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UFC 173 Picks: Barao vs. Dillashaw

The fight card for UFC 173 doesn’t look that great, as there are numerous big favorites that could win by any method. This makes it more difficult to find picks that aren’t highly juiced. Rather than preview each main card fight I’m going to share my best bets.

This format will be slightly different than I normally do here at the TSG. Apart from the title fight between Barao and Dillashaw the fight that I’m looking forward to the most is Lawler vs. Ellenberger, which I believe is going to end with one of them being KO’ed.

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UFC 173 Fight Odds

  • Renan Barao (32-1) –710 vs. T.J. Dillashaw (9-2) +575
  • Daniel Cormier (14-0) –850 vs. Dan Henderson (30-11) +575
  • Robbie Lawler (22-10) –210 vs. Jake Ellenberger (29-7) +190
  • Takeya Mizugaki (19-7-2) –150 vs. Francisco Rivera (10-2) +140
  • Jamie Varner (21-9-1) –180 vs. James Krause (20-5) +170
  • Michael Chiesa (10-1) –125 vs. Francisco Trinaldo (14-3) +115
  • Tony Ferguson (14-3) –260 vs. Katsunori Kikuno (22-5-2) +240
  • Chris Holdsworth (5-0) –310 vs. Chico Camus (14-4) +280
  • Al Iaquinta (8-2-1) –355 vs. Mitch Clarke (10-2) +320
  • Anthony Njokuani (16-7) –225 vs. Vinc Pichel (8-1) +205
  • David Michaud (7-0) –140 vs. Jingliang Li (8-2) +130
  • Sam Sicilia (12-4) –140 vs. Aaron Phillips (5-0) +130

UFC 173 Predictions

  • Bet on Chiesa to Win vs. Trinaldo (-125)

Here I feel we’re getting a good price on Michael Chiesa at –125 odds after opening up at –170 odds. The reason the odds declined is because Francisco Trinaldo is such a talented fighter and popular with bettors whereas Chiesa is inefficient, but gets the job done.

Chiesa is 3-1 in the UFC with his three wins coming by submission over Iaquinta, Kuivanen and Colton Smith. He’s averaging 2.78 TD attempts per 15 minutes and Trinaldo has struggled with TD defense (55%). Chiesa will outwork Trinaldo and win by sub in R2 or R3.

  • Bet on Iaquinta to Win by Decision vs. Clarke (+150)

Mitch Clarke was disappointing in his first two UFC fights, but looked better in his win over Maguire. The problem is that Iaquinta is a better striker than the Canadian and that’s where this fight will be fought, as Iaquinta is tough to takedown (80% TD Defense).

Iaquinta has won three in a row after losing his UFC debut and the major knock on him is his finishing ability. His three wins are by decision and that’s what I expect to happen again. Clarke has been KO’ed once, but Iaquinta’s power doesn’t worry too much.

  • Bet on Holdsworth to Win by Submission vs. Camus (+130)

I think the UFC is giving Chris Holdsworth a fairly easy fight in this one against Chico Camus. Holdsworth has won his five professional fights by submission. He has a great ground game and Camus has poor TD defense (37%), so this fight should end up on the mat.

Once Holdsworth takes this fight to the mat it’s only a matter of time before he locks in a submission. Camus is poor on the ground, as he has had his guard passed 13 times in four fights. Camus may have a slight edge in the stand-up, but not nearly enough to win.

  • Bet on Rivera to Win vs. Mizugaki (+140)

Francisco Rivera is taking a step up in competition against Takeya Mizugaki, but I think his chances of winning are better than the odds indicate. He hasn’t lost in the UFC yet and his striking has been impressive albeit against weak competition in the division.

Mizugaki has won his last four fights by decision, but he isn’t impressive in any category. He’s well rounded, but doesn’t have good striking defense. Rivera lands more strikes, connects with better accuracy and has better defense. I like Rivera by decision or KO.

A few of the other picks that I’m looking at for the main card include Cormier to win by decision (-115), Barao vs. Dillashaw to start round 3 (-142), Krause to beat Varner (+167) and Lawler to beat Ellenberger (-210) although I’m still debating on a couple of them.

Barao, Cormier and Lawler will all be featured on most of my parlays this weekend. I think all three of them will win, but the odds on the first two are too high to consider betting them straight. Good luck on Saturday and make sure you tune in to watch the fights.