Late last year, in the co-main event of UFC 207, Cody Garbrandt wrested the UFC bantamweight title from the waist of Dominick Cruz with a surprisingly dominant unanimous decision win. Several weeks thereafter, we learned that Garbrandt would coach the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter against former teammate TJ Dillashaw, which of course implies that he will defend his title against the same man sometime later in 2017.
Though the date and location of this Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw bantamweight title showdown have not yet been confirmed, the opening odds have now been released.
These opening lines, which come from Nick Kalikas of MMAOddsBreaker.com (via ESPN.com), identify Dillashaw as a -130 favorite. This means that a successful bet of $130 on Dillashaw will earn you $100. Garbrandt, meanwhile, has opened at plus-100, or even.
Kalikas explained the reasoning behind these opening odds to ESPN.
“Both Garbrandt and Dillashaw are athletic, have great foot movement, excellent striking and are in their physical primes,” he said.
“Garbrandt put on the performance of a lifetime in dethroning Cruz, but Dillashaw has been nothing but impressive since losing a razor thin decision to Cruz one year ago. Dillashaw is the more high-profile fighter, so I’ll be opening him as a -130 favorite, but don’t count Garbrandt out, as he’s thrived as an underdog three times in the UFC already.”
Prior to his title win over Cruz, Garbrandt went 5-0 in his first five bouts with the UFC, stopping Marcus Brimage, Augusto Mendes, Thomas Almeida and Takeya Mizugaki with strikes, and decisioning Henry Briones.
Dillashaw, meanwhile, rebounded from his title loss to Cruz with decision defeats of top-5 opposition in Raphael Assuncao, and more recently, John “Hands of Stone” Lineker.
Are you surprised by these opening odds? Do you think TJ Dillashaw is the rightful favorite, or is Cody Garbrandt being underestimated? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/30/2017.