UFN 64: Gonzaga vs Cro Cop 2- ‘Couture On Deck?’

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Oh, what could have been. If their first encounter ended like this fight did, Mirko Cro Cop would be preparing for a shot at then Heavyweight champion Randy Couture. Cro Cop shook off the ghosts of his 2007 head kick knockout loss to Gabriel Gonzaga and finished the Brazilian with a series of brutal elbows that forced the referee to bring the fight to an end. The Croatian badly open his foe up and after stunning him on the feet. The win didn’t come without difficulty as Gonzaga appeared to win the opening two rounds highlighted by his top control.

After leaving the UFC for what appeared to be the last time, this victory is a welcome return for the Pride Legend and he seemed quite adamant about competing again. Some have talked about a fight with Andrei Arlovski, but he is currently booked for another fight. If Bigfoot Silva is looking to continue his career he might be a suitable next opponent for Cro Cop. All of Gabe’s momentum that he had built after returning to MMA is long forgotten. With the lack of depth in the division there are still some viable fights for Gabe against lower level opposition looking to prove themselves and take that next step.

Other Notes

  • Jimi Manuwa returned to action with a win, his first via decision as a pro.
  • JoJo Calderwood’s title aspirations took a massive hit, getting upset via 1st round submission by one of the biggest underdogs on the card.
  • Maryna Moroz earned easily the biggest win of her career and took advantage of the new champion being cage side by calling her out and creating a workable storyline. Unfortunately for the Ukrainian she probably needs another win or two to get her shot at the strap.
  • Leon Edwards made short brutal work of Seth Baczynski who should probably consider hanging them up.
  • Aleksandra Albu picked up a win in her debut, either her second or seventh as a pro depending on what source you use.
  • Stevie Ray’s TKO over Marcin Bandel could earn him a spot on the Scotland card in 3 months.
  • It wouldn’t be surprising to see a couple of one and dones on this card with some fighters simply needing more polish to their game.
  • After a decent start on the prelims, my prediction’s sputtered to the finish with 5 straight losses, ending my run of 4 straight cards of above .500 predicting.
  • UFC on FOX 15 and one of the most unnecessary rematches (Jacare vs Camozzi) and a fantastic Middleweight main event is less then a week away. Stay tuned.

Parlay Header

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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: Anthony Hamilton $2.38 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Price: $2.38 x Bet: 6 units
Payout: 14.28 units
 
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Parlay #2
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Selection 1: Gabriel Gonzaga $1.56
Selection 2: Sheldon Westcott $1.56
Selection 3: Damian Stasiak $1.83
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Price: $4.46 x Bet: 6 units
Payout: 26.76 units
 
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Parlay #3
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Selection 1: Seth Baczynski $2.18
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Price: $2.18 x Bet: 6 units
Payout: 13.08 units
 
 
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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: Bartosz Fabinski $1.83 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Marcin Bandel $2.58
Selection 3: Taylor Lapilus $1.51 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Price: $7.13 x Bet: 5 units
Payout: 35.65 units
 
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Parlay #2
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Selection 1: Jan Blachowicz $2.43
Selection 2: Gabriel Gonzaga $1.56
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Price: $3.80 x Bet: 5 units
Payout: 19 units
 
 
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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: Seth Baczynski $2.18
Selection 2: Westcott/ Pawlak Total Rounds Under 1.5 $2.50 
Selection 3: Sergio Moraes/ Mickael Lebout Total Rounds Over 1.5 $1.75 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: Gabriel Gonzaga $1.56
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Price: $14.88 x Bet: 4 units
Payout: 59.52
 
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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: Anthony Hamilton $2.38 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Damian Stasiak $1.83
Selection 3: Bartosz Fabinski $1.83 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: Sheldon Westcott $1.56
Selection 5: Marcin Bandel $2.58
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Price: $32.08 x Bet: 4 units
Payout: 128.32 units

Rocky Lee $2.80 vs Taylor Lapilus $1.51 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Two very inexperienced fighters here, Lee more so then Lapilus. Toss in the length layoff for Rocky and its hard to get excited about this guy. Lapilus’s striking should be the most significant skill set either man possess and as long as he fends off the takedowns it will carry him to victory. From a betting standpoint there are a lot of decent lines on this card and while Lapilus offers some pop, I think moving him down to a Silver play or possibly a bronze parlay leg is the best option.

4 STARS

Stevie Ray $1.63 vs Marcin Bandel $2.58

Bandel is a one trick pony, but I think that trick is enough to catch Ray. Marcin loves leg based submission, especially heel hooks, but look for him to target an arm if Ray sticks it in there trying to defend. Defending leg based subs are tough and I did see Ray fend off a couple in his last fight, but Bandel has shown that if you give him the chance he will finish. On the other side of things, if he can’t hit the sub look for him to take a lot of damage in the immediate aftermath. Ray is taking this fight on short notice, which can detract from the prep time with the focus shifting to weight cutting. I like Bandel to get the win at home, he will be the first Polish fighter into the cage, probably a Silver single play based on his lack of diversity.

4 STARS

Aleksandra Albu $1.59 vs Izabela Badurek $2.64 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This bout is probably best suited to be a No Play. Albu has 1 fight or 5, depending on where you get your information. She has also been out of action for a long time and making her first (maybe?) cut to 115. Badurek has more experience, but against pretty poor competition. She is also a question mark regarding her weight as she has fought as high as 145. It could turn into a decent scrap, but investing on either side or the total is too risky with so little info.

4 STARS

Anthony Hamilton $2.38 vs Daniel Omielanczuk $1.68 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

I am not saying that Omielanczuk can’t win, but I am a little surprised he is as big a favourite as he is or the favourite at all. He didn’t look that great in his debut versus a 1 and done opponent and he got dominated in his second fight. Hamilton has been knocked out twice, but against much better competition. His only win was against a pretty low level fighter, but he brought a similar game plan that should carry him to victory today. Hamilton has looked pretty good in fights that go beyond the first round and Omielanczuk not so much. I think a look at the line here is a possibility, but playing Hamilton based on the value as a Gold singe bet is my main bet here.4 STARS

Yaotzin Meza $2.15 vs Damian Stasiak $1.83

I like this line, as I am simply not sold on Meza unless he gets gifted a dominant position on the mat. His only win came over a guy who almost submitted him, gassed, and then got tapped- something he did a couple of times before getting cut. Stasiak’s karate based striking attack should be good enough to carry him on the feet and he is a pretty decent ground fighter in his own right. Meza has been tapped 3 times. Debuting fighter versus a guy moving back up to Featherweight, most likely a Silver parlay leg, but I could consider this a fringe gold play.

4 STARS

Sergio Moraes $1.27 vs Mickael Lebout $4.36 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Moraes is a specialist and for that reason alone he is never worth a bet at this poor of a line. Additionally he has been out of action for quite some time and has had multiple opponent changes. Lebout is going to be in over his head if this fight hits the mat, but still its not enough to bet a side. I might consider the total, but that’s is it for this fight.

4 STARS

Bartosz Fabinski $1.83 vs Garreth McLellan $2.09 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

A late notice replacement, making his debut and moving up a division, but is fighting at home. McLellan comes from the fairly underdeveloped MMA scene that is South Africa. It is improving and getting better, but still has a long way to go. The line is close, but I feel Fabinski is stronger in pretty much every area. Still, there a lot of unknown heading into this bout so I will most likely fold it into a Silver parlay leg.

4 STARS

Leon Edwards $1.87 vs Seth Baczynski $2.18

This line is a product of what Baczynski hasn’t done lately, not so much what Edwards has. What he hasn’t done is win, just 1 in his last 4. Staying conscious is another area of concern for Mr. Pistola. All that consider, he has been battling some pretty good competition. Guys I would for the most part ranked higher then Edwards. Leon has power and is a decent striker, but that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if he is stuck in the clinch or on his back. Additionally, Seth looked improved versus Thiago at times and was taking it to Jouban prior to the knockout. I think he does enough here to grind this one out. He is one of the more known commodities on the prelims so a single bet or pairing him up in the Gold section is probably the play to make.

4 STARS

Joanne Calderwood $1.20 vs Maryna Moroz $5.72

No play on the line here, Calderwood should win but the risk/rewards is there. Moroz is untested and fairly one dimensional. I might consider a play on the total, but I need to look deeper into that one.

4 STARS

Sheldon Westcott $1.56 vs Pawel Pawlak $2.74

Westcott’s aggression is both a blessing and a curse. It can carry him to an overwhelming and dominant victory or result in a painful gassing and late stoppage/ decision defeat. I like option A, Pawlak didn’t fair too well when put on his back in his debut and he was put there with relative ease. My only cause for concern, beyond the gassing, is that Pawlak is fighting at home. If Westcott doesn’t respond well under hostile conditions then he could be in trouble. Additionally, there is always the possibility of a bad decision getting in the way. Nonetheless, I will ride my compatriot and consider him an option for a Gold parlay leg.

4 STARS

Jimi Manuwa $1.65 vs Jan Blachowicz $2.43

I can’t recall if I have ever done this before; changed my pick mid prediction despite what I had written down in front of me. The boss is going to be pissed if I am wrong. Thankfully, I am him and he is me. Manuwa is a good striker, very good- nice variety, works the combos, has sizeable power. All well and good! Blachowicz is more then serviceable in that department. The reason I flopped was the cardio edge that I expect Jan to have and his ability to bring his wrestling/ grappling skills into the fight. He needs to survive the first round, push Jimi, and I think he will start to breakdown a little. The mental state of Manuwa coming off the first knockout loss of his career is questionable as well. When you toss in the layoff, I ended up rolling with the dog. I am not comfortable enough to use Blachowicz as a Gold play, but I will consider him as either a Silver single bet or Bronze parlay option.4 STARS

Gabriel Gonzaga $1.56 vs Mirko Cro Cop $2.86

The second UFC rematch of 2015, one that we were ALL waiting for. Cro Cop got Cro Copped in their first meeting and the UFC’s plans to have him fight for the title fell just about as hard as he did. From what I can tell Mirko is still quite vulnerable on the mat and GG’s reconnection to his grappling should exploit that. If the fight stays standing, Mirko needs to drag it into rounds 3,4, and 5 where he stands a better chance of catching a tired Gonzaga. Unfortunately, at 40 years of age he might not be that fresh by then either. My gut feeling here is that we either get a tentative feeling out process followed by a takedown or a immediate takedown from GG. Either way, its not good for the Pride Legend if he spends too much time on his back looking up. I think Gonzaga is a pretty sound bet here and will be making an appearance in the Gold section on a parlay.

1. Joanne Calderwood $1.20

2. Gabriel Gonzaga $1.56

3. Sergio Moraes $1.27 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

4. Sheldon Westcott $1.56

5. Seth Baczynski $2.18

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6. Damian Stasiak $1.83

7. Anthony Hamilton $2.38 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

8. Taylor Lapilus $1.51 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

9. Bartosz Fabinski $1.83 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

10. Marcin Bandel $2.58

11. Jan Blachowicz $2.43

12. Aleksandra Albu $1.59 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

1. Anthony Hamilton $2.38 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med – Hamilton hasn’t lit the world on fire, but his opponent hasn’t been much better. This line is off based on my (questionable) judgement.

2. Seth Baczynski $2.18 – Edwards hasn’t done enough to warrant being a favourite and his lack of performance in his debut against an opponent he should have smashed is far from encouraging. Seth has a sizeable vulnerably, but he also has the tools to win this one with relative ease.

3. Damian Stasiak $1.83 – Stasiak is unproven, but his opponent hasn’t looked good and moving back up a division and fighting on enemy soil won’t help the matter.

4. Marcin Bandel $2.58 – Heel hook or bust.

5. Jan Blachowicz $2.43 – The quality of his opponent pushes Jan down the list. He will need to be at his best but cardio and the layer dimensions of his attack will be his keys to success.

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bETTING SCENARIOS

Exclusive Bet Pack Information.

Prop Bets

Rocky Lee/ Taylor Lapilus 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

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Stevie Ray/ Marcin Bandel 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

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Anthony Hamilton/ Daniel Omielanczuk Total Rounds Over 1.5 $2.05 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Hamilton’s inability to finish Ruan Potts a little less then 2 minutes earlier then he did at UFC 177 cost me a significant amount of money. I still cleaned up that night. I have Hamilton winning and if he does, I see it probably by decision. Omielanczuk is 5-4 in decisions and combined they have gone the distance 9 times. 10 of Hamilton’s 17 bouts have gone into or beyond the second frame. Look for lots of time eating top position in this one. Play the Over.

Sergio Moraes/ Mickael Lebout Total Rounds Over 1.5 $1.75 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Lebout is pretty crafty on the mat and if he focusses 100% on defense he could survive there. Moraes is coming off a lengthy layoff and could be a little slow out of the starting gates. He has also gone over the 1.5 mark in 3 of his last 5 fights. If the fight is spent mainly in the striking department I feel even stronger about the over.

Leon Edwards/ Seth Baczynski

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Joanne Calderwood/ Maryna Moroz Total Rounds Under 2.5 $1.85 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

I went back and forth on this one simply because JoJo has consistently been going to decisions over her last handful of fights. I ultimately went with the Under because it is set at 2.5 and with Moroz taking such a step up in competition and being so accustomed to finishing in the first round I can really see Calderwood teeing off on her in round and early (if needed) round 3. Play at your own risk.

Sheldon Westcott/ Pawel Pawlak Total Rounds Under 1.5 $2.50

Westcott is a mauler (sorry Gus) and has shown a willingness to go for the kill once the ref starts the fight. In fact, 6 of his 8 wins have come inside the first round totaling in their entirety a little less then 6 minutes. I he has gone to decisions a couple of times, but I expect him to come out strong here against an opponent who seemed weaker against his style of attack.

Gabriel Gonzaga/ Mirko Cro Cop 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

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