UFC 188: Velasquez vs Werdum- ‘With a Smile on his Face’

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The UFC returned to Mexico for UFC 188 with a bout to crown the undisputed Heavyweight champion topping off the card. Seven underdogs got their hands raised on this night, 7 bouts required the judges’ input, 3 fights ended by submission (all by Guillotine), and just a single fight was ruled a knockout which transpired with the fighter on the stool. Former Lightweight champions battled it out, The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America representatives went 2-1 on the night, and Cathal Pendred won again. Let’s take a look…

Notes from the Prelims

  • Gabriel Benitez won a scrappy fight over Clay Collard. Benitez did the most damage when targeting Collard’s body and double Clay over on a couple of occasions.
  • The second fight of the night sucked the life out of the building as Cathal Pendred took home the a second straight upset to start the card, defeating crowd favourite Augusto Montano. Montano appeared to have no interest in engaging and Cathal won the bout primarily on aggression and wrestling.
  • Johnny Case got off to a strong start, but an inadvertent eye poke by Frank Trevino brought the fight to an abrupt halt. Case controlled the majority of the action, outmaneuvering Trevino on the mat and landing better strikes on the feet leading to the decision win.
  • In just 23 seconds, Patrick Williams landed a beautiful uppercut and locked in a standing guillotine to put Alejandro Perez to sleep.
  • Not to be out done, Efrain Escudero became the fourth upset in five fights to start the card with another standing guillotine win, forcing the tap of Drew Dober in just 53 seconds.
  • In the final bout of the prelims undefeated and heavily favoured Henry Cejudo battled Chico Camus in a much closer fight then the odds indicated it would be. Camus had a lot of success stuffing the takedowns of the Olympic Gold medalist, but it wasn’t enough as Cejudo took a decision. He appears headed towards a shot at the title, but this performance was a tad on the underwhelming side and he shouldn’t look to jump in with the champion just yet.

Eye of the Storm

Tecia Torres ground out a decision win over Angela Hill, getting the better of the striking exchanges and holding top control for long durations of the fight. Despite getting her hand raised at the end of the night, Torres was far from impressive and most likely took a step backwards in her pursuit of a future title shot.

Boston Not Quite Strong Enough

In impressive fashion, Yair Rodriguez put together an impressive performance defeating Boston’s Charles Rosa via Split Decision in his TUF Championship follow up performance. They exchanged submission attempts in round 1 and Rosa showed great heart battling back in the final frame, but he could not undo the efforts of Rodriguez. On a side note, some of the comparisons made by Rogan between Yair and fighters like Jon Jones and Anthony Pettis were a little much.

It’s Over

Kelvin Gastelum put a severe beating on Nate Marquardt and in a rare occurrence forced his cornerman to call off the fight with his man on the stool. It was clear that Marquardt was done and had nothing left between rounds and thankfully his coaches recognize that as well. Gastelum hopes to get back to 170 pounds, but he will be on a short leash. For Nate, it would appear that this is his final UFC appearance as it is clear that he simply cannot hang at the top level anymore.

Bellator vs Strikeforce

In a bout that has been talked about for a number of years in other organizations, Eddie Alvarez got his hand raised in a battle of former champions. In an unfortunate turn of events, Alvarez blew his nose at the end of the round 1 and his eye closed up almost immediately. Gilbert Melendez had landed a brutal elbow strike that rocked Eddie and lead to the eye injury early in the first. Despite the battle damage, Alvarez battled back in round 2 with his wrestling. Round 3 saw Alvarez score another takedown and open Gilbert up with a spinning elbow late in the fight. The judges’ scores came in all at 29-28, with 2 in favour of the former Bellator champion. Eddie was staring an 0-2 start to his UFC career after round 1, but now has himself positioned to potentially move into the top 5 of the division. The loss for Melendez is massive as he falls to 1-3 in the UFC with his only win coming over Diego Sanchez.

There Can Only Be One

The big men went right at it from the start of the fight and they were throwing heavy leather. Cain Velasquez’s game plan appeared focussed on exhausting his opponent with shear volume and pace. Despite the constant attack of the champion, Fabricio Werdum fired back with ferocity and bloodied Velasquez.

Round 2 started with more the same, with Werdum taking Cain’s best shots and delivering his own. A sequence of strikes had Velasquez in trouble and the notable cardio advantage of Velasquez wasn’t nearly as apparent. As the frame came to an end Werdum was getting the better of exchanges and had Velasquez in some serious trouble.

A hard head kick seemed to rally Cain early in the third, but again Werdum took his best shot and continued to move forward. Velasquez’s corner had called for the takedown in between rounds, but that proved to be the undoing of Velasquez as the Brazilian locked up a tight guillotine with a smile on his face as the tap came shortly thereafter.

With the victory, Fabricio Werdum became the 14 UFC Heavyweight champion. Additionally, the division is now wide open. The UFC could elect to go with a rematch, but there are several other options like Junior Dos Santos, Stipe Miocic, or the resurgent Andrei Arlovski that would thrust some new life into the Heavyweight title scene.

Final Thoughts

I like Cain Velasquez, but I am actually quite excited about the new possibilities that the UFC Heavyweight division is facing coming out of Mexico City. For the sake of variety, let’s avoid a rematch with Cain for the time being and no JDS either for now. I went 6-5 on the night, which is a little disappointing, but considering the number of upsets that were on the card it is a respectable finish to the night. The Bet Pack hit a single bet on Eddie Alvarez and missed out on a 95 unit parlay by a split decision- out. The rest of pack can be seen below. The Octagon heads to Berlin next weekend for the first title defense of the new Women’s Strawweight Champion and a battle of top 15 ranked Featherweights in the co-main event. Time to get to work.

Parlay Header

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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: Drew Dober $1.67
Selection 2: Charles Rosa $1.48
Selection 3: Cathal Pendred $2.45 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Price: $6.06  x Bet: 8 units
Payout: 48.48 units
 
 
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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: Clay Collard $1.43
Selection 2: Patrick Williams $2.55 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 3: Angela Hill $3.63
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Price: $13.24 x Bet: 4 units
Payout: 52.96 units
 
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Parlay #2
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Selection 1: Eddie Alvarez $2.58 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Price: $2.58 x Bet: 4 units
Payout: 10.32 units
 
 
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Parlay #1
===================================================
Selection 1: Cathal Pendred $2.45 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Patrick Williams $2.55 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 3: Eddie Alvarez $2.58 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: Charles Rosa $1.48
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Price: $23.86 x Bet: 4 units
Payout: 95.44 units
  
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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: Velasquez/
Selection 2: Trevino/
Selection 3: Angela Hill $3.63
Selection 4: Drew Dober $1.67
===================================================
Price: $27.38 x Bet: 3 units
Payout: 82.14 units
 

Andrew Todhunter $4.85 vs

A very late injury replacement makes this fight a No Play when it comes to picking a side. I do expect Tumenov to win this one, but I won’t be investing in him. I will take a look at the total though.

4 STARS

Gabriel Benitez $3.21 vs

This is the first of several tests for the cast of TUF Latin America beyond the scope of the show. How will they fair against fighters that have been competing in a more developed MMA scene then what they are use to. Collard is far from a technically refined fighter, but he is fun to watch. He is tough and carries a strong pace that many will find difficult to deal with. I expect Benitez will fit into that category. There are certainly holes for Gabe to exploit, but I think Collard gets the nod here. An intermediate play in the Silver section is probably where I see Collard fitting.

4 STARS

Augusto Montano $1.66 vs

He’s back!!!!! Pendred’s ‘win’ over Sean Spencer sure cost me a lot of money. Yet, this time I am backing him to pull off the upset. I think this line is partially based on the negative public perception that Pendred has attracted. People seems to want to see him lose. Additionally, he is fighting in Mexico against a guy that violently finished his last opponent. Montano certainly can finish and Pendred can be hit and possibvly finished. He is tough though and I think that will get the better of Augusto. He has been a first round killer, but that doesn’t bode well for him if Pendred can survive the opening barrage. Look for Cathal to get the better of him with his wrestling and break him down. I am really leaning towards playing the Irishman as part of a Gold Play, possibly a single bet,  but I won’t rule out using him in a parlay either.

4 STARS

Francisco Trevino $4.60 vs

Case is a fighter to pay attention to. His striking looks good, his wrestling is getting better, and he is working in a camp that is really on the rise. For Trevino, I simply don’t see the same. He is scrappy, but I technically and physically speaking he is outgunned here. At this price Case isn’t that exciting to bet on, but I will consider a look at the total.

4 STARS

Alejandro Perez $1.62 vs Patrick Williams $2.55 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Here is another TUF Latin American vs the World bout and once again I have the World to triumph. Williams’s striking style is far from ideal, or at least what we saw in his last bout, as he has had time to tighten things up. I am banking on his wrestling here being the key. Takedowns and top control had Perez in trouble in his TUF final win and they will again here. Like Pendred, I am really leaning towards a Gold play, but considering his lack of experience and long layoff he will probably slip to a Silver section parlay.

4 STARS

Efrain Escudero $2.40 vs

This could be a fun fight. Escudero looked good in his last fight, but I wonder if that has a lot to do with the shortcomings of his opponent more than his own skills. Dober is a pressure fighter and stays right in his opponent’s face, Efrain has not done well with that style in the past. This fight should be contested on the feet, despite there submission totals. I like the impactful striking and higher pace of Dober to be the difference maker. Stay if Efrain’s face, force him to work, and he will fade. At this price I am leaning towards a Gold play for Dober.4 STARS

Henry Cejudo $1.11 vs

At this price Cejudo is untouchable. When you throw in his weight cutting issues, he is even more untouchable- if that is a thing. Could Camus pull this out? Maybe, but Cejudo is the superior fighter under ideal conditions. I will look at the total.

4 STARS

Tecia Torres $1.36 vs

I haven’t really been that impressed with Torres. She seems very repetitive in her striking attack and doesn’t offer much of a ground game. Hill only has 2 pro bouts, but her striking looked very good in her last fight. She can do damage at distance and in close, which could create issues for Torres finding a comfort zone. She may try to take this fight down, but I haven’t seen enough of it to really count on that aspect of her game. Torres is highly ranked and has some solid wins, but she is till very young in her career as well. Just watching them side by side I kept being more impressed with Hill and seeing her executing against Torres more effectively. A single Silver bet or Bronze parlay play is my plan for Angela.

4 STARS

Yair Rodriguez $2.96 vs Charles Rosa $1.48

Rosa is quite crafty on the mat and presents a difficult front to strike with. Rodriguez can operate in each realm, but simply not as good as Rosa. His willingness to look for submission opportunities and give up positional advantages will cost him dearly against Rosa. The American is an excellent scrambler and if this fight hits the mat under any circumstance I expect to see him work into the superior position. I also expect a finish. Rosa works for me as a Gold parlay leg, enough said.

4 STARS

Kelvin Gastelum $1.23 vs

I have Kelvin winning this fight handily, but at this price line it is a no go. Instead I will consider the total as a betting option.4 STARS

Gilbert Melendez $1.58 vs

This should be a great scrap. We have seen fights that look good on paper not pan out, this one should. Both guys have a lot of heart and recognize the importance of winning this bout. Neither has faced the champ and could easily get a shot at the title with 2-3 consecutive wins. I really like Eddie’s technical boxing skills to get the better of Gil here. Gil is quite hittable and his aggressive style with accompanying looping punches can be countered by the tighter striking of Alvarez. His second UFC performance should be better and Gil’s post title fight letdown will cost him a step. Eddie in the Silver section is the play here based on the quality of his opponent.

4 STARS

Cain Velasquez $1.21 vs

Cain is returning after a big layoff and Werdum is a dangerous opponent. I can’t bet the line here. I will consider playing a total and I will take a long look at Werdum as a possible counter bet, but that is it for now.

1. Johnny Case $1.28 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. Henry Cejudo $1.11 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. Kelvin Gastelum $1.23 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

4. Cain Velasquez $1.21

5. Charles Rosa $1.48

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6. Clay Collard $1.43

7. Drew Dober $1.67

8. Cathal Pendred $2.45 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

9. Patrick Williams $2.55 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

10. Eddie Alvarez $2.55 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

11. Angela Hill $3.63

1. Cathal Pendred $2.45 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med/ It is a pretty sour taste in my mouth to play Pendred as my top pick, but this is gambling not a popularity contest. His wrestling and durability will be the key.

2. Patrick Williams $2.55 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med / Williams gets a slight push over Alvarez because of his quality of opponent here. His style leaves a lot to be desired, but like my #1 play it will come down to his wrestling.

3. Eddie Alvarez $2.55 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med / Big fight here, an 0-2 start to his UFC career is rough. The 2 scenarios I like are the post-title fight letdown for Gil and the second UFC appearance for Alvarez increasing his comfort level. Close fight, Eddie edges his out.

4. Angela Hill $3.63  / Big fight for both girls at an early stage in their careers. A win here could put them into the title contention situation. Hill is by far the less proven fighter, but based purely on in cage capabilities I like her to steal this one.

5. Drew Dober $1.67  / There were a couple of props that almost made the cut here, but I’m simply not sold on Efrain. I have seen several other predictors backing him, but I think Dober pulls out a win in a scrappy fight.

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bETTING SCENARIOS

Exclusive Betting Scenario Content

Prop Bets

Andrew Todhunter/

See the Betting Scenario Section.

Gabriel Benitez/

See the Betting Scenario Section.

Augusto Montano/

Montano is a first round finisher. Pendred is not. He can finish, but he is known for grinding opponents into the mat and earning decision wins. I have Pendred winning and while he could stop Augusto, I see him getting through the first round and half with takedowns and top control.  Play the Over.

Francisco Trevino/

22 of 24 of Case’s fights have fallen into the Under 2.5 category. We are getting solid value here. He has 2 finishes in 2 UFC fights and will be looking to make it 3 from the opening bell. Trevino has been on the shelf for a while and ring rust could be a real performance inhibiting factor. Play the Under.

Henry Cejudo/

See the Betting Scenario Section.

Tecia Torres/

Torres has been a consistent decision machine. All 5 of her pro bouts have gone the distance, plus 3 more on the Ultimate Fighter. I picked the upset with Hill winning, but if you don’t feel comfortable playing Hill the Over gives you a little more bang for your buck then playing Tecia. Play the Over.

Yair Rodriguez/ Charles Rosa Total Rounds Under 2.5 $2.15

Rosa has finished his opponents in 10 of 10 wins. 8 of those 10 fights ended inside the 1st round. His 1st 2 UFC opponents are of higher quality then Rodriguez, so look for Rosa to put the stamp on Yair- most likely by submission.

With Heavyweights, when you can get 2.5 rounds you play the Under. Both guys can finish. Both guys can finish on the ground, Werdum by sub or Cain by TKO and both can finish on the feet. We have seen some higher quality HW fights last longer, most notably JDS/Velasquez 2 & 3 and JDS/Miocic. I don’t think Werdum can take the type of beating that Cain put on JDS and if Cain gets sloppy on the ground or clipped shooting in he will be in trouble too. Play the Under

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