Is there a blueprint Spencer can follow to beat Nunes?
The UFC is holding its second pay-per-view event since the COVID-19 restrictions were put into place and the promotion will hold this one at the UFC Apex, their Las Vegas-based production facility mere days after the re-opening of casinos.
This will be the first pay-per-view event headlined by a bout in a women’s division since May of last year, with featherweight champion Amanda Nunes attempting to defend the 145-pound title for the first time against Canadian Felicia Spencer. If Nunes is successful, she will become the first female to defend a title in two different divisions.
The Canadian Underdog
Amanda Nunes (-525) vs. Felicia Spencer (+450)
Amanda Nunes is on a roll, having won 10 in a row while establishing herself as the greatest women’s mixed martial artist of all-time.
Defeating the Brazilian Nunes, who's based in the United States, is a tall order for any female mixed martial artist and the oddsmakers as well as the betting public share that belief.
Why?: This is the third-highest line for Nunes of her career, with only Raquel Pennington and Shayna Baszler being bigger underdogs than Spencer when facing “The Lioness.”
But is the line too high?
This is only the second time in nine years that Nunes has competed at 145 pounds and the only bout to compare this to is against Cris Cyborg, a bout that took place solely on the feet and lasted less than a minute.
The striking power of Nunes is indisputable as it has been on display time and time again. But how will Nunes fare against a bigger opponent whose primary mode of attack will be to grapple?
How will Nunes deal with a legitimate featherweight in all areas of mixed martial arts?
For these reasons, there are too many question marks to comfortably back Nunes and Spencer is likely a bigger underdog than she should be.
It’s important to remember that odds aren’t primarily dictated by matchups, they are dictated by the support of the betting public and the overwhelming support has gone towards Nunes.
The Most Significant Line Movement
Chase Hooper (-185) vs. Alex Cacares (+170
After opening as a slight underdog at -110 against Cacares, who opened at -120, the public support has been all Hooper, who has climbed up to a -185 favourite.
It does not feel like that long ago that Cacares was cast in a similar light as his 20-year-old opponent.
After entering the UFC at age 22, Cacares has been wildly inconsistent, showing glimmers of brilliance paired with disappointing outings.
Now he faces an up-and-coming Hooper, who wants to eventually be compared to submission ace Demian Maia.
Hooper’s crafty submissions are what make him such an intriguing prospect and he just so happens to be booked against a fighter who has seven career losses by submission.
Suga Show 2.0 a massive favourite
Sean O’Malley (-500) vs. Eddie Wineland (+435)
“Suga” Sean O’Malley showed massive improvements to his game in his last outing in March against Jose Quinonez and, as a result, he is now a bigger favourite than he has ever been against perhaps the best competition he will face to date.
O’Malley was just eight years old when his opponent Wineland made his professional MMA debut and expectations are sky-high when he faces the wily veteran.
We know that O’Malley is good, but is he good enough to be a five-to-one favourite over a former UFC title challenger?
We will find out at UFC 250.
Odds and Ends
-Spencer is 1-1 as an underdog in the UFC.
-In the three bouts with betting lines that Nunes lost, she was favoured in two of them. One of those outings was against Canadian Alexis Davis.
-Neither Nunes nor Spencer have lost a five-round fight.
-Cody Garbrandt is on a three-fight losing streak and was the favourite in two of those three matchups.
-This is the third straight bout where Rafael Assuncao is an underdog. He was 0-2 in the two previous bouts as an underdog.
-This is only the second bout of Cory Sandhagen’s career where he has been an underdog. He won on the only other occasion where he was an underdog.
-Ian Heinisch is 2-0 as an underdog and 0-2 as a favourite in the UFC. He is a small favourite against Gerald Meerschaert.
-Brian Kelleher has been an underdog in all but one of his UFC bouts. He is 5-3 in the UFC.
Odds courtesy of 5 Dimes