UFC 187: Johnson vs Cormier- ‘A New Chapter’

I wrote this...For the first time since 2011 a new Champion in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division was crowned. Also on the card another Brazilian legend fell at the hands of the Middleweight champion, a blast from the past moved one massive step closer to a title shot, and ‘Cowboy’ could finally be ‘ready’ to challenge for a UFC title. Let’s take a look at some of the key occurrences from the night’s action.

Veterans Falter

A couple of upsets that failed to materialize featured potentially the final UFC appearances of veterans Mike Pyle and Josh Burkman. Both had their moments, but Pyle was thoroughly dominated start to finish by a young fighter on the rise and Burkman submitted by top 15 ranked opponent. It wouldn’t shock me if they both get another shot, but these losses were big indicators of where they stand going forward.

Flyweight Future

While not a dominant victory, John Dodson got his hand raised in a crucial fight building towards his future title shot aspirations. Zach Makovsky more then held his own with the TUF champ and kept the fight extremely close right to the end. Dodson was returning from a long layoff, so a second bout to help shake off the rust might be a good choice. There aren’t a lot of options out there, but Chris Cariaso or Dustin Ortiz could work without really being a massive threat.

Joseph Benavidez also picked up a big win taking home a wide decision from fellow top 10 ranked John Moraga. While the TAM representative picked up his 3rd straight win and has just 1 loss in his last 7 fights, he still a considerable distance from another shot at the title. Another bout with the champion isn’t inconceivable, but 2-3 more wins and a few more vanquished title challengers still have to fall into place.

From the Ashes

Andrei Arlovski is on the cusp of earning a UFC title shot in the year 2015. After a contentious decision win over Brendan Schaub and knockout of the deteriorating Bigfoot Silva, Andrei earned yet another upset victory over top ranked Travis Browne. Easily one of the most entertaining rounds in recent memory, Andrei blasted his former training partner and eventually earned a late stoppage in the first round. In a near moment of disaster, Browne fired back and had ‘the Pitbull’ in survival mode, but the former champion did just that, earned the Fight of the Night bonus, and is now awaiting a call from the UFC brass. When so many ‘comebacks’ are cut short before challenging for the title, let’s hope Dana gives the rejuvenated former champ his well-deserved shot at the gold.

Cowboy Up

Donald Cerrone was offered a chance to sit this one out and move directly onto a title shot. He choose to fight and fight he did. Cerrone ultimately earned the knockout and broke his opponent’s jaw, but John Makdessi deserves recognition for his efforts. He took a fight on short notice against one of the most dangerous fighters in the division and stood toe to toe for the entire fight. Cerrone landed some vicious strikes and the sequence of strikes that lead to the end were nasty, but ‘Cowboy’ didn’t leave the cage unscathed. Hopefully Makdessi can make a speedy recovery from the injury and get back in the cage as soon as possible. For Cerrone, a rematch against RDA for the Lightweight strap is almost a certainty at this point, right?

A Brazilian 3Peat

Chris Weidman was under attack early, as the champion found himself backed against the cage by a barrage from challenger Vitor Belfort. The attack brought the boisterous Brazilian contingent to their feet, but they were silenced just as quickly as the Champion scored a takedown and followed it with thunderous fight stopping ground and pound. Belfort looked overmatched and physically not to be the same fighter that had bested the likes of Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping to earn this opportunity. His future going forward is a little bit up in the air. I think a rematch with Michael Bisping could draw some attention despite the definitive finish in their first meeting. For Weidman, he is calling for his next fight to take place in New York and a meeting with Luke Rockhold would be fantastic. Jacare Souza is also an option, but Rockhold appears to be the frontrunner.

And New!

Daniel Cormier is the new UFC Light Heavyweight champion. Not interim champion, but real deal belt holder. Kind of. Cormier claimed the strap with a submission win over the heavy handed Anthony Johnson and proceeded to call out embattled Jon Jones. Jones was promised a shot at his title upon his return which really makes you wonder- what was the point of stripping him. Why not make him fight his way through a couple of opponents when he comes back and let the new champion defend the title a couple of time? Just a thought. I think at the very least Cormier should be paired with Ryan Bader for his first title defense as they seem to have a legit beef. For Rumble, that was a tough loss but he took it with a lot of class. He is still an incredibly dangerous striker. Johnson vs Rampage has been mentioned as a possible next bout, but I would prefer Glover Teixeira up next.

Final Thoughts

For the most part the card was much more competitive than the odds suggested, but it was still difficult to handicap. A 6-5 record is a significant letdown and failing to hit any of my 3 upsets only adds to that. The bet pack is posted below for you to check out. We head back down to Brazil for the next card, which is already less than a week away. Thanks for reading.

Information will be posted closer to the event when the official odds are available

The compilation of betting information listed below is meant to be used as a guideline only.

Parlay Header

Parlay #1
Selection 1: Cerrone/
Selection 2: Mike Pyle $3.41
Selection 3: Rose Namajunas $1.39
Price: $10.20 x Bet: 12 units
Payout: 122.4 units
Parlay #1
Selection 1: Anthony Johnson $2.18
Selection 2: Hall/
Selection 3: Donald Cerrone $1.21 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Price: $5.02 x Bet: 7 units
Payout: 35.14 units
Parlay #2
Selection 1: Josh Burkman $3.46
Selection 2: Namajunas/
Selection 3: Islam Makhachev $1.32 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Price: $9.60 x Bet: 6 units
Payout: 57.6 units
Parlay #1
Selection 1: Browne/
Selection 2: Namajunas/
Selection 3: Hall/
Selection 4: Dodson/
Price: $12.82 x Bet: 6 units
Payout: 76.92 units
Parlay #1
Selection 1: Cerrone/
Selection 2: Chris Weidman to Win by Submission $3.50
Selection 3: Anthony Johnson $2.18
Selection 4: Mike Pyle $3.41
Selection 5: Josh Burkman $3.46
Price: $193.56 x Bet: 6 units
Payout: 1161.36 units

Justin Scoggins $1.29 vs

This card is over-populated with heavy favourites and that can make for a tough night of betting. The typical norm for this type of a card is that 60-70% of favs get their hand raised, but a few dogs will bark. Scoggins is the better all around fighter, but he is still young and is coming off the type of loss that can let doubt start to creep in. Second guessing yourself in a cage fight is not a good thing. He is the superior striking and all indications are he gets the better of Sampo on the floor. That being said, a young fighter on a 2 fight winning streak is too risky at this line. No Play.


Islam Makhachev $1.32 vs Leo Kuntz $3.95 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Lots of red flags here, but I am tempted to consider using Islam on a parlay. On a normal card I would most certainly take a pass on this fight, but with so many heavy favourites Islam seems enticing based on the comparisons he has drawn to Nurmagomedov. Still with the lack of recent info on Kuntz, it makes it hard to pull the trigger on a big bet here. This fight could easily be a No play, but I will also take a look at tossing him in as leg of a much larger parlay that has a smaller financial commitment.


Upset pick #1 of the night. Covington took this fight on 3 weeks notice at a very early point in his career off of a pair of wins over very low level competition. Pyle is a veteran who has only lost to the upper echelon of the division. Colby’s attack centers around his ability to control his opponent on the mat, Pyle is going to make that as difficult as possible. We have seen Pyle have a lot of success against guys that have focussed their attack on taking him down. At his age and with his chin dented as badly as it is, he is vulnerable, but Convington hasn’t look that great on the feet. Pyle has improved markedly with his striking and I really like his clinch game highlighted by some nasty elbows and knees to do damage when he stalls out CC’s TDAs. I love this line based on this fight and I intend to hit Pyle hard. He is certainly a playable single bet or he can be worked into a 2-3 fight parlay with 2 lesser paying favourites.


Rose Namajunas $1.39 vs

It is hard to believe that Rose @ $1.39 is tied for the second best paying favourite on the card. Crazy. This fight should be entertaining if it goes beyond the opening few minutes. Both girls like to throw wild strikes and both are capable of spamming sub attempt after sub attempt until something sticks. I do think Rose’s aggression on the feet and ability to gain superior position on the mat will decide this fight. At this price Rose will find her way into one of my more crucial investments and I will also be looking at the Total for a possible play.


Uriah Hall $1.29 vs

We are still in a holding pattern with Hall and how far he can go. He has looked much better in his last 3 fights, but this is a step up in competition for sure. Natal’s ground game could give him an edge here, especially if Hall can’t pull the trigger on the feet. Unfortunately for Natal, I see Hall stuffing his TDAs and exploiting him on the feet. Based on how I expect this fight to play out, the best bang for your buck will most likely be the total. I will post it in the prop section.


Dong Hyun Kim $1.38 vs

Upset #2. If Kim shows up with a grappling oriented attack, I can see him winning this fight. I don’t think I see that happening though. Yes he got obliterated by Woodley, but that shouldn’t dissuade him from being entertaining which seems to be his new MO. If that is the case Burkman will endure the early onslaught and then take over in the second half. If DHK tries to fight at a little more measured pace, I can still see him slowing down in round 2 as Burkman will force him to work hard and then Josh take control in the second half. This is a big fight for Burkman and I think he gets the job done here based on his durability and conditioning. I expect to use him in similar fashion to Pyle, either as a Single play or the biggest contributor to a 2-3 fight parlay.


John Dodson $1.22 vs

Makovsky is way better than this line would indicate, but I still think Dodson gets his hand raised. The injury layoff is concerning, but Zach’s success hinge’s on doing something that only the champion was able to do and even he had trouble at times. The line is a No Play, but I will look at the total.


Joseph Benavidez $1.22 vs

I am really not a fan of either of these guys and honestly feel that Dodson/Makovsky should be on the main card in this spot. Could Moraga pull of the upset, possibly, but I can bet on either side here. Again I will look at the total for the best value option here.


Travis Browne $1.26 vs

I took a real long look at Andrei. I feel of all the dogs that I picked against, he has a very good chance to pull this one out. I certainly will consider him as a valid counter bet. The combo of his boxing and wrestling/sambo game will give Browne trouble. That is if he can avoid getting knocked out. Browne looked pretty good against Schaub and a similar game plan will work well here. Unfortunately, we can’t play Browne at this line. The total is worth a look- this seems to be a trend on this card.


Donald Cerrone $1.21 vs

This fight was much more interesting prior to the injury to Nurmy. Makdessi is not pushover, but Cerrone has been an absolute buzzsaw when he is coming in with a full camp. What a win for the Canadian it would be, but I just don’t see it happening. I feel good enough that Cerrone will get his hand raised to consider using him in a parlay at anything over $1.20. The total is also worth a look here.


Chris Weidman $1.26 vs

Weidman’s value is dropping, so unfortunately that will most likely result in me playing a method bet. Belfort was a monster, but he earned this title shot when he was on TRT and we have seen the impact of going off it has had on other fighters. I simply do not see him surviving the full 5 rounds with a guy like Weidman that has so many ways to beat him. How he gets it done, I will have to take a look at the lines and see where our money is best placed.4 STARS

Anthony Johnson $2.18 vs

The only fight on the entire card where the line is close and it happens to be a title fight which is nice. I am not Rumble for the exact reason that Ryan Bader pointed out- who has DC beaten at LHW? Pat Cummins? Dan Henderson? Not exactly a murders row of talent leading up to his shot at the Gold. I haven’t done the formal research, but it would appear that fighters moving down a weight class seem to struggle much more then fighters moving up a division. Let’s look at the 2 scenarios side by side. When a fighter moves down they are dealing with faster opponents who are normally more skilled and they are doing this after draining their body to make the new weight. As is the case with Cormier, a fighter may do fine in his new division, but once he hits the upper echelon of opponents some of these issues start to show up. When you move up a division, suddenly the impact on your body from the cut isn’t as drastic and the speed and skill factor favours you. For these reasons I am betting against Cormier. If he can’t take Rumble down the big man’s power and underestimated speed will show up huge. I think the line may move and increase the price tag on Johnson, so I will hold off until fight day. A single bet looks inviting, but again with the other dogs I am backing there is a real possibility that Rumble gets folded into a parlay.

1. Donald Cerrone $1.21 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. Chris Weidman $1.26 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. John Dodson $1.22 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

4. Joseph Benavidez $1.22 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

5. Uriah Hall $1.29


6. Rose Namajunas $1.39

7. Travis Browne $1.26

8. Justin Scoggins $1.29 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

9. Islam Makhachev $1.32 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

10. Mike Pyle $3.41

11. Anthony Johnson $2.18

12. Josh Burkman $3.46

1. Donald Cerrone/ – I try to avoid putting props into the top spot but I think that it is fitting here. Cerrone is on another level compared to Makdessi and while I give the Canuck credit for stepping up he is simply overmatched.

2. Mike Pyle $3.41 – He is ready or not, that is what this fight comes down to. There is a lot of hype for Covington, but I think Pyle is too much too soon even at his age. Pyle shows us he still has some left in the tank. Too good a line to pass up.

3. Anthony Johnson $2.18 – Is Rumble ready? I think the UFC recognizes the value of having Johnson win the title and setting up a return bout for Jones against an opponent he hasn’t fought yet. Not that it will have any actual bearing on the outcome of the fight. Johnson’s power and speed are huge here. He still needs to careful of DC’s wrestling, but I think the impact of changing divisions shows up here- see my breakdown for the full explanation.

4. Rose Namajunas/ – Rose is a finisher and I expect her to go for it here. If Nina can survive early on she could turn the tables and pick up a stoppage of her own. This fight edges out the Hall/Natal under based on price.

5. Josh Burkman $3.46 – This fight slips a little because part Burkman’s success will partially be determined by his opponent’s game plan. If he can keep it close early on look for him to take over the fight in the second half.

1. Andrei Arlovski $4.36 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med– Browne is a scary individual, but Arlovski has experience and recognizes that this could be his last shot a working towards a title shot. Not including the main event, this fight seems like it has the best potential of all the main card fights for an upset.






Exclusive Betting Information.

Prop Bets

Justin Scoggins/

See the Betting Scenario Section.

Islam Makhachev/ vs Leo Kuntz

See the Betting Scenario Section.

Rose Namajunas/

I am a little shocked that we are getting 2.5 here at this price. All 5 of Rose’s combined Pro and TUF wins have come inside the distance, with only 1 lasting to the final round. Ansaroff has been submitted once, but I see the manner in which she gives up position leading to multiple opportunities for Rose to tap her out. Additionally, if Nina can catch her with a sub or do damage on the feet she could earn the finish as well.

Uriah Hall/

This card might be saved by the props. Hall has shown the return of his killer instinct and Natal has been knocked out by lesser strikers. Additionally, if Natal can take Hall down he might be able to lock up a sub- not likely, but there is potential there. I was expecting 1.5 rounds here, I will gladly play the extra round. Play the Under, primarily on the Hall knockout scenario.

John Dodson/

See the Betting Scenario Section.

Travis Browne/

The obvious play here is the Under. I played Browne/Schaub Over 1.5 and had Schaub be able to survive another 10 seconds it could have easily hit. While I think we could see a stoppage, I expect a little bit of a tentative start out of Andrei which will push this bout into the second half. If he tries for takedowns we could see a lot of close rang time eating clinch fighting. It is a risk, but I like the Over.

Donald Cerrone/

This line is quite surprising to me and will most likely make it into the Value list. Cerrone has been a killer and stopped 4 of his 7 opponents on his current streak. Those that went the distance with him are elite level guys and while I like Makdessi- he isn’t on that level. Cerrone can finish on the feet or the mat or a combination of the two. 2.5 rounds is more then enough to take a shot at this line.

Chris Weidman to Win by Submission $3.50

I struggle to see this fight going the entire 5 rounds and while the Under 2.5 is possible I like the line here much better. Belfort has been submitted twice and Weidman has just 3 wins by tapout, but I think Weidman will be looking to take Belfort’s striking out of the equation. Additionally, as Vitor gets tired I expect he will become more and more vulnerable to being taken down and the subsequent submission attempts.

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