Mar 9, 2017
Mar 9, 2017

UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum betting

UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum betting

On March 11th, the UFC returns to Brazil where prodigal son Vitor Belfort plays host to Kelvin Gastelum. With the markets heavily favouring Gastelum, will Belfort keep the window of opportunity open? Read on to find out.

Ask any fan to list off the legends of the UFC and Vitor Belfort will make the short list. Now 39, his nickname, “the Phenom”, makes clear just how long he’s been around. Belfort’s UFC debut came in 1997, and his short-lived run as light-heavyweight champion came in 2004. To call this a long and storied career would be an understatement. He’s been through the wars and back again.

Belfort: The returning hero

Over recent years, Belfort still had a toe in the title picture, but two consecutive losses and three-of-four mean that at this point, he’s more or less a gatekeeper. His extraordinary popularity makes him the perfect guy to headline smaller Brazilian cards, and for testing young UFC stars who hope to get into the title picture themselves.

Whether Kelvin Gastelum (1.283*) has the desire to reach the elite circles is a big question. Presently ranked as the #10 contender (Belfort is #8) in the middleweight division, Gastelum might be better suited to welterweight.

He twice missed weight in that division, leading to a return to 185 lbs in his last fight, a win over Tim Kennedy. Both of Gastelum’s career losses came at Welterweight though, so not worrying about the weight cut and focusing on fighting might actually be the best thing for him. The question is whether he can get through the old pro Belfort (4.00*), with a lot of tricks up his sleeve and a raucous Brazilian crowd behind him.

Analysing the betting odds

Vitor Belfort’s recent odds at Pinnacle:

Vitor Belfort’s recent odds at Pinnacle

Name (date)

Open

Highest

Lowest

Close

Result

Gegard Mousasi (10/8/2016)

3.70

3.98

3.45

3.98

Loss

Renaldo Souza (5/14/2016)

3.45

3.67

3.37

3.48

Loss

Dan Henderson (11/7/2015)

1.33

1.39

1.28

1.29

Win


Kelvin Gastelum’s recent odds at Pinnacle:


Name (date)

Open

Highest

Lowest

Close

Result

Tim Kennedy (12/10/2016)

2.30

2.40

2.00

2.05

Win

Johny Hendricks (7/9/2016)

2.67

2.67

1.83

1.94

Win

Neil Magny (11/21/2015)

1.40

1.50

1.30

1.32

Loss


If time has indeed caught up with Belfort, the bettors have seen it coming. Pinnacle’ markets have opened Belfort a major underdog in each of his last two fights, but the odds moved against him. That’s especially notable in that, prior to the Souza fight, Belfort had never lost in five career UFC matches on Brazilian soil.

After Gastelum cost some bettors some serious money with his upset at Magny’s hands, he’s given plenty of reason for optimism. He opened a small underdog against both Hendricks and Kennedy and beat both after bettors showed faith in moving the line his way.

Tale of the tape

Vitor Belfort

Name

Kelvin Gastelum

6’0”

Height

5’9”

74”

Reach

71”

185 lbs

Weight

185 lbs

25-13

Record

13-2

18

Wins by KO

5

3

Wins by sub

4

6

Losses by KO

0

2

Losses by sub

0


The match-up

Amazingly, ten of Belfort’s last 13 matches (and five of the last six) have ended in the first round; Gastelum’s last five fights have all gone two or more rounds. We’re looking at a pretty stark contrast here.

That Belfort will come out swinging and look for the haymaker is evident in the numbers. Over his career, he’s averaged just 1.54 SLpM with 47% accuracy. He’s always relied on his knockout power as his primary weapon.

Alternatively, Gastelum likes to pepper his opponents to set up his wrestling, landing 3.99 SLpM while absorbing 2.74 strikes per minute (to Belfort’s 2.71). Neither has phenomenal striking defense, with Gastelum notably being small for the weight class and therefore forced to be willing to absorb some strikes to land his own.

The career numbers suggest both fighters are versatile in that they can stand or take to the ground, but a closer look reveals that’s no longer true of Belfort. Vitor hasn’t landed a takedown in his last fourteen fights.

With Gastelum a strong wrestler himself, one has to think Vitor’s going to come out charging, hopeful of capitalizing of the adrenaline the home crowd will provide. Gastelum, meanwhile, will try to wait, control the fight with his jab and hopefully take it to the ground. Belfort’s BJJ is strong enough to be competitive there, but it’s not the weapon it used to be.

Who will win?

The numbers—specifically, Belfort’s age—certainly suggest it’s Gastelum, who gets to fight at a comfortable weight while also riding a two-fight wave of confidence. The bettor has to calculate the odds of a Belfort finish here.

Gastelum’s two losses have come at the judges’ hands, so for Belfort to conquer him and not risk the cardio test of a five-round fight, he needs to do what’s never been done before.

Whether he still has that kind of performance comes down to your belief in the adrenaline the ring and fans can provide, the race Vitor’s weighing against time and your faith in Gastelum’s ability to game plan to survive. As of this writing, Gastelum is the major favourite (1.283*) and Vitor is 4.00*. This means, if you see Vitor’s odds of scoring a quick KO as better than 1-in-4, you have an easy bet here. Either way, it will be a fun contrast to watch.

Ready to get into action? Get the best UFC Fight Night odds at Pinnacle. 

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