The Octagon is back in London, England, this weekend for UFC Fight Night 127 featuring Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Volkov in the main event and FO has some betting odds that could make a little cash on Saturday night.
An underwhelming card based on name value alone if truth be told, but one that is, as usual, sure to attract a rabid UK audience and full house at the O2 Arena. A couple of fights stand out for betting purposes, here are my thoughts and odds from 5Dimes.
Heavyweights: Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Volkov
Fabricio Werdum continues his quest for a title shot, and it may not be a million miles away if he can get his hand raised here. ‘Vai Cavalo’ proved he belonged among the greatest heavyweights of all time when he took the UFC championship off Cain Velasquez in 2015, but he’s been up and down since, losing to other elite heavyweights (Stipe Miocic for the belt and Alistair Overeem), but picking up three wins over solid opposition: Travis Browne, Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura. The latest, a win over Tybura, was laborious affair over five rounds in Sydney, Australia.
Alexander Volkov comes into the bout on the back of a 5-0 run stretching back to June 2015 when he last tasted defeat to Cheick Kongo in Bellator. Since then he has stoppage wins in M-1 as well as three victories in the UFC. An unconvincing split decision over Timothy Johnson was followed by a more comfortable defeat of Roy Nelson before he finished Stefan Struve, in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Thanks to the lack of depth in the weight class, he finds himself ranked in eighth spot with an opportunity to take a career-defining scalp.
If completely fit, Werdum should have more than enough to put Volkov away. However, he hasn’t looked in peak physical condition in the last year or so. He’s a little soft around the middle and moving like age has started to catch up with him. Volkov, meanwhile is still very much in a growth stage and, at 29, is a veritable baby in an ever-aging division. The clear paths to victory are Volkov by strikes or Werdum by submission but my bet will be that it goes on a little longer than it should, more than 2.5 rounds, to be precise.
Betting pick: Over 2.5 rounds, 2 units at -130 (10/13) @5Dimes
Light heavyweights: Jimi Manuwa vs. Jan Blachowicz
This will mark the first fight for Manuwa since a devastating loss to Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 214 in July 2017, in which he was knocked out in just 42 seconds. For those who are counting, it was his third defeat KO for Manuwa in as many years. Before that, though, ‘Poster Boy’ picked up his two best UFC wins, with Kos of Ovince Saint Preux and Corey Anderson. He’ll look to recapture that momentum with a rerun of the fight that earned him his only decision win, but failed to ignite the fans.
Losing the first meeting with Jimi Manuwa set Jan Blachowicz on a very slippery slope as the Pole went 1-4, the lone win coming against Igor Pokrajac. All losses were by decision though as Blachowicz proved difficult to stop. A submission win over Devin Clark in Gdansk, Poland, and an upset decision of Jared Cannonier showed that the Pole has made some real improvements in all areas and has elevated him back up the ranks of his division. However, like heavyweight, it is very shallow.
Manuwa clearly has the power, but it’s going to be tested against a durable chin. On the flipside, Blachowicz isn’t a power puncher and he isn’t known for finishing fights, at least not in the UFC. I’m going into this with the opinion that the judges will be required.
Betting pick: Fight goes to decision – 2 units at +105 (21/20) @5Dimes