UFC on Fuel TV 7 was a great card for the folks in the U.K. that saw mostly decision victories, but every fight provided entertainment. Renan Barao retained his interim Bantamweight Championship with a nice arm-triangle submission over Michael McDonald. Both Gunnar Nelson and Jimi Manuwa continued their undefeated streaks with impressive performances. KO of the night went to Tom Watson, submission of the night went Renan Barao and fight of the night also went to Tom Watson and Stanislav Nedkov. Check back in next week for more predictions on UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche.
125lbs – Phil Harris (0-1 UFC) vs. Ulysses Gomez (0-1 UFC) – Harris via U. decision
This fight was much closer than the unanimous decision implies as neither man really did a lot of damage or controlled the other, but Harris was more aggressive and did stuff Gomez’s takedowns.
135lbs – Vaughan Lee (1-2 UFC) vs. Motonobu Tezuka (0-1 UFC) – Lee via U. decision
This fight was also very even as it was mostly spent in the clinch or at distance, but Lee was able to stuff almost all of Tezuka’s takedowns and escaped Tezuka’s only submission attempt.
185lbs – Tom Watson (0-1 UFC) vs. Stanislav Nedkov (1-0-1 UFC) – Watson via TKO
Nedkov was almost able to finish Watson twice in this fight but he couldn’t put him away, and Watson showed great heart by pushing through and getting the TKO finish late in round 2.
145lbs – Andy Ogle (0-1 UFC) vs. Josh Grispi (0-3 UFC) – Ogle via U. decision
Grispi was all over Ogle in the first round, but a sloppy decision to hold onto a triangle for too long burnt his legs out and Ogle came on strong after that by landing good strikes and out wrestling Grispi.
155lbs – Paul Sass (3-1 UFC) vs. Danny Castillo (4-2 UFC) – Castilo via U. decision
Sass attacked multiple times off his back and was almost able to lock in a few submissions, but Castillo showed off his submission defense and grinded out a solid victory.
155lbs – Terry Etim (6-4 UFC) vs. Renee Forte (0-1 UFC) – Forte via U. decision
Etim was able to use his reach advantage in the 1st round, but Forte got inside in the 2nd and rocked Etim. Forte was also able to hold Etim down in the later rounds for an easy decision win.
Fuel TV Main Card
170lbs – Che Mills (2-1 UFC) vs. Matthew Riddle (7-3-1 UFC) – Riddle via S. decision
Riddle decided he didn’t want to strike with Mills and beat him up on the ground for 3 rounds, although Mills did win the striking battles which lead to the split decision.
205lbs – James Te-Huna (4-1 UFC) vs. Ryan Jimmo (1-0 UFC) – Te-Huna via U. decision
Jimmo landed a beautiful head kick just over a minute into the 1st round, but couldn’t finish Te-Huna and then the tides turned as Te-Huna came out strong and blasted Jimmo for the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
170lbs – Gunnar Nelson (1-0 UFC) vs. Jorge Santiago (1-4 UFC) – Nelson via U. decision
The Icelandic wrecking machine continued his strong run with another dominant performance over Santiago. Nelson won the majority of the striking battles as well as maintained solid top control.
205lbs – Jimi Manuwa (1-0 UFC) vs. Cyrille Diabaté (4-2 UFC) – Manuwa via TKO
Manuwa pretty much showed zero regard for Diabate’s striking by walking him down the entire first round and mixing in takedowns. Diabate couldn’t answer the bell for the 2nd round due to a leg injury.
145lbs – Cub Swanson (3-1 UFC) vs. Dustin Poirier (5-1 UFC) – Swanson via U. decision
This was a very even fight that saw both fights land power strikes and get into dominant positions on the ground, but Swanson was the more aggressive fighter the entire fight.
135lbs – Renan Barao (4-0 UFC) vs. Michael McDonald (4-0 UFC) – Barao via submission
McDonald was able to rock Barao early in the fight and showed great grappling, but Barao also landed several strong strikes and was able to lock in an arm triangle choke during the 4th round.
*I have started to use Props in my parlays, if your book doesn’t offer the prop or won’t allow them to be used in a parlay- use a pick from my confidence list.
==================================================Parlay #6 =================================================== Selection 1: Tom Watson $1.87 Selection 2: Terry Etim $1.30 Selection 3: =================================================== Price: $3.62
A Puncher’s Chance
Parlay #9- Why the Hell not?
Selection 3: Paul Sass $1.87
Selection 5: Tom Watson $1.87
Selection 7: Cub Swanson $1.74
Looking at their first fight performances, neither guy stood out. Harris actually had an alright first round, but it look in the end like his opponent was setting him up for the submission. Gomez should be the better grappler in this fight. Harris has fought the majority of his career in the UK and surrounding local circuits and the difference between the level of grapplers there and what he will be faced with at this level is night and day. If he can get on top of Gomez he could grind out three rounds, but so many Bantamweight fighters with a size edge on Ulysses have failed when trying this, so it is hard to believe Harris will be successful. I will most likely use Gomez in a parlay or two, but I would like to see him have success at this level before I start going in too deep on him.
Vaughan Lee $1.48 vs
I really like this play and it is surprising because I really like Vaughan Lee as a fighter, but stylistically this is bad match-up. If he keeps it standing for the majority of this fight he should be able to win it, but Lee has had trouble doing that. He has been taken down 5 times on 8 attempts in 3 UFC fights and two of his 3 fights didn’t go beyond the first round. Tezuka will be 100% focuses on grappling. He needs takedowns and top position to win this fight and the combination of his ability and Lee’s weakness should make this happen. Many don’t realize that Tezuka is a BJJ Brown belt and a Judo Black belt and having looked through Lee’s resume he has never faced anyone with those grappling credentials. Tezuka needs to be a little more active to avoid being stood up, but outside of that I really like his single leg takedown and the ability to pass on the ground. Cariaso had a tonne of success scoring takedowns on Lee and he isn’t nearly the grappler that Tezuka is and he was at a size disadvantage which Tezuka won’t be. I think that this price is set where it is because the betting public doesn’t know who Tezuka is, while Lee pulled off a major upset over Kid Yamamoto and has fought 3 times in the UFC to Tezuka’s 1. I would suggest a nice size single bet on Tezuka as he is my #1 value play and I will be working him into my parlays. I won’t use him in all of my bets because that is just bad betting practice, but I like him more then the average underdog and his value is increasing across the board.
Tom Watson $1.87 vs
This is a difficult fight to predict with the unknown aspect of Nedkov’s conditioning that I talked about in the breakdown. If Nedkov has good conditioning he should be able to go the distance using his wrestling to control Watson and negate his striking skills. If Nedkov gasses like he did at LHW or even more now that he has dropped a division he will be in trouble. The Public is currently 74% in favour of Nedkov which I find interesting, but if you look solely at this as an undefeated wrestling based fighter dropping down from LHW to gain a size/ strength advantage against a pure striker- I guess I can see where they are coming from. I personally don’t think Nedkov’s cardio will improve and when he gets tired all the skill in the world won’t help him. Despite what the public is picking on my site the odds seem to changing with Nedkov becoming the dog. I would suggest a small single bet on Watson or doubling him up with the likes of Diabate,Tezuka or McDonald. For Nedkov and haven’t been impressed with him and I have no interest investing until I see him fight at least once at 185.
Andy Ogle $2.78 vs
I ranked Grispi as my #8 pick, but with caution. I looked really hard at this fight to determine if Ogle could hit the upset. Gripi is 0-3 in the UFC and it is hard to back a fighter as a favourite who hasn’t won in long time and lost the way he has lost. He has lost a one sided decision, via TKO, and then sub. Ogle is a tough fighter and if Grispi is not ready to go the Brit will outwork him. What this pick came down to is that the guys have beaten Grispi are guys that had the ability to match Josh on the ground and I don’t think Ogle will be able to do it. I will be using Grispi in a parlay or two but he is a difficult bet with his recent shortcomings. For Ogle I might consider a small play on him.
Paul Sass $1.87 vs
This fight really comes down to the submission skills of Sass and if he can catch Castillo on the mat. I think he can because either through his ability to put Castillo on the mat or Castillo’s own confidence in his wrestling, Sass will have lots of opportunities. Currently Sass is getting the support of 82% of the public, which has been a good number so far with fighters at 80-84% currently winning 6 of 8 fights since I started keeping track. At $1.87 Sass has a pretty decent return and will add some solid power to your parlays. I ranked him as my #3 pick and intend to use him in a couple of larger parlays as well as doubling him up with Cub Swanson or Cyrille Diabate. For Castillo, Sass has had so much success (yes I know he got submitted by Wiman, but he was doing well before the finish) against grappling based fighters and considering the strongest attribute of Castillo’s fight game puts him in the most danger it is hard to back him with a bet.Terry Etim $1.30 vs
Matt Riddle $2.82 vs
I am actually a little disappointed where these odds are. I was hoping that Mills would be higher and although he is moving upwards I could tolerate something a little closer to $1.65 but that could be a dream. What this fight comes down to is Riddle’s willingness/ ability to use his wrestling. Riddle likes to ‘throwdown’ instead of fighting the smart fight and that is what I am counting on here. Against Chris Clement, he had a clear advantage on the mat but choose to to stand and trade until eventually locking up a standing submission later in the fight. While that choice didn’t cost him, standing with Mills for too long most likely will. Mills has shown the ability to defend takedowns in his pre-UFC days but his multiple submission defeats still suggest a vulnerability. I ranked Mills #9 because Riddle has the skills to win this fight if he takes the right approach. I would advocate using Mills in some of your parlays and if he gets up over $1.55 I would feel a little bit better as far as value is concerned. For Riddle at anything over $2.50 you should consider making a small investment on him.
James Te-Huna $1.49 vs
Te-Huna is on the cusp of the top 10 (I have him ranked #14, but soon he will be passing Rampage & Griffin in my newly overhauled rankings page). He is a powerful guy with the ability to put anyone away he hits and his striking is looking better and better. Jimmo has a grand total of 7 seconds of UFC action and although brief he really built himself up with a huge knockout win. If you go back prior to that fight he isn’t nearly as exciting or effective. Jimmo really struggled in his last bout before his debut with the physical nature of Sokoudjou, who continually pressed forward and kept him pinned on the rope something that Te-Huna will certainly do. Te-Huna’s cardio was a question mark and he did slow down in the later stages of the Beltran fight, but that could have been due to an injury. He showed the ability to fight at a much more controlled pace and did an excellent job of changing speeds which will frustrate a fighter like Jimmo who thrives on maintaining a controlled pace. I really like Te-Huna in this fight, either winning by knockout or decision. The only way I see Jimmo winning is if he is able to cracked Te-Huna’s chin (puncher’s chance) or if by outlasting Te-Huna early and winning rounds 2 & 3 after he slows. While you never want to say never in MMA, I feel that these two situations are fairly unlikely. I will be using Te-Huna in the larger parlays as he has a decent return and some sites even have him between $1.52-$1.54. Doubling him up with Sass or even Grispi would create a nice little return without needing to pull of a major upset. Jimmo’s knockout was impressive, but Anthony Perosh isn’t exactly a K-1 level striker so I will pass till I see more.
Gunnar Nelson $1.32 vs
Big fight for Nelson, if he wins this one he will prove he is the real deal. Santiago is no joke despite the 1-4 UFC record and he is an excellent test for Gunnar. Jorge tangled with Demain Maia at 185 and despite the loss, he was able to hold the grappling ace at bay not allowing him to get past his guard. If that scenario plays out against Nelson, Gunnar still wins and that is what I am counting on. If Santiago is able to go beyond just defending and either get the better of Gunnar on the mat or keep the fight vertical and outstrike him then he will let a lot of people down who are backing Gunnar. I do have Gunnar ranked #4 on the Confidence list and 82% of people are on him at the time of writing this, but I think that this is a dangerous fight. Nelson has the tools to win this fight, but he has never faced anyone of Jorge’s level before so if he is not ready for the step up a lot of people are goung to miss out. I personally think Nelson will win, but I want to safe guard against a let down. I suggest using Nelson in a couple of your parlays, not not all of them and then make a single bet on Jorge Santiago. If you want to go one better consider doubling Santiago up with one or both of Dibate and/or Tezuka. If you work in $10 units look at it this way-
Santiago- $3.52 x $20= $70.40
Santiago & Diabate- $10.49 x $10= $104.90
Santiago & Tezuka- $9.75 x $10= $97.50
I would consider option two, you do need Santiago and one of the other fighters to win, but the return is pretty decent and if you hit both then you are laughing. Or you could choose one of those combos and put the full $20 on it. Your choice. I know this sounds like a lot of focus on a guy fighting one of my top 5 picks, but I think that this is the type of fight that will either start to make or break Nelson and plenty of top prospects have stumbled in this position and I just want to be cover all options.
Jimi Manuwa $1.45 vs
The odds on this fight shocked me a little, I expected Manuwa to be a slight dog. Diabate is getting up in age and the big question is can he take a shot from a guy with the power of his Manuwa? Manuwa has brutal finishing power, but in order for that to be effective he is going to have to get inside the the long reach and height advantage of Diabate without eating some big shots. Diabate has fought a couple of good MMA strikers already in his career knocking out Luiz Cane and dominating Steve Cantwell. Manuwa skills are noteworthy, but is he able to hang with a K-1 level striker, especially when Diabate knows there is next to no threat of being taken down. In fact I wouldn’t be shocked to see Diabate attempt to catch Manuwa off guard and put him on the mat. It has been a long time since Diabate has been defeated in a striking based fight, it was Shogun who did it back in Pride using soccer kicks and stomps and I don’t think Manuwa can do the job. Additionally, as such a heavy favourite he seems totally unappealing in this fight against a fighter who comes from a superior striking background. Diabate is my #2 value pick so I would suggest a good sized single bet along with working him into your parlays. I will have plenty without Diabate as well in case his chin can’t withstand Manuwa, that’s just good betting practice. If you are dead set on playing Manuwa in this fight take a look at a prop bet with him winning by knockout, it would probably be in the $1.80-$2.00 range. There is also another prop worth looking at in the prop section for this fight.
Cub Swanson $1.74 vs
There was a lot of debate prior to the odds being posted for this fight, some felt it was Poirier that was the rightful fav and others Swanson. Swanson has looked good in his last 3 fights knocking out George Roop, Ross Pearson, and Charles Oliveira. Some want to point to his defeat against Ricardo Lamas as evidence of his inability to compete at the top level, but he was doing well in that fight until getting caught and he was coming off an 11 month layoff to boot. Poirier has picked up a number of wins, but there have been some tense moments in each fight, especially on the feet. Example- Jonathan Brookins landed some big shots on him and Brookins is far from a top level striker. In the breakdown I referred to Poirier as a great front-runner basicaly saying that he looks fantastic when he has an advantage and is winning but as was the case in the Korean Zombie fight he struggles when his opponent is able to match him. I picked Poirier over KZ, but I felt that if Jung could defend the takedowns of Poirier he could win that fight and that was the case. In almost all of his recent wins- Brookins, Young, Holloway, and Garza the ground game was his bail out plan when things started to go bad on the feet. Against Cub Swanson he could struggled to find success on the ground or even get it to the ground for that matter. I like Cub’s power and the way guys like Brookins, Holloway, Young, and KZ were able to land with regularity I expect that Swanson will as well and do damage when he does. My only concern is that Swanson takes risks sometimes and they end up costing him bad positions on the ground that Poirier can capitalize on. Swanson is creeping up in value so give it a day or so and see which direction he moves, if he keeps going up then hold off and see what you can get before bell time and if not jump on him before he drops too far. I think Cub has some decent single bet potential, especially as he passes the $1.75 mark along with using him in your parlays. For Poirier he has all the skills to win this fight if he can impose his will and is probably worth a look for a single bet.
Renan Barao $1.32 vs
McDonald has a tonne of value in this fight, more then I expected and I think it can be attributed to Barao being linked to Jose Aldo. They train together and they fight a similar style of fight but they are far from the same fighter. Barao really hasn’t been pushed by a big strong opponent like McDonald is capable of and McDonald is also a much better striker then either Faber or Jorgensen. In the Pickett fight when Brad started to get inside he was landing some decent shots, but he just didn’t have the power to do the needed damage and eventually was put away. If McDonald lands the same shots as Barao he is going to be in trouble. With McDonald paying so well I would consider a decent sized single bet on him, but mid-range would work as well. You could also pair up the challenger with any of the high paying underdogs or high value favourites on the card for a big time return if you wanted to reduce that amount risked. For Barao I haven’t been that impressed with his last two performances. Yes he won but it was more on his opponent’s inability to get their offense going, which is still a credit to Barao. Either way I like McDonald for both his skill and value, while Barao seems unappealing to me in this fight at anything under $1.50.
If your Betting Budget for this event is $200 I would think that a $35 bet on McDonald by himself would be a good sized bet or 3 $15 bets on McDonald and a second fighter would work well.
1. Terry Etim $1.30
2. James Te-Huna $1.49
3. Paul Sass $1.87
4. Gunnar Nelson $1.32
5. Cub Swanson $1.74
6.Cyrille Diabate $2.98
7. Ulysses Gomez $1.40
8. Josh Grispi $1.45
9. Che Mills $1.49
10. Motonobu Tezuka $2.77
11. Tom Watson $1.87
12. Michael McDonald $3.61
-Purchase the $5 Bet Pack to get my rankings for the entire event + my non-predicted Top 5 Value Plays
|1.||Motonobu Tezuka||$2.77||Stylistically he matches up well with Lee based on the success of Lee’s past opponents, but he has to get this fight to the ground or else he will be in trouble.|
|2.||Cyrille Diabate||$2.98||Too good of a striker to be this big of an underdog in a striking based fight. Plus of the the two he has the better ground game. Chin check time.|
|3.||Michael McDonald||$3.61||This is a big step up from Miguel Torres, but his ability to get inside and land with power along with his height advantage should give the champ some problems. Tonnes of Value.|
|4.||Cub Swanson||$1.74||Swanson needs to avoid making mistakes and keep things simple with his striking, nothing flashy. Watch for this price to move up.|
|5.||Paul Sass||$1.87||Sass is coming off his first defeat, how does he respond? Castillo is a good wrestler but that may be his downfall here. Sass might be the underdog by fight time wait and see.|
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.
|1.||Matt Riddle||$3.02||TAKEDOWNS! Riddle needs takedowns and top control. If he lands takedowns he wins this fight. Mills can be the most dangerous striker in the world, but that doesn’t mean anything if he is on his back.|
|2.||Dustin Poirier||$2.05||If Swanson makes a mistake like has in past fighters Poirier has the skills to capitalize. If you plan to be on Poirier do it now because this fight will be close to even by bell time.|
|3.||Jorge Santiago||$3.52||Value and being Nelson’s first real test gets Santiago a spot on this list.|
|4.||Andy Ogle||$2.79||Grispi hasn’t won since the WEC was still functioning, if his rise to success was a fluke then Ogle will surprise some people and out work him for a decision or late stoppage.|
|5.||No Play||No one else looked that appealing|
The Value Bet list for non-predicted winners 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.
Vaughan Lee/ Motonobu Tezuka Total Rounds Over 2.5– Tezuka has won a high percentage of his fights by decision and I expect he will focus on positional control in this fight and not so much on tapping out Lee. Play the Over.
James Te-Huna/ Ryan Jimmo Total Rounds Under 2.5– I like this one under 2.5, but not as much under 1.5 unless you are getting some good value. Te-Huna has excellent finishing skills and will most likely exploded at some point in the first half looking for the finish. I don’t count Jimmo scoring another 7 second knockout, but if Te-Huna fades he could stop him.
Gunnar Nelson/ Jorge Santiago Total Rounds Over 2.5- Based on all of Gunnar’s first round finishes you might get a good number here. I think Santiago should be able to defend on the ground and keep Gunnar from tapping him leading to a decision.
Cyrille Diabate/ Jimi Manuwa Total Rounds Under 1.5– I would be a smoke salesman if I tried to tell you that this fight will be offered at 2.5. If it is get on it at pretty much any price above $1.35. One of these guys is going down in this fight and if you are concerned with Diabate’s chin or Manuwa’s ability to get inside the reach without taking damage then the under is the cure for what ails you.
Cub Swanson to Win by KO/TKO/DQ- After back to back low blows and an eye gouge Poirier will be disqualified. No that won’t happen, but Swanson has the power to stop him and I question Poirier’s striking D.