UFC 181: Hendricks vs Lawler 2- Retrospective & Bet Pack Review

From the Fight Pass prelims to the main card, UFC 181 it was one of the most entertaining cards of the year. Fans and media have been taking shots at the main event, but no one can argue that this even was anything short of a success.

Clay Collard and Alex White kicked off the Fight Pass prelims in a bout that rivaled Sergio Pettis and Matt Hobar for Fight of the Night honors.  In fact, if I was in Joe Silva’s shows, I may have given the bonus to them instead.  However, taking anything away for the Pettis/Hobar fight would itself be a sin, seeing “Lil Pettis” proved his value to many doubters, myself included.

When Gian Villante pulled out of his fight with Corey Anderson, I know I was disappointed and didn’t expect much from Justin Jones.  You can say what you’d like about the obvious gap in skills between the two, UFC 181 recapbut Jones impressed me with all the punishment he took and was able to stay on his feet. I know there’s no Chin of the Night bonus award, but if there was, I’d easily give it to Jones.  Furthermore, he was still dishing out heavy shots, and even clipped Anderson with a shot that would’ve knocked out a lesser fighter.  I’d like to see the UFC give Jones another fight, but with someone a little more on his skill level.  Now that would make for an excellent fight.
Josh Samman’s head kick KO was the move of the fight. I won’t even add the words “in my opinion”, because I don’t think I’d find anyone to debate against that.  I’ll admit that Eddie Gordon was having more success in his takedowns than I anticipated, but Samman wasn’t one to let that discourage him, as all he needed was one kick to end the fight.  And that ladies and gentlemen, was one hell of a kick.
If you told me prior to the fight that Francisco Rivera would stuff Urijah Faber’s takedowns and clearly out strike him, I’d probably wager you $100 that you’d be wrong.  However, that’s exactly what ended up happening in the first round, as well as what played out in the second.  It was unfortunate that an accidental eye poke was the cause of Rivera being screwed out of a fair chance to fight.  His additional loss on his record literally adds insult to injury, so I’m hoping the UFC will have a rematch, or at least give Rivera another top opponent for his excellent performance prior to the unfortunate incident.
Abel Trujillo looked explosive and sharp in the first round against Tony Ferguson, but fatigue seemed to set in shortly after, which allowed Ferguson to take over and out grapple Trujillo until he sunk in the RNC.  I realize that Ferguson is slowly improving with each fight, but he seems to be calling for a fight with a top five or so opponent.  He’s not ready for that kind of fight, especially seeing the small mistakes he made while grappling Trujillo. Nonetheless, I’d like to see him fight someone just outside the top 15 of the division.
As much as MMA analysts and writers try to be 100% unbiased, it’s not always possible.
This can be said for Todd Duffee, and hoping he has a successful return after all he has been through with his medical condition.  The whole fight lasted only 33 seconds, so it’s hard to go into much detail, but the biggest thing that came out of that fight was Duffee’s determination and belief that he is a top 10 quality heavyweight.  Now the big question is, will the UFC give Duffee a top 10 opponent in his next fight.  I hope they at least give him Matt Mitrione, but a bout with Roy Nelson would be fun as well.
Even though Brendan Schaub was defeated by Travis Browne, I will say that he was quite impressive in the beginning stages of the fight. He took Browne down several times, and literally stuck to him like glue.  Browne wasn’t able to take over until he landed a solid uppercut and dropped Schaub to the mat.  From there it was all ground and pound until the ref had seen enough and stopped the fight.  Though I’m curious as to how the fight may have played out had Browne not landed the uppercut.  It wouldn’t be too crazy to think Schaub could have taking a decision after seeing him impose his grappling on Browne so effectively.
The bout between Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez went pretty much as I though it would, with Melendez coming straight forward and really pressuring on the champ.  After smothering Pettis and getting several takdowns, the champ was able to land a few counter shots during the exchanges, but it wasn’t enough to win him the round.  In the second round, it was more evident that Pettis was catching Melendez with some significant shots, and the less crisp takedowns were a clear indication.  When Melendez was stunned from an uppercut, he immediately shot in for a takedown that Pettis was able to avoid.  Melendez, still holding on to a leg, refused to let up, but Pettis saw an opening for a guillotine and took it.  The champ flipped Melendez, making it a full mounted guillotine, forcing his opponent to tap.
There were several moments of booing in the main event, but with their epic first fight, it would be near impossible to live up to that expectation, and there’s where I think the disappointment might have come in.  I’ll try and be as professional as I can about the results of that bout, but on the other hand, how the hell did Johnny Hendricks not win?  To save time, I’ll just agree that Hendricks won rounds 2 and 3, while Robbie Lawler took round 5.  Now the only arguable rounds are 1 and 4, but I’ll go one step further, and say you can’t make an argument that Lawler won both rounds.  No one can make the argument that Lawler’s body shots, while avoiding a takedown, was enough for him to overcome losing the majority of round 4,and give him that round, yet not give Hendricks the same credit for round 1.  Towards the second half of the 1st round, Hendricks was landing more significant strikes and gaining control.  At this point it was a toss up for who was winning the round, and then Hendricks scored the critical takedown, which clearly should have won him the round.
Regardless of the controversial nature of the fight, it was still entertaining to watch.  Now we will see what the UFC has in store for the new champ, and if their will be a trilogy fight between the two.
Follow me on Twitter @DissensionMMA and get into the conversation.

UFC 181

Parlay Breakdowns

Gold Plays

Parlay #1
Selection 1: Matt Hobar $3.89
Price: $3.89 x Bet: $100
Payout: $389
Parlay #2
Selection 1: Robbie Lawler $3.00 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Price: $3.00 x Bet: $100
Payout: $300
Parlay #3
Selection 1: Josh Samman $2.47 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Ashlee Evans-Smith $1.54
Price: $3.81 x Bet: $100
Payout: $381
Parlay #4
Selection 1: Gilbert Melendez $3.46
Price: $3.46 x Bet: $100
Payout: $346 
Silver Plays
Parlay #1
Selection 1: Alex White/
Selection 2: Johny Hendricks/
Selection 3: Urijah Faber to Win by Submission $2.15 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Price: $10.49 x Bet: $100
Payout: $1049
Parlay #2
Selection 1: Tony Ferguson $1.45 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Alex White $1.74
Selection 3: Matt Hobar $3.89
Price: $9.82 x Bet: $100
Payout: $982 
Bronze Plays
Parlay #1
Selection 1: Robbie Lawler $3.00 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Travis Browne/
Selection 3: Ashlee Evans-Smith $1.54
Selection 4: Alex White/
Price: $31.75 x Bet: $100
Payout: $3175
Parlay #2
Selection 1: Josh Samman $2.47 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Urijah Faber to Win by Submission $2.15 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 3: Todd Duffee $1.37 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: Tony Ferguson $1.45 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Price: $10.54 x Bet: $100
Payout: $1054
Parlay #1
Selection 1: Matt Hobar $3.89
Selection 2: Josh Samman $2.47 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 3: Robbie Lawler $3.00 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: Gilbert Melendez $3.46
Selection 5: Urijah Faber to Win by Submission $2.15 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Price: $214.43 x Bet:$100
Payout: $21 443.00

Individual Fight Betting Breakdowns

Alex White $1.74 vs

It is the first fight of the night and we are staring not one but two of my betting trends directly in the face. Both have potential, one a little more then the other. The first trend is the EPU. With 2 young fighters, with relatively little UFC experience there is decent potential for an upset happening here and Clay walking away with the win. He is worth a look. If his chin holds up and he is able to wear White down by taking his best shots and continually walking forward he could score the knockout. My pick of White is based on how I think their striking techniques will line up and White simply looks better. Additionally, I don’t have specific numbers but I find that with this type of line where the fav is in the $1.65-$1.80 range and I play the dog- I lose. The play I like more here is the Under trend. Here is why. With Dooho Choi shutting off Manuel Puig in just 18 seconds last card we have now seen at least one of the opening 2 fights go under the total on 13 of the last 15 shows. More specifically that is 16 of 26 fights. Obviously it is not foolproof, but if we see that there is a high percentage (87%) that at least one of the 2 first fights is going under we simply need to figure out which one it is and I like this one. I will give you more in the prop section. As far as betting this bout straight up, I think White at this price warrants a parlay inclusions in the Silver section.

Sergio Pettis $1.32 vs Matt Hobar $3.89 

Sergio Pettis is young and talented. He has a much higher ceiling then Hobar does, but at this point in his career I see a grinding wrestling like Hobar being a very stiff test. Pettis doesn’t seem to have the power at 135 to back guys off and physically he is the smaller man. These are reason he would probably be more suited to fight at Flyweight. His guard game is workable, but if you aren’t submitting your opponent and in the process spending too much time on your back- you are losing the fight. That will be the case here. Hobar keeps it simple and grinds Pettis down to a 3 round decision. The name ‘Pettis’ caries a lot of weight with it and probably helps to drive the price up here which is nice. Its hard to believe that I am look at this heavy of a fav as having a ‘puncher’s chance’ but that seems to be the long and short of it. If Pettis can crack him and either stop him or hurt him bad enough to take 2 rounds then he can win, but I don’t see that being a high possibility. Hobar is making a good case for my top play, but he certainly will be a Gold section single bet.

Raquel Pennington $2.69 vs

Pennington just can’t seem to catch a break. This fight is more winnable then her original bout with Holly Holm, but not by much. AES will most likely exploit’s Raquel’s struggles with highly active pressure fighters. On the feet, AES will outwork her at close range and smother her on the mat. I took AES by TKO as Pennington has slowed down in previous fights and if she can’t handle the pace here AES knows how to finish from top position. I like AES’s price for a Parlay bet in the Gold section and I will be looking at the prop options too.

Corey Anderson $1.32 vs Justin Jones $3.84 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Anderson should win this bout, but we know so little about Jones that this fight is almost worth passing over. Anderson’s wrestling should trump the smaller and less accomplished wrestler. I will look at the prop bets here, but playing Anderson as part of a parlay isn’t that interesting to me.

Eddie Gordon $1.64 vs

Eddie Gordon won his season of TUF and Samman got beat in the semi-finals. But lets take a closer look. Gordon barely squeaked by an inexperienced opponent in Mike King in the quarters. In the semis he again narrowly got past his opponent Cathal Pendred, who was a bloated up Welterweight with a lot of wholes in his game. In the finals, he finally looked impressive- but again it was against an undersized natural WW in Dhiego Lima. Conversely, Samman showed his ability to work through some tough spots and while he was submitted in the semis- he lost to a guy just narrowly sitting outside the top 5 in the WW division. Yes, he was a bloated up WW, but he is on a drastically different level then the guys that ‘Truck’ was beating. Gordon throws hard, but he tosses too many singles out there and is too predictable. Samman has a better striking arsenal and the ability to use a decent grappling game to wear down his opponent. Additionally, I favour Samman’s gas tank to hold up over Gordon’s, even with the layoff. I think Samman warrants a solid single straight up bet in the Gold section or a 2 fight parlay.

Urijah Faber $1.26 vs

Eventually someone is going to upend Faber when there is no title on the line. Is Rivera the one to do it? I don’t think so. Faber is too good for pretty much the entire division, but he can’t break through that ceiling and get that gold. He will get another title shot there is no doubt there. Here is my breakdown of how the division plays out with some very preliminary predictions:

Dillashaw (C) vs Cruz

Cruz (C) vs Barao

Cruz (C) vs Faber

Cruz (C) vs Dillashaw or Assuncao

Clearly I think Cruz is coming to get that title and then I have him holding off each challenger that comes his way. I think they will work the rubber match angle with Faber winning their first encounter way back in the day and Cruz winning the second bout in the UFC. A third fight will happen between these two. As for Rivera, he is too vulnerable on the mat and has Mizugaki proved- if u can beat him to the punch you can hurt him. Along with Faber’s success in non-titles fights, another certainty is his submission skills and ability to put guys away. He has defeated far superior grapplers compared to Rivera and I think he does it again here. This flies in the face of my betting scenario of playing the Over in the final prelim fight, but with the line set at 1.5 I still think we could see a sub and the bout go into the second half. No straight up bet here, not worth the price even with Faber most certainly taking this one home.

Tony Ferguson $1.45 vs

Trujillo can certainly trouble Ferguson, but if Tony fights smart he wins this. Although, my perception of Ferguson’s fight IQ took a hit in his bout with Castillo. Ferg was winning the bout on the feet, pretty clearly, yet he continually put himself in bad positions in pursuit of really odd rolling submission attempts or just bad decisions. Castillo had nothing for him, but top position control, that Tony kept giving him. He can not afford to give Abel advantageous positions. No free top position, no free close range strikes- Trujillo hits to hard and harbours too much of a killer instinct. Tony is the better technical striker and it will show up here. He is also the better grappler and that should give him a massive edge on the mat as long as he doesn’t take too much damage when they are tied up. I think Tony pays well enough to earn the nods in a parlay, but I am on the fence- Gold or Silver. Time will tell.

Todd Duffee $1.37 vs

It feels like it was just yesterday that Duffee burst onto the MMA scene with a lighting quick knockout of Tim Hague and then follow that performance up with a dominant trashing of Mike Russow that comically ended midway through the 3rd round when Russow dropped Duffee and finished him off with easily the most ‘devastating’ hammer fist ever seen. Sarcasm. Duffee still has a lot of potential and he is only 28, which is young for a heavyweight and a division badly in need of some new blood. Hamilton doesn’t like to be hit, no one does, but you could tell in his debut that when his opponent started to connected he froze under pressure. I expect something similar here. Duffee is a more technical striker and should be able to capitalize on Hamilton’s wilder and less coordinated attack. With the layoff and at this price point I am a little hesitant to go all in on Duf, but I think he will work his way into at least one parlay along the way. I am also taking a long look at the Total as well.

Travis Browne $1.32 vs

Here is one of those fights that everyone thinks they know what is going to happen and it might, but I don’t think so. I am on Travis Browne here. Unless Schaub can use his speed and outpoint the Big man, stick and move- maybe land a few key takedowns he could bull this one out. There’s a chance, a small chance. I am going with Browne and I took him by knockout, but at $1.32 there isn’t a tonne of value here. I will most likely mix him into a parlay at least once, but I like the…Over. Yup, most are on the Under and considering I took TB by knockout that would make sense, but I like the Over. More in the props section.

Anthony Pettis $1.40 vs

Hey everyone its Anthony Pettis’s first title defense, if he wins, I hope to watch his second with my Grandchildren. Please, if ‘Showtime’ does get his hand raised start defending that belt. There are a number of challengers in the division that are forced to continually fight each other waiting for their opportunity- which never comes. Good job UFC- book one of the most inactive champions in the company on TUF. Stop doing that! I took the upset here. Both titles changing hands- you heard it here first. Ring rust and a lack of activity is a major concern with the champion. Gilbert has been much more active and that will show up. Additionally, I think his toughness plays a major role here. In my prediction, I gave you a big breakdown of some key scenarios that are going to show up in this fight. Lots of numbers, but they also make sense beyond the statistical realm. My biggest concern is the mentality that you have to BEAT the champion to win the title and that Gil can’t win a close decision. I think he drills his wrestling and gets after Pettis in a manner that will shut down his flashy striking technique. I will take Gil as a single bet in the Gold range.

Johny Hendricks $1.50 vs

To be honest I was a little surprised how far apart this line is considering the first contest was 48-47 across the board and Hendricks hasn’t fought since while Robbie has picked up a pair of high level wins. Hendricks fought very well in the first fight and he could improve here considering he was injured the firs time around. Injury aside, he was more diverse, worked his leg kicks, and didn’t go simply for the knockout blow. His wrestling was also there when he needed it to be. Lawler looked stiff early on. He didn’t throw kicks in the first 2 rounds and then when he did he started to win. He head hunted too much and seemed content to let Johny get off first and then return fire. I think this fight will be excellent for as long as it lasts. There are a tonne of examples of epic first fights where the rematch ended abruptly; Pettis vs Henderson 2 (1st 4:31), Shogun vs Henderson 2 (3rd 1:31), Shogun vs Machida 2 (1st 3:35), Sonnen vs Silva 2 (2nd 1:55) , Henderson vs Cerrone 2 (1st 1:57). All by Silva vs Sonnen 1 went to a decision, and yes there are lots of rematches that go the distance, but this scenario seems very interesting considering both guys hit so hard. I like Robbie for the win and he is worth a shot on a straight up bet, but I think the Under which is currently sitting around $2.00 at 4.5 rounds is a solid bet as well. More in the prop section.

Whole Event Confidence Bets Ranking (1- Most Confident to Win outright)

1. Urijah Faber $1.26 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. Travis Browne $1.32 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. Corey Anderson $1.32 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

4. Ashlee Evans-Smith $1.54

5. Todd Duffee $1.37 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med


6. Tony Ferguson $1.45 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

7. Matt Hobar $3.89

8. Josh Samman $2.47 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

9. Robbie Lawler $3.00 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

10. Gilbert Melendez $3.46

11. Alex White $1.74

Top Value Bets (1- Greatest Value based on Betting odds & Ability to Win)

# Price Explanation
1. Matt Hobar $3.89 ‘Pettis Lite’ is getting value from his name, he hasn’t look that great in any of his fights and is vulnerable to wrestling that Hobar will bring .
2. Josh Samman  12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med $2.47 Samman’s layoff is a concern, but I think he is the better all around fighter.
3. Robbie Lawler  12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med $3.00 Quality of opponent keeps Robbie from cracking the top 2, but I still feel he is a great play.
4. Urijah Faber to Win by Submission  12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med $2.15 I think this play hits and if it was available across the board you need to play it, but because it is not it dips on this list.
5. Gilbert Melendez  $3.46 Gil waited a long time to get his shot at the UFC title and is now on his second opportunity. He needs to make good here and now.

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.

Top Counter Bets (1- Greatest Value based on Betting odds & Ability to Win)

# Price Explanation
1. Anthony Hamilton $3.46 I think Duf takes this fight, but how many elongated breaks can the big man take from competition and then return successfully? It will catch up to him one day, plus you have to wonder about the ailments that he suffered through and how they impacted him. A small play might be worth it here or a No Play all together if you don’t need to touch it.

The Value list for Counter Bets 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.

Some people might question the use of one fighter in a parlay and the other (an underdog) in a straight up bet, but here is my logic.

Scenario: the Fav is in a 3 fighter parlay and it pays $5 x your bet of $30 and the dog pays $3.50 x your bet of $10.

The underdog single bet offers a nice safety net. If he wins then you bet a total of $40 and won $35, your losses are minimal. If your parlay wins then you bet $40 and won $150, so it is still a decent profit line.

There is the possibility that you might not win either bet, but having an “insurance” style bet can keep you from going broke a lot of nights.

Prop Bets-

 Alex White/

 Raquel Pennington/

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med Urijah Faber to Win by Submission $2.15- This is the safe prop bet for this fight and I am a little surprised how much it pays. Faber has won 11 of his last 14 fights by submission and over much more competent grapplers. I think the numbers speak for themselves.

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med Urijah Faber/ F

Todd Duffee/

 Travis Browne/

 Johny Hendricks/