UFC on Fuel TV 5 was another very successful event for Dana White and company, and another big step forward for promoting the sport in Europe. England got to see five of their own get their hand raised, as well as plenty of knockouts and submissions. Every UFC card that isn’t pay per view tends to get ripped apart pre-event due to the lack of star power. This card was no different as fans took to twitter asking for more, they didn’t get more star power but they did get an outstanding night of fights.
Jason Young vs. Robbie Peralta
Peralta decided to brawl a boxer and it definitely worked out for him, KO’ing Young in just 23 seconds. This was a great fight to kick off the UFC card in England as the U.K. people love their knockouts.
DaMarques Johnson vs. Gunnar Nelson
The Gunnar Nelson hype train just gained a lot more speed with a dominating first round submission victory over hard hitting DaMarques Johnson. Nelson is evolving into a hybrid mix of Lyoto Machida and BJ Penn.
Tom Watson vs. Brad Tavares
Brad Tavares was not intimidated by the strikes of Watson, and welcomed him to the UFC with multiple takedowns during this fight. After 3 rounds Brad Tavares won a spilt decision victory over Watson.
Andy Ogle vs. Akira Corassani
In the battle of Ultimate Fighter alumni, we got to see both fighters’ trade knockdowns and still go the distance. It was a back and forth battle that had Corassani winning the first two rounds for a spilt decision victory.
Kyle Kingsbury vs. Jimi Manuwa
Jimi Manuwa proved he’s not just a boxer as he hit Kingsbury with everything but a bar of soap. Kingsbury proved his toughness in this fight, but the doctors stopped it after round two, due to the left eye of Kingsbury becoming fully swollen.
Che Mills vs. Duane Ludwig
This fight was by far the most disappointing match-up of the evening as every MMA fan was looking forward to this technical battle. Che Mills was getting the better of the stand-up then took Ludwig down and worked top control, during Ludwig’s attempt to stand back up he injured his knee and was unable to continue after just two and a half minutes of fighting. Best wishes go out to Duane Ludwig.
John Hathaway vs. John Maguire
Hathaway absolutely dominated Maguire on the feet and the ground on route to a unanimous decision victory. Maguire is a very confident fighter and something of an expert in BJJ, but he was not able to get through the reach of Hathaway and got picked apart all fight. For an English fighter Hathaway has proven his wrestling skills, so for that reason I’d like to see him take on Jon Fitch next.
Matt Wiman vs. Paul Sass
In my opinion this was the upset of the night. Paul Sass entered the octagon with an unbeaten record and was expected to add another submission victory. The fight almost went as planned for Sass as he dove in for a takedown immediately and worked his submission game. Wiman kept his cool and shortly into the first round he managed to catch the long arm of Sass and secure an arm bar.
Brad Pickett vs. Yves Jabouin
Brad Pickett proved in this fight that the Bantamweights have power too. Jabouin managed to work his Muay Thai skills catching Pickett with a lot of shots, but Pickett stayed in the pocket like he always does and swung back. Almost four minutes into the first round Pickett caught Jabouin with a nice quick uppercut for the KO victory.
Dan Hardy vs. Amir Sadollah
Dan Hardy 2.0 came to fight Amir Sadollah and wrestled the crap out of the past Ultimate Fighter 7 winner. Hardy also looked great on his feet still showing his left hook that he loves, but Sadollah’s striking/grappling ability came through for him in this fight and made it difficult for Hardy to get the finish. Hardy dominated this fight and won a unanimous decision over Sadollah, I’d like to see Hardy fight Martin Kampman next as he’ll provide a stern test on the feet and on the ground.
Stefan Struve vs. Stipe Miocic
The main event of the night provided a Heavyweight TKO in the second round. Many people were worried about Struve’s Chin for this fight, but the 6’11 monster used his reach advantage and out boxed the former golden gloves boxer. Miocic had his chances and landed some bombs which showed just how good Struve’s chin is, however Miocic is no Junior Dos Santos so I’d like to see Struve take another small step forward for his next fight. Struve wants to fight Fabricio Werdum next which I agree with, another good next fight for Struve may be Antonio “Big Foot” Silva.
This upcoming weekend on Saturday, October 6th is the fifth edition of UFC on FX. 6’7” Travis Browne will be taking on 6’4” Antonio Silva in the main event, and Jake Ellenberger will be taking on UFC veteran Jay Hieron in the co-main event. This card isn’t the most stacked, but I’ve learned my lesson before to never criticize a UFC card before it happens. 2 prelim fights will be aired on Facebook and 6 prelim fights will be on Fuel TV, the main card will be on FX and it’s all FREE…again.
Jason Young 2.20 vs Robert Peralta 1.67
Here we go again, the dreaded opening fight of the night. I am 1-3 over the last 4 events predicting the first fight, so considering I picked Young logic would dictate that Peralta is the play here. The odds for this fight are a little all over the place; I have seen them even on some sites but for the most part Peralta is the favourite. This should be a good scrap and I really haven’t seen any indication in his 2 UFC fights and one Strikeforce appearence that Peralta is the type of fighter that is going to be able to dominate the Brit with his grappling game. Young’s striking has looked quite good and has forced his opponents (Poirier and Omigawa) to abandon their striking and use their superior grappling skills to earn the win. Young did a nice job incorporating his own grappling in his last fight and could very well look to do something similar here to earn precious points on the judges cards. Peralta has been out of action for 10 months which can create issues especially in a lower weight class fight where speed and conditioning is so important. I wasn’t that impressed with Peralta against Mackens Semerzier and I think that Young’s striking is better then Semerzier and should give Peralta issues in the exchanges. This could be a close one, so I will take the fighter who is at home, has been more active, and in the grand scheme of things has fought against better competition. I will be using Young at anything above $2.00, but with my past history of first fight forecast failures (alliteration at its best) I will certainly have bets devoid of his presence. For a single bet I will probably make a smaller wager on Young but nothing too drastic while Peralta isn’t a bad play but really didn’t grab my interest especially as the betting favourite.
DaMarques Johnson 2.80 vs Gunnar Nelson 1.45
There is always a concern backing a fighter making his UFC debut, especially when his opponent is a seasoned UFC veteran especially when the betting value of the new fighter is so limited. Johnson has a reputation for always coming to fight which almost always results in an exciting fight that ends before the final bell. The big issue with Johnson is that it has been proven time and time again that he is susceptible to being submitted. In his second to last fight against John Maguire , Johnson was submitted via armbar when he attempted a kimura out of desperation and left himself exposed for a counter submission. Gunnar Nelson is a decorated grappler and BJJ Black Bet and has a karate background which will help him to deal with the pre-grappling exchanges. Nelson has only fought once in MMA since 2010, but it was fairly recent which helps to alleviate some of the concerns over ring rust. I never like counting DaMarques out; he is well rounded and can finish a fight anywhere. He has serious power as he demonstrated when he knocked out Clay Harvison and hurt Mike Swick, but when it comes right down to it he has been submitted by less skilled grapplers then Nelson. I do think Gunnar takes this one, but the fact that he is debuting will limit the amount I use him for the evening. Most likely I will incorporate him into a couple of parlays, but I wont invest in him individually simply because he really doesn’t pay that well and although he could make the lower end of my confidence list his value as a newcomer just isn’t there. For Johnson, I have no interest in backing him because of his past history with submission and the fact that he is taking this bout on short notice which could compromise his conditioning and lead to a drop off in performance if this fight goes into the second half. If you are at all leery about this fight do not hesitate to leave it off the bet cards all together.
Tom Watson 2.10 vs Brad Tavares 1.71
Big fight for both guys. Watson has been a dominant fighter on the European scene but a big question has followed him- how well can he do against elite level competition? Tavares by no stretch of the imagination is at or even close to the top of the 185 pound division, but he still young and improving and could make some noise before it is all over. If Tavares can add a solid name like Watson to his resume he might just get a push up in competition to the next level. I was really hoping that Watson would sign with Strikeforce and for a brief time there was some talk of it. I feel that he would have matched up much better with their roster at 185 and could have made some serious noise. In the UFC he will need to prove that he can continuously stuff takedown attempts and keep the fight in his realm which would be primarily a kickboxing match. Unfortunately for Watson the majority of takedown attempts that I have seen sent his way have been successful. In his battle aginst Jesse Taylor, Taylor took him down regularly and with relative ease and you take into consideration that they were fighting in a ring. Inside a cage, Tavares will be able to pin Watson on the wall, beat up and work for takedowns while limiting the threat of getting tagged in an exchange after he initially closes the distances. Tavares has looked good and shown signs of improvement, which can only be expected for an athlete both young in age and experience. The big issues is- will Tavares fight a smart fight? Will he get dragged into a striking match which will be much closer then a grappling based fight. Keep in mind that the crowd will be backing their boy Watson and most likely every time Tavares ties up or scores a takedown they will boo. This could result in the ref making quick standups or Tavares feeling the pressure and abandoning his gameplan. I think the later is the least likely of the two scenarios. Look for Tavares to tie up, use the cage along with takedowns to limit Watson offense and damage is conditioning. If Watson can catch him he could hurt him, but Tavares’s striking is decent enough to hold his own on the feet. I have to back the more well rounded fighter and at $1.71 I like those odds. He will certainly make an appearance on my value list and could be a candidate of the Confidence list ( I do them after the write-ups are done). For Watson he does have some value, but the issues of is TDD is too great for me to consider investing until I can see what he can do at this level.
Akira Corassani 2.45 vs Andy Ogle 1.57
Of all the fights on this card this one gave me the most trouble. Most fight predictors will never admit they have trouble getting a read on a fight or don’t know the fighters well enough to properly predict a fight. I have no problem doing that and had to go to an ‘Expert’ who has watched each and every episode of the Ultimate Fighter to get their opinion. I did as much homework as I could do for this fight, but the long and short of it is that neither of these fighters have competed professionally since 2011. They both had some success on the show, but the big issue is- how have these fighters evolved since we last saw them. Ogle has been in the spotlight more recently, but still we have seen time and time again TUF competitors making significant strides after their appearance on the show. When it comes right down to it I think that the odds makers are counting on the betting public being more familiar with Ogle because his show just ended (and was on a bigger network) and as a result they expect that Ogle is where the bets will be placed. As a result of this line of thinking they make him the favourite to limit the damage that will be done if he wins after the majority of bettors back him and additionally if people see him as the favourite it will only serve to further cement the decision to back him. Ogle is a decent fighter, but I don’t see the justification for him being a heavy favourite over Corassani. Akira looked good on the show and in all of the footage I have seen of both fighters, Akira’s striking is the best skill-set either man possess. That being said there is still that element of the unknown which makes this a hard prediction. I would suggest backing Akira on a parlay, nothing too huge but he has value here. A single bet should also be in play for Akira at anything over $2.10. For Ogle I am not interested in him based on a lack of elite level skills and poor betting value. Ogle could very well prove me wrong here and if he does I wont be surprised as he is a gritty fighter, but for this fight its the underdog for me
Kyle Kingsbury 2.35 vs Jimi Manuwa 1.61
Like Tom Watson, Jimi Manuwa is making his UFC debut after a good run against lower level competition and now its time to step up. The UFC has tried before to bring Manuwa on board, but he wanted to wait. This tells me that clearly the Octagon boys see something in him and Jimi has a decent enough perspective of himself to be patient and wait till he is ready. Kingsbury got wiped out in his last fight by a debuting fighter and will be up against it again. The key to Kyle winning this fight is takedowns. He needs to shoot or clinch (but not spend too much time here) with Manuwa ASAP and get this fight to the ground. The issue is Kyle has tried this game-plan before with only moderate success. Against Jared Hamman and Fabio Maldonando he continually used takedowns to score points, but couldn’t keep the advantage for long and didn’t mount much of an attack when he got the fight there. He won both of those bouts, but they were close and he clearly had issues with the striking especially as he begins to slow down. Manuwa’s grappling game is a question mark, but his striking power and skill is not. If Kingsbury can’t take him down and keep him there he will be in trouble on the feet. Kyle’s striking is dangerous based on his raw physical power but that danger diminishes significantly as time passes because he is still relatively stiff and his conditioing suffers as a result. Manuwa on the other hand has natural power and smooth technique that will create issues for Kingsbury when/if they are forced to exchange for prolonged periods of time. I was hoping for a line comparable to Watson/Tavares, but that unfortunately isn’t the case here. Kingsbury trains at AKA with a number of talented wrestlers so he should have been drilling his takedowns and top control for this fight and as a result a bet on him at $2.35 makes sense. For Manuwa I like this bet at $1.61, but again because it hinges on the fight remaining standing I will be cautious with how often I use him on my bet card.
Duane Ludwig 2.76 vs Che Mills 1.51
Great fight here, might not last long though. Ludwig is the superior striker here, but his chin is a real issues. A career of taking punishment has seemingly caught up to Ludwig and Mills is just the type of fighter to expose this. Mills has devastating power and that type of cool demeanour to stand and try until Ludwig drops. The big knock on Mills it his ground game, but by no stretch of the imagination does Ludwig have the ability to expose this. Mills will be pretty close to the top of my confidence list and at $1.51 he has some decent value too, but jump on him before his value falls. Could Ludwig win this fight? Maybe, but he will have to be at his best to both outpoint Mills and avoid getting his chin checked. I don’t want to promote using one bet across the board, but Mills is going to be thoroughly weaved into my betting plan. A single bet and a large portion of parlays makes sense to me.
Matt Wiman 1.87 vs Paul Sass 1.87
This is a very interesting match-up. Paul Sass is the definition of a one dimensional fighter winning almost all of his fight by submission. So far he is 3-0 in the UFC and all three wins have come by tapout. So what gives? This is the third time I have predicted a Sass fight and the first time I have actually backed him. I expected Michael Johnson and then Jacob Volkman would be able to avoid the submission game and win the fight based on Sass’s inability to do anything else, wrong! Both guys were dragged into Sass’s realm and put away in timely fashion. Yet again when I turned my attention to predicting a Sass fight I looked at his opponent, Matt Wiman and wondered to mysef- can he avoid going to the ground? I then watched a couple of fights for each fighter and realized that I could take Joe Rogan’s breakdown of how Sass is successful and play the audio over Wiman’s fight with Mac Danzig and get my answer. Sass thrives on fighting in close, he wants his opponent to tie up with him and will take advantage of any opportunity to drag his opponent to the ground. Wiman has a serious reach disadvantage and has a natural tendency to close the distance behind his combination and clinch. Additionally, Rogan talked about how Sass will throw a kick in hope that a wrestler’s instincts will take over and he will look to take the fight to the ground. Wiman is guilty of this too. When Danzig tossed up a head kick, Matt ducked under and took him down without a second thought. Wiman seems to have a natural inclination to do all the things Sass is begging his opponent to do. Sass doesn’t have a takedown to speak of in the UFC, so its been up to his opponent to get the fight to the ground and it would appear that Wiman will oblige. If I was to build the perfect opponent to beat Sass they would have Machida’s striking and management of distance and Ben Henderson’s submission defence if the fight did go to the ground. Matt Wiman has neither, even though he has never been submitted. I like Sass, I like him at $1.87 and some sites have him as the underdog. There is still a concern that Wiman will finally figure it out and avoid Sass’s submissions, but I will take Sass on a single bet and a good portion of my parlays.
Yves Jabouin 2.70 vs Brad Pickett 1.48
Brad Pickett comes into this fight with the memory of his devastating defeat against now interim-champion Renan Barao still fresh in his mind. I expect this should result in Pickett putting forward the best performance inside the Octagon yet. In his win over Damacio Page he fought a much more calculated fight and even though there were moments where he seemed to just bite down and swing, he picked his places and capitalized on his opponents mistakes. Jabouin has looked solid in his 3 fight run at BW but take into consider who he has fought and it is pretty clear that Pickett is a big step up in competition. So far Jabouin has beaten Ian Loveland UFC 1-2, Walel Watson UFC 1-3, and Jeff Hougland UFC 1-1 for a combined 3-6 UFC record. These aren’t exactly big league numbers, but Jabouin has still looked pretty good in these fight nonetheless. Pickett is the more well rounded fighter and this should show up here. Jabouin is at his best when he can set up his strikes and work from distance to utilize his leg kicks. Pickett on the other hand is much more aggressive and will look to get inside and overwhelm his opponent with furious flurries of heavy handed punches. Even if the striking is close, which it could be based on the stats I gave during my video prediction, Pickett’s takedowns should be a huge difference maker. We have yet to see Jabouin really pushed at 135, but on a couple of different occasions at 145 when his opponent forced him to dig down his conditioning faltered and cost him a W. This is another thing I expect to see from Pickett in this fight, he carries a much more rapid pace then Yves and should be able to get the better of him as the fight progresses. If Yves is going to win this fight he will have to dominate the stand-up or knock him out, but for Pickett he simply has more ways of winning this fight. I like Pickett at $1.48, I think he is a solid play for any parlay and he will be on my top 5 confidence list so a single bet would also work if that is what you are looking for. For Yves he has skill but I think that Pickett is his ceiling as far as progress he can make up the rankings, if you were to make a bet on him I would prefer it to be mixed with another decent paying underdog like maybe Matt Wiman, Kyle Kingsbury or John Maguire to really push the value up.
John Maguire 3.20 vs John Hathaway 1.33
Of all the predictions for this card this is the one that has left people scratching their head. Maguire is a big dog at $3.20 against a much more established and more well rounded fighter. Here are some of the things that lead me to pick the upset. Takedowns- Hathaway has had issues with being taken down in pretty much every single fight he has had in the UFC; Story 4, Sanchez 1, Pyle 5, McCray 3, and Krauss 1. I know these guys are pretty solid grapplers, but I have come to learn that when trends spread beyond a couple of fights they are usually going to pop up again. If Maguire is able to establish his takedown game Hathaway’s confidence could disappear quickly, and it might only take one attempt if the sub opportunity is there. Size- Yes Hathaway is the bigger fighter, but that isn’t always an advantage especially in this scenario. Maguire does a nice job throwing a combination waiting for his opponent to react and then ducking low under their hands and shooting for a takedown. With Hathaway being so much taller there is going to be a larger opening for John to shoot in on and take him off balance. Additionally, with Maguire being the shorter more ‘built’ fighter it will aid him in maintaining a heavy base on top because his weight isnt has spread out as much. Diego Sanchez- Yes Hathaway beat Diego which really helped to propel him up the ladder, but Diego has said himself prior to that fight he was in a bad place, not focused on fighting and not training properly. I don’t want to make excuses for Sanchez, but Hathaway gets a lot of credit for that win and people view him in a different light even though I don’t think it was as big as deal as everyone makes it out to be. This fight could go either way and yes Hathaway has some serious advantages, but I wasn’t overly impressed with him against Pascal Krauss who I rank below Maguire in talent. There certainly are lots of compelling argument for Hathaway and Maguire is in that one-dimensional category, but that one dimension has been an issues in the past for Hathaway and I think that of all the fighters Hathaway has faced Maguire has best finishing skills. I wont be going all out with Magurie on my bet card, he is the underdog for a reason at one that is over $3.00. I would make a moderate single bet on him and use Maguire on a couple of parlays, but for every one parlay you include him on I would have 2 maybe 3 that you don’t. Hathaway at $1.33 has limited value and there are other favourites on this card that pay better and I would feel more comfortable backing based on how they match up with their opponents- Hardy, Pickett, Tavares, and Miocic all come to mind.
Amir Sadollah 2.70 vs Dan Hardy 1.43
Right away there is value on Sadollah at $2.70. Dan Hardy is coming off a win, but prior to that he had 4 straight losses so taking a shot on Amir, especially if you can get him closer to $3.00 is probably worth a look. I know this is pretty simple logic, but confidence is a huge thing in fighting and I know Hardy is riding high coming of that win but it might only take one or two things to go wrong to revert right back to that old mentality and strip him of his confidence. I know that is not the greatest way to instill confidence in my prediction, but that is a scenario that could play out. In the end I don’t think it is a very likely scenario and I really like Hardy in this fight. This bout should be a striking based fight with limited grappling exchanges and that is what Hardy needs to feel comfortable, as was the case with Ludwig. I don’t want to say the UFC is setting him up for a couple of wins, but it is a business and the company knows his value on British cards like this one. If Hardy can string 2-3 wins together and regain even the slightest amount of relevance the UFC knows they can promote him on their British cards and the fans will come to see him, if he is losing its much harder to justify using him in a high profile position. I just find it really interesting that Hardy beats Ludwig, then gets Sadollah who lost to Ludwig and share a fairly similar skill-set but without the power. Head to head I like Hardy’s power to play a big role here, Amir was backed off by Ludwig’s power and Hardy should be able to emulate something similar and with more aggression. I will be using Hardy on the majority of my parlays and he will be on my confidence list so feel free to integrate him anyway you want to.
Stefan Struve 2.70 vs Stipe Miocic 1.43
My main event prediction streak is on the line here in a very good fight between a guy trying to work his way up and another guy that is already faced some of the best the division has to offer and wants to get back there. Both fighters have won 3 in a row in the UFC against vastly different opponents. Struve is just 24 years old, but this will be his 12 trip to the Octagon. He has had issues in the past with power punchers, but outside of JDS, Big Country and Travis Browne hehas beaten everyone else the UFC has put in front of him. Struve has faced 3 consecutive opponents with knockout capabilities and emerged unscathed, although he did have some issues (I think he lost the first rounds against both Herman and Barry). He is maturing as a fighter and doing it at the highest level possible. I predicted that Lavar Johnson would be able to put Struve away with his big power but instead Stefan fought a perfect fight and left the cage with a W and almost no damage. Against Herman and Barry he got off to a slow start, but was able to limit the damage taken, found his grove and put both men away. Miocic is undefeated, but in each of his three fights in the UFC he has looked human. Beltran pushed him and made him work hard for a full 3 rounds, De Fries stunned Stipe with a couple quick shots, and Del Rosario won the first round hurting Miocic several times with body kicks. Both guys have shown they can deal with adversity, change a gameplan mid fight, and win. Struve is by far the biggest challenge that Miocic has face. His size is an issue, but Struve’s submission game has really become a huge threat and should give any fighter pause when looking to take the fight to the ground. Conversely, Miocic is the best fighter that Struve has faced since Travis Browne. Miocic has power in his hands and although he hasn’t shown himself to be a big submission threat his ground and pound was fantastic in the last fight. I can see Struve winning this fight, if he can stun Miocic on the feet, especially with a jab as he comes forward he could mount him and pound him out or submit him. For Miocic I think his power will play a big role and I expect he should be able to get inside and land with regularity. Additionally, I think he should be able to use his takedowns and ground and pound to break Struve down and maybe even finish him. For betting purposes I will be using Miocic on multiple parlays but I will most likely be putting a single bet down on Struve, but shop around I’ve see him over $2.80.
1. Che Mills 1.51
2. Brad Pickett 1.48
3. Dan Hardy 1.43
4. Brad Tavares 1.71
5. Stipe Miocic 1.43
1. Paul Sass 1.87
2. Brad Tavares 1.71
3. Jason Young 2.20
4. Akira Corassani 2.45
5. John Maguire 3.20
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.
Gunnar Nelson/ DaMarques Johnson Total Rounds Under 2.5– This is the bet to make if you are not sold on Nelson in his debut; if he wins your probably getting the under with a sub and if he loses he probably got stopped via KO or TKO. Johnson always finishes or gets finished so the under is the play to make every time he is involved. Play the under 2.5 or 1.5.
Che Mills to Win by KO/TKO/DQ– This one of two potential bets you can make on this fight for the props. Mills has the power to end with one punch and Ludwig has the chin to allow it. There will be no submission in this fight and a decision could happen but it isn’t likely.
Che Mills/ Duane Ludwig Total Rounds Under 2.5– Just like I said above, this fight will most likely end in a knockout and if your book doesn’t have a Method of Victory prop play the under, even if it is 1.5.
Paul Sass to Win by Submission– I don’t need to say much here, but there is a chance that Sass by sub could pay the exact same as Sass to win. With Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 the books recognized (turns out they were almost wrong) that the most likely way he was going to win the fight was by knockout so it paid the same as Vitor to win straight up. Sportsbooks can really suck the fun out of betting sometimes.
Stefan Struve/ Stipe Miocic Total Rounds Under 3.5– Most Heavyweight bouts don’t go the distance and both men have the ability to finish. If you are unsure who to back in this one the under is the play, I would even say play under 2.5 if that is what they offer.