Less than two weeks ago it was announced that UFC will return to Canada on July 27, 2019 with UFC 240. Since, it has been appropriate to ponder the growing enthusiasm for the sport across Canada. Though this event has not been consumed by the same vitriol as recent UFC melees, extraneous influences in the geographical sphere are building an indirect competitive spirit. Indicative of this bubbling excitement is Justin Bieber’s tweeted challenge yesterday to Tom Cruise “to fight in the Octagon”? Maybe. So, let’s explore this national phenomenon further.
Past UFC Events
To begin this discussion, it may be helpful to highlight some of the biggest UFC events in Canada to date. Since its inception, there have been 27 UFC events hosted in Canada. It ranks third host country frequency behind the US and Brazil, respectively.
Some of these fights bear exciting features and interesting outcomes. Firstly, it is important to note that the second largest recorded UFC event turnout-of 55,724 attendees-was recorded in Toronto (less than 500 behind the record in Melbourne). The first Canadian event-UFC 83-broke both the heretofore attendance record (21,390) and sellout record. Fight Club member tickets sold out in 24 hours and public sale fare were depleted within one minute. All in all, the Canadian market is huge. The UFC capitalized on this potential when it expanded its broadcast deals with the TSN and RDS networks in December 2018. This has provisioned for benefits such as catapulting its digital presence, broadening the famed US ESPN network to the Canadian market and hosting Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series focused on finding the emerging current of UFC talent.
Also, some of the most historic bouts have taken place in Canada. One great example was the UFC 97: Redemption headliner fight. The second match in the nation-UFC 97-went down as one of the most memorable (albeit disappointing) matches in the heyday of legend Anderson Silva’s career. Many UFC enthusiasts recall a packed and irate Montreal crowd clamoring for excitement as Silvia easily dominated his opponent for 5 rounds. Many deem this the greatest mismatch of league history. UFC 97 set another attendance record-further solidifying Canada as a market leader.
With these understandings, it can be thrilling to weigh the UFC betting odds in upcoming Canadian events, such as UFC 240. The main match up will be Frankie Edgar vs. Max Holloway. The odds are Holloway at -475 and Edgar at +325. We believe that these odds are unfair for a couple reasons. Firstly, they are merely reflective of Edgar’s crushing defeat against Brian Ortega in March 2018. We believe he has shown improvement since then, but apparently not enough to properly upend his prospects. Also, he has won 3 of his last 4 fights-the most recent victory over Cub Swanson in April 2018, a unanimous decision. Finally, he has not fought in 13 months. We project that this break period only works to the advantage of a fight veteran such as himself.
For so many reasons, this event should be fun and enthusiastic. Make things even more exciting by placing your own wager.