Jon Jones may be in the dog house of UFC president Dana White and many fans for not accepting a short-notice fight with Chael Sonnen, but his new opponent for UFC 152 in Toronto, Vitor Belfort, is the dog in the fight… at least according to the oddsmakers.
Jones opened a huge favorite over Belfort once the fight was announced. Nick Kalikas of MMAOddsBreaker.com set the initial line with Jones at -925 and Belfort at +625.
Basically, what that means is that you would have to bet $925 on Jones to win a $100 return, effectively making him about a 9-to-1 favorite. Conversely, you would have to wager just $100 on Belfort for a return of $625 if he were to win the fight.
“The fact that Jon Jones is such a dominant fighter, it’s stylistically a bad match-up for Vitor,” Kalikas said in explaining such a favorable line for Jones. “Belfort has struggled with wrestlers in the past and the betting public knows that.
“Jon Jones is gonna have the reach, he’s gonna have the obvious wrestling advantage, and he’s gonna be able to dictate where the fight goes. It’s no surprise the betting public knows what to expect in this fight.”
There have been wider disparities in MMA odds in the past, according to Kalikas. Cris Cyborg Santos went as high as being a 20-to-1 favorite over Jan Finney and again as high as about 15-to-1 over Hiroko Yamanaka.
The last time Jones was in this neighborhood was when he fought Vladimir Matyushenko. Jones was about an 8-to-1 favorite in that fight.
The favorite, of course, won in all of those fights, as is the norm. That doesn’t mean that the upset never happens, however. And that’s why the betting public has been putting some money on Belfort already.
Kalikas pointed out that Georges St-Pierre was about a 10-1 favorite over Matt Serra at UFC 69 and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira went as high as about 20-1 over Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou for Pride 33. In both of those bouts, the underdog scored the huge upset with knockout victories, so anything can happen on any given day in mixed martial arts.
There’s also a lot of emotion riding on this match-up, many people rightly or wrongly blaming Jon Jones for UFC 151 being cancelled. That emotion could sway some people to a degree added Kalikas.
“I think we’ll see the line bounce up and down a little bit.”