UFC 152 ended a 6 week long stretch without a UFC event and it certainly created some interesting storylines going forward. Jon Jones is still the champion, but will be on the sidelines recovering from an arm injury surfer when he refused to tap to an early armbar attempt by the challenger Vitor Belfort. There is a new UFC Champion as Demetrious Johnson was crowned the first ever Flyweight champion, an upset that was predicted here at Kamikaze Overdrive MMA. Michael Bisping may have finally earned himself the respect he has long deserved in the Middleweight division and lots more, check out my latest podcast for my views about this event and what is still to come.
Selection 1: Charles Oliveira 1.36
Selection 2: Charlie Brenneman 1.42
Selection 3: T.J. Grant 2.65
Selection 4: Demetrious Johnson 3.20
Selection 1: Mitch Gagnon 2.70
Selection 2: Brian Stann 2.45
Selection 3: Seth Baczynski 1.61
Selection 4: Lance Benoist 1.57
Big Parlay (I couldn’t come up with a name for this one)
Selection 1: Brian Stann 2.45
Selection 2: Seth Baczynski 1.61
Selection 3: Lance Benoist 1.57
Selection 4: Demetrious Johnson 3.20
Selection 5: T.J. Grant 2.65
Selection 6: Igor Pokrajac 1.48
Selection 7: Charles Oliveira 1.36
Individual Fight Betting Breakdowns
Kyle Noke 2.80 vs Charlie Brenneman 1.42
I do like Charlie Brenneman here at a $1.42, but there is that element of unknown that comes with this fight which will make me a little cautious. We don’t have a lot to go on as far as how Kyle Noke will perform as a Welterweight. He was decent at 185 and we have seen fighters in the past drop down a division and have success, one being TJ Grant who I will get to shortly. I have already talked about my own personal issues with betting heavily on the first fight of the night, which combined with Noke’s weight drop will have me using Brenneman sparingly. Brenneman’s success will hinge on his ability to control Noke with his wrestling and aggression, if he can he wins and if he can’t well you get the point. My suggestion would be to use Brenneman on a one parlay, but nothing more while with Noke I need to see him at 170 before I consider investing in him.
Mitch Gagnon 2.70 vs Walel Watson 1.43
Watson will be desperate for a win here with his job potentially on the line. He lost a competitive about against Yves Jabouin and then got smashed by TJ Dillashaw so a third loss especially a definitive one will probably mean curtains for Walel. Gagnon looked decent in his debut but his gas tank caught up to him which is a huge concern here. The debut jitters could have played a role but Gagnon’s heavily muscled frame and some past footage of similar issues has me wondering if conditioning wont rear its ugly head in his encore appearance. Gagnon is a powerful guy and showed against Caraway that he prefers to either stand in close when attacking, which will negate Watson’s reach, or take the fight to the ground and work over his opponent. From top position he will need to be careful of Watson’s long limbs, but Dillashaw showed an active top game can negate this. Gagnon did some serious damage against Caraway and Watson showed he can survive a serious beating, which means if Watson can surivive early he could very well finish an exhausted Gagnon late. Even though this scenario is plausible I don’t like betting on a fighter to lose early and pull out a last minute win, its just not a sound betting strategy. I ranked Gagnon’s wrestling game above Yves Jabouin and below Dillashaws, both of whom had success against Watson so I expect Gagnon should fair well in this area too. Gagnon at $2.70 is a gift, I am not saying that he is a guaranteed winner but I just don’t see the justification for Watson being such a heavy favourite based on his past performance. Don’t go all in on Gagnon, but a nice single bet is in order and don’t be afraid to mix him into a portion of your parlays. Watson at $1.43 on a 2 fight losing streak is simply unappealing to me and is a no play.
Simeon Thoresen 2.30 vs Seth Baczynski 1.61
Excellent value here with at $1.60 on Baczynski. Thoresen is a talented fighter, but making the move from the European circuit to the UFC can be a big step. He made a nice debut against a fellow European based fighter, but he will now be tested against a solid UFC veteran in Baczynski. Thoresen traditionally has a size advantage over his opponent, but that wont be the case here and I expect it to show up in a big way. Seth was realy pushed against a far more well rounded fighter in Lance Benoist and came away with the victory so I expect he should be able to find similar if not greater success here. At $1.61 Baczynski will add some solid value to your plays, I would consider doubling him up with TJ Grant or Demetrious Johnson for a solid two fight payout. Thoresen has decent grappling skills and a nice long reach for a 170er, but he needs to prove himself against this level of competition.
Marcus Brimage 4.50 vs Jim Hettes 1.19
In all honesty I believe that every other underdog on the card, including Vitor, has a better chance to win their fight then Brimage. His weakness on the ground coupled with Hettes grappling skills really should make this a simple sequence of events- bell, takedown, control, ground and or pound, and submission = Jimmy Hettes is your winner. Watch this confidence come back to haunt me when Brimage flash KO’s Hettes, which is the only but unlikely way that Marcus could win this fight. I shook my head when this fight was made; Marcus is being fed to the lions here but he is young and still developing so a defeat wont cost him much. Even at $1.19 I feel that Hettes can be used to add few bucks to your parlay with out much of risk, while Brimage should probably be sitting above $5.oo and even then he is not that tempting.
Sean Pierson 2.35 vs Lance Benoist 1.57
Similar to Seth Baczynski, Benoist at $1.57 adds some decent value to your parlays. I think that Pierson is a decent veteran and offers a nice test for young talent, but I don’t see him beating a guy like Benoist who has as well rounded a skill-set as he does. Even if Pierson gets top position early his conditioning will eventually give out from having to constantly defend against Benoist on the ground. Pierson’s striking is serviceable but simple and when he does slow down he will be vulnerable to the diverse attack of his opponent. I don’t like counting out a fighter, especially a solid veteran like Pierson but his ability to win this fight is limited. Benoist can be used on a parlay or doubled up with an underdog pick either way he is a pretty solid play. Pierson did enough to win his fight against Jake Hecht but that wont be enough here and unless you can get him at a price closer to $2.75 which is unlikely he just isn’t worth the bet.
T.J. Grant 2.65 vs Evan Dunham 1.45
This is going to be an excellent scrap and the winner should get a push to the next level. Dunham has already had one push but got derailed by a pair of defeats while Grant has looked pretty good since coming to the division. Having re-watched T.J. at Welterweight, despite his 3-3 recorded he was competitive in all of his fights especially against Johnny Hendricks. His wins over Shane Roller and Carlo Prater at 155 showed he has the ability to fight an intelligent and calculated game-plan and beat a pair pretty solid grapplers while doing it. Dunham is far more well rounded then both Prater and Roller, but he has a tendency to get off to a slow start and against an opponent that has only been stopped one time in 23 fights (over 4 years ago) dropping an round early would be devastating. Although Dunham has one two in a row he hasn’t really been that spectacular winning a relatively uneventful decision over Shamar Bailey (who is no longer with the company) followed by arguably losing the first round against Nik Lentz before earning the stoppage (Lentz is now fighting at Featherweight). Dunham is a good striker and a very strong grappler but so is Grant and the size advantage that TJ should have will pay dividends in the grinding style fight that I expect this one to be. At $2.65 I really like the play on Grant, I believe Dunham is getting the nod as the favorite here because of his name and the noteriety that comes with it. My suggestion would be to jump on Grant as soon as possible before he drops as a lot of people seem to be backing him which could drive his price downward. He has some of the best value on the entire card and even though I wouldn’t use him in every betting scenario to avoid a let down I will use him on most of my plays- single bet and multiple parlays.
Vinny Magalhaes 2.60 vs Igor Pokrajac 1.48
Magalhaes is back in the UFC after a pretty solid run abroad, he is a ground specialist (BJJ Blackbelt) that is working to improve his striking. The hope here for Vinny is that he doesn’t intend to ‘work’ on his striking against Pokrajac. Igor has serious power and an underrated striking technique that can give almost anyone in the division trouble. Magalhaes has a tendency to take a lot of punishment in an effort to get his opponent to the ground and in his last couple appearances in M-1 it took him deep into the bout before he was able to take control and set up the finish. Pokrajac’s is not the type of fighter that should be allowed to land with regularity as Vinny might not last until the later stages of the fight. Pokrajac did have issues with Stephan Bonnar’s ground game which indicates that if Magalhaes can take him down he could find success. I think a small single bet on Magalhaes might not be a bad investment as he certainly has the skills to beat anyone he can get to the ground, but for my money Pokrajac is the play here with his heavy hands, boxing skills, and serviceable ground game. I would most likely use him in a parlay or two but again try not to let fighter potentially ruin your entire night of betting.
Charles Oliveira 1.36 vs Cub Swanson 3.05
One of the fights that I am looking forward to the most is this one. It should be a Fight of the Night candidate for sure as both guys are well-rounded and aggressive while always looking to finish their opponent. I really think that Oliveira has title contention potential and a win here, especially in impressive fashion will get him one step closer. I know he has only won a fair of fights at Featherweight but I think a lot of people are overlooking him in the rankings. Oliveira has excellent striking, use angles and speed effectively and considering how comfortable he is on his back he isn’t afraid to attempt high risk maneuvers. The same can be said for Cub, but that is going to be his undoing in this fight. Swanson likes to go all out with jumping knees and other high risk moves that leave hm off balance and vulnerable to be taken down when they don’t land. If Cub misses and finds himself on his back he might not return to his feet again until its times for the post fight handshake. Most people look at punching power when a fighter drops a division, but here with Oliveira it is grappling control that has become even more lethal with the division change. Now that Oliveira is fighting against opponents either his own size or smaller he has better control on the ground which means when he gets the opportunity to lock up a sub more often then not he is going to cash in. Swanson does have knockout power as we have seen in his last 2 fights and his speed can make him dangerous but I just don’t see him being able to get in range with enough regularity to do damage unless its a one and done knockout scenario. Oliveira has been stopped, but it was by the very large Lightweight in Donald Cerrone so this stat isn’t relevant here. I was hoping that these odds would be a little closer together then they are, but I will take what I can get and back Oliveira at $1.36 on the majority of my parlays. As far as Cub is concerned I took him last time to pull off the upset and he paid off in spades, but I just don’t see the value here this time around.
Roger Hollett 4.00 vs Matt Hamill 1.23
Stylistically do I think that Matt Hamill is going to win this bout, yes. He is a wrestling based fighter against an opponent that is primarily striking based with questionable grappling defence and a significant reach and height disadvantage. Does Matt Hamill’s time away from the cage concern me? Yes and no, Hamill was suffering from a number of injuries and retired as a result. He was feeling a lack of passion for the sport making it easy to walk away, but after being out of action for a prolonged period of time he felt the desire to get back into action which should be a positive here. Hollett is making his debut, this was the original fight before he got hurt and pulled out only to get the spot back due to another injured fighter. Unless Hollet can land with regularity I really don’t see him taking this fight, Rampage Jackson wasn’t able to finish Hamill despite keeping the fight vertical for almost the entire fight which is something I don’t think the Canadian can do. Even if Hollett does stuff Hamill’s takedowns, Matt’s reach advantage and stabbing jab will keep him on the outside and limit his success. This fight is dangerously close to a no play for me even with my confidence in Hamill taking it in almost every plausible scenario. Most likely I will use Matt at least once on a parlay, he doesn’t pay that great and logically leaving him off your bet card entirely is entirely alright. For Hollett he is coming of his own injury issues and layoff which makes him unappealing as the underdog- its either Hamill or nothing here and nothing here is just fine with me.
Brian Stann 2.45 vs Michael Bisping 1.54
The winner of this bout will take one step closer to a title shot making it an understatement to suggest both guys will be going all out for he win. Michael Bisping has been doing an abnormal amount trash talking recently, even for him, which has me questioning his focus. Sure he has been targeting Stann, but I find it incredibly odd that he has turned his attention to Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez. Either way Bisping needs to focus on the task at hand, not the task that has nothing to do with his current situation. Brian Stann is a decent athlete that is working to improve his skill set and everytime he enters the cage (excluding the Chael fight) we see an improved fighter. Skillwise, Bisping is the better striker, Bisping does have a speed advantage along with an underrated ground game, but the knockout power of Stann is a legitimate threat that the Brit hasn’t had to deal with in quite a while. Yes Bisping has beaten fighters with deccent KO numbers (Leben and Rivera) but Stann is realistically a greater threat then either one of those fighters. Bisping could very well outpoint Stann, use his speed and technique to outwork him and potentially mix in a takedown or two to exploit Brian’s questionable takedown defense.What I expect to see is Stann cutting off the cage and forcing Bisping to backpedal in order to avoid his power either leading to Stann winning via knockout or something similar to how Wanerlei Silva defeated Bisping. I would use Stann as part parlay, again Bisping is the favorite for a reason but don’t get carried away. You could consider combining him with TJ Grant or Demetrious Johnson for a nice payout, or work him into a larger parlay but I would advise against incorporating him across the board. For Bisping, something similar to what I mentioned above might work teaming him up with Grant or Johnson for a decent little payoff if the dog doesn’t bark here.
Demetrious Johnson 3.20 vs Joseph Benevidez 1.33
Hopefully another upset in the making. I really think that Benevidez is being given too much credit here with these odds or Johnson isn’t being given enough. I think that Johnson’s speed advantage shows up here, Benevidez doesn’t seem to use his speed as effectively as he could which 125 is a big no-no. In his debut 125 pound fight he fought an opponent that he knew was going to strictly stand and bang with him, in fact the last time he fought an opponent that was a legitimate threat of scoring takedowns he dropped a decision to Dominick Cruz. It will be interesting to see if Benavidez is able to score a takedown against Johnson and if he does how effective he will be on top. Based on his recent numbers he isn’t a threat to compile a huge takedown total the likes of the fighters that were able to beat Mighty Mouse. If the fight remains standing Benevidez will have the power advantage, but I question how effective it will be considering he may struggle to land with regularity challenged by Johnson’s quickness. I give Johnson a decent advantage is technique and total striking outputs which leaves Benevidez need to score that one punch knockout or as mentioned above land a high number of takedowns and maintain dominant control. Johnson is out-landed each and everyone of his opponents in his WEC/ UFC career and in the Cruz/ Johnson fight the champ was forced to abandon his striking and rely on his wrestling which is an extreme compliment to what Johnson is capable of on his feet. At $3.20 jump on Johnson for a single bet and I will be using him as central part of my parlays as well. I feel quite comfortable taking Johnson to win this fight, I have ranked him at #2 on my value list. Even if Benevidez does win this fight, these odds are far to good to pass on Demetrious Johnson. On the other side of things, Benevidez should be much higher then $1.33 and really doesn’t tempt me at his current value.
Vitor Belfort 6.00 vs Jon Jones 1.13
I will keep this one short and sweet, I think Jones wins this fight 98 times out of 100. Could UFC 152 be one of those 2 times? Probably not. For Belfort to win he will need to get in close which brings him right into the danger zone. If Belfort can rush Jones and barrage him like he did to Wanderlei Silva the champ could fall, but I just don’t see it. More likely Jones will control Vitor on the cage, use his size to break him down and finish a exhausted challenger by either submission or knockout. Is Jones worth the $1.13? No not really. Even if he is almost 100% certain of winning this fight the fact that you are only adding a couple of bucks to your win total at the risk of seeing a potential profitable night come crashing down makes this fight a no play for me. As far as Belfort is concern, I don’t see putting a bet down on him just for the Hell of it as even a worth while investment. So my suggestion is have your nights bet concluded by the time the main event starts and just sit back and enjoy the fight, hopefully with an overflowing bank account. See the props section for a better bet involving the champ if you do want to play this fight.
Top 5 Confidence Bets (1- Most Confident to Win outright)
1. Jim Hettes 1.19
2. Jon Jones 1.11
3. Charles Oliveira 1.36
4. Lance Benoist 1.57
5. T.J. Grant 2.65
Top Value Bets (1- Greatest Value based on Betting odds & Ability to Win)
1. T.J. Grant 2.65
2. Demetrious Johnson 3.20
3. Brian Stann 2.45
4. Mitch Gagnon 2.70
5. Seth Baczynski 1.61
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.
Even on a good night I don’t anticipate winning every fight on this list, realistically 2-3 correct picks would be considered a successful event.
I do not recommend backing every fighter listed, these are just suggestions where the greatest betting value on the card lies, it is up to you to make the decision where to invest your money.
Charlie Brenneman/ Kyle Noke Total Rounds Over 2.5– I think Brenneman win this fight and will most likely do it by grinding top position taking the fight deep into the later rounds and most likely to a decision. 9 of Breneman’s 19 fights have gone the distance including all 4 of his UFC wins and Noke has been to the judges in just under a half of his fights as well.
Jimmy Hettes/ Marcus Brimage Total Rounds Under 2.5– I really thing that Hettes will dominate from start to finish and if Brimage’s ground game is a poor as he has shown it to be when tested he will be in an uphill battle to even make it out of round one once the fight hits the ground.
Charles Oliveira to Win by Submission– Oliveira is the type of submission artist that only needs one oppurtunity to end this fight via tapout and I expect that Cub Swanson all or nothing risk maneuvers will eventually lead to a mistake, the fight going to the ground and the Brazilian shutting this one down via submission.
Brian Stann to Win by KO/TKO/DQ $3.20– This pick is pretty self explanatory. Stann has won 75% of his fights by knockout and Bisping’s troubles with power punchers is well documented. Stann could win a decision, but most likely if he does get the W it will be via knockout so why not slightly increase his value and play the prop at $3.20.
Demetrious Johnson to Win on Points $4.00– Johnson is the type of fighter that enters fight looking to out work his opponent Bell to Bell, if he gets the chance to finish he will but he is more then happy to beat them up start to finish. Benevidez is going to a tough guy to finish and most likely Johnson attempting to do so will put himself in the danger zone when it comes to Joseph’s power. It is a 5 round fight but that shouldn’t be an issue here.
Demetrious Johnson/ Joseph Benevidez Total Rounds Over 3.5– Neither guys has ever been finished and I don’t see it happening here. If you don’t feel comfortable backing Johnson as the underdog but are impressed by the value on Benevidez then consider playing the over in this fight.
Jon Jones to Win by Submission $2.50– It was a nice surprise to see this option paying better then $2.50. It is expected that Jones will win by finishes and I like him by Submission, but even taking him by Knockout at $2.00 is a decent bet as well. I think he will control a gassed Vitor on the cage, leading to a takedown and finish this fight much the same way he did against Rampage.