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Main event of Silva, Weidman at UFC 162 helps break record at sports book

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Chris Weidman leaps up after knocking out Anderson Silva in the second round of their middleweight title fight at UFC 162 Saturday, July 6, 2013 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Weidman upset Silva with a second round knockout, taking the belt Silva has held since 2006.

UFC 162 - Weidman vs. Silva

Chris Weidman celebrates his victory over Anderson Silva after their middleweight title fight at UFC 162 Saturday, July 6, 2013 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Weidman upset Silva with a second round knockout, taking the belt Silva has held since 2006. Launch slideshow »

Last weekend’s UFC 162 set a mixed martial arts handle record at William Hill sports books with gamblers combining to wager more than six figures alone on the main event between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman.

William Hill spokesman Jimmy Vacarro said his company’s books — which are at 100 locations across the state — profited between 15 and 18-percent on the card.

“I can only imagine what the MGM (which hosted the event) did. I was astounded by the amount of interest in that fight,” Vacarro said. “Not one (handicapper) came in looking to bet 10, 20 or 30 thousand. It was ticket after ticket. Even in Northern Nevada, the ticket count was good there.”

Vacarro credits the marketing-machine at the UFC for making their fighters more known, which indirectly creates interest with handicappers.

“Those fighters are plastered everywhere. The UFC has done a wonderful job promoting their product,” he said. “That was just a monster handle for the state of Nevada.”

Vacarro, who has more than three decades experience in the handicapping industry, was skeptical a few years back as to whether or not mixed martial arts would become popular with gamblers. His opinion has changed — and not just because of last week’s card with Silva, one of the organization’s all-time greats.

“We (oddsmakers) are getting a better feel for it,” Vacarro said. “The (betting) numbers are solid.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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