Renan Barao (32-1-0, 1 NC) puts his title and undefeated streak on the line when he takes on T.J. Dillashaw (9-2-0) in the main event of UFC 173 this Sunday, May 25 (Saturday, May 24 PST) at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
Here is how the moneyline odds are looking like right now at Bodog Sportsbook:
o Renan Barao – 1.13
o T.J. Dillashaw – 6.00
Barao is coming off an impressive title defense last February, pummeling hugely popular Urijah Faber in the closing minute of the first round en route to a technical knockout win. The Baron struck and hurt Faber early, which set up the barrage of strikes towards the end of the round that forced the referee to step in.
The match was a reverse of their first meeting nearly two years ago, when Barao won the interim bantamweight title via a unanimous decision. He was given the full title later when former champion Dominick Cruz had to give it up due to injury.
On the other hand, Dillashaw dominated Mike Easton last January to earn a unanimous decision victory. It was a sweet comeback for The Viper after suffering a close split decision loss to Raphael Assuncao.
Ranked on top of each pound-for-pound and bantamweight lists, Barao is a creative fighter, being able to mix it up in order to expose and exploit his opponent’s perceived weakness. Most of his wins come via submission, but he can also slug it out or go the distance.
Dillashaw is an experienced amateur wrestler and a former The Ultimate Fighter contestant. Like Barao, the California native isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe on the ground or standing up and will fight until the last second if needed.
An interesting side story for this match: this will be the third time that Faber will be against Barao. But this time, the California Kid will be at the corner as he is part and founder of the training team to which Dillashaw is also a member.
The main event of UFC 173 was supposed to be between middleweight champion Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort. But due to Belfort being dropped after testing positive to a banned substance, Lyoto Machida was chosen to as the replacement. Unfortunately, Weidman suffered a knee injury and their match was moved to a later pay-per-view event.
Barao’s next title defense was scheduled on a later event but was moved up and he was slated to face Assuncao. The latter, however, declined the bout due to a rib injury he suffered from an earlier fight, so Dillashaw was handpicked to face the bantamweight champion.
Both fighters are exciting and are able to give the fans a fight that is worth their money. However, we like Barao’s chances in this match. Dillashaw has shown that he can take some serious punishment, but his technique still needs more polishing.
Barao has been deadly and precise with his strikes lately, just look back at what he did to Faber last February. The Brazilian is also slick and locking him up on the ground will not be easy for Dillashaw. The challenger will need to gamble in order to negate the champion’s speed and cunningness.
Here are the odds for the other UFC 173 matches:
o Jamie Varner – 1.55
o James Krause – 2.47
o Takeya Mizugaki – 1.60
o Francisco Rivera – 2.35
o Robbie Lawler – 1.45
o Jake Ellenberger – 2.78
• Light heavyweight
o Daniel Cormier – 1.11
o Dan Henderson – 6.55
Another title fight is bound to happen this weekend! Can Dillashaw pull a memorable upset and end Barao’s amazing streak or will it be another walk-in-the-park victory for champion? Make that bet now at Bodog Sportsbook!