UFC 97 Betting Odds and Notes
By Brad Marchetti, Doghouse Boxing (April 18, 2009)  
Tonight at UFC 97 39-year old Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell will look to resurrect his career against Mauricio Shogun Rua as an 2-1 Vegas Odds favorite. Vegas Sharps has the opinion that this could be Liddell’s final bout as a UFC fighter. The Chuck Liddell vs. Shogun Rua fight will actually be the undercard to the UFC 97 middleweight championship between Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites. Silva is regarded as the #1 pound-4-pound MMA fighter in the world and is listed as a 4-1 Vegas Odds favorite.

The UFC 97 Betting Odds Chuck Liddell vs. Shogun Rua give Shogun Rua a 30% chance of beating Liddell.

Just a few short years ago the Chuck Liddell vs. Shogun Rua fight was a dream match-up between two prime gladiators at the peak of their powers. While still an excellent light-heavyweight match-up the fight has lost some luster due to both fighters apparent decline in skill. UFC legend Chuck Liddell, 21-6, has lost 3 of his last 4 and has shown some holes in his striking defense as his age and reaction time have slowed. Rua, 17-3, meanwhile has struggled since coming to the UFC from Pride with a bad performance against Forrest Griffin and a struggle against B- level fighter Mark Coleman. Liddell still owns heavy-hands and diverse striking ability. Liddell also is solid if not spectacular on the mat. “The Iceman’s” chin is where the questions still remain. Shogun Rua is a young, complete fighter with a blue-chip ground game and strong striking ability. Rua might have fallen victim in his UFC appearances to some stage fright as some others have when competing on the big stage. From a physical stand point Rua has it all, mentally is where the questions remain.

The UFC 97 betting odds Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites Vegas Odds give Anderson Silva an 85 % chance of beating Leites.

The Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites middleweight bout is an all-Brazilian scrap that should be a good test to see if Silva’s last off-performance against Patrick Cote was an aberration or a sign of things to come. Silva is possibly the greatest striker in UFC history but he does have a cautious nature that caused the fans too boo his performance against Cote at the bouts conclusion. It is even rumored that Silva went 2 rounds with his trainers in the dressing room after the bout because of his disappointment in the performance! Not good news for the talented but one-dimensional Thales Leites who is a blue-chip ground fighter with only a mediocre stand-up game. Silva is almost as good on the mat as he is standing and his well-rounded skills accompanied by his hunger for redemption could mean a long night for Leites.

The UFC 97 betting odds Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites have Anderson Silva as a -550 favorite on the moneyline.

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