It should be a very wild scene at the 42,000-seat Arena da Baixada, a soccer stadium, this weekend as UFC 198 is staged there in Curitiba, Brazil, and it’s a card headlined by some of the top Brazilian fighters ever. The main event is a heavyweight bout between native son Fabricio Werdum and top challenge Stipe Miocic. But there are also some intriguing undercard matchups, none more so than former pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva and Uriah Hall. Silva is a -130 favorite on MMA odds with Hall at +110.
An In Depth Analysis on UFC 198 Undercard Odds & Picks
Some believe Silva (33-7-1) is the greatest MMA fighter ever. The longest reigning champion in UFC history, “The Spider” ruled the middleweight division from 2006 to 2013 before losing his crown to Chris Weidman. Now looking to return to the win column after a close decision loss to Michael Bisping in a Fight of the Night battle in February, the 40-year-old will fight in his hometown of Curitiba for the first time since 2002 against New York’s Hall.
All three judges scored the Silva-Bisping fight for Bisping, 48-47. Bisping, who first targeted Silva when he dropped from the 205-pound weight class to 185 in 2008, bowed to Silva after the results were read. Silva holds the UFC record for consecutive title defenses with 10. Silva, who was fighting for the first time since January 2015 due to a one-year drug suspension, stated in his native Portuguese he felt he won the fight. Right on the buzzer of the third round, Anderson appeared to land a knee that dropped Bisping. Anderson, believing he had won, scaled the cage in victory as the crowd went crazy. After much confusion, it became apparent the fight hadn’t been stopped and that it was only the end of the round.
Silva, 41, does not have an official win since October 2012. Once the longtime middleweight king, Silva is 0-3 in his last four fights, with one no-contest. UFC 198 will mark his first appearance in Brazil since his last win against Stephan Bonnar more than three years ago.
Hall (12-6) has been compared to Silva since his explosion onto the MMA scene with one of the greatest head kick KOs in history during The Ultimate Fighter season 17. “Primetime” stopped Gegard Mousasi in dynamic fashion at UFC Fight Night 75, and many believed that was the victory that might vault the young middleweight to the top of the division. But Hall stumbled last time out against No. 6-ranked Robert Whittaker, halting a two-fight winning/knockout streak.
Also on the card is another middleweight bout between Vitor Belfort and Jacare Souza. Belfort is +260 on MMA odds and Souza is -320. Belfort (25-11) is coming off a first-round knockout of Dan Henderson in November. The 38-year-old came up short in a UFC title bid against Chris Weidman last May. Souza (22-4) is coming off a split-decision loss to Yoel Romero at UFC 194. A former Strikeforce titleholder, Souza had won eight in a row prior to the loss.
Lastly, Cris Cyborg (15-1) makes her highly anticipated UFC debut against Leslie Smith (8-6-1). Widely considered the best pound-for-pound women’s fighter on the planet, Cyborg is one of the most destructive forces in the history of MMA. Cyborg has put together nine straight KO victories and has finished 13 of her 15 career wins by KO. She’ll take on Smith in her hometown of Curitiba. If Cyborg wins, a mega-fight against Ronda Rousey could be next. Cyborg is a -1700 favorite over Smith.
Expert Betting Predictions
I like all the favorites here. Silva is past his prime but he will be charged up fighting in front of his hometown fans.