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Posted on September 7, 2012 by Jack Thurman
With the cancellation of UFC 151 following the Dan Henderson injury, the next major event on the calendar is UFC 152 set for September 22 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Jon Jones was originally slated to defend his title against Henderson but has been rescheduled for the UFC 152 card where he’ll face the challenge of Vitor Belfort. Belfort is more naturally a middleweight but was the beneficiary of a lack of legitimate challengers for Jones’ crown at 205. Perhaps his most marketable attribute is the fact that he’s never lost to Jones which is something that none of the fighters that currently pass for light heavyweight contenders in the UFC can claim.
On the other hand, it’s hard to get excited about any championship contender that is such an overwhemling UFC betting underdog. For that reason there’s little to suggest that the UFC’s dubious run of dismal pay per view events and slumping buyrates won’t continue. Jones opened a -500 favorite over Belfort and has been bet heavily since then. The current line has gone as high as -900 and as of yet there’s been no sign of a significant buyback on the other side despite a hefty +600 takeback on the underdog. While the UFC has seriously overhyped Jones–who remains something of an ‘unfinished product’ as a fighter–his ridiculous physical advantages are almost insurmountable by any opponent south of the heavyweight division. In particular, his 84″ reach makes him almost unbeatable at 205.
The semifinal event on the card could be the most exciting fight of the night as flyweights Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson collide. Despite the promise of an entertaining, high energy matchup Benavidez has been installed as a sizable betting favorite–he’s -300 with takeback on the underdog Johnson priced at +250. Given the way that MMA fans turned bettors love to throw money at any betting favorite it’s difficult to see the chalk price on Benavidez coming down before fight time.
In the third billed fight on the card tough but limited Brian Stann will take on retread Michael Bisping. The UFC continues to hype Bisping as a legitimate title contender despite all evidence to the contrary and perhaps that’s why he’s the -175 favorite here. Takeback on the underdog is +155 in what should be a slugfest.