UFC 145 has come and gone and yes “the Champ is (still) Here”. Jon Jones defeated Rashad Evans in entertaining but sometimes uneventful contest. Evans (on 2 Judges’ scorecards) won the opening round based on landing the most significant blow (a head kick) but from that moment on he was relatively outclassed by the physically superior and creative champion. The greatest amount of action came midway through the fight when Jones used hand fighting to measure the distance and then proceeded to land a series of standing elbow strikes that hurt the Challenger. Jon Jones is still the Light Heavyweight Champion having defeated four former champions during this time (Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, and now Evans) and it would appear that another champion is on the horizon with former Pride and Strikeforce title holder Dan Henderson in line for the next shot at the title.
Overall Kamikaze Overdrive finished with a respectable 8-4 record, but considering I began the night on a 6-1 run I expected to end the night with a slightly stronger mark. I can take credit for correctly predicting the second biggest upset of the night with Matt Brown grinding out a decision victory over heavily touted Kickboxing Phenom Stephen Thompson. In the UFC 145 Bet Pack (results posted at the bottom of the page) Brown was ranked #5 on the Top 5 single fight confidence list and was also part of a succesful parlay along with Travis Browne and Mac Danzig.
The evenings slumps came in the middle of the PPV as Mark Hominick, Miguel Torres, and Brendan Schaub all fell in defeat. Admittedly, nothing in my research would have lead me to prediction Eddie Yagin over Hominick, but I gave consideration to both Rothwell and McDonald as legitimate underdogs as you can seen in Bet Pack Individual Fight Breakdowns below.
– F is for Fail. Marcus Brimage and Maximo Blanco had an oppurtunity to launch the event off in style, instead they stood and stared at each other for the better part of three rounds. To make matters worse, they felt the need to match each other blackflip for backflip following the final bell. Marcus Brimage D+ Maximo Blanco E
-Keith Wisniewski and Chris Clements quickly turned things around with a spirited matchup. Wisniewski tried to use his grappling to difuse the striking threat of Clements, but despite a few dangerous looking position Clements survived and unleashed a barrage of spinning back kicks and fists. Clements was throwing them and Wisniewski was taking them, unfortunately the latter is not a good way to win a fight. Chris Clements B Kieth Wisniewski C-
-Mac Danzig vs Efrain Escudero was an close matchup with Mac simply having more tools. If Efrain survives his second consecutive defeat without getting cut I will be suprised. Mac Danzig B- Efrain Escudero C-
-John Makdessi and Anthony Njokuani didn’t put on the exciting striking demonstration that many (including myself) expected but it was still fun to watch. Njokuani has a ceiling- anyone that can take him down and so does Makdessi- opponenents’ with a significant size advantage. Anthony Njokuani B+ John Makdessi C-
– Short of the submission finish, this fight played out almost exactly as I expected. Brown’s chin holds up ( there were a few nervous momements) and he uses his grappling and clinch work to batter his less experienced opponent. A tough loss can be a good thing for a you a fighter and it is nice to see a vet like Brown pick up back to back wins. Matt Brown A Stephen Thompson C
-Travis Browne burned through Chad Griggs, but how tough is the Gravedigger taking that jumping knee from a goliath of a man right on the chin and not going out. Browne looked good and is improving, it would be a big step up but I would have liked for him to have called out Cain Velasquez or at the very least point out to Dana & co that you need another Heavyweight for UFC 146 and I’m ready to go. Griggs vs Christian Morecraft would be nice, Browne vs Rothwell? Travis Browne A+ Chad Griggs C (for taking that shot).
-Mark Bocek is a grappling beast, but Alessio showed that if you can keep the fighting standing against him you can have a lot of success. I wasn’t sure why Bocek was electing to stand with him so much, it was clear that remaining vertical was the only place that Mark was at risk. Bocek against the winner of Maynard vs Guida would be interesting. Mark Bocek A- John Alessio C
– Remove the two knock downs and I would imagine Mark Hominick takes that fight on all scorecards. It would appear that Mark’s years of striking wars and tendency to absorb punishment is starting to catch up with him. Yagin really didn’t have much to offer Hominick and was clearly fading in the last round, but was tough enough to survive. The FOTN bonus is a nice reward for both guys, but the damage to Mark’s position in the division that this defeat now part of a 3-fight lossing streak is significant. Eddie Yagin C+ Mark Hominick C
-Michael McDonald just added his name to the short list of title contenders. The next year of Bantamweight title action should play out like this: Cruz vs Faber III, winner vs Barao/ Menjivar winner, winner vs McDonald. It might be too much to ask McDonald to sit for that long and picking up another high profile win will certainly help to get him over with the fans. Brad Pickett vs MacDonald would be a barn burner, especially if it is billed as a #1 contenders bout after Barao/Menjivar has played out. Where does Miguel Torres go from here? He was close to getting a shot at his title heading into this fight unfortunately not so much anymore, but in a shallow division anything can happen. Torres should look for a rematch with Takeya Mizugaki and try to recapture some of that WEC magic from a couple of years ago. Michael McDonald A+ Miguel Torres D
-Rothwell only needed one to turn his career around and he looked physically fantastic. The guy can take a lot of punishment and with his size and potentially improved conditioning (we can only assume) he could be a force as a mid card Heavyweight. Rothwell vs Browne would be an interesting scrap or if Roy Nelson has been bumped up to face Cain Velasquez, Big Ben should cease the oppurtunity and step up to face Big Foot Silva. Schaub’s chin is officially exposed; three knockouts, two in a row will make it hard for Schaub to be considered a threat against anyone with significant power. Schaub’s options at Heavyweight are limited, maybe Philip De Fries would be a fight to consider. Ben Rothwell B+ Brendan Schaub D.
– Rory MacDonald steps softly but carries a big stick and it has a nail or rock attached to the end of it. This guy is an animal, and is showing the world that he could be ready for a shot at the top even though in his post fight interview he talks about lacking big fight experience and sounds as humble as can be. Che Mills did threaten with his striking early, but MacDonald simply difussed it with his takedowns and batter him to the point of no return. Credit should be given to Mills for not tapping to strikes and doing his best to survive. Where does Rory go from here? He has already had a great showing against the interim-champ and that Rory and this one are two entirerly different fighters. He could easily call out Condit, but a win would set him up a fight with his mentor/training partner Georges St-Pierre (they did say they would fight if the situation was called for). Instead Rory could challenge the winner of Koshcheck/Hendricks, Kos is not getting a title shot as long as GSP is the champ so if he wins then Rory vs Kos works out perfect and if Johnny win that would be equally as exciting a fight. Mills has potential, but needs to avoid strong grapplers Mills vs Erick Silva would be a dynamite matchup. Rory MacDonald A+ Che Mills D+
– I already talked about this fight in the intro, Evans started off confident but you could see it start to drain from him especially when those elbows start to land. Physically, Jon Jones is such a difficult puzzle to sovle and considering he is still developing as a fighter is a scary thought. Maybe Matt Hamill holds the key to beating the champ; let him beat you senseless and hope in the process he does something illegal and gets disqualified, I joke. Henderson vs Jones next for the strap, I struggle to see this going much differently then Henderson vs Jackson. Dan will need to a) navigate inside the reach and b) avoid gassing out and getting submitted, that is a tall order for a man in his 40’s. Evans heads back to the drawing board, Evans vs Shogun should have happened, lets make it happen now. Jon Jones A Rashad Evans C
– check out the UFC 145 Betting Pack Below
Rashad Evans 3.80 vs Jon Jones 1.22
At a $1.22 a bet on the champ doesn’t seem overly exciting, but considering there are 3 other main card favorites with lower odds a bet on Jones isn’t that bad of an idea. Evans at $3.80 is enticing and a single bet here is probably a decent idea, but don’t let your weekend investment hinge on Rashad betting the champ.
Che Mills 5.55 vs Rory MacDonald 1.11
At $1.11 Rory MacDonald is a No Play, there is simply no value here. MacDonald is the more well rounded fighter, but Che Mills has that type of power that can change the complexion of a fight. I don’t recommend a bet on Mills at $5.55, but see the Prop bets below for another option.
Ben Rothwell 3.20 vs Brendan Schaub 1.30
Schaub has looked really good at times, but his two knockout losses are a cause for concern. If Rothwell can put one on his chin he can realistically cash as the underdog. There are a couple of options here, I don’t like a single bet on Schaub because you have to risk so much to gain anything significant. Instead you could include him on a parlay or risk a little on Rothwell to pull the upset or to increase your potential payout further see the props below.
Michael McDonald 1.95 vs Miguel Torres $1.75
On a card full of heavy favorites, this fight offers a nice change of pace. McDonald is talented and has a lot of tools, but Miguel has really improved since moving to Montreal and a bet at $1.75 on him is a good play. If you can wait a little closer to the event we will probably see these odds swing a little with Torres’s value rising. If you are intent on picking McDonald get on him now because his value should continue to drop.
Eddie Yagin 5.40 vs Mark Hominick 1.12
I’m not overly impressed with these odds, mainly because I like Hominick in this fight but was hoping he would be closer to a $1.30-$1.35. I don’t see a lot of areas where Yagin wins this matchup and even though he pays big he’s not a good investment, but in the end neither is Hominick. Keep you money in your pockets here.
John Alessio 4.05 vs Mark Bocek 1.20
I predicted Bocek winning this fight, and just like with Jon Jones he seems to have some half decent value mainly because of MacDonald and Hominick being so low. On the other hand, Alessio has the tools to win and if Bocek can’t get him to the mat Alessio will have an advanatage with his striking. He has a great deal of value at $4.05 and consideration should be given to the fact that Alessio is a late replacement so Bocek will have had to switch gears to prepare for him. You could consider a small single bet on Alessio to pick up the win or maybe a parlay with him and Ben Rothwell as a pack, small risk but with a larger reward. Bocek and Jones would also be a decent parlay, again because of how weak the rest of the main card favorites pay.
Chad Griggs 3.20 vs Travis Browne 1.30
Is Griggs the real deal, this fight will prove it? I have predicted against him in his last 2 fights, with both of his opponents falling short. Having reviewed my reasons for not picking him in the past, I see a lot of what it will take to beat him in Browne. If Browne’s cardio holds up he should be able to take out the Gravedigger, I like Browne at $1.30.
Matt Brown 3.35 vs Stephen Thompson 1.28
My pick of Matt Brown left a lot of people scratching their heads. The reasoning for this pick is that Thompson has yet to face an opponent with Brown’s level of skill and until he shows he can compete at the next level in MMA he is hard to back as a favorite in this type of a matchup. I would suggest taking Brown on a single bet, but if you are still not stuck use him to spice up the main card. Make your bets on the main card fighters and then consider duplicating some of those bets with Brown attach to significantly increase those odds. Maybe Brown & Jones, or Brown & Bocek. Stay away from Thompson at $1.28, an unproven talent (unproven in MMA at least) at less then a $1.50 is too much of a risk.
John Makdessi 2.80 vs Anthony Njokuani 1.38
I liked Njokuani before and now that Makdessi cam in overweight I like Anthony even more. If Makdessi had a hard weight cut he could very well gas out if Njokuani pushes him. Single bet on Njokuani yes, also worth inclusion a parlay.
Efrain Escudero 2.55 vs Mac Danzig 1.45
One of those fights that even when I was finished reviewing their most recent fights I was 100% sure who I wanted to take. I was close to taking Efrain as a dog, but I re-watched Danzg/Wiman for a second time in 2 days and I think the way Danzig handled Wiman’s wrestling and pace with relative success indicates tht he should be able to handle anything that Efrain throws at him. That being said Danzig has consistency issues so I wouldn’t be the house on him.
Keith Wisniewski 2.75 vs Chris Clements 1.40
Great potential for an entertaining fight. It is hard for me to bet on Clements simply because he is a betting fav, but is a debuting fighter against a vet who is making his third appearance in the UFC and is desperate for a win to save his job. There is a huge variable that will decide the outcome of this fight: if Wisnewski opts to use his grappling and tries to submit Clements I really like his value at $2.75, if he puts on a repeat performance of his last fight he is probably going to get knocked out. A lot of uncertainty surrounding this one ( I know I included it in one of my parlays) so play at your own risk.
Marcus Brimage 3.20 vs Maximo Blanco 1.30
Hard to put too much money down on the opening fight. Maxi at Featherweight could be very exciting, but Brimage has a lot of potential as well. Until Blanco gets a win at this level I need to see his odds a little higher before I will risk too much on him as a single bet, but with so many low betting odds he will make a nice addition to a parlay where you don’t have to invest a lot to win a lot.
1. Anthony Njokuani
2. Jon Jones
3. Mark Bocek
4. Travis Browne
5. Matt Brown
Fight of the Night
1) Chris Clements vs Kieth Wisniewski $12.00- really like these odds
2) Efrain Escudero vs Mac Danzig $13.00- both guys can put on show
3) Anthony Njokuani vs John Makdessi $7.00*
* I orginally picked Njokuani vs Makdessi as FOTN, but with Makdessi not making weight I am concerned that a potential cardio issues will prevent him from fighting up to his full potential.
Which Fight will Finish Quickest?- offered at Sportsinteraction.com
Maximo Blanco vs Marcus Brimage $10.00- both guys are fast starters and this is really enticing at 10-1.
Mark Bocek on Points (Decision) $2.00- Alessio is capable on the ground and should be able to defend against Bocek, but still lose the fight.
Mark Hominick on Points (Decision) $3.00- This is a nice jump from Mark’s near 1-1 return on a straight up win and even though I took Hominick by knockout, Yagin is a tough guy and could survive 3 rounds with him.
Mark Hominick by TKO/KO/DQ $2.25- a lot of value here as well, but go with your gut and take him by or the other but not both.
Brendan Schaub on Points (Decision) $3.40- Rothwell has proven difficult to finish and even though Schaub has stopped most opponents I compare this to his fight with Gabe Gonzaga where he went the distance out striking his opponent but unable to finish him.
Rory MacDonald by Submission $2.60- Again another nice jump from the straight up odds. Mills has been the target of constant submission attempts in his career and this fight should be nothing different. If Rory is the heir to the Welterweight throne he needs to finish Mills here and he should try to avoid Mills’s striking, so a submission finish is a logical end result.
Jon Jones by Submission $3.25- Really like this option. Jones has recognized that value in avoiding his opponents’s striking by focusing on his grappling and he has picked up 3 submission wins in his last 4. Evans hasn’t fought a lot off his back, Jones know this and will try to exploit this. Jones & MacDonald by Sub @ $8.45 is hard to pass up.
Jon Jones to win in rounds 2, 3, or 4
Round 2- $4.50 Round 3- $6.50 Round 4- $11.50
Jones has won each of his last 4 fights in one of these three rounds. If you invest equal amounts in each bet ($10 each, total risked $30, payout: $45, $65, $115) or ($50 each- total risked $150, payout: $225, $325, $575) you will walk away with a profit (if he does in fact take the fight in one of these rounds). As the fight progresses, you potential payout increases significantly. I expect an early feeling out proccess which should keep the fight from ending in round one and normally fights that are finished (as I anticipate this one will be) do not end in round 5.