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Brock Lesnar vs. Heath Herring at UFC 87: A Gambler's Analysis

I like Desert Dog's line of thinking:

Lesnar's game plan will be just what you would expect takedown, control, and then strike like a spaz who forgot his Ritalin. Brock's just so damn excited he really gets to hit people he gets a little out of control. He'll have to maintain control and deliver damage each round. Securing takedown after takedown won't be enough to win a decsion if Herring can control the standup and deliver damage there. All things even between control on the ground and control in the standup and the judges will side with the stand up almost every time.

I like this match up and put the odds close to even, with a slight edge to Lesnar due to his power and agression, but even with that edge the odds dictate backing Herring or no bet. There's no value in betting on Lesanr as a 2 to 1 favorite. Most books have Heath Herring at about +200 with the best odds being + 215 at

Herring doesn't get credit on a couple of accounts.

First, he's extremely durable. Not even Fedor could put him away. CroCop stopped him with a vicious liver kick, but in general, Herring can take serious punishment without losing focus. This is part toughness and part experience rolled together.

Second, Herring has faced several enormous top-control wrestlers before. His wins over Erickson and Kerr are legendary. While he suffered a loss to O'Brien, I accept that Herring wasn't physically able to compete in top form. I also add Tony Aponte adding more cardiovascular endurance to Herring's game.

I won't ever say Herring's going to be able to win a sprawl and brawl contest. Herring is going to the floor. Period. However, I don't see Lesnar finishing Herring on top and I do see Herring being able to find some openings in the stand-up enough to disrupt Lesnar's gameplan. There are still a ton of unanswered questions about Lesnar including the sturdiness of his chin, his cardio in later rounds, his ability to pass guard, his overall submission defense and his patience in implementing his gameplan. By contrast, Herring has more than enough patience and experience with limited skill set wrestlers to know when to pick his shots.

If you think Lesnar is going to steamroll Herring, think again.