Jose Aldo is still the only Featherweight Champion the UFC has ever known, despite the best efforts of the former Lightweight Champ Frankie Edgar. Rashad Evans fought the worst fight of his UFC career, even poorer effort then when he got knocked out by Lyoto Machida. The big headed Alistair Overeem got crushed in a third round come back effort by Antonio Bigfoot Silva. In total 6 fights ended in upsets and the vast majority of MMA experts took it on the chin! I cover it all in my latest Podcast, check it out below.
*I have started to use Props in my parlays, if your book doesn’t offer the prop or won’t allow them to be used in a parlay- use a pick from my confidence list.
==================================================Parlay #5 =================================================== Selection 1: Selection 2: Selection 3: =================================================== Price: $5.79
A Puncher’s Chance
Parlay #8- Why the Hell not?
Selection 7: Chico Camus $1.62
===================================================Price: $24.29 =================================================== Parlay #14 =================================================== Selection 1: Selection 2: Benavidez/ McCall Over 2.5 $1.55 Selection 3: Selection 4: Selection 5:
Both guys are strikers, both guys have struggled with grapplers and should enjoy not having to face a guy looking to continoiusly shoot on them. Who will enjoy it more? I really like Rivera in this position. I was not impressed with Figueroa’s striking against Brue Leeroy at all and his previous UFC win came over a guy that had no business fighting at this level. Rivera has better technique, he hits harder then Figueroa, and based on the database her lands more often. If Rivera slows down or gets clipped that could change the complextion of this fight, but the likelyhood of one or both of those scenario’s is too limit to considering putting money down on it. Rivera is part of my top 5 and will be used on a high percentage of my parlays.
Chico Camus $1.62 vs Dustin Kimura $2.39
This is a tough fight to pick, based on everything I have seen Camus should win it, but there is a lack of quality fight footage and information surrounding Kimura which can make it hard. On the other side of things Kimura will be dealing with Octagon jitters, the impact of cutting to 135, fighting on less the a month’s notice, and taking a step up in competition. These can significantly impact a fighter, but there have been instances where a fighter in a similar situation rises to the occasion and fights better then anything previous could have indicated. I will be playing Camus in a parlay or two based on his value, but the element of unknown will lead me to tread carefully. See the Non-predicted winners list for betting info on Kimura.
Edwards is a veteran fighter that appears to be gaining momentum as opposed to slowing down like many at this stage of their careers normally would be. We won’t crack the Top 10 of the division, but he has all the skills to finish his career as a well respected member of the middle of the pack. Where does Vallie-Flagg fit in the division? This is a good fight to figure out his spot. Edwards should have a distinct advantage on the ground and I like his technical edge standing. My biggest concern is that Vallie-Flagg’s kitchen sink style approach to striking- continually attack with everything you have in your arsenal, could lead to Edwards getting clipped. This scenario is highly unlikely, but not as unlikely as many would expect. Edwards knew that Stephens was going throw big bombs at him and try to knock him out, so he as able to read and react. With V-F, he throws knees, kicks, and punches in a such a un-calculated manner that they are hard to prepare for and thus hard to defend against. Regardless, he still has only a punchers chance and if Yves elects to take it to the ground for some GnP or Sub hunting that chance goes right out the window. I feel confident that Yves will prevail and I will be including him on most parlays and in the system bet, but do it soon as his price could fall to $1.35 or lower.
Volkman can’t get any respect and had he not lost to Sass he would potentially be on the cusp of a shot at a top 10 opponent. Part of his problem is his lack of marketability, mainly the result of a string of grinding decision wins. If he can build on his submission over Shane Roller he could start to get into the conversation and move up the ladder a bit. Volkman is a predictor’s dream- you know what to expect. I am 3-1 predicting his fights so far (Sass was the one wrong) and what it comes down to is can his opponent stuff his takedowns (or land their own) and do enough damage on the feet to win the fight. In this case, the answer is no. Green is a fun fighter with potential, but a lot to work on still. He was putting a nice run together in Strikeforce, but this is a major step up in competition. Green needs to catch V0lkman early with a big shot and hurt him, but that is the worst type of puncher’s chance scenario- one with a time limit. There have been too many instances of Green being put on his back and in trouble against lesser grapplers to believe that the same won’t happen here. I have Volkman ranked #1 on my confidence list and will use him heavily throughout the night, while stylistically this is a bad matchup for Bobby and I will pass.
I went back and forth on this fight. What it comes down to as I have explained in both the Value lists, is can Woodley score takedowns? If he can, he will grind this fight out and win a decision and if he can’t he will most likely lose on the feet either a decision or a late stoppage. Hieron showed excellent TDD vs Ben Askren and that was the deal breaker for me. While he did get taken down in that fight, he showed enough defensive grappling to suggest that he will be able to shutdown the takedowns of someone at a lower level than the Olympic wrestler, like Woodley. Woodley’s striking did look improved against Marquardt and he could win a fight that remains on the feet especially if he can cut Hieron, but it is far less likely. Hieron has had multiple instances in his career where he appeared distracted by a cut or the resulting blood to the point that he didn’t perform like he should have. If he defends the takedowns I expect that he will be able to use his quickness and ability to maintain distance to avoid damage and win this fight. I expected these odds would be closer to even, so with that logic Hieron is a bargain at $2.20. I did list Woodley in my Non-predicted winners list and there are a couple of different ways to play this one. I intend to play Hieron in a couple of parlays, along with a single bet while leaving Woodley out all together. If you like Woodley you could play him in the parlays, maybe not that extensively, and then a strong single bet on Hieron. Dealer’s choice.
It is always enjoyable to try and predict a fight where the odds are at or near even. Tibau was originally the favourite when I started breaking this fight down and I was glad to see him moving in the right direction. My biggest concern with Tibau is the way he struggled with Nurmagomedov’s pressure- he was countering and defending takedowns, but the judges saw him getting outworked and backtracking. Is Dunham capable of reproducing this type of scenario? Possibily, but I think that Tibau will have a lot of success with takedowns and top control. This might not be the most exciting fight, but I think that Glieson learned from his loss to Khabib and realized that he needs to do more then just defend and counter. I fully expect to see him continually putting Dunham on his back and keeping him there for long durations of the fight. In almost all of Dunham’s wins he has had the ground game to fall back on but Tibau’s rock solid TDD will almost surely negate that and if you go back to Dunham’s fight with Sherk, he really had a lot of trouble with Sherk’s power wrestling. I ranked Tibau as my #5 value pick but I think that he is worth a decent size single bet , maybe doubling him up with one of Jacob Volkman or Francisco Rivera, and using him in some of my parlays. For Dunham I just don’t see him winning this fight and as a result he’s not worth putting money on.
Benavidez gets a lot of credit for being a contender at 135, but at 125 I haven’t been impressed. He won his debut in a fight that he was a huge favourite against a fighter that is no longer with the UFC. In his second fight I was all over Johnson as the big time dog and was so shocked when it was a split decision, but the fight played out exactly like I expected it to. If you look at McCall’s 2 fights with Johnson, I think the first one was more indicative of what he is capable of and he just had a bad second match against easily the best 125er on the planet. I think McCall can reproduce what Johnson did to Benavidez- use speed and more technical striking to get the edge on the feet and gain an advantage on the mat with better wrestling. Benavidez is struggling at 125 because he doesn’t have the speed edge that he enjoyed at Bantamweight. With his opponents being either as fast or faster then him it starts to expose the holes in his striking particularily his tendency to head hunt. I love a single bet on McCall, he is my #1 value bet because he has no business being a $3+ dog against Benavidez. After a single bet, work him into your parlays, not all of them but definitely teaming him up with the likes of Rivera, Volkman, Edwards, Aldo, Maia, Tibau, and Heiron would produce a nice return. Benavidez is a no play at this value or anything lower then $1.65 until I see him perform better in this division.
All week I debated who should be #1 on the Value list- Maia or McCall. I had Maia had #1 in my head, but then I started to look at their opponents- Fitch is a former title challenger and incredibly difficult to finish with the grappling skills and stamina to grind out a win if he can survive the first 5 minutes. While as I mentioned above I have been impressed with Benavidez at all and then when you figure in the betting price on each fighter McCall got the bump. Hieron moved ahead of Maia as well because frankly I don’t think he should be the underdog against Woodley making his value a little higher again. Fitch is a tough guy when he is able to implement his heavy top game and grind his opponent into the mat, but we have seen on a number of occasions that he has trouble when put on the defensive. Of the guys that have had success against Fitch, Maia is the most capable of finishing him. We have seen Fitch put in some bad position, the type that if Maia gets Fitch most likely won’t get out of them. One of the other reasons I dropped Maia on the value list is his conditioning. We haven’t seen him go beyond the the halfway mark of the opening round at 170 and if his cardio doesn’t hold up he is going to get wreck by Fitch and potentially even stopped. My thought process is to make a decent size single bet on Maia and use him in your parlays, but with caution this is easily his biggest test at 170.
Time to look at the public picks- right now (Thursday) 78% of the fans are on Overeem which is to be expected. Most people are writing off Bigfoot, but honestly what has Overeem done to deserve this spot as such a heavy favourite? Yes he is a K-1 Champion, nothing to dispute there, but as Silva said this is MMA not kickboxing. If you look at his current winning streak he really hasn’t faced anyone of great significant or uncompromised ability outside of Werdum. He has beaten lower level guys like James Thompson and Brett Rogers and then picked up wins over Brock Lesnar who was clearly at the end of his MMA run and Todd Duffee who took the fight on short notice. His win over Werdum was far from impressive and had Werdum focused more on striking instead of butt flopping he could have won that fight. Additionally, Overeem has questionable cardio at best, he hasn’t fought in over a year, and since 2006 he has only gone beyond the second round once (17 fights) with a 2-3 record when he goes at least 2 full rounds. These are some concerning things if Bigfoot is able to drag this fight into the second half. Overeem is a fantastic striker and Silva was floored by Cormier, but can Overeem keep this fight vertical and at range. He isn’t exactly fleet of foot and if Bigfoot is able to get inside, hold him on the cage, and eventually get him to the ground he could finish him or at the very least wreck his cardio. Silva has fought some of the best fighters in the division and his losses have been respectable. Many will write off his upset win (I picked it) over Browne because of Browne’s knee injury, which is understanable. I think that Overeem should be the favourite, but there is no way that Silva should be anywhere above $3.25 at best. I like a single bet on Silva, mid-range as there are a number of single bet worthy guys on this card. I also intend to use him in a parlay or two, but nothing too over the top with so many other high value option. Overeem is a no play with such a low price, but there is a prop I will post that will work for this fight.
Rashad Evans $1.22 vs
I am going to tread carefully with this fight. I expect that Evans is going to try and implement a similar game plan to what he used against Rampage and Thiago Silva. Strike and then shoot, try to maintain top control and grind out the fight. If he can do it he wins this fight, but Nog is a little different the other guys that Evans has beat with this approach. Little Nog has shown pretty decent TDD, but unlike Rampage he is dangerous off his back, and he has excellent boxing. If he can keep this fight vertical either by defending the takedowns or attacking off his back so much that Evans wants nothing to do with him on the ground, this is a much more competitive fight on the feet then the odds would suggest. Evans doesn’t offer a tonne in the value department and although I have him ranked #4 on the Confidence list, I will use him sparingly. Little Nog on the other hand might be worth a small bet and I think there will be a prop bet for this fight that will be worth a look too.
Frankie Edgar is finally fighting at 145, where people have said he belonged for so long. He has the luxury of starting at the top with a title shot, but where does he go if he doesn’t get the strap? My guess is, he waits around for Aldo to bounce up to 155 and then challenges for the title again. When most fighters drop a weight class it gives them an advantage in size and strength, but that won’t be the case with Frankie. The big impact will be that he has lost his advantages in conditioning, pace, and most importantly speed. Aldo will be just as fast as Frankie this will be the biggest factor in this fight. Aldo’s speed makes him very tough to hit and if he is able to unload with leg kicks to slow Frankie down and power to threaten his chin, Edgar is going to be in for a tough night. Aldo is my #2 confidence pick and I will be using him on most of my parlays and would consider doubling him up with underdogs like McCall, Heiron, Bigfoot, and Maia. I did list Frankie on my Non-predicted winners list, so check it out to see how I would use him.
4. Rashad Evans $1.22
9. Demian Maia $2.69
10. Chico Camus $1.62
-Purchase the $5 Bet Pack to get my rankings for the entire event + my non-predicted Top 5 Value Plays
|1.||$3.20||He has all the skills to replicate the success the Johnson had vs Benavidez plus his price makes him #1.|
|2.||Jay Hieron||$2.20||This price could move a little so if it starts to get closer to even jump of Hieron quick. Most likely he is the dog here because of his 0-3 record in the UFC while Woodley was a big fish in a smaller sized pond. Jay needs to keep this fight standing.|
|3.||Demian Maia||$2.69||I thought about him at #1, but Fitch is such a tough guy to finish I had to drop him a bit.|
|4.||Antonio Silva||$4.50||I love the value here, I had him to beat Fedor until read too many nuthuggers saying he stood no chance so I changed, regretted ever since. I won’t make the same mistake twice. Overeem hasn’t impressed me against anyone of this calibre to be this big of a fav even if he does have the skills to win.|
|5.||Gleison Tibau||$1.87||The line is moving and Tibau’s value is going up, but it probably won’t move much more. Dunham is an aggresive fighter, but that could cost him if Tibau can capitalize on openings and continutally put him on his back.|
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.
|1.||$4.45||I have Evans in my top 5, but I think this price is too high. Little Nog is a threat off his back if Evans tries to take him down which he will & he has the boxing skills to make him a threat especially he he can clip Evans like Rampage and Thiago did.|
|2.||$2.87||Some people are looking at this like JDS vs Cain 2, with Edgar putting too much pressure on Aldo early and him fading late. That is a possibility and the way I look at this fight is- if you had multiple parlays still in play as the main even draws near, make a small single bet on Frankie to cover yourself in case of the upset. I still think Aldo wins this one though.|
|3.||$1.67||I normally don’t put fighters in this list paying less then $2.00, but watch for this odd to move with Woodley getting closer to the $1.75 area. Hieron is in trouble if he can’t keep Woodley off of him. Woodley has made a career out of top control and Hieron doesn’t offer much off his back. I went back and forth on this predicition as Woodley has a clear path to victory.|
|4.||Dustin Kimura||$2.39||There is a lot stacked against Kimura as I outlined in my prediction breakdown, but he could be worth a small play here incase Camus stumbles in his second appearences. Predicting fights involving new guys making the step up is difficult, especially with a lack of quiality footage and background information.|
|5.||$2.90||His aggressive style could result in a power shot landing firmly on Yves jaw and ending his night. This is a puncher’s chance and I am confident in Yves ability to avoid this, ranked him #5, but if you have a little extra bank roll left over it might be worth a small play especially if he gets over $3. If he does wreck your parlays by beating Yves, at least you could pocket a little bit of cash on a single bet.|
The Value Bet list for non-predicted winners 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. These 5 fighters are the best betting options available of all of the fighters that I predicted to lose and although I fully endorse my own predicted winner I feel that giving this type of information is only fair to my followers as it gives them further insight into my opinion on each match-up.
Jacob Volkman Wins by Submission $2.90– I think Volkman takes this and even though he is a decision machine, Green’s suspect submission defense should give him opportunities to make it back to back wins by tapout. Additionally if you can get this at $2.90 as I have seen on some sites or really anything above $2.00 it is worth the play.
Jay Hieron/ Tyron Woodley Total Rounds Over 2.5– Woodley by himself makes this a solid play with his top control style. He has won 4 of his last 5 by decision and Hieron has gone the distance 13 times in his career, including in 7 of his last 10. Play the Over.
Glieson Tibau/ Evan Dunhan Total Rounds Over 2.5– Taking a quick look at their respective records- both have gone the distance in close to 50% of their fights. Tibau 17 of 34 & Dunham 6 of 16. Tibau has 8 decisions in his last 10 outings and Dunham 4 of his last 6. I really don’t see either guy putting the other away so the over is the play to make if you are unsure who take in this pick’em fight.
Joseph Benavidez/ Ian McCall Total Rounds Over 2.5– The theme continues. Flyweights get the opposite reputation of the HWs for not finishing. While the stats don’t always back this up I think this fight is going the distance. Both guys have the ability to finish their opponents, but in a combined 34 fights they have only been finished a total of one time (McCall by Sub). Play the Over.
Alistair Overeem/ Antonio Silva Total Rounds Under 1.5– This is easily one of the best plays of the night if you can get the total at 2.5 at anything over $1.35, but that won’t happen. This bout could easily end inside the first round and half with either Overeem scoring the KO or Bigfoot dropping bombs from top position. If you don’t like the risk of Silva or the price of Overeem, play the over.
Jose Aldo to Win by KO/TKO/DQ $2.75– Aldo has brutal KO power and we have seen Frankie hurt before, not finished, but hurt. If Aldo can use his speed to land big shots and his kicks to take away the challenger’s mobility, Frankie could be headed towards a KO or TKO finish. These odds are just too size-able to pass up.