Penn vs. Rodriguez betting preview

Penn vs. Rodriguez betting preview

UFC Fight Night 103: Analysing the odds movement

By Pinnacle Jan 4, 2017

On January 15th, the UFC returns to Phoenix, Arizona for the first Fight Night card of 2017, when rising star Yair Rodriguez faces UFC legend BJ Penn. Read on to find out all you need to know before placing your bets.

In the history of the UFC, few fighters have seen their stars ascend the way BJ Penn has. Known throughout as “The Prodigy”, the nickname was suitably bodacious and boastful, not just of Penn’s fighting skills, but also his self-marketing acumen.

Who is BJ Penn?

Penn’s history is too extensive to get into here, but it includes multiple championship runs, more main events than can be quickly counted and plenty of controversy to fill the spaces in between. For more than a decade, Penn’s was one of the few names you had to be familiar with if you were to consider yourself any kind of fight fan.

Penn’s chances of getting to the ground rely on Rodriguez’ 61% takedown defense.

Penn’s era of dominance came to an end at the turn of this decade. His twin losses to Frankie Edgar turned him from a must-add on pound-for-pound lists to gatekeeper and the losses he suffered in his last three fights showed that time was passing him by just as ring wear was catching up. The last loss, his third at Edgar’s hands, came 30 months ago. He hasn’t fought since.

Penn’s second fight in the last half-decade sees him squaring off against Yair Rodriguez, 14 years Penn’s junior. Rodriguez brings his own pedigree, with a victory in Ultimate Fighter: Latin America and a five-fight win streak in the UFC. 

Of course, just winning any fight is critical to his future in the UFC, but Penn represents something different; a chance to add a legend to Rodriguez’s resume, the kind of carcass one can seriously climb on. Will the younger man add the elder’s scalp? Or will the legend reassert himself, reminding us all of why he was called a legend in the first place?

What do the betting odds suggest?

Yair Rodriguez’ recent betting odds at Pinnacle:

Name (date)

Open

High

Low

Close

Result

Alex Caceras (08/06/2016

1.34

1.38

1.31

1.33

Win

Andre Fili (04/23/2016)

1.78

1.95

1.63

1.94

Win

Dan Hooker (10/03/2015)

1.50

1.51

1.30

1.38

Win


There’s not a lot to see here as patterns go. We’ve seen Rodriguez’s recent markets favour him with movement and favour opponents the same way with no discernible early or late movement patterns. That may suggest the Penn fan boys will have a stronger influence.

 Penn’s recent betting odds at Pinnacle:

Name (date)

Open

High

Low

Close

Result

Frankie Edgar (07/06/2014)

4.85

4.90

4.38

4.45

Loss

Rory MacDonald (12/08/12)

3.20

4.05

3.20

4.05

Loss

Nick Diaz (10/28/2011)

1.87

2.18

1.67

2.00

Loss

After the Diaz loss, fight bettors weren’t caught up in Penn’s hype any longer. The opening price against MacDonald was a gift that saw heavy opposition in the minutes leading to the fight and the pro-Penn movement against Edgar only came about because of long shot odds and the consistent belief in Penn’s conditioning being a major factor in his results (his slimming down to Featherweight was a big commitment).

As of January 2nd, Rodriguez is a heavy favorite in our markets, at 1.23* to Penn’s 4.60*. No promises here, but you can probably look for a little late movement on Penn’s odds if that the market stays stable.

Tale of the Tape

Rodriguez

Name

Penn

5’11”

Height

5’9”

71 

Reach

70”

145 lbs

Weight

145 lbs

8-1

Record

16-10-2

2

Wins by KO

7

1

Losses by KO

3

1

Wins by sub

6

0

Losses by sub

0


The match up

Penn’s legend was built on the heels of his ground game. A legendary BJJ practitioner, Penn’s exceptional flexibility allowed him to get in and out of situations unavailable to other fighters, and while age has likely reduced some of that flexibility, it’s still a weapon. It will likely be Rodriguez’s job to keep the fight standing.

Rodriguez, a Taekwando black belt, is a methodical striker, landing less-often than most striking-heavy fighters. Over his career, Rodriguez has a 3.72 SLpM, landing at just 42%. He uses his legs and his exceptional height/reach for the weight class to maintain distance and land from spots where small opponents cannot. Penn’s striking was a constant source of pride during his heyday, which he used to take advantage of when opponents rightly over-defended against Penn’s attempts to get to the ground.

In all though, the numbers aren’t good, with just 2.70 SLpM to 2.87 SApM. Penn’s chances of getting to the ground rely on Rodriguez’ 61% takedown defense. The real difficulty will be in getting close enough for a takedown; being the aggressor at 38 seems like a tall task.

Who will win?

Or rather, does Penn win often enough to make betting the long shot a profitable decision? Penn’s talent at his peak was undeniable, but now that he’s re-found the will to get in the ring, there’s legitimate reason to wonder if there’s anything left with which to mount a serious challenge.

If you think Penn can penetrate Rodriguez’s distance enough to force the fight to the ground and still has that once legendary ground game, there’s a real chance of an upset here. Those are big ifs though and just about everything else seems to point to a difficult night for the former lightweight champion. Either way, it will be great to see Penn back in the Octagon one last time.

Whether you go for Rodriguez or Penn, get the best UFC Fight Night 103 odds online at Pinnacle.

*Odds subject to change