Never mind third time is a charm, for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) it’s the fourth. UFC on Fox 4 was arguably the best non-pay-per-view card ever aired on television. The night featured two light heavyweight bouts with major title implications: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua Vs Brandon Vera and Lyoto Machida Vs Ryan Bader. The main card also marked the impressive return of Mike “Quick” Swick and Joe Lauzon’s reintroduction to the lightweight contender conversation. While match-ups that look impressive on paper often underwhelm, UFC President Dana White’s declaration that the most impressive winner of the two light heavyweight fights would get the next title shot raised the stakes and resulted in a flurry of decisive finishes. The fighters came out to prove their positions in the UFC and, depending on the amount of viewers who tuned in, may have finally provided performances on FOX that will have a negligible amount of negative feedback.
The main event of the evening between Brandon “the Truth” Vera and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was a back and forth affair that saw both men exhausted and exhibiting a huge amount of heart. Vera has been perpetually described as a fighter struggling to show his true potential. Although Vera lost the fight via fourth round KO, he showed that he was no push over and gave Shogun all that he could handle. Mauricio Rua’s has often been criticized for his lack of cardio, and this fight was no different. Rua was beginning to gas towards the end of the fight, which left him vulnerable to unnecessary punishment from Vera placing him in jeopardy of losing the fight on several occasions. It remains to be seen if Shogun’s struggles with his cardio will continue to plague his road back to a title fight.
In the co-main event, Lyoto Machida and Ryan Bader were both out to prove that they were deserving of the next shot at UFC gold. While the first round was relatively uneventful, the second round saw Machida literally punch his ticket to a title shot. Unfortunately for Ryan Bader, Machida looked very sharp and his tricky counterstriking put “Darth Bader” to sleep in the second round as the latter tried to close the distance with strikes. The impressive one-punch knockout interlaced with Machida’s vocal assertiveness after the fight was enough to convince Dana White that he should be next in line. After the show Dana White made the declaration that Lyoto Machida had earned the spot against the winner of Dan Henderson Vs Jon Jones.
The 155-pound division also gave fans some exciting action as Joe Lauzon came back from some early adversity to submit former WEC champ Jamie Varner. Varner was coming off a big win against Edson Barboza just over two months ago, and may have provided strength to the argument that quick turnarounds for mixed martial artists are not necessarily beneficial. Nonetheless, Lauzon deserves credit for displaying beautiful grappling skills. His work in transitions led to an opening for him to slap on a tight triangle and end the night decisively. Lauzon has had his ups and down but now looks to reinsert himself into the lightweight contender ranks.
Opening up the main televised card with a bang was the much anticipated return of Mike “Quick” Swick. Welcoming him back to the octagon was DaMarques Johnson. Although Swick looked like he may have had a bit of ring rust coming in after a two year layoff due to injury, he came into the second round and hit Johnson with a sweep, quickly followed by a punch to the jaw, that put him out. Swick looked impressive and a step up in competition for his sophomore return bout should be in line.
Adding to an already stellar night of MMA action, Kamikaze Overdrive had one of its best nights of Predictions in recent memory. With the Davis/ Prado fight a no contest and off the books KO went a elite level 8-1-0, correctly predicting every fight after the opening Flyweight bout. KO didn’t just stop at correctly predicting the winner of each fight, ending the night having predicted the outcome (submission, knockout, or decision) for all 8 fights. When a night of predictions goes this well, one can almost always count on a nice payday as well. The UFC on Fox 4 Bet Pack (Check it out Below) was spectacular; with the top 4 Value bets (2 big underdogs) all coming through, 3 of 4 Confidence picks ( Phil Davis was #1) hitting, 3 winning parlays, all 5 props landing, and spectacular fight by fight bet breakdowns. Kamikaze Overdrive has now had really good shows over 3 of the last 4 events and 5 of the last 7. Don’t miss out and make sure to invest in the UFC 150 Bet Pack in the Bet Shop.
All in all, the event was a huge success. Now let’s hope the performances continue on into next weekend’s UFC 150: Henderson Vs Edgar II.
John Moraga 2.56 vs Ulysses Gomez 1.58
There are a number of X-factors for this fight; both guys are making their promotional debuts, Gomez is taking the fight on short notice and is also moving back to the 125 pound division after a couple of fights at 135, and Moraga is taking a big step up in competition. The last one could be the most significant. Moraga has a great record 10-1-0, but he has done it against less then stellar competition with his only defeat coming against John Dodson. In his 10 victories his opponents’ records in order are: 0-3, 1-1, 5-1, 2-5, 3-3, 2-1, 1-1, 1-1, 0-3, and 0-1 for a combined total of 14-20 (take away the 5-1 mark and its an even worse 9-19). When I look at Moraga’s track record it reminds me of Jeff Hougland and Pat Schilling who both had impressive records against lesser competition prior to signing with the UFC and when they got the chance to take that next step they stumbled. Gomez on the other hand was victorious in the Bellator Bantamweight Quarter Finals before withdrawing due to a staph infection and he has been competing in the Tachi Palace Fights organization compiling a 5-1 record along with capturing both the Fly & Bantamweight titles. Just for comparison sake the 9 opponents that Gomez has defeated have combined for 48-24 record. Another aspect to consider is that the Flyweight division is still fairly shallow which greatly increases the potential for mismatches because they just don’t have the fighters to choose from. Gomez does have a tendency to allow his opponent to take top position because he is so comfortable off his back, before rallying for a submission later on. He will need to be careful in this fight, because if he has a poor weight cut with such late notice he may get worn down and not be able to pull out the late comeback if the situation calls for it. Either way I would think that Gomez should have advantages in pretty much all categories and takes the fight. At $1.58 you can use Gomez, but don’t go overboard in case any of the aforementioned X-factors sway the outcome of the fight.
Michihiro Omigawa 2.20 vs Manny Gamburyan 1.71
Omigawa came into the UFC with a lot of momentum and Gamburyan worked himself up to a title shot again Jose Aldo in the WEC, but neither has been able to recapture that early success. Both fighters have a judo background, which could result in this element being non-factor if their skills cancel each other out. If one of the fighters proves to be physically stronger it could be an entirely different story. If I were to give one of them the nod in overall physical strength I would have to go with Manny considering he has fought in higher weight classes in the past. We really haven’t seen Gamburyan outgrappled in his recent defeats, while Omigawa has had issues even getting taken down twice by a relative novice grappler in Jason Young. Manny’s biggest issue has been his opponent’s striking output; despite winning the takedown battle in his last two fights he was outlanded 42-25 and 100-42 by his opponents resulting in a pair of decision defeats. I don’t expect Omigawa to be able to replicate these totals, so if Manny wins the grapple battle he should be able to take this fight. At $1.71 Manny pays really well, I would recommend using him as a parlay and/or betting on him by himself. You can also check out the prop section for a decent prop bet for this fight.
Philip De Fries 1.49 vs Oli Thompson 2.75
Out of these two fighters De Fries does have the more refined skill set with his Jiu-Jitsu, but I’m still not 100% sold on him after seeing him fold up when Stipe Miocic started landing. Oli may lack the boxing skills of Miocic, but if he is able to unload on De Fries with that ‘Strong Man’ power De Fries’s technical advantage will disappear quickly. De Fries did have some conditioning issues against Rob Broughton, despite getting the fight to where he wanted it and attempting to keep Thompson on his back could be equally as exhausting. We should understand that De Fries was making his UFC debut in his last fight, which could have impacted his endurance, so it will be interesting to see how this fight plays out. As far as betting on this British battle I would think that there are two options here either don’t touch this fight with a 10 foot pole or make a small wager based on the value of Oli Thompson.
Wagner Prado 5.80 vs Phil Davis 1.17
There are no two ways about it here, even though Davis is at the top of my confidence list when you are talking sub $1.20 like we are here he is a not going to be a part of my betting night. Yes I am quite confident that he is going to win this fight, but the limited amount of financial gain that you stand to make and it just makes no sense, because again anything can happen. Prado isn’t well known outside of Brazil, well because he has never fought outside of Brazil. In the footage I have seen of him he is a beast, but for the most part he is fairly one dimensional, winning almost all of his fights by knockout. We really have no way to judge how he will respond to spending long durations of a fight on his back fending off th the full body press of a dominant American wrestler like Davis. Yes, Prado comes out of the Nogueira’s camp which should help him to prepare for this fight considering Little Nog went the distance with Mr. Wonderul, but Prado is going to need everything to play out perfectly in order to win this fight. Prado is a big strong guy so if he is able to stuff an early takedown and keep Davis in his realm (on the feet) then he could out strike him and potentially even finish him. As much as Prado hasn’t faced a top level wrestler before, Davis has had limited experience getting hit by a powerful and technically sound striker so that could be a huge issue if that scenario materializes. I do think that Davis takes this fight, I just don’t plan on betting on it because of the risk/ reward involved and Prado doesn’t appeal to me until I see what he can do on this stage. Do Not Play.
1. Phil Davis- No Contest
2. Lyoto Machida
3. Shogun Rua
4. Ulysses Gomez
5. Manvel Gamburyan
1. Rani Yahya 2.50
2. Manny Gamburyan 1.71
3. Nam Phan 2.20
4. Joe Lauzon 1.77
5. Ulysses Gomez 1.58
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.
Michihiro Omigawa/Manny Gamburyan Total Rounds Over 1.5 (or 2.5)– Both guys have suffered a pair of knockout defeats in their respective careers, but overall they have gone to a combined 23 decisions. Omigawa has gone to the judges in all 6 of his UFC fights and Manny has went the distance in 5 of his last 7 appearances. I was really impressed with everything that Michihiro endured against Yuri Alcantara in his last fight (near submissions and knockdowns) and Manny is a tough out for anyone.
Jamie Varner/Joe Lauzon Total Rounds Under 2.5– The numbers speak for themselves; in 29 fights Varner has had 21 fights end before the final bell and of those 21, 14 have been first round finishes. Lauzon’s digits are even greater with 27 of his 28 fights concluding early, 17 in the first frame. I expect both guys will come out aggressive and look for the finish, which will also serve to create openings to be finished. Play the under.
Mike Swick/ DaMarques Johnson Total Rounds Under 2.5– Both guys have gone a tendency to wrap things up before the judges are call upon. Johnson has either submitted or knocked out his opponent 14 times in 16 wins and has suffered on the wrong end of a finish in 9 of his 10 defeats. Swick on the other hand has 10 wins by stoppage (7 KO 3 Sub) and has only gone to the judges 6 times in 18 fights. Johnson’s average fight time in 6:02 seconds and Swick just slightly over the 8 minute mark so if you can get it at Under 2.5 go for it and even at 1.5 its still worth a look.
Lyoto Machida to Win by KO/TKO/DQ $2.75– Bader has never been knocked out, but Machida will have a distinct speed and technical advantage that will make it difficult for Ryan to keep him away from his chin. Despite his recent success, Bader is only a couple of fights removed from getting hurt by a short right hand from Tito Ortiz. If Ortiz can drop him, Machida can as well. Keep in mind that Dana ‘plans’ on giving the title shot to the fighter with the best performance out of the last two fights of the night. Lyoto will have this in the back of his mind along with the desire to erase the memory of (or at least rebound from) the nasty submission defeat he suffered against JBJ so he should be looking for a spectacular finish here.
Shogun Rua to Win by KO/TKO/DQ $1.60– This does not pay nearly as well as the Machida prop does, but it will add some value to a bet on Rua. If Vera can take this fight the distance he will either win or have taken part in a far more entertaining bout then many expected, so Shogun winning will most likely happen within the time limit and probably not by submission. Either way Shogun has knockout power and I could see something similar to the Forrest finish where Vera gets dropped and Rua bounces his head off the canvas like a basketball until the Ref calls on a stop to the shenanigans.