UFC 200 - What to bet

By The Rex Factor

UFC 200 was supposed to be a showcase event – a milestone for the fight company that has altered the way that the general public looks at both boxing and mixed martial arts.

Before the Ultimate Fighting Championship gained popularity roughly a decade ago, MMA was viewed from afar by the casual fan as something slightly less barbaric than cockfighting. Mainstream acceptance has been growing in recent years because most can see how skilled a human must be in his or her regards to beat an opponent in a variety of ways with their fists or lower bodies.

This milestone card caps a three-day extravaganza in Las Vegas and the 12-fight card was supposed to crown three champions and see 24 marquee fighters step into the octagon over a six-hour period.

Yet three days before the shindig, the main event was scrapped.

And the folks calling the shots in the UFC didn’t do anything to help matters out with their ideas of replacing it.

Jon Jones has never truly lost a fight, and not having the light heavyweight belt is only because of what he’s done – some truly reprehensible things, to be fair – outside of the octagon.

His fight against Daniel Cormier was the rightful headliner of the card. DC wanted his revenge from a UFC 182 loss to Jones, and a Jones win would perhaps send him scurrying into the heavyweight division with a chance to cement his legacy as one of the best of all time at a different weight class.

But that fight won’t happen Saturday, and who knows when or if it will at this point.

Jones was flagged by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for a potential violation, forcing him out of the event.

Instead of properly promoting Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo to the top of the card for their title tilt at 145 pounds, the UFC decided to make woman’s bantamweight holder Miesha Tate and her fight against Amanda Nunes as the main event. Cormier will now fight against replacement Anderson Silva in a non-title fight in the second of five fights on the pay-per-view card.

Brock Lesnar comes back from UFC exile (since 2011) to face Mark Hunt in the co-main event; the status of that fight is unchanged after the Jones scratch.

Edgar/Aldo is the third of five PPV fights and Travis Browne fights Cain Velasquez in a heavyweight battle to kick off the main event card at 10:15 Eastern time.

My plays:

Silva +385 for 1 unit. Why not? Cormier spent loads of time training for Jones, who is a totally different fighter than “Spider”. If Silva can even show a little bit of what made him a winner in 16 straight fights then he can beat Cormier. At 41, it’s a tough ask but not impossible.

Aldo +105 for 2 units. Edgar is a stud but I’m willing to give Aldo a mulligan for his loss at 145 to Conor McGregor in UFC 194 last December. The 13-second knockout was something no one expected and ended an 18-fight win streak. If Aldo has mentally recovered then he should beat Edgar as he did in UFC 156 more than three years ago.

Hunt -170 for 2 units. Lesnar is a show pony that the UFC would love to trot out and win a few fights, but Hunt doesn’t have mercy for the weak in his fists. Should be a quick knockout for the 42-year old New Zealander.

Browne +250 for 1.5 units. Why not? The Hawaiian has done little wrong in his career, with a knockout over Matt Mitrione in January as his most recent activity. The fight against Velasquez represents a step up in class, but one that Browne can overcome and the value is certainly there.

Gastelum even for 1.5 units. It speaks volumes to the depth of a card when you get Kelvin Gastelum fighting Johny Hendricks in a welterweight undercard battle in the first half of the night. Hendricks boasts a powerful left hand but has lost three of his last five. Gastelum has two losses to his name, and both came in split decisions. He’s never been dominated in the octagon and should control the proceedings here.

Miller -250 for 1.5 units. The lidlifter goes at 6:35 Eastern time and it might be over by 6:38. Takanori Gomi is the former Pride lightweight champ and an icon to this sport to his country, but he’s walking up 18 now. Miller has lost four of five but the New Jersey native has been swimming with the sharks the last couple of years and now steps down in class. He should handle the 37-year old Japanese legend, a loser in three of his last four.

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