Jul 4, 2017
Jul 4, 2017

UFC 213: Nunes vs. Shevchenko betting preview

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UFC 213: Nunes vs. Shevchenko betting preview

On July 8, the UFC returns to Las Vegas for UFC 213, featuring a title match between women’s Bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and challenger Valentina Shevchenko. Can Nunes build on her four finishes in her last five fights or will Shevchenko get her revenge? Read on for some expert betting insight.

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A division in chaos?

For three years, there was order in the women’s Bantamweight division. Ronda Rousey reigned supreme, repelling with ease all who came for her belt and it looked like the only thing that could loosen her grip was her own ability to maintain interest. Rousey finally fell in a shocking defeat to Holly Holm, who immediately lost to Miesha Tate, who immediately lost to Amanda Nunes. It was a hell of a chaotic ride after some many years of certainty.

The question now is whether Nunes is the new order. After gaining the belt, her first defence was against the former undefeated champion Rousey. Never a favourite, Nunes staked her claim to legitimacy with a shocking 48-second victory over the former champion and gave UFC marketers some hope for consistency in their ranks. Now, it’s time to see how dominant Nunes can be.

Can Nunes dominate the division?

Nunes’ second defence comes with less hype than her first. She’s already defeated Valentine Shevchenko once, during her ascent to the title, and Shevchenko doesn’t offer the same pay-per-view draw as Rousey. Still, Shevchenko’s recent win over Holm vaulted her to number one contender status and with their first fight going the distance, Nunes vs. Shevchenko has the makings of a good fight. The question is whether there’s reason to expect a different result.

Judges have a long record of not giving away the title on a decision and there are real questions about whether Shevchenko can finish Nunes.

The answer may lie in the pressure the title brings. Part of the reason we see so much title turnover is that the crown rests heavily on the head of those who wear it. Getting the extra cash for headlining brings with it the responsibility of promotion.

Conor McGregor has famously talked about the additional pressures and responsibility that come with card promotion and Nunes must now learn to cope with them after a career of focusing solely on training. If she can overcome those pressures and rise to the occasion without losing a step, we may finally have a restored order to the Women’s Bantamweight division.

Analysing the betting odds:

Amanda Nunes’ recent betting odds at Pinnacle:

Amanda Nunes’ recent betting odds at Pinnacle:

Opponent (Date)

Open

Highest

Lowest

Close

Result

Ronda Rousey (12-30-2016)

2.60

2.66

2.09

2.48

Win

Miesha Tate (7-9-2016)

3.18

3.65

3.03

3.18

Win

Valentina Shevchenko (3-5-2016)

1.81

1.94

1.64

1.94

Win

Valentina Shevchenko’s recent betting odds at Pinnacle:

Valentina Shevchenko’s recent betting odds at Pinnacle:

Opponent (Date)

Open

Highest

Lowest

Close

Result

Julianna Pena (1-28-2017)

1.94

2.03

1.57

1.57

Win

Holly Holm (7-23-2016)

4.40

fight

2.42

2.60

Win

Amanda Nunes (3-5-2016)

2.10

2.38

1.94

1.94

Loss

The last time these two met the action forced the line to a dead draw. Despite Nunes’ win of both that fight and the Rousey match-up, line movement thus far has shown that savvy fans respect Shevchenko enough to take her chances seriously. It’s surprising though that she’s ranking as the favourite at the time of writing.

One reason that surprise has to be muted is Shevchenko’s recent betting history. In her three most recent fights, incoming money has forced her odds to move against those who’d bet her late. Perhaps it’s because of hometown support from Russian bettors, but the pattern of her betting popularity has been undeniable. The question now is whether that’s gone too far, with Nunes recent history one heck of an endorsement for someone who is bearing out as a slight underdog.

Tale of the Tape:

Tale of the Tape:

Amanda Nunes

Name

Valentine Shevchenko

5’8”

Height

5’5”

135 lbs

Weight

135 lbs

69”

Reach

67”

14-4

Record

14-2

10

Wins by KO

4

3

Wins by Sub

6

2

Losses by KO

1

1

Losses by Sub

0

The match up

Amanda Nunes is a wrecking ball. She’s finished 13 of her 14 victories, eleven of them in the first round. There’s not a lot of subtlety there; she moves in for the kill early and often, landing twice the strikes her opponents have over the course of her career. Her takedowns aren’t immaculate (38% success rate), but the threat of her striking forces opponents to defend first, often opening the door to letting Nunes apply her Brazilian Ju Jitsu blackbelt.

Part of the reason we see so much title turnover is that the crown rests heavily on the head of those who wear it. Getting the extra cash for headlining brings with it the responsibility of promotion.

Shevchenko is a different kind of fighter, taking a much more reserved, strategic approach. One reason bettors may like her is that she’s already shown she can weather Nunes’ aggression. Shevchenko lands strikes at a 2.48-per-minute rate and her takedown defence is solid (73% success rate).

In the first fight, Nunes outlanded Shevchenko 39-28, scored two knockdowns to Shevchenko’s one and made two submission attempts to Shevchenko’s one. The unanimous win was a clear one.

Who will win?

Shevchenko does have her strong points; she controlled the pace of the last fight, which usually results in a victory and bettors clearly believe she can take that next step this time around. With Nunes the more instinctive fighter and Shevchenko the more tactical, one might surmise that a second opportunity to solve the puzzle plays to the Russian’s favour.

Additionally, balancing the obligations of promotion with fight preparation is a task; that distraction could be a tough one for Nunes, who had the luxury of preparation while Rousey sold the fight.

Line movement thus far has shown that savvy fans respect Shevchenko enough to take her chances seriously.

That all said, there are just so many advantages that seem to weigh in Nunes’ favour. She won the last fight in decisive fashion, she beat Rousey and her recent record is impeccable. On top of that, judges have a long record of not giving away the title on a decision and there are real questions about whether Shevchenko can finish Nunes.

If those kind of stats make appealing reading, a bet on Nunes is the choice to make. If, however, you think the Bantamweight division is destined for another period of uncertainty, Shevchenko is the bet to make. If you can't make your mind up, over 2.5 rounds is available at 1.746* if you think the fight will go the distance. Either way, it’s bound to be a terrific fight.

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