The co-main event at UFC on Fox 8 on July 27 is a spectacular matchup featuring No. 4 ranked Rory MacDonald vs. No. 5 ranked Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger, and the betting lines are telling a story. Current lines have MacDonald pegged as a 2-1 favorite – odds that seem short-sighted. This fight could very well be as even as any matchup out there. Anyone interested in putting down some money on Saturday should seriously consider investing in the underdog Ellenberger. Other fights on the card along with official predictions are broken down here.
Stylistically, both men matchup in a way which makes this fight particularly exciting and difficult to predict. The Juggernaut has the kind of power that can end any fight in an instant, and has recently used this knock-out ability to stop the likes of Jake Shields and Nate Marquardt in the first round.
MacDonald has shown off a strong gas tank and a diverse and confident skill set, but we haven’t seen him face a strong wrestler with the power Ellenberger possesses. Ellenberger, on the other hand, throws strikes with such ferocity that he tends to slow down in later rounds. Both men like to set the pace in their fights and whoever does a better job of keeping the fight in their range should have success on Saturday.
Ellenberger’s keys to victory against MacDonald: take control of the fight early by landing solid strikes in the first round, maintain control on the feet by keeping constant pressure, mix in takedowns to keep MacDonald guessing and put MacDonald on his back.
While MacDonald has utterly destroyed his past four opponents, two of them were grossly out-sized lightweights. MacDonald used his size and power to ragdoll Nate Diaz effortlessly, and used his range and gas tank to pick BJ Penn apart for three rounds. His other two wins in the UFC were certainly impressive, but weren’t against the caliber opponents that The Juggernaut has faced and beaten. The combination of dominating his opponents and not losing a fight in three years may have inflated the odds quite a bit for MacDonald. This fight will give him his first high-level welterweight opponent since losing to Carlos Condit over three years ago.
MacDonald’s keys to victory against Ellenberger: keep the fight at range and avoid Ellenberger’s powerful looping hooks, defend takedown attempts and avoid ending up on his back, fight cautiously in the first round and weather the early storm and try to take advantage of a slower and less-explosive Ellenberger in the later rounds.
There you have it folks; a reasonable case to put your money on The Juggernaut. A fight theoretically this even warrants serious consideration for betting on the underdog. Let me know who you pick to win this Saturday in the comments section below.