lombard lands more often and with more power than Leites in the stand-up, so it stylistically benefits the underdog here.
Randa Markos (-115) vs. Marina Rodriguez (-105)
Markos, although coming close, hasn’t been able to shuck her win-one, lose-one streak in the UFC. She’s coming off a loss to Nina Ansaroff, which means she’s going to win, right? If only betting were that easy.
She’ll fight the debutant Rodriguez, who is 10-0 as a pro. Rodriguez punched her ticket to the UFC with a T/KO win over Maria Oliveira on Dana White’s Contender Series: Brazil last month. Rodriguez has a clean record which is more visually appealing than Markos’ 8-6, but she is an unknown while Markos has undoubtedly fought the stiffer competition.
Markos’ notable victories are former champion Carla Esparza, Juliana Lima, while she had competitive fights with Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Alexa Grasso and Nina Ansaroff.
The fight will essentially come down to whether Markos can take Rodriguez to the ground and implement her wrestling game. This is the closest fight on the card, betting-wise.
Renan Barao (-160) vs. Andre Ewell (+140)
The former UFC bantamweight champion Barao enters as a slight favorite over newcomer and former CES bantamweight champion Ewell.
Ewell is riding a four-fight winning streak on the regional circuit, finishing Dinis Paiva, Trent Meaux and Gustavo Lopez, to name a few.
Barao, once 32-1, is now 34-6. At 2-5 in his last seven, Barao has been on a cold-streak and unable to return to his championship form. His last two wins are against Mitch Gagnon and Phillipe Nover, while he’s lost to T.J. Dillashaw (twice), Jeremy Stephens, Aljamain Sterling and Brian Kelleher in that span. Barao has wins over Urijah Faber (two), Eddie Wineland and Michael McDonald.
Ewell appears to be a solid prospect, but he’s yet to fight anyone close to the caliber of Barao. While Ewell has potential, he likely still has a ways to go before he’s ready to be in title contention at the crowded UFC bantamweight division. Barao will be a measuring stick for Ewell. Oddsmakers appear to be valuing Barao’s UFC champion pedigree. Note that Barao is only one year older than Ewell.
Gillian Robertson (-155) vs. Mayra Bueno Silva (+135)
Robertson has looked good thus far in her UFC career coming off The Ultimate Fighter. In her two appearances, she’s submitted Molly McCann and Emily Whitmire. McCann is a Liverpool prospect with hype behind her, and Whitmire is a solid fighter who’s since moved to strawweight and had success.
Bueno Silva is 5-0 in her career, and, like Marina Rodriguez, won on Dana White’s Contender Series: Brazil. She holds victories over Mayana Kellen, Daiane Firmino and Marilia Santos.
Both ladies appear to be submission threats, with Robertson the more proven commodity.
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