Where’s the smart money in UFC for 2016?

While there were still a few catching their breath after an intense end to 2015, the UFC isn’t wasting any time in getting the New Year off to a thrilling start. Among the numerous exciting fights coming up will be the rematch between Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez for the UFC’s heavyweight title in a rematch of one of a host of brilliant match-ups from last year.

Set to take place on February 6 at UFC 196 in Las Vegas, Werdum will make the first defence of the title he won from Velasquez in June via a third round submission against a man who had held the title for almost three years previous to that loss. While that fight was a relatively one-sided affair, the rematch is expected to be a much closer affair and fans around the world are already looking forward to what could be one of the biggest fights of the year so far.

Combattimento nell’Octagon” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Tanzen80

UFC attracts plenty of interest from the betting public, especially for these bigger fights. One innovation of online betting in recent years has been the introduction of bitcoin, which can now be used to place and win bets. As well being able to play your favourite Vegas Casino games with bitcoin on the internet, gamblers are also now able to use the electronic currency to bet on sporting events. While a lot of bitcoin was bet at UFC 194, where Conor McGregor needed just 13 seconds to unify the featherweight division, the upcoming heavyweight title fight could push even that fight close in terms of the money wagered.

bitcoin accepted here” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Francis Storr

Having first won the heavyweight title at UFC 121 after knocking out Brock Lesnar, Velasquez suffered a devastating loss to Junior dos Santos in his first defence. A destructive points win over the Brazilian at UFC 155 saw him reclaim the title before the champion went on to make two successful defences during a reign interrupted with injury. It was injury that kept the 33-year-old out for almost two years before his fight against Werdum. A combination of ring rust and a failure to acclimatise to the high altitude in Mexico City were blamed for Velasquez’s underwhelming defeat to the Brazilian last year, with him tapping to a guillotine in the third round.

But when looking at Werdum’s C.V. the loss didn’t come as a shock to everyone in the sport. Having beaten Fedor Emelianenko, who is widely regarded as one of the best heavyweights ever, before entering the UFC, the jiu-jitsu black belt has upset the betting odds before in his career and the 38-year-old never looked in danger on his way to a comfortable win in Mexico last year.

Fabricio Werdum” (CC BY 2.0) by MartialArtsNomad.com

Now set to make the first defence of his title, Werdum will know that a second victory over Velasquez would open up the rest of the division to him and a plethora of huge fights. But people have written off the former champion before and the current heavyweight king will be well aware that he can’t afford to underestimate his opponent at any point during their upcoming bout.