UFC 192: Cormier vs Gustafsson- ‘A Better Man’

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UFC 192 played host to a spectacular night of fights, capped off by another awesome Light Heavyweight title fight. Let’s take a look in the UFC 192 edition of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good
  • The hype train of Sage Northcutt is still on the rails and going strong after a tidy first round stoppage in his debut. There was a little question regarding some strikes to the back of the head, but 19 year old got his hand raised nonetheless.
  • Ring rust was not a concern for TUF finalist Rose Namajunas as after a couple of back forth striking exchanges, she jumped at the first opportunity to take the fight to the ground and not long after lock up a standing RNC that forced Angela Hill to relent.
  • The accuracy in which Albert Tumenov deployed his combination wasn’t just good, it was scary. The Russia flame thrower needed less than 3 minutes to score the knockout of Alan Jouban and is clearly a fighter to watch in the division.
  • Ryan Bader employed a consistent game plan and picked up the biggest win of his career, besting former Champion Rashad Evans by decision. Bader used was more active and accurate than his opponent, landing a sneaky right upper cut and doing damage to the face of Evans. Rashad was most successful when he pressure Bader and cut off the cage, but he was unable to use the position to produce offensive results. The win could give Bader his long await shot at the title. For Evans, the loss is tough, but considering the depth of the division a couple of solid wins could easily put him back in the mix.
The Bad
  • The looping strikes of Islam Makhachev cost him dearly and he paid for his attempt with his consciousness. Adriano Martins landed a beautiful counter right to floor the Russia and earned the stoppage victory.
  • A win is a win, but Sergio Pettis finished anything but strong and dropped the final round after taking the opening 2 frames from quite handily from Chris Cariaso
  • There is a wide gap between even the top ranks of the Flyweight division and the reining Flyweight champion. This fight offered nothing to suggest that either Joseph Benavidez or Ali Bagautinov would be able to upend the champion if they were granted another opportunity. The win keeps Joe perched atop the rest of the division, and a bout with John Dodson sounds like a fight worth making.
The Ugly
  • Viktor Pesta started strong, but despite controlling the majority of the action he was clearly exhausted and allowed Derrick Lewis to come storming back and score the stoppage in the final round.
  • A badly broken foot in the opening round was not enough to slow down TUF: Latin America winner Yair Rodriguez . Rodriguez outclassed his opponent both on the feet and on the mat despite the constant forward pressure of the aggressive Daniel Hooker. The ceiling is high for Rodiguez.
  • To open the main card, Jessica Eye was a deducted a point in controversial fashion after an illegal knee to a downed opponent. After dropping the opening round, Eye was fairing much better in the middle frame prior to the snap point deduction. Leaving no doubt, Julianna Pena came out strong in the final round and nearly finished Eye with a couple of close sub attempts, but took home the decision victory in the end. After the fight, Pena was not shy to make the call for a shot at the champion, Ronda Rousey, but she probably be best served by taking another fight or two before squaring off with the champ.
  • Shawn Jordan’s face was in rough shape when the final bell tolled to call a conclusion to his bout with Russian striker Ruslan Magomedov. Magomedov took home another decision win on the basis of a strong striking based attack. While it didn’t bring about a thunderous finish like many other Heavyweight scraps before it, this was a solid performance from the Russia and he clearly did his fair share of damage.
The  Title Fight
  • The main event was fantastic display of heart and soul as both men dug deep and gave it their all for a full 5 rounds of action. In the end, Daniel Cormier retained his title with a split decision win over the big Swede Alexander Gustafsson. Cormier found the majority of his success from the collar tie position, landing hard uppercuts and snapping the challengers head back. Gus rallied with a strong round 2 and then dropped the champ with hard knee late in the third frame. Gus continued to utilized lateral movement in the championship rounds, but his offense began to spread itself out and DC simply remained busier. Gustafsson is 0-2 in title fights, but against different champion and he made good accounts of himself in both fights. A future rematch with either DC or Bones would be a welcome fight in my books. For Cormier, he has his title defense in the books- who does he fight next? If Jon Jones elects to come back now it will most likely be him. If not, than Ryan Bader is clearly the next choice.
Final Thoughts…
  • It was a very good night of fights overall and my prediction record finished strong at 9-3 with solid upsets picks of Ryan Bader and Adriano Martins. The parlays had a positive return, but 2 bets fall just short of a much larger payout. Tough luck there. The props played out quite nicely as well and 3 of my 5 value bets came through along with all 5 confidence plays. Everything can be seen below. We have another break before the next UFC event and than a massive run of fights to round out 2015.

 

Parlay Header

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Parlay #1 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Selection 1: Rose Namajunas $1.44 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Albert Tumenov $1.41 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 3: Julianna Pena $1.45 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: Ruslan Magomedov $1.65 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Price: $4.86 x Bet: 9 units
Payout: 43.74 units
 
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Parlay #2
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Selection 1: Dan Hooker $3.57 
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Price: $3.57 x Bet: 4 units
Payout: 14.28 units
 
 
 
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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: Alexander Gustafsson $3.90 
Selection 2: Ryan Bader $2.43 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Price: $9.46  x Bet: 4 units
Payout: 37.84 units
 
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Parlay #2
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Selection 1: Sergio Pettis $1.60 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Viktor Pesta $1.66 
Selection 3: Adriano Martins $2.08 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: 
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Price: $11.61 x Bet: 6 units
Payout: 69.66 units
 
 
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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: Eye/
Selection 2: 
Selection 3: Ryan Bader $2.43 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: 
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Price: 26.94 x Bet: 3 units
Payout:80.82 units
 
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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: Ruslan Magomedov $1.65 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Dan Hooker $3.57 
Selection 3: Alexander Gustafsson $3.90 
Selection 4: Adriano Martins $2.08 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 5: Viktor Pesta $1.66 
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Price: 79.33 x Bet: 3 units
Payout: 237.99 units
 

Derrick Lewis $2.43 vs 

Lewis started off very strong, but if you look at his fights he is kind of a one trick pony. That trick comes when he is able to get on top of his opponent and start throwing down massive power. Can he do that to Pesta? Pesta is quicker, more diverse, and a better wrestler. In fact, Lewis really isn’t a very good wrestler and will probably succumb to Pesta’s want of putting him on the mat. If that does happen look for Lewis to tire and his ability to do damage or even put himself in a position to do damage will take a significant hit. At this price I like Pesta here and he will either make the cut as part of my Gold play or he will be a strong contributor in the Silver section. My trepidation regarding this fight as a top play is based on where it is located on the card, which as we know is spot ripe for upsets. The total will be in play as well.

4 STARS

Currently the fans are split 50/50 on who is going to win this bout and so was I. Pettis’s striking defense and questionable chin makes him a massive liability and as we saw in his last fight, things can go south quickly. It is interesting to see that Pettis gets a ranked opponent after getting knocked out by an unranked opponent (who hasn’t got a fight since the win). Playing favourites are we UFC? Cariaso is a vet and a vet of a lot of good fights, but he is certainly on the downward descent of his career, especially with the recent title fight defeat. Pettis appears to do everything better than ‘Kamikaze’ and more often. Cariaso is capable of wrestling, but not consistently enough to exploit Sergio’s TDD. Speed, youth, and diversity will decide this fight in Sergio’s favour. At this price, similar to the last fight, I like this play but probably can’t commit to it as a top flight play.

4 STARS

Sage looks darn exciting, but at 19 this is a big fight and he is a big favourite. That makes this line a ‘No Play’. I will look at the total, which looks to be the only playable option in this fight.

4 STARS

Look for the value on Martins to continue to climb heading to fight night. I like Martins here despite his last “performance”. I picked him to upset Khabilov and while he did, I wish it had been in more emphatic fashion. I don’t like Makhachev’s striking style against a guy like Martins. Adriano is built to counter aggressive wild strikers like Islam. He isn’t as wild as some, but when he engages he opens himself up to getting hit and he will. Martins also showed how good his wrestling is when he took and kept down Khabilov on a couple of occassions. He could do that here or at the least scramble out of Islam’s TDAs. Martins is also capable of another stinker based on inactivity and that does concern me. For that reason he is a Silver parlay leg at best.

4 STARS

Outside of a prolonged layoff leading to a lot of ring rust or Hill making a massive leap, this is Rose’s fight to lose. Hill doesn’t have the wrestling game to defend against Namajunas’s aggressive grappling or exploit her short comings. Hill looked lost on the mat against a fighter that seem focused on simply maintaining the position, I can’t see her fairing much better against the constant sub threats that Rose will be tossing her way. Unless she gasses out trying to finish and Hill wins the final 2 rounds, Rose takes this fight. At this price and based on what I have seen out of both girls I feel good about this fight and it will be included in my top play.

4 STARS

This fight has violence all over it. Both guys are very aggressive and will come out swinging leather. Jouban has finsihed strong in his fights, but his history of getting hurt early on will not fair well against Tumenov. The Russia hits like a tank and is the superior technician. His speed and the angles he cuts will show up huge against Jouban who tends to fight a little flat-footed. At this price he easily makes the cut as a Gold parlay leg.4 STARS

Here is a battle between 2 young and improving prospects, but I think the line is a little off. Hooker has more experience and better experience. Yair’s biggest win came over Charles Rosa- a gutsy win, but a very close one. For Hooker he own stoppages wins over Hatsu Hioki and a slightly under the radar Ian Entwistle. He also went the distance with Maximo Blanco and very much held his own in a close fight. Keep in mind that Rodriguez (who trains in Chicago) is fighting outside of Mexico for the first time in his career. Yes Texas is close, but it is still a change of scenary which can throw a fighter off. Looking at actual in cage capabilities- Hooker is a big Featherweight. He will have the reach advntage which is something Rodriguez won’t be use to. More importantly, it is his pressure and chin that I like. He gets hit too much, but so far he has shown he can take it. The manner in which Hooker moves forward and constantly throws strikes is going to shutdown the kicking based attack of his opponent. Rosa had his success against Yair when he was pushing forward and backing him up. Elbows and punches and short range and knees when they get in close. At this price I like Hooker and a single bet, potentially in the Gold section is my play here.

4 STARS

Joseph Benavidez $1.32 

I was close, very close to picking Ali for the upset. His wrestling is his key to success here as we have seen Joe get put on his back in previous fights. If Bagautinov can do it with consistency he can win this fight. Benavidez’s key is his striking, pace, and diversity. Ali tries to calculate his strike too much and will play statue too frequently as a result. This should give Joe plenty of opportunities to engage and score points. The layoff is also a big concern for Bagautinov. If I had seen him in action more recently I might have elected to go with the upset. Either way, this price is based on Benavidez’s name or more importantly Ali’s lack of recognition with the fans. I will most likely use Benavidez on a lower level bet, but leaving him off all together isn’t that out of the question. A counter bet on Bagautinov is also possible.

4 STARSJessica Eye $3.11 vs 

Eye has certainly faced better, more accomplished competition in her UFC run, but there has been a theme that will be her undoing here. Eye thrives in a striking based fight- Kaufman and Smith, but she struggles when her opponent looks to grapple with her- Kaufmann and Tate. When taken down she gets stuck on her back and has little to offer which costs her rounds. The secondary aspect of this scenario is that after her opponent establish the TD threat, Eye’s level of engagement and forward pressure is mitigated. This takes away her biggest weapon, volume striking, and makes it difficult for her to win the fight. Pena is a top position nightmare. Once on top she doesn’t hold back looking for the finish. This approach can cost her position if her opponnet is capable of bucking her off, but I don’t see Eye having much success there. If she does manage to get up, most likely she will be back down soon or at the very least be backing up under the pressure of Pena’s striking attack. My biggest concern here comes if Pena is unable to maintain her performance beyond the opening round if she can’t finish. Will she slow down? If she does Eye will have a field day with her striking. At $1.45, even with the strength of her opponent Pena is a solid investment based on the stylistic macthup and she will most likely make the cut in my top parlay.

4 STARS

Outside of Jordan either landing a lucky punch or finding constant success with his wrestling, Mags should take this fight fairly handily. Jordan has struggled at times with bigger men, with long range striking weapons. Jack May lost to Jordan, but up until the finish Jordan was in a close fight and potentially losing. Ruslan has good TDD, not perfect, so some early takedowns for Jordan might not be out of the question- but he won’t be able to maintain it over a full 3 rounds. Mag’s striking technique and ability to fight a full 3 rounds with consistency favours him significantly in this fight. Additionally, Jordan’s chin has double-crossed him enough to suggest it could do it again. Mags is a decision machine, but he hits like a tank and did damage to both of his UFC opponents, who are younger than Jordan and capable of taking damage. I really like Mags here and a Gold Parlay leg at this price feels a little like stealing in this matchup. Hopefully, Jordan’s more well-known name will attract some public money and increase Ruslan’s value even more. The total is also worth looking at here as well.

4 STARS

Big fight here for the LHW division and it could produce the next title challenger. Of course, if Mr. Jones elects to return to active duty he will most likely skip the line. ‘Suga’ Rashad where have you been? Out of action for almost 2 years, he gets right back into the thick of things. The layoff is a massive concern, so is his age. At 36 he is getting a little long in the tooth. At LHW, like HW, age doesn’t play as big a role as it does in the lighter division. In the lighter classes, speed and reaction time are essential and when they start to go a fighter will see a clear drop off in performance. Like I said, it is not as big an issue at LHW, but Rashad does lean on his quickness to be effective. Bader has won 4 times since we last saw Evans. He has become a bit of a strategist and has benefited from his new and improved Fight IQ. Evans has trouble with activity. He get lulled into prolonged periods of ‘measuring’ his opponent, but he doesn’t engage enough. It cost him against Nogueira and it nearly cost him against Henderson. Bader does a good job of remaining active and he hits hard. That is how he beat Davis. He kept engaging and he was landing more impactful strikes. That is what I expect him to do here. Unless Evans can find consistent success with his wrestling or significant ups his workload he will struggle with Bader’s output. Evans doesn’t have the power that he gets credit for. The knockout of Chael was position based, the Ortiz was old, and stopping Chuck was something everyone did back then. It will be close, possibly a split but I see Bader doing when Henderson did but with more success. Evans is still a quality opponent so Bader gets knocked down to my Silver play, a parlay or possibly pairing him up with another LHW dog on this card is an option too. The total will also be looked at.

4 STARS

‘Big Rigg’ is a big favourite here and he should be. I have read some predictors talking about how Hendricks has fought close fights against other fighters that share similarities with T-Wood. Split decisions with Mike Pierce and Koscheck are the fights they are referencing. I respectfully disagree here. There are 2 major differences. Hendricks is a different fighter. Back then he relied heavily on his wrestling and his power. He has evolved and uses pressure with slick combos. Hard leg kicks and smooth punches highlight his attacks and this will be key here. More importantly, Woodley does not have the cardio that Hendrick’s previous opponents had. He will slow down in a high pace fight. Additionally, his ability to deal with pressure is incredibly poor. He backs up and puts himself on the cage with regularity. Hendricks will use this to his advantage to outwork him, land big shots against the cage, and set up his takedowns with Woodley’s movement being limited by the wall. At this price he doesn’t pay as well as some, but I still think your getting value because I had him int he $1.20 to $1.25 range. Gold parlay contributor here.

4 STARS

Title time! I hate when a fighter’s wins get discredited, but I am going to do that for the sake of this breakdown. At 205 pounds Cormier beat the inexperienced Cummings, the old and undersized Henderson, lost to Jones, and took the win from Rumble on the basis of Johnson gassing out/ not fighting to avoid his wrestling. Many will use MMA math to overlook Gus, but stylistically Gus is a tougher match-up for DC than Rumble was. Johnson had one goal, move forward and throw bombs- DC took some of those bombs, bent a little, but countered with his wrestling. Gus will not do that. Look for the big Swede to use lateral movement, range weapons, and footwork to shut down Cormier’s wrestling. He may get taken down a couple of times, but as the fight advances Cormier will tire and his wrestling will become less and less effective. Jones fought DC’s tyle of fight, Gus will not. Both guys have an avenue to victory here and I’ll back the dog. At this price I am looking at single bet here, probably in the Silver section because of the quality of opposition that Gus is faced with.

1. 

2. 

3. Julianna Pena $1.45 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

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6. Joseph Benavidez $1.32 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

7. Sergio Pettis $1.60 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

8. Viktor Pesta $1.66 

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10.

11. 

12. 

1. Dan Hooker $3.57 

2. Ryan Bader $2.43 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. Adriano Martins $2.08 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

4. Alexander Gustafsson $3.90 

5. Ruslan Magomedov $1.65 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

1.Ali Bagautinov $3.89– If he comes back stronger after the layoff he has the ability to beat Benavidez and this price offers a lot of value. Consider a single bet.

2. – Pettis was winning his last fight until he got knocked out and now faces a more accomplished veteran fighter. Cariaso might be worth a look especially if that price continues to climb.

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bETTING SCENARIOS

Exclusive Bet Pack Content.

Prop Bets

Derrick Lewis/

See Betting Scenario Section.

See Betting Scenario Section.

Northcutt has been an absolute killer on the regional scene, but more often than not when a fighter steps up to the big leagues and the increased level of competition that comes with it- they see an climb in total fight time. More specifically,  bonafide 1st round finisher like Northcutt start to see the judges’ scorecards on mutiple occassions. Trevino is a tough nut to crack. He took Johnny Case the distance after he had smashed his last handful of opponents and I could see something similar here. Sage can finish anywhere, but I will fade the expected Under here and play Over 2.5.

Update- With Trevino missing weight by 5 pounds you might want to reconsider this play and simply not touch. If he gasses out he might not be able to go a full 3 rounds.

I love this play, almost as much as I loved PVZ/Chambers Under 2.5. Honestly, I thought we would either get 1.5 rounds or something around the $1.60-$1.80 price on 2.5. Based on that logic, we are getting some value here all the way around. Namajunas is very aggressive, both on the feet and the mat. She will be looking for the finish from the start and once they hit the mat look for her to start chaining submissions together. On the other side of things, if Rose begins to fade Hill hits hard and could stop her with elbows and knees strikes in close. The Under is the play here.

Logic would suggest that playing this fight to go under is the way to go. Both guys throw massive heat and know how to finish. If the Under comes through I won’t be the least bit shocked. But, in my epxerience when you get a pair of knockout artists together and the expectations are for a quick finish, we usually get the opposite. In my breakdowns I highlighted that fact that both guys tends to go through prolonged periods of inactivity; calculating and measuring their opponent while looking for openings. That eats up a lot of time. Both men will respect each others power and fight accordingly. At 2.5 rounds I would be much more tempted to play the Under, but at 1.5 let’s roll with the Over.

Jessica Eye/

Pena has been an absolute killer and once she gets top position it is hard to endure everything she brings to bear. She has finished both of her UFC opponents from top position and Eye has yet to show that she can get up once her opponent takes her down. On the other side of the coin- if Eye survives the opening flurry and Pena starts to slow Jessica could score a stoppage with her hands. I’m backing Pena and this play largely hinges on her. Play the Under.

Playing 2 Women’s fights under and then a HW bout Over, bizarre. Magomedov has gone the distance 7 times in 13 fights, which have come in his last 8 fights.9 of his last 10 fight have also gone over the 1.5 mark with relative ease and the 10th just missed it. He has had a couple moments where he nearly finished his 2 UFC opponents, but clearly this total is based on Jordan. Jordan’s chin and potentially (but a little less likely) his ability to knockout Mags out. I could see this fight ending early, but Jordan will most likely try to grapple with Mags which could eat some time up. With the heavies you never know, but I will take the Over here.

Bader has gone the distance in 4 straight fights and 9 times on his career. Evans has done the same in 6 of his last 8 fights and 12 times overall. This fight might have some big moments of inactivity as they feel each other out and look for openings. With the wrestling stalemate another possible time eater I expect this fight to go the distance. Play the Over.

 

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