The fight that’s handicapped the closest on this Saturday’s Strikeforce Grand Prix semifinals card is the Muhammed Lawal vs. Roger Gracie matchup. The MMA betting lines on this fight began at near even odds, with only a slight edge going to Lawal.
Initial MMA betting lines at the Bodog Sportsbook on Lawal were set at -120. The action on the former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion over the last few weeks has now moved the price up to -155. It seems that many MMA fans think his kickboxing and elite wrestling skills could be the right combination against the world-class jiu-jitsu skills of Gracie.
The Strikeforce odds at the Bodog Sportsbook on the undefeated Gracie have also been on the move. The initial MMA betting line on the underdog Brazilian was +105; that now sits at +125. That’s a decent payout if you think that Gracie’s elite jiu-jitsu will be enough against a very well-rounded opponent.
The question going into this fight is whether Lawal can keep this fight standing and use his kickboxing skills to outpoint or beat-down his opponent. His NCAA Division I wrestling background may be enough to keep Gracie from turning this fight into a grappling match, but if he can’t do that he will have next to no chance of beating Gracie on the ground.
Gracie will surely face his toughest opponent to date when he steps into the cage against Lawal and we’re likely to find out if Gracie is the real deal or not when Lawal brings swift hard strikes and displays a solid takedown defense. But as one of the best ground fighters in the world for many years, Gracie can end the fight in ways that Lawal won’t even see coming.