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UFC 221 odds: Betting trends and analysis for weekend MMA card in Australia

With UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker sidelined with a staph infection, Yoel Romero has stepped in to replace him in the main event of UFC 221 against Luke Rockhold. The two middleweights will fight for the interim championship at the Perth Arena.

Luke Rockhold is a -160 favorite in Australia at sportsbooks monitored by The former middleweight champion lost his title and had a five-fight winning streak snapped in a surprising loss to Michael Bisping. Rockhold bounced back with a victory over David Branch to earn a title shot against Whittaker, but that fight will have to wait for another day as Whittaker recovers.

The swap from Whittaker to Romero in the main event swapped Rockhold from an underdog to a favorite at UFC 221.

Romero (+130 to win this fight) had won eight straight fights before meeting Whittaker in a bout for the interim championship at UFC 213. Whittaker won that fight and was eventually upgraded to undisputed champion when Georges St-Pierre relinquished the title last December.

The 40 year old could earn himself another shot with a victory this Saturday. To get one, he’ll need to get inside on Rockhold, who generally does an excellent job of keeping his opponents at a distance.

At 43 years of age, Mark Hunt isn’t going to surprise anyone with a reinvention at this stage in his career. Hunt is an all-or-nothing striker, with a 13-11-1 record to show it, capable of scoring a quick knockout with his devastating combos while also leaving himself vulnerable to plenty of takedowns and attacks. Hunt will try to pick up one of his big knockouts as a +140 underdog against Curtis Blaydes.

Blaydes (-170) is 8-1 so far as a professional and 3-1 in the UFC. The 26-year-old heavyweight is a capable striker in his own right, but he won’t want to trade blows with Hunt in this one. The key to victory here will be to focus on takedowns and keeping the fight on the mat.

Other fights on the UFC 221 card include Tai Tuivasa (-300) vs. Cyril Asker (+230), Li Jingliang (-160) vs. Jake Matthews (+130), and Tyson Pedro (-285) vs. Saparbek Safarov (+225). Tuivasa is looking to remain undefeated at 6-0 as a professional and 1-0 in the UFC.

UFC 221 Betting Lines

Yoel Romero (+130) vs. Luke Rockhold (-160)

Curtis Blaydes (-170) vs. Mark Hunt (+140)

Tai Tuivasa (-300) vs. Cyril Asker (+230)

Li Jingliang (-160) vs. Jake Matthews (+130)

Tyson Pedro (-285) vs. Saparbek Safarov (+225)

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at

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