UFC on Fuel TV 6 was the promotions debut in China and on the strength of 9 fights this was a fantastic event. Cung Le launched himself into the division growing list of contenders with an impressive knockout win of Rich Franklin, while the former UFC champ was left contemplating his future. Thiago Silva showed he was still relevant in the division and a host of other fighters put together some impressive performances. On the prediction side of the night I finished with a 6-3 record, dropping pair of split decisions and the final upset of the night in the main event. The Bet packs has a decent return with a couple of winning parlays, 3 winning Prop bets, 3 of 5 Confidence Picks and 3 of 5 Value Picks all coming through. Let’s take a look at the fight by fight breakdowns-
-I really look forward to every time Riki Fukuda hits the cage and this time didn’t disappoint. Despite going to decision in each of his UFC appearances he always comes to fight and did exactly what he needed to do here. My focus on DeBlass struggling with conditioning after the fight go into the second half played out nicely, although he did look much better than I anticipated on the feet.
-Lineker and Urushitani put on a great show and represented the Flyweight division well. I expect that Urushitani will get another chance, maybe against Phil Harris while Lineker moves forward and a fighter against Chris Cariaso would be a good one.
-Alex Caceres picks up another win and keeps moving forward. It was of the split decision variety and he just edged out Tezuka but a win is a win. I wouldn’t mind seeing Caceres get a further push up the competition ladder against fellow UFC on Fuel TV 6 winner Takeya Mizugaki.
– Takeya Mizugaki showed just how tough he is picking up a gritty victory over Jeff Hougland. Hougland is a durable fighter but a career of getting smashed by guys like Mizugaki and Yves Jabouin is going to be a short one at least at the UFC level. Mizugaki offers a stiff test for anyone in the division and a fight with the aforementioned Caceres will help to determine where each man is.
-John Tuck and Tiequan Zhang put on a show both on the feet and on the ground and even with the defeat I would like to see Zhang get another opportunity based on effort alone. Tuck is still a little green but got some good experience dealing with adversity in this bout.
-Takanori Gomi’s third win in the UFC wasn’t as definitive as his first two knockout victories, but it was really a complete effort. Gomi brought himself right back into relevance with the W, but where he goes from here is a still a big question. Gomi showed a little bit of growth in his game, mixing up his strikes and takedowns effectively and a fight with the winner of Jamie Varner and Melvin Guillard would be a barn burner. For Danzig this has to be a huge setback in a fight that was his for the taking with a little bit better execution. Danzig could consider a drop to Featherweight although I don’t see where he can drop the 10 pounds, Danzig against Evan Dunham would bring some excitement.
-Dong Hyun Kim came out with a level of determination that simply took Paul Thiago out of that fight from the very start. Having dropped consecutive fights must have lit a fire under Kim, especially considering his last was the result of an injury. Despite Thaigo’s grappling pedigree Kim took him down, controlled him, and violently punished him from start to finish. Kim should look for a rematch with Maia in an effort to regain the position that he lost with that fight while Thiago might be on his way out.
-Thiago Silva did a nice job rebounding from a big knock down to submitted a clearly exhausted Stanislav Nedkov. Nedkov was able to clip Silva and found some success bullying him into the cage, but for the most part he he showed signs of ring rust and struggled to keep up with the superior fighter. Silva has been forced to deal with a number of top contenders, but I would like to see him get a chance t rebuild his position in the division with a series of wins like this one. A follow up fight with the winner of Chad Griggs and Cryille Diabate would be a interesing options. For Nedkov, Igor Pokrajac makes sense.
– I talked about it in my breakdown, Franklin needed to watch throwing that mid range/ body kick as it leave him open to be countered and that is just what happened. A fresh Cung Le was able to counter but Franklin away early taking away the conditioning advantage of Rich. At this point I would not be shocked if Franklin opted to walk away from the cage, but at the same time he very well could attempt one more appearence looking to finish on a high note. For Cung Le this puts him in an interesting position, 2 straight wins and a new found push in the division. Le was dealing with a foot injury, but if he is able to heal it up a quick turn around for the 40 year old would help to him to capitalize on his momentum. If Le is going to get a shot at the title he is going to have to leap frog a number of top contenders and to do so he needs a couple big wins over name fighters- Mark Munoz (when he returns) would fit the bill.
UFC on Fuel TV 6 was a excellent night (morning) of fights with great performances and some pretty big finishes. UFC 154: St-Pierre vs Condit is only a week away and the predictions will be posted shortly. Overal a 6-3 record, with two split decision losses is a pretty good night and you can check out the Prediction and Bet Pack results below.
Riki Fuduka defeats Tom DeBlass by Decision- Prediction: Fukuda by Decision
John Lineker defeats Yasuhiro Urushitani by Decision- Prediction: Lineker by Decision
Alex Caceres defeats Motonobu Tezuka by Split Decision- Prediction: Tezuka by Decision
Takeya Mizugaki defeats Jeff Hougland by Decision- Prediction: Mizugaki by Decision
John Tuck defeats Tiequan Zhang by Decision- Prediction: Tuck by Knockout
Takinori Gomi defeats Mac Danzig by Split Decision- Prediction: Danzig by Submission
Dong Hyun Kim defeats Paulo Thiago by Deision- Prediction: Kim by Decision
Thiago Silva defeats Stanislav Nedkov by Submission- Prediction: Silva by Submission
Cung Le defeats Rich Franklin by Knockout- Prediction: Franklin by TKO
David Mitchell $2.60 vs Hyun Gyu Lim $1.50
First fight forecast time- Lim is making his debut with a lot of hype surrounding him. So much so that he is a decent size favourite against a 2 fight UFC veteran. This is the grappler vs striker match-up, but of the two I give Lim the better chance to compete in the others world. Lim has shown a decent ground game although he has been submitted twice which is a big area of concern here. The only two guys that have been able to defeat Mitchell have been ground based fighters in TJ Waldburger and Paulo Thiago so if Lim is going to get the job done he will be the first to do it with a striking based game-plan. I was hoping that Lim wouldn’t be the favourite and if he was then I would have liked to see the odds a little closer together. They could still move if money starts to go the way of Mitchell considering he does have the UFC experience and should be better known to most of the betting public. Lim has looked good and has received a decent promotion from his UFC training partners as far as skills are concerned, but until I see him compete at this level I won’t be going to far overboard betting on him. Most likely I will include him as a part of a parlay, but no single bet and I might consider placing a small on on Mitchell if his value holds or moves up.
Riki Fukuda $1.36 vs Tom DeBlass $3.20
If Fukuda drops this bout he will fall to 1-3 in the UFC which is suprising considering how well he has fought. Fukuda has decent tools in all areas of the game and is a very athletic fighter that could eventually crack the top 10 contener’s list IMO. T0m DeBlass is a hard guy to read as far as his past performance is concerned. He is a grappler by nature and after he got things started in his debut he gassed out and lost a decision. In that fight there were a number of contributing factors that played a roll in struggles- Octagon Jitters, taking the fight on short notice, and having to deal with the 6 hour time change New Jersey to Sweden. Looking at those issues we could easily expect DeBlass to have a better performance here as the jitters and short fight notice shouldn’t be an issue, but there are some new issues that I expect will create complications again. He will be making his Middleweight debut, which is a big cut from 205 where he has spent most of her career. Additionally, he will be travelling from New Jersey to China this time which is a 12 hour time change and unless he makes arrangements this could again play a role. If one or both factors effect him even in the slightest he will be fighting an uphill battle in this one. DeBlass needs to get this fight to the ground to win, Fukuda is a pretty decent ground fighter in his own right and I would expect him to be able to defend the takedowns and force DeBlass in standing and trading with him. Either way Riki has more tools in bag and there are far less questions surrounding his ability to perform at this level. I haven’t finalized the list just yet, but I would expect that Fukuda will be on my top 5 confidence list so I would advocate for him to be used in any and all betting situations. For DeBlass to many questions still exist about his ability to fight at this level for me to consider any size bet on him.
Jeff Hougland $3.60 vs Takeya Mizugaki $1.29
Looking at Mizugaki’s career he has alternated wins and losses over his last 10 fights and is due for a win, but I would never picked a fighter on that basis that it is just dumb. In his last fight he dropped a close and very debatable decision against Chris Cariaso, prior to that his 4 UFC/WEC losses had come against 3 former Champions and a former title challenger. His losses are against Torres, Faber, Bowles, Jorgensen, and Cariaso while his wins have come against Jeff Curran, Cole Escovedo (yes former champ I know), Rani Yahya, and Reuben Duran. The distinction that I am trying to make here is that Mizugaki beats everyone but the elite of division and even in defeats he is rarely out of fight. If you take Jeff Hougland and try to place him in one of those two categories it is pretty clear wher he should fall. The big knock on Hougland was his lack of big name competition and it showed up in his last fight when he took a step up and fought Yves Jabuoin. Hougland needed to get that fight to the ground in order to win and he was completely stonewalled in his attemtpt. Mizugaki isn’t as flashy a striker as Jabouin, but he should still have the edge here and I really like his ability to keep this fight standing. Mizugaki doesn’t offer the greatest return at $1.29 but I have seen him lower so get him while the getting is good. Anything above $1.20 makes him an alright addition to a parlay, but I think there are better paying fights to use as single bets. For Hougland I want to see him beat someone at this level before I start betting on him.
John Lineker $1.87 vs Yasuhiro Urushitani $2.04
Interesting line considering Urushitani was not that long ago considered one of the top fighters in the division and now he is a dog against an opponent also coming of a defeat. Urushitani is a slick striker but he lacks the threat of real knockout power and when faced with an aggressive striker that has knockout power like Lineker that is a bad combination. Louis Gaudinot traded with John and wasn’t able to knock him out, but he was able to change gears when he needed to and got the win as the result submitting the Brazilian. Urishitani has scored a couple of recent knockouts but his career numbers would suggest his ability to knock out Lineker, who has never bee KOed, are limited. Even less likely is Yasuhiro submitting him with only one career submission. What this does his limit his ability to win this fight down to winning via decision and it is never good when you start taking ruling out a fighters ability to win a fight. For Lineker with his high striking output and aggressive style it will make it difficult for Urushitani to out point him and win a decision. This could create openings for him to slip in a counter and hurt Lineker, but the options are limited. Yasuhiro got dropped by a single left hook in his last fight so I find it hard to believe that Lineker isn’t going to land with one of his flurries and hurt him. Lineker has some excellent value at $1.87 and even if he drops anything above $1.50 makes him one of my prime bets for the event both as a central part of the parlays and as one of my main single bets. Urushitani is a veteran with experience, but I do believe he is over matched here even in his strongest areas.
John Tuck $1.59 vs Tiequan Zhang $2.40
When the UFC heads to a new country or at least a country that they only hold a few events in the fighters of that Nation seem to get fired up and more often then not a high percentage usually come away with the W. In this situation it will be all or nothing for China with Zhang representing their entire nation on this card. This could possibly give reason for a small bet on Zhang. Tuck has been out of action for a little while, he has a limited amount of experience with only 6 fights and he is making his official UFC debut. Any and certainly all of these reasons are something to think about in this fight, but there is more to look at as far as Zhang is concerned. Zhang as looked far from impressive in his WEC/ UFC career and if he was just any regular fighter or if there were a couple of other China based competitors on the roster then I think he would have been cut by now. I do believe that the UFC has kept Zhang on the roster for the sole purpose of using him on this event, which brings into question his ability to compete at this level. Zhang has looked at his best when he can take the fight to the ground, but he needs to be on top as was shown in the Darren Elkins fight. Tuck is a pretty decorated grappler in his own right and if Zhang can’t get an edge on the ground this is going to be a tough fight for him to win. Additionally, Tuck has dangerous power as was shown in his 8 second knockout a couple of fights back. Zhang is coming off of a devastating knockout defeat so it will be interesting to see how he response in the cage against a guy who has knockout capabilities. In the end I like to back the fighter with more tools and in this case it is Tuck. He is getting a decent price at $1.59 and could be worth a look as one of your medium single bets. I will also be using him on a parlay, but I won”t go over the top for the reasons I mentioned at the begining of this breakdown. If you don’t feel confident in backing Tuck then a small bet on Zhang at $2.40 is worth a shot.
Alex Caceres $1.53 vs Motonobu Tezuka $2.61
Last minute replacements are always a tough fight to breakdown. What was Tezuka doing before the fight, is he in shape, how much information does he have on Caceres and vice versa. In the past I have found these scenarios will often favour the new fighter, a coulpe that come to mind are Brian Ebersole vs Chris Lytle and Charlie Brenneman vs Rick Story. When a fighter takes a bout on short notice they often feel like they have nothing to lose and will fight accordingly. This can make them dangerous especially if the other fighter, Caceres in this instance, recognizes that they have a lot on the line here. Caceres has been moving up in the world and anything but a W in this bout will drop him back down the ranks in a hurry. Tezuka’s gameplan should be simple and familiar- takedowns, maintain top control, and keep active. Tezuka is fighter that will shoot for takedowns right from the start of fight and although he has limited submission wins he has earned a number of decision victories on basis of his ability to control his opponent on the ground. Caceres on the other hand has had issues with opponents that are able to take him down and attack on the ground. 4 of his 5 losses have come via submission and although he has also won 4 by sub when you start looking at such a high percentage in the lose column that is a huge red flag. I do like the improvements that Caceres has been making but I do think he is vulnerable in this bout. Caceres will have had limited time to prep and create a gameplan to defend Tezuka’s attacks, but all Tezuka has to do is go out and execute like he has done in the past. I haven’t taken a lot of risks on this card but here is one and I will be taking a single bet and using him as part of a parlay. For Caceres he is still young and a little unproven, but he is the favourite for a reason so I won’t go over the top with Tezuka so much so that he ruins my night (or morning in this case).
Mac Danzig $1.44 vs Takanormi Gomi $2.85
There is no denying that if Gomi hits anyone with one of his bombs they are going to go to sleep, its pretty cut and dry. Unfortunately his ability to connect with one of those shots has been the issues of late. Mac Danzig brings a polar opposite style of striking using limited to no wind up with his short, crisp, accurate strikes. If he is able to land with regularity at the very least he should be able to outpoint Gomi on his way to a decision. Gomi has never been knocked out, but since signing with the UFC there have been multiple instances where Gomi has been hurt and I think we could see that again in this one. Even if Danzig doesn’t stop him hurting Gomi on the feet has lead to the former Pride star losing the fight on the ground. Danzig has shown a very solid ground game and Gomi is known as a pretty good wrestler, but the big issue with Gomi is his submission defense. Gomi has been submitted 6 times in his career, with submissions accounting for his last 4 losses. If Gomi goes to the ground, especially as the result of being hurt he is vulnerable to being put away. Another major difference between the two is development Both guys are veterans, but it would appear that Gomi’s fight game has remained relatively stagnant if not regressing over the last few years. Danzig on the other hand has showed continued improvement which can make it difficult for an opponent to prepare for. Danzig is the more complete fighter and should be well aware of what he needs to be careful of with Gomi. I really like Danzig at $1.44 he has a pretty decent payout and doubling him up with either Mizugaki or Lineker could produce a nice return with limited risk. For Gomi many would like to believe he is back after his last fight but I just don’t see it, especially with his poor first round performance- he is a no play for me.
Dong Hyun Kim $1.45 vs Paulo Thiago $2.80
There seems to be a trend in on this card- one of the fighters in almost all of the fights (in this case it is Thiago) needs to be able to get this bout to the ground in order to have success. There should be an asterisk beside that, as Thiago needs to get this fight to the ground with him in top position, because if he is on bottom I feel he will have a hard time attacking against Kim’s heavy top game. Paulo Thiago will be desperate, a defeat here give him 4 loses in his last 5 fights and that could be enough to cut him. Thiago’s career has hinged upon the ability to take his opponents down- against Jon Fitch, Martin Kampmann, and Diego Sanchez he wasn’t able to work his ground game effectively and lost as a result. Against Mike Swick and David Mitchell he was much more effect when it came to implementing his ground game and was victorious as a result. The Maia fight aside, we really haven’t seen anyone effectively dominate Kim with their grappling- Karo Parisyan was the last to match Kims takedowns totals at 3-3 and that was back in January 2009. Since then no one has been able to score more then one takedown on Kim which in Thiago’s case won’t be enough to win this fight. Turning the tables, Thiago is 1-3 in fights where he did not have the takedown edge including a lose to Jon Fitch where Fitch took him down 4 times and was able to control him. Paulo does have knockout power as Josh Koscheck found out, but simply examining his record we can determine that that win was a rarity. Essentially, Kim has been developing his striking and showed he can win a fight on the feet while Thiago is still heavily reliant on his grappling. If you look at the most likely scenarios- Kim can win a decision with his striking and Kim can win a decision with his top game vs Thiago can win a decision with his grappling. Already 2-1 in favour of Kim when you start to figure in stats and how these guys stack up against each other, Paul Thiago has limited window for success. I was on Kim against Maia and was disappointed with the result, but I don’t expect a repeat here. At $1.45 Kim will be a solid contributor to a main parlay play and if you are looking for a either a decent single bet or doubling him up with a second fighter that would also be a sound investment as well.
Stanislav Nedkov $3.65 vs Thiago Silva $1.31
I am really looking forward to this fight for a couple of reason. Silva was a guy on a tear, undefeated and matched up with also undefeated Lyoto Machida. Machida stopped him and eventually went on to win the title, while Silva has since struggled against other top level competition and been kept out of action because of a suspension. Silva will never be one to challenge for the title, but he will certainly provide a stiff test for anyone looking to move up and there are a tonne of great fights for him in the division starting with this one. Nedkov is undefeated which is a feat in itself, but I am not that impressed with him. I picked against him against Luiz Cane was was more then happy with the way the fight was paying out until Nedkov caught him with a bomb and put him away. Up until that point Cane was picking him apart with his far more technical striking abilities and Nedkov was doing a lot of swinging and missing. Like I said in my breakdown- Nedkov is the complete opposite of the type of fighter that Thiago has had trouble with- fast, technical, and lots of movement (Rashad, Machida, and Gustafsson). Nedkov does have the ability to hurt anyone he connects with and Machida did KO Silva, but based on what I have seen the likelyhood of that happening is minimal. Silva has a far more diverse striking repertoire and should have a speed advantage. Additionally, Nedkov has been out of action for over a year which will no doubt bring ring rust and possibly some conditioning issues. Silva at $1.31 isn’t bad, but I expect he will be lower on some books. I would think anything above $1.20 is worth inclusion on a parlay or two, but there are a couple other fighters that pay slightly better (Kim, Danzig, Lineker, and Fukuda) who are better single investments. For Nedkov he needs to show me a more complete fight then what we saw in his debut, throwing a desperation bomb, landing and then swarming a hurt opponent (who has a history of not reacting well when getting hit) is not something that you want to be relying on every-time out.
Rich Franklin $1.33 vs Cung Le $3.70
I totally left this out of my breakdown on the show, but (as many of you probably know by now) Cung Le is hurt. He said normally he would have pulled out of this fight but choose to gut it out. Not only is he hurt, but it is his foot that is hurt which could potentially limit his ability to attack with one of his main weapons. Not a good start for a 40 year old who just left his long time training camp at AKA. Le has to win this fight inside the first 2 rounds, maybe sooner. Le’s conditioning isn’t great to start with and his frequent use of kicks only adds to his already problematic cardio. Franklin does have chin issues so there will be a window of opportunity for Cung- how big and how long it will be open are uncertain. Franklin has a conditioning edge over most opponents and if he is able to pressure Le it will have a big effect on how this fight goes. If Le is under constant pressure like Franklin brought vs Wanderlei he wont be able to set up his kicks, it will drain his cardio faster, and if he lands he could either hurt Le or at least bother him enough that he is 0ff his game. I fully expect Rich to get inside and attack, he is an intelligent fighter and considering this fight was booked a while ago, scrapped and now rebooked he has had a prolonged period of time to develop a game plan for Le. It is unfortunate that Le didn’t make the move quicker to the UFC as his style of fighting, unlike Randy Couture’s, isn’t suited for an older fighter. For Rich, I think he is a solid parlay bet and probably could be used as a single bet, but his low price will force you to risk a lot for a high return. For Cung Le there are just too many factors playing against him- age, injury, conditioning, change in training camp and the list goes on to make me considering risking a bet on him.
1. Rich Franklin $1.33
2. Takeya Mizugaki $1.29
3. Dong Hyun Kim $1.45
4. Riki Fukuda $1.36
5. Mac Danzig $1.44
1. John Lineker $1.87
2. Motonobu Tezuka $2.61
3. John Tuck $1.59
4. Dong Hyun Kim $1.45
Hyun Gyu Lim $1.50 >>> Mac Danzig $1.44
The Value Bet list is a list of fighters ranked based on a combination of their ability to win their fight and the potential financial return you would receive if they win.
Tom DeBlass/ Riki Fukuda Total Rounds Over 1.5 or 2.5– DeBlass’s main focus will be getting this fight to the ground and setting up his submission. Fukuda intern will be focusing on defending the shot and scoring points with his striking. If and when Fukuda sees fit to attempt his own takedowns he will again need to be careful with DeBlass’s submission skills and focus mainly on holding top position. I have Fukuda winning this fight and although he does have finishes in his career, he has none in the UFC. Play the Over.
Alex Caceres/ Motonobu Tezuka Total Rounds Over 1.5 or 2.5– Tezuka has a high percentage of his fights go the distance and considering I have him winning this fight in an upset that makes a decision look like a decent play. I expect that Tezuka will want to keep things simple and not leave openings for Caceres to counter or sweep so he will be cautious on top. For Caceres, he is a finisher and has been finished on multiple occasions which makes this a risk, but I think it is a worthwhile one.
Mac Danzig to Win by Submission– This prop might not be available in all books and if not I would give strong consideration to this fight going under the total rounds if it is set at 2.5. Gomi has been tapped out in each of his last 4 defeats, 6 times in his career, and could have been submitted again in his last fight had the bell not saved him. He has a solid chin, but time could be catching up to him and if Danzig hurts him I would expect he’ll will pounce on a submission ASAP. Danzig also has stats supporting this play with multiple submission wins to his credit.
Dong Hyun Kim/ Paulo Thiago Total Rounds Over 1.5 or 2.5– Neither man is known as a finisher with 6 of Kim’s 8 fights going the distance and 5 of 8 for Thiago. Kim’s top game and TDD should make it difficult for Thiago to pull off a submission and Thiago’s grappling defense will be too much for Kim (only 1 submission win) to consider trying to tap him out. Thiago is coming off a knockout defeat, but Kim hasn’t recorded a win by KO since August 2007 and Kim has also been stopped recently by Paulo has only recorded 2 knockouts in 18 career fights. Play the Over.
Thiago Silva to win by KO/TKO/DQ– Nedkov has never been knocked out, but I wasn’t impressed with his striking defense in his debut as he was getting lit up before the comeback. Silva on the other hand is a certified killer- the man has 11 of 14 wins by knockout including 4 in the UFC and another via submission due to punches. Silva always comes to fight and should recognize the need for a win here so he will come after it. Nedkov has been out of action for over a year which is major concern and as I have already talked about is a much different opponent then the type Silva has had trouble with. Silva will enjoy the change and land with power and eventually put him away. If this Prop is not available on your book play the under.
Rick Franklin to Win by KO/TKO/DQ $1.49– I have seen this prop available on almost all cards and I think it is a decent play. Franklin should be able to stop Le if he gets tired and I expect that to happen as early as the end of round 2 maybe early into the 4th. Not much else to say here- Franklin doesn’t get the credit for his knockout skills and as we saw int he Le/Silva fight Le can be overwhelmed stopped.
Rich Franklin to Win by Decision $5.25– This is purely a value bet here, but I think it is worth a shot even a small one. Franklin may choose to fight Le a little safer to avoid creating openings for Le to counter. Le is hurt and this is a 5 round fight, but I can’t let this one go by without a small bet.