Check out my thoughts coming out of UFC 149 for the event, my predictions, and everything else surrounding the event.
Individual Fight Betting Breakdowns
Antonio Carvalho 3.00 vs Daniel Pineda 1.38
Carvalho’s debut was a mixed bag; he did well early with his ground game and then when he was unable to get the fight back there he stiffened up. I expect a better performance this time around, but Pineda’s aggression and pressure will make it hard for Carvalho to settle in if he doesn’t get there almost immediately. I really like Pineda in this spot, he lost a tough fight in his last showing and I expect him to rebound nicely. Carvalho need a win at this level before I will start entertaining investing in him, but Pineda will make a nice contributor to any parlay on the card, maybe consider doubling him up with a underdog for some added value.
Bryan Caraway 1.45 vs Mitch Gagnon 2.70
This fight could go one of two ways; traditionally a matchup of grapplers can lead to a sloppy kickboxing match or we can actually get what makes sense- a ground fight. Caraway has both experience and size on his side, but when I was researching Gagnon for his originally scheduled debut bout against Johnny Bedford I was impressive with his aggressive style. It has been well documented that Caraway has had past issues with mental preparation and potentially could fold up shop as a result. If the pressure of fighting on his first major UFC show along with facing an opponent fighting with ‘home country’ support gets to him his performance will almost certainly suffer. I wouldn’t bet the world on Gagnon, but at $2.70 he is worth a shot here. I will probably use him on a low risk high reward parlay along with a single bet, but nothing to crazy as he is making his UFC debut which can come with its own series of complications.
Anthony Perosh 2.40 vs Ryan Jimmo 1.56
Interesting fight here and I was surprised to see Jimmo the favourite. Perosh is on a solid 3 fight winning streak in the UFC and continues to impressive with a pair of subs and a TKO win all on the basis of his ground skills. Jimmo is the former MFC 205 pound Champion and hasn’t lost a fight since his first Pro bout. Perosh isn’t pretty with what he does, but what he does do has proven effective. If Jimmo is going to win this fight he will have to avoid Perosh constant pursuit of the takedown and considering he hasn’t stopped a UFC caliber opponent yet (decisions against Sokoudjou, Wilson Gouveia, Marvin Eastman, and Jesse Forbes) he will be forced to try and avoid them for the full 15 minutes in order to get the win. Persosh is a tough guy, but he has been Use Perosh by himself or on a parlay; his recent success and $2.40 mark gives him a lot of value. Jimmo is making his debut, and although he has a stellar record I don’t like to back a debuting fighter making this type of jump in competition especially when he is the favourite. (I don’t want to take anything away from MFC (Jimmo’s former employer), but making the move from MFC to he UFC is a much bigger step up then moving over from Strikeforce or a top level Bellator fighter (Lombard) making the switch.)
Roland Delorme 2.04 vs Francisco Rivera 1.87
My initial thought was Delorme by submission, so if you have any inclination to bet on Delorme for this fight its probably not a bad idea. He is a gritty fighter that is capable of finishing if he can get his opponent to the floor and at $2.04 there is some value there. In his last fight he did get staggered and probably lost the first round right up until he hurt his opponent and eventually submitted him in the final seconds. Rivera has been submitted before and his last opponent was able to take him off his feet a couple of times early, but I really like his striking and size to be the difference maker. If Delorme can’t get the takedown his heart and determination won’t be enough to keep him in the fight against Rivera’s striking technique and power. I like Rivera at $1.87, he has value, but again my initial thought was Delorme to win so I am still a little bit uneasy about putting too much money behind Francisco. I would suggest including him on a parlay, but not using him too extensively to avoid a let down should the Canadian keep things rolling. As for Delorme you could bet him by himself or combine him with Gagnon for a nice underdog play.
Nick Ring 1.83 vs Court McGee 1.91
Nick Ring won their first meeting, but it was a highly controversial two round exhibition fight on the Ultimate Fighter back in 2010. Since that fight Ring has gone 2-1 in the UFC with one of those victories a contestable decision against Riki Fukuda, while McGee has gone 3-1 including a win in the finals of the Ultimate Fighter. To be bluntly honest, I haven’t be really thrilled with either fighter and was more then happy to correctly pick the underdog Philippou to defeat McGee in his last fight. I am not surprised that these odds are as close as they are and I expect that this fight will be extremely close (potentially a split). Ring is probably the more technically sound fighter, but McGee isn’t that far behind and I do like McGee’s output totals and conditioning (one aspect of Court’s fight game that I do like.). These two areas could be the deciding factor of fight that goes the distance and is close, especially if Ring fades a little in the later stages like he did against Boetsch. Ring will be fighting at home which should get him fired up from the opening bell, but it could also create a little bit of a drop off in performance if he can’t maintain his early intensity level in the second half of the fight. I expect that these odds will be even by bell time, so you know the drill get on McGee now or wait if you plan on taking Ring. McGee is a decent add for a parlay or a small bet as he has solid value, but again this could be a tight fight so don’t go all out on him and risk your evening being ruined based on close fight going against you.
Chris Clements 2.20 vs Matthew Riddle 1.67
Main card time, this fight really was a hard one for me to predict. Not how the fighters matchup, but because as I mentioned in the show I am a fan of Clements and have met him before etc, while on the other hand there is just something about Matt Riddle that doesn’t work for me. I don’t know what it is, I am just not a fan. Either way, based on the research and stats I had to go with Riddle winning this fight, but if Clements picks up the ‘W’ it would be fine in my books. Either way the takedowns and long reach of Riddle should be enough for him to pick up the win here. At $1.67 he is a solid play here and will add some nice value to any parlay. I would also suggest making a bet of Riddle by himself, but don’t wait on him as I seen some books with him in the mid $1.50 range. I wouldn’t mind a small play on Clements but shop around and find the best price; some sites have him closer to $2.50. Maybe a Clements/ Perosh parlay paying out at $5.39 wouldn’t be a bad back up play.
James Head 4.10 vs Brian Ebersole 1.22
Ebersole is taking this fight on short notice, but I really don’t think that will effect him much as he has so much experience to draw upon and I struggle to believe that James Head is going to show him anything he hasn’t seen before. One thing that I did make note of after each of his last two fights is that Brian seemed a little more reserved/ tight in the cage compared to his first two appearances. I attribute this change in demeanor to his new found success and status as a growing contender, as before he had nothing to lose but now he has a lot on the line every time he enters the cage. It is interesting to note that he was/ is planning a move to Lightweight which is crazy considering he has fought at 185 and I believe 205 in the past, while James Head is making his second appearance at 170. Head looked sharp in his last fight, but how good he was in his debut is hard to gauge considering the man he beat has been hurt standing and then submitted in both of his Octagon appearances. I like what Ebersole brings for this fight and he is #1 on my confidence list but he doesn’t have a tonne of betting value. He could work as part of a parlay but as is the case with any fighter paying under $1.25 they don’t add a lot to your bottom line and in MMA anything can happen which can wreck your night. There are many other solid plays on this card that I might rank under the Hairrow in confidence to outright win the fight but have significantly greater value (Riddle, McGee, Rivera, & Barao) which you should probably consider. Head as dog is alright as a backup, but I personally won’t be playing him.
Shawn Jordan 1.87 vs Cheick Kongo 1.87
If your books is not showing these odds don’t be suprised as this fight is all over the map with Kongo ranging from $1.87 to $2.11 and Jordan $1.71 to $1.87. The one constant is that Jordan is the favourite, which could be puzzling to some who are familiar with him. Jordan went 1-1 in Strikeforce and then picked up an impressived undercard win over another relatively new UFC fighter. On the other hand Kongo has been in the UFC for a long time, has fought many of the best fighters in the division and has picked up wins over Matt Mitrione, Pat Barry, Mirko Cro Cop and fought to a draw with undefeated Travis Browne (he would have won had he not lost a point for cheating, tisk tisk). Either way the books feel that Jordan has shown them enough progress and Kongo enough regression (call it what you want, but he is 37) to give Jordan the edge as the favourite. I was hoping Jordan would be a slight dog based on his relative unknown status and his numbers may improve because as I have said a quarter million times people tend to bet on who they know and in this case it is Kongo. So let’s hope the public helps us out. Jordan hits hard and is a very athletic guy, while Kongo’s chin is fading and he appears to be an old lion losing his grasp on his position in the division. But animals/fighters can be most dangerous when at risk and that is what Kongo is here. If he drops this fight, coupled with the Hunt defeat he will take a huge dive in the rankings that he may never recover from. We saw in the Barry fight he is capable of survivng against the odds even when badly hurt, so Jordan will need to be on top of his game. I like Jordan here, but I would like him closer to $2, either way I will use him on a parlay and by himself. With Kongo I would probably bet him alone as a back up bet, especially if you can get him over the $2.10 mark. If you don’t get a good feeling about this fight take a look at the prop section for another option or two.
Tim Boetsch 3.60 vs Hector Lombard 1.27
Welcome to the UFC Hector Lombard, here is your first test at the elite level. Lombard has faced plenty of talented fighters in Bellator and other organizations but now he is going to have to deal with elite level competition every time he steps inside the cage. This will either result in him eventually getting a shot at Mr. Silva for the title or fans across the Internet jumping all over him and claiming his hype train has been derailed when he losses either to Tim Boetsch or another talent 185er. I don’t have a crystal ball (oh how sweet that would be to have especially in the prediction business. I would predict the winner, method, round, time, and stupid thing Goldie said right before it happened. That would mess with some heads), but it is going to be awfully tough for Hector to continue his streak at this level of competition, you have to assume someone will eventually knock him off. The big question is, will it be Tim Boetsch? I like Boetsch, I took him to win his first two Middleweight fights, but certainly did not call the Okami upset. For me this fight comes down to Boetsch’s struggles with strong grapplers (Lombard = Olympic level, 4th degree Judo Black Belt & BJJ Black Belt) vs whether or not Lombard has built his legacy at lower level and isn’t capable of competing as a top ranked UFC Middleweight. Lombard has some legit accredidations so until proven otherwise I wont doubt that he can hang with most UFC Middleweights, whether he can run through all of them is another story though. Either way I am more tempted to sit back and enjoy this fight without making a bet. Lombard doesn’t pay that well so a single bet is out and you could use him on a parlay (I did include him on one parlay), but much like Ebersole there are other options that pay better. If you really want to bet on this fight I would say use Boetsch’s big number with another dog or high paying favourite. Maybe Boetsch and Perosh or Timmy and Gagnon to try and hit a home run with limited risk. Either way I do have Lombard at #5 on my list so I feel confident that he can win this fight, but for me most likely I will just sit back enjoy this battle, it should be an interesting tilt.
Urijah Faber 2.40 vs Renan Barao 1.56
The UFC would love to get some title belt gold around the waste of the California Kid. He was the poster boy for the WEC both during and after his title run and he would certainly bring some notoriety to the 135 pound division if he were to win the title, but I just don’t see it happening. Barao possess the attributes of fighters that have given Faber trouble in the past- speed, good striking and solid takedown defense (Cruz, Aldo, and Wineland in the first half of their fight). Faber is a vet and has shown the ability to change gears when something isn’t working (Wineland fight) but he has also had fights where there were no adjustments he could make that would have helped him short of pulling out gun (Aldo and Cruz to a lesser extent). Barao has answered the bell several times now submitting solid fighters in Chris Cariaso and Brad Pickett, along with picking up a one sided victory over a good wrestler in Scotty Jorgensen (had he knocked out or submitted Scotty he probably sits around a $1.25-$1.30ish). Faber is another step up, but I have seen nothing to suggest that Barao can’t go to that next level (he hasn’t gone the full 5 rounds so I guess his conditioning has yet be tested in the championship rounds). Faber has said it himself, Barao is far more dangerous in his opion then Cruz which is a huge statement to make when considering how Faber/Cruz II played out. It is actually a shame this fight is happening. It would be much better for this division to have Cruz vs Faber III, winner fights Barao, winner fights McDonald, and then we go from there. These 3 fights would certainly help the Bantamweight division to build itself up and gain some fans. It could still happen in some other order, but it isn’t as likely. Either way I like Barao, he pays alright at $1.56 (I haven’t seen him higher then this, but I have seen him as low as $1.50) so a single bet to end your night would work or adding him to a parlay of any size would also make sense. For Faber, he is the dog and $2.40 seems like a good number for someone as skilled as him so if you like him play him. Personally, I don’t think he is worth a play at anything under $2.75 and realistically I would much rather seem him above $3.00 but his name and past accomplishments will prevent it. Good scrap, Faber will make it interesting and if Barao manages to finish him there will be a new 135 Champion/ Monster making a mega fight with Cruz something to look forward to.
1. Brian Ebersole
2. Renan Barao
3. Matt Riddle
4. Daniel Pineda
5. Hector Lombard
1. Anthony Perosh $2.40
2. Court McGee $1.91
3. Shawn Jordan $1.87
4. Mitch Gagnon $2.70
5. Matt Riddle $1.67
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.
Court McGee/ Nick Ring Total Rounds Over 1.5– While both men have finished more fights by submission than they have won by decision, there is a real chane that this bout is going the distance. Both guys are difficult to finish, in fact neither guys has evern been knocked out or subbed in a combined 28 fights. Both fighters to a nice job limiting their mistakes and so far I really haven’t seen either one take big chances that an opponent could capitalize on to put them in a bad position. This bout should consist of a grinding grappling battle and conservative striking exchanges, perfect for the Over even if your book has it at 2.5.
Hector Lombard to Win by Decisions $3.50– Boetsch’s problems with grapplers is something that Lombard should look to exploit. Even though Lombard is known for his crushing knockout power he has 7 wins by decision and his victory over Alexander Shlemenko back at Bellator 34 was a 5 round representation of the type of gameplan that he could use here against Boetsch. Against the Russian, Lombard did an excellent job of continually changing levels to set up his takedowns and than maintaining top position once he got on top. Boetsch has been submitted once and knocked out once (both at Light Heavyweight), but he is a big guy at 185 which should help him to deal with Lombard’s power. Lombard doesn’t pay that well to win straight up, but these type of numbers are certainly worth a look.
Cheick Kongo/ Shawn Jordan Total Rounds Under 1.5– This pick is fairly straight forward, Heavyweight fights usually end before the final bell and this should be the case here. In their combined 30 career wins, Kongo and Jordan have combined for 20 knockout wins. On the negative side, both guys have also suffered a pair of knockout defeats each so their chins are far from impenetrable. Additionally, 26 of their combined 40 fights have ended before the halfway mark of the second round. There is a lot of debate as to who will walk away with the win, if you can’t make that choice consider betting that one of these men wont walk away from the first round.
Matt Riddle/ Chris Clements Total Rounds Over 1.5– Clements has the power to wreck this play, but the more likely scenario here is that Riddle is going to use his reach and height advantage to stay out of range and his takedowns to grind out the full 15. Clements is a finisher, but because I don’t have him winning this fight that doesn’t really matter. Riddle on the other hand has gone the distance 6 times in 9 fights, so expecting him to execute a gameplan leading to an outome he is already familiar with is not that much of a stretch.