UFC 173 Picks & Predictions: Betting Underdogs vs. Barao, Cormier?

Frank Doyle | Updated Oct 04, 2017

Daniel Cormier UFC 173

If you’re a fan of big underdogs, the end of Saturday night’s UFC 173 card is made for you.

Veteran Dan Henderson heads into his bout with Daniel Cormier as a +405 underdog in the co-main event followed the main event which has T.J. Dillashaw set as a +503 underdog against Renan Barao.

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But do either of these underdogs have a chance? Here’s a look at the last three fights on the card.

Jake Ellenberger (+178) vs. Robbie Lawler (-258)

This is a huge fight for Ellenberger but I’m not sure he’s ready for it yet. He hasn’t fought in a while so it’s hard to gauge where he’s at right now. His loss to Rory MacDonald isn’t anything to hang his head about, though his wins over Nate Marquardt and Jay Hieron aren’t anything to write home about either. Lawler has the chin to take his shots and the take-down defence to keep this fight standing if that’s what he wants to do. Ellenberger may have improved, but this is a major jump. Johny Hendricks threw everything at Lawler and he just kept coming straight ahead. Look for Lawler to take control of this fight in the third round and go after a finish.

Pick: Lawler

Dan Henderson (+405) vs. Daniel Cormier (-719)

Dan Henderson is a legend. It seems as though every time the media writes him off, he shows up and knocks somebody’s head off. That’s certainly possible when he tangles with Cormier. Is it likely? Not in the slightest. Cormier is an animal now that he’s dropped down to light heavyweight. He’ll be the better wrestler in the octagon and should be able to dictate the pace of the fight with his speed. DC may not have the huge right hand that Henderson does, but Cormier hits like a truck too. You have to wonder about Henderson getting right back at it after a nasty battle with Shogun Rua back at the end of March. Cormier has a better gas tank and will win this fight if he can avoid Henderson’s bombs. There’s no value betting DC outright, but I like over 1.5 rounds and Cormier by KO/TKO.

Pick: Cormier

T.J. Dillashaw (+503) vs. Renan Barao (-958)

Dana White hasn’t shut up about how Barao is the best pound-per-pound fighter in the world all week. Maybe he’s right. Barao’s certainly the top dog in the division, though I wouldn’t go near him at this price against Dillashaw. Barao is such a master at seeing what his opponent wants to do and counteracting that and I’m not sure Dillashaw can show him anything he hasn’t seen before. Of course, Dillashaw has a puncher’s chance here and does have the advantage of having Urijah Faber in his corner. Faber knows first-hand how dangerous Barao is and should be able to give Dillashaw some tips about what to expect, but climbing into the cage against the champ is something completely different. I think Barao ends this one with a submission.

Pick: Barao

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