Despite what will be a 14-month layoff due to out-of-the-cage issues, Chael Sonnen (25-11-1 MMA, 4-4 UFC) has been tapped a sizable favorite over Brian Stann (11-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC).
As MMAjunkie.com reported on Wednesday, Sonnen and Stann have agreed to meet at UFC 136, which takes place Oct. 8 in Houston.
Today, noted oddsmaker Joey Oddessa told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
) he's opened the line with Sonnen as a -215 favorite and Stann a +175 underdog.
That puts Sonnen as a better than 2-to-1 favorite.
"Brian Stann's a great fighter on a definite roll, but we have to put it in a numbers perspective," Oddessa said. "I'm not going to remotely compare Chael's wrestling to Phil Davis', but I think I think Sonnen can put together a solid game plan for Stann."
Davis, of course, is the only fighter to deliver Stann a loss in his past six fights. The 2008 NCAA Division I national wrestling champion controlled Stann on the mat for a lopsided (30-26, 30-26 and 30-27) decision victory.
Since then, though, Stann has been on a roll. The former WEC light-heavyweight champion dropped a weight class to middleweight after the Davis loss and since has posted a submission victory over Mike Massenzio and knockout wins over Chris Leben and Jorge Santiago. Under the tutelage of famed trainer Greg Jackson, the military hero has shown marked improvement from fight to fight.
Sonnen, meanwhile, hasn't fought since a UFC 117 title loss to champ Anderson Silva. Sonnen dominated the fight for four rounds before Silva pulled off a fight-ending triangle choke and armbar midway through the final round. The loss snapped a three-fight win streak that included victories over Dan Miller, Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt.
Sonnen, of course, has been on the sidelines ever since serving a suspension (due to what the California State Athletic Commissions called "inconsistent statements" about his testosterone-replacement therapy and a federal charge of money laundering). Still, the layoff and legal troubles aren't enough to sway the oddsmakers.
With the -215 line, a bettor would need to risk $215 to win $100 if Sonnen is victorious. A $100 bet on Stann would result in a $175 win. However, the line likely will fluctuate during the buildup to the pay-per-view fight.
For more on UFC 136, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.