As quickly has Anderson Silva can remove one challenger to his title another threat has taken his place. Chris Weidman quickly dispatched of top ranked Middleweight Mark Munoz in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 4 and showed that he could be the next man to take a shot at the King of the UFC’s Middleweight division . Following a dominant first round that saw Weidman take Munoz down with ease and attempt multiple submissions, Weidman caught his opponent with an impressive standing elbow strike as Munoz came forward and finished his badly hurt opponent with a series on unanswered strikes (In my opinion a few too many) on the ground.
Kamikaze Overdrive also enjoyed a fantastic night finishing with an overall record of 7-1-0 and a successful bet pack that can be viewed at the bottom of the page. Lets get to some quick notes on the night.
-Two of the three fights that got the night started were fairly entertaining. Raphael Assuncao could make waves at 135 if his striking continues to look solid and big props to Andrew Craig for rallying back from a tough first 2 rounds to put away Raphael Natal with an impressive head kick.
-Chris Cariaso looked solid and in a division that is fairly shallow he could get himself a title shot fairly quickly after a champion has finally been crowned. Cariaso vs Louis Gaudinot would be a good night.
-Josh Ferguson will stick around, again to help fill out the division. He showed some decent grappling skills will find success in the future as he rounds out his game. Ferguson vs Yasuhiro Urushitani.
-Alex Caceres used his long limbs perfectly to secure a submission and appears to have found himself a home at 135. Caceres vs Raphael Assuncao.
-Damacio Page could find his way out the door having lost 4 in a row (3 in the UFC), but I hope not. He had a poor gameplan tonite using takedowns, especially after Alex threatened so effectively off his back in round one. He is an entertaining fighter on most nights, we will have to wait and see what his status with the UFC is.
-the only incorrect prediction on the night and I went against my most important rule; always back the guy with more ways to win the fight. Raphael dos Anjos looked very good with his striking and his wrestling. I was impressed with his ability to take down the much bigger Njokuani, who although has trouble with grapplers has show decent TDD in the past. Dos Anjos vs Mark Bocek and Njokuani vs Terry Etim.
– Vaughan Lee looked great early and even stuffed Dillashaws initial tries for a takedown, but an poorly timed kicked lead to his undoing. Had Lee kept thing simple it appeared that his striking was going to give him a significant advantage in the fight, but at the same time props to TJ Dillashaw for getting the win and finishing a tough opponent. I would like to see Lee consider a drop to Flyweight if it is physically possible, TJ Dillashaw vs Takeya Mizugaki.
-Francis Carmont looked fantastic and is quickly becoming a name to watch in the 185 pound division. He outgrappled the six time Czech National Wrestling champion and demonstrated how dangerous his submission game is to go along with his striking. He shouldn’t rush his climb up the ladder, but I think this kid is going places. Vemola looked over-matched and really struggled to get much of anything going, but will probably get one more shot. Carmont vs Court McGee/Nick Ring winner and Vemola vs Nick Catone.
-Aaron Simpson looked pretty decent in his first fight at 170. I don’t know how far he can climb but he has the skills to compete with a large portion of the fighters in the division as long as his cardio holds up. Robertson had a gutty performance and should get one more try considering he took this fight to fill in for an injured fighter. Simpson vs Jon Fitch (original fight) and Robertson vs loser of Clements/Riddle.
-Jame Te-Huna is a beast, but we got a glimpse of what could happen against an opponent that doesn’t go away after a first round beating. Joey Beltran is a warrior and he is never going to get within a country mile of the 205 title, but he stands to make some serious Fight of the Night bonus money (I don’t know if this fight actually got the award but they have my vote) as long as he can stay with the company. Te-Huna’s conditioning is an issue that he will need to address and many future opponent saw an area of vulnerability tonight, despite a pretty impressive win. Te-Huna vs Forrest Griffin and Beltran vs Chad Griggs (that sounds exciting).
– I already talked about the main event, but Chris Weidman looked nasty. The combination of his wrestling and submission game make him a threat to anyone in the division (yes I am including Mr. Silva in that generalization). His striking is improving and he showed with that elbow that he has a few tricks up his sleeve. He is a natural athlete and with a guy like him you can only expect his standup skills to improve every time we see him. Does he face Silva yet? No, he is a little green still event though he didn’t look it against a top ranked fighter. He should probably get one more big name fighter under his belt before going for the gold. I feel for Munoz, he was so close to the title and then got mauled by an fighter on the rise, but this should also show what Sonnen would have done to him had they had met back at their original UFC on Fox date (not the stoppage, just the wrestling dominance). Weidman vs Michael Bisping or Vitor Belfort and Munoz vs Chael Sonnen or Boetsch/Lombard loser.
-Excellent series of fights and a great night of predicting, check out the bet pack below.
The Flyweight division is still building and with a limited number of fighters to call upon there could be a few mismatches put together. Ferguson is a capable fighter, but is 0-1 in the UFC losing via submission and he lost his only other fight against top competition (Mike Easton) outside of the promotion. Chris Cariaso has won 3 of his last 4 with a combined UFC/WEC 4-2 along with a 4-1 Strikeforce record. During his Zuffa run he defeated solid veteran Takeya Mizugaki, Vaughan Lee, and Will Campuzano with his 2 defeats coming against the elite of the division in Renan Barao and Michael McDonald. If Ferguson is going to get the ‘W’ here he will need to take his fight game to a whole new level. Cariaso fits my definition of a grinder, keeping things simple and limiting his opponents oppurtunities which will make Fergusons task quite difficult considering all 8 of his wins have come by submission. Cariaso seemed to struggle a little bit with the size of his opponents at 135, but at Flyweight that certainly should not be an issue. Use Cariaso has part of a parlay and I would consider using him by himself with a solid investment despite only paying $1.36.
Page gets the nod here as the favourite based on his long standing veteran status and the fact that he has faced superior competition, but certainly not his recent success. Both guys have their backs against the wall (Caceres UFC 1-3 & Page 3 fight losing streak) and the loser could be let go. Page has fought some of the elite fighters in the division (Bowles x 2, Pickett, & Johnson) and this increased level of competition is partially responsible for his current slump along with a tendency to be too aggressive, gas, and get submitted. Caceres on the other hand looked very good against Cole Escovedo in his Bantamweight debut and should have got the win over Edwin Figueroa in his last fight had it not been for a pair of points being taken away. Page needs to get this fight over quickly if he uses the same gameplan we have seen from him or he will need to switch things up and fight at a more controlled pace. Its hard for a fighter to change a style that he has become so accustomed to, which is what I am banking on. If Page gasses early he will be vulnerable to Caceres both on the feet and on the ground. Alex’s long limbs will allow him to maintain distance when striking and attempt submissions when grappling. This could be a rebound fight for Page as Caceres isn’t on the same level as his recent competition, but I am willing to take a risk on the underdog here. Use Caceres by himself for a small bet and maybe double him up with one of the betting favs on the main card.
A really nice line for anyone backing Njokuani, which in this case is me. I would think that the basis for these odds is Njokuani’s past problems with being submitted (3 times- Ben Henderson, Donald Cerrone, & Shane Roller) and the simple fact that dos Anjos is a BJJ Black Belt with 8 wins by submission. The Brazilian has done a nice job of developing a well rounded skillset adding a decent striking game to his grappling skills. Njokuani is already a fantastic striker with some very sharp Muay Thai and he looked excellent against another pretty good striker in John Makdessi. Despite the strides made by dos Anjos, if this fight stays standing Njokuani should have the edge. If the fight goes to the ground, dos Anjos will be in control but that could be easier said then done. Njokuani has shown improved takedown defense, especially against Danny Castillo despite lossing the fight. Raphael doesn’t have the wrestling chops of Castillo so it could be difficult for him to get the fight to the ground and Njokuani’s size could also play a factor during the grappling exchanges. At $2.40 Njokuani has a lot of value; play him alone and as part of a parlay. I didn’t add this to my doubles list above but Njokuani/ Weidman ($4.10) would be nice doubles parlay to consider.
Francis Carmont 1.57 vs Karlos Vemola 2.54
Carmont is one of the better paying favorites on the card, which is a little surprising considering that a number of other MMA prediction sites are backing Vemola to win this fight. Despite the win, Vemola didn’t impress me in his last fight and really hasn’t looked that great outside of one fight since joining the UFC. Carmont on the other hand has had a nice start to his UFC career with back to back win. If Carmont can avoid the wrestling of his opponent (training at Tri Star should help him with this) and use his superior striking he should be able to outmatch Vemola. Adding to this, I wasn’t impressed with the way Vemola reacted in his last fight when getting hit and if Carmont can but the pressure on him he could get a stoppage out of it. Carmont is a physical fighter and if Vemola has conditioning issue along with any trouble during the weight cut this should be exposed here again making him vulnerable to the TKO. I like Carmont both by himself and as part of a parlay or two for the evening, potentially doubling him up with Weidman.
Vaughan Lee 3.83 vs TJ Dillashaw 1.29
Both guys are solid fighters and this should be an excellent mathup. TJ’s wrestling will be the most significant aspect of this fight, if he is able to control Lee with it he should be able to grind out a decision win and if not then it will be a much closer fight then these odds indicate. Lee is dangerous off his back as we saw against Kid Yamamoto, but Dillshaw has excellent top control and should remain active enough to avoid getting caught. Lee has value and probably wouldn’t be a bad play as a backup bet, while Dillashaw doesn’t offer a big return when bet on by himself at $1.29 but he can add a small boost to a parlay of 2 or 3 fighters.
Aaron Simpson 1.36 vs Kenny Robertson 3.20
This fight doesn’t really excite me from a betting standpoint. Robertson is taking the bout on short notice as an injury replacement and Simpson is making his first trip to the Welterweight division at the age of 37. These are two significant issues surrounding this fight which could impact the outcome in favour of either fighter. I think Simpson has all the tools to win if the weight cut goes well, but at $1.36 I am tempted to completely leave him off the bet card. If this was a typical night of betting (12 fights to pick from) I would probably stay away from this fight all together but considering I didn’t predict 3 of the prelims which limits my options I will probably use Simpson as part of a parlay while staying away from Robertson until he manages to get win at this level of competition.
James Te-Huna 1.30 vs Joey Beltran 3.95
Te-Huna has looked pretty good with a 3-1 UFC record and had he been able to build on his early success against Alexander Gustafsson he could very well find himself in the UFC’s 205 pound top 10. If Te-Huna is going to take the next step, Beltran is the type of fighter he needs to be able to walk through before getting a shot at the elite of the division. I like Joey Beltran and he is an entertaining fighter, but he is never going to compete for a UFC title no matter what division he is in. He is taking this fight on short notice and has only competed at 205 pounds once so he may still be working some issues out with the weight cut. The only scenario where I can see Beltran beating Te-Huna is if Joey can endure the early onslaught and then when/if Te-Huna starts to fade Joey takes over either outpointing or stopping him. Te-Huna looked vicious against Rosa and I expect a similar approach in this fight. Te-Huna doesn’t pay great, so I will most likely work him into a parlay or two but nothing too crazy. Take a look at the props bets section for a couple of different and potentially more profitable betting options.
Mark Munoz 2.10 vs Chris Weidman 1.71
A nice pair of betting odds here no matter who you want to back. Both guys are good wrestlers, but I think that Weidman just does things better then Munoz and that is why I am taking him along with Munoz having history of struggling with other wrestling/ strong grappling based opponents. As the underdog @ $2.10 there is nothing wrong with taking a shot at Munoz, he is solid vet that has faced far better competition then Weidman and if Weidman isn’t ready to take the next step against elite competition Munoz will expose this especially over a 5 round fight. If Mark can get top position and start unloading his power ground and pound it could really change the complexion of this fight quickly. At $1.71 Weidman is also a solid play, but don’t allow him to drift too close the the $1.50 mark. As I said Weidman hasn’t faced another solid wrestler the likes of Munoz yet in his career so there are still some questions to be answered there. I will be using Weidman as part of my main investments both alone and parlayed, but I will also give a lot of consideration to working Munoz in somewhere as a backup.
1. TJ Dillashaw
2. Francis Carmont
3. James Te-Huna
4. Chris Weidman
5. Chris Cariaso
1. Anthony Njokuani 2.40
2. Chris Weidman 1.71
3. Alex Caceres 2.60
4. Francis Carmont 1.57
5. Chris Cariaso 1.36
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.
Chris Cariaso/Josh Ferguson Total Rounds Over 1.5– Cariaso has gone to decision 10 times in 16 fights winning 9. Unless Ferguson has won all 8 of his fights by submission, which is something he will be hard pressed t repeat here. Look for Cariaso to control the pace of the fight from start to finish making the over a solid play.
Damacio Page/ Alex Caceres Total Rounds Under 1.5– Page is a very quick starter so if he is going to hurt and finish Caceres it will probably be inside the first round. If Page doesn’t get the job done early he has a tendency to slow down which will leave openings for Caceres to use his long limps to set up a submission opportunity or two.
TJ Dillashaw/Vaughan Lee Total Rounds Over 1.5– Dillashaw is a grinder, but he will need to be careful on the ground against Lee. I thing Dillashaw should be able to get things going with his wrestling, but at the same time he will need to be cautious and make low risk moves which will limit the chances of him finishing Vaughan early. I like Lee a lot as well and in actuality I think Lee has a better chance of stopping Dillashaw potentially catching him with sub or hurting him on the feet. Either way if Dillashaw’s ground game hold serve this fight should go into the second half.
James Te Huna/ Joey Beltran Total Rounds Under 1.5– I don’t expect anything less then these two to come out and start throwing leather from the opening bell. The risk here is that neither guy has a history of being knocked out, but Beltran was stopped in his last UFC appearance so its not impossible. Either way this is a play worth considering.
James Te Huna to Win by KO/TKO/DQ– Te Huna doesn’t pay that great at $1.30 to win straight up, but considering Beltran has only been stopped once taking Te Huna to win by knockout could get him close to $2.00 and he showed how dangerous he can be when he starts to unload on his opponent.
Chris Weidman to win by Submission $5.50– The combination of Weidman’s wrestling and submission grappling experience makes him a legitimate threat to submit almost anyone he faces. I have predicted a number of Munoz’s fights, picking him to win several times and on more then a couple of occasions ( vs Maia and Grove) I was cringing watching Munoz defend a submission attempt from his opponent. If Weidman’s wrestling proves superior Munoz may struggle to fight off his back making the submission a reality and at $5.50 you don’t have to risk a lot to get a decent payout.