The first ever UFC Flyweight title fight finally has its second participant, a future Welterweight title challenger passes another test, and a pair of veterans earn exciting knockout victories over tough opponents. UFC on FX 4: Johnson vs McCall didn’t really live up to the hype and that is because there wasn’t much hype prior to this event. An interesting trend that continues to hold true is that the cards that lack huge build up and media coverage seem to be some of the most entertaining events. This was pretty solid all-around card and although there were a few times the action seemed to lag and a couple questionable call by officials I enjoyed it immensely.
From a prediction standpoint Kamikaze Overdrive went 7-5, including a solid night for Joe Caporale who went 2-1 with his 3 undercard predictions. My most significant predictions of the night were a trio of upsets with Seth Baczynski, Matt Grice and Eddie Wineland all walking away with victories. Unfortunately and 0-2 record for the final two fights of the night turn a incredibly promissing night into one that was slightly above average. The UFC on FX bet pack can be seen below and again contain a lot of valuable information including the aforementioned upsets, three solid prop bet winners, and some decent fight by fight breakdowns.
Thoughts on the Event:
This fight was a ‘Do Not Play’ for me and I felt good about that decision after the fight. I predicted Hecht to win the fight, but considered Pierson a legitimate threat to earn the victory and that is why I didn’t bet on the fight. Hecht might need to go out and refine his craft outside the UFC before going any further while it was nice to see a solid veteran and Canadian in Pierson earn the victory. Hecht- cut, Pierson vs Amir Sadollah.
Papazian has a history of being submitted and Pague exploited this, see the prop bet section for how I accounted for this. Papazian struggled to get anything going after he got tied up in the clinch. When they went to the ground he really had issues and wasn’t helped by a ill-informed referee who wouldn’t allow either fighter to use the cage to push off on which last time I check was a legal move…hmmmm. Papazian should consider moving to the Flyweight division, Papazian vs Tim Elliot and Pague vs Johnny Eduardo.
Enjoy this fight, Grice’s wrestling looked solid and he showed that if you stick to a game-plan and don’t allow Garcia to drag you into a brawl he can be beaten soundly. Garcia could get his walking papers, but his style of fighting wil probably allow him to strick around for one more. Garcia vs Pat Schilling and Matt Grice vs Dennis Bermudez.
Close fight, Baczynski gets the nod, but I could have seen it going the other way. This decision negated a poor job by the official who allowed not one but two illegal knees to a downed opponent by Benoist to go without a point deduction. Both guys showed a lot of heart and should get a decent opponents going forward. Baczynski vs John Hathaway and Benoist vs Stephen Thompson.
The most interesting aspect of this fight was that one of the judges gave all three rounds to Rocha. Pierce didn’t do too much in this fight, but he accomplished more then his opponent and was clearly the one dictating the flow of the fight. Not much else I want to say Pierce talked some smack before the fight and although he won he wasn’t that impressive. Pierce vs Claude Patrick/James Head winner and Rocha vs Yoshihiro Akiyama.
I have slowly become an Eddie Wineland fan, I picked him via upset in this fight and jumped out of my chair when he dropped Jorgensen in round 2. Talk about a difficult trio of opponents to start his UFC career with Faber, Benavidez, and Jorgensen. Even though he won I think the UFC needs to give him a lower ranked opponent and allow him to build some momentum going forward before thrusting him back into the upper echelon of the division. The defeat for Jorgensen will be tough to get over, but he is a tough guy and will work his way back up the ranks. Eddie Wineland vs Dillashaw/ Lee winner Jorgensen vs Takeya Mizugaki.
The finishes of this bout was probably one of the most least likely scenarios I saw coming out of this fight. Pyle too him down early which was expected, but then following a scramble Neer started to get the better of the striking and Pyle looked in trouble before he landed a perfect punch and knocked the Dentist out in brutal fashion. Neither one of these guys is going work their way into title contention without a significant run, but they both make the divison interesting. Mike Pyle vs Erik Silva makes sense right now and Neer vs Brenneman would work.
Silva finally was forced beyond the first minute of a fight and passed the test with flying colours. Brenneman did his best to use his wrestling against Silva but was unable to find enough control to mount an attack. Not only did Silva do an excellent job defending Brenneman’s takedown attempts he was able to finish Brenneman after squashing his final attempt to get the fight to the ground. Props to Charlie for bringing and pushing forward, but Silva was simply too much. A lot has been talked about Erik Silva vs Rory MacDonald needing to happen sooner rather then later, but I think that fight should happen down the road. I posted in the forum here about this potential fight and would love to hear your opinions. Silva vs Pyle would be another good test and Brenneman vs Paulo Thiago.
This fight played out much like I predicted the first one would with Johnson using his speed and wrestling to out hustle and out work McCall. Uncle Creepy didn’t seem to have the same bounce as he did in the first fight and some people thing he suffered an injury early in the first round but at this point nothing has been said by McCall’s camp. The nicest thing about this fight is that there is no reason that these two fighters couldn’t/shouldn’t fight again potentially with the title on the line. Johnson’s next opponent is set and I think McCall vs Yasuhiro Urushitani makes sense and if McCall gets the win and then earns one more afterwards he should be in line for the first title shot against the new champion.
UFC on FX 3 Bet Pack
Parlays=================================================== Parlay #1 =================================================== Selection 1: Ian McCall $2.15 Selection 2: Mike Pyle $1.51 Selection 3: Seth Baczynski $1.87 =================================================== Price: $6.08 =================================================== Parlay #2 =================================================== Selection 1: Charlie Brenneman $2.45 Selection 2: Mike Pierce $1.40 Selection 3: Matt Grice $2.30 =================================================== Price: $7.89 =================================================== Parlay #3 Statistics Star Parlay =================================================== Selection 1: Jared Papazian $1.57 Selection 2: Mike Pierce $1.40 Selection 3: Mike Pyle $1.51 Selection 4: Ian McCall $2.15 =================================================== Price: $7.16 =================================================== Parlay #4- Underdog Special* =================================================== Selection 1: Ian McCall $2.15 Selection 2: Charlie Brenneman $2.45 Selection 3: Eddie Wineland $2.80– Least Favorite of the underdogs so feel free to leave out. Selection 4: Matt Grice $2.30 Selection 5: Seth Baczynski $1.87 =================================================== Price: $63.42 * Don’t invest too much of your bankroll here unless you have it to spare but the risk/ reward scenario here is hard to pass by.
Sean Pierson 2.30 vs Jake Hecht 1.61
Pierson could be on the verge of getting cut here so I expect the veteran to come out aggressive and desperate. He represented himself decently against a pretty solid fighter in Dong Hyun Kim, but it was evident that he isn’t going too beat the elite of the division. But is Hecht the elite of the division? In reality he isn’t, he hasn’t looked that great in his brief UFC stint getting controlled in round one by Attonito before getting a shocking TKO via elbow strikes and following it up with a submission defeat against TJ Waldburger. Hecht is the favorite here on the basis of his age and the fact that he ‘should’ be the better fighter. I picked Jake to win and he may get the W, but Pierson has enough experience to give him trouble and maybe even pull off the win, so this fight is a ”Do Not Play” for me either way.
Jared Papazian 1.57 vs Dustin Pague 2.35
Comparing their recent performances Papazain impressed me significantly against Mike Easton despite the loss. He stood in their with a powerful guys and traded shots with him for the duration of the bout showing a great deal of toughness. Pague on the other hand appears to have problems responding to adversity. Against TJ Dillashaw on the show he spent the entire fight getting smashed on the ground and although he went the distance he really didn’t have much to offer in response. Against John Albert he got dropped early and again was on his back getting beaten on until the ref stopped the fight. In his career he has been knocked out 3 times which is a major concern,Papazian has similar troubles with getting submitted and both fighters have the background suggesting they can exploit their opponent’s weakness. The difference is Papazian has fought 10 times since his last submission defeat, and has only been submitted once in his last 15 while Pauge has had much more recent struggles. I like Papazian as a single bet or as part of a parlay, @ 1.57 he is a worthwhile investment while Pague needs to show me something before I will consider backing him as an underdog of any form.
Matt Grice 2.30 vs Leonard Garcia 1.61
Leonard Garcia has a history of winning fights that he should have probably lost (see his fights with Roop, Phan, and the Korean Zombie) and this could very well be the case here if the fight goes to the judges. I like Grice in this fight because he is far from a UFC newcomer so there shouldn’t be issues there and he has a wrestling background which I expect him to use in an effort to neutralize Garcia’s attack. Garcia’s greatest asset is his aggressive, yet relatively ineffective striking style (3 wins by KO in 24 fights) where for the most part he earns points with the judges by pushing forward whether he is hitting something or not. For Grice I don’t expect him to pick Garcia apart with a more technical striking game, but with the wholes that Leonard leaves (especially when he gets tired) the thought isn’t totally in left field. What I do anticipate is Grice using his wrestling to take Garcia off his feet like other fighters have done in he past with success (Phan, KZ, Roop and Gamburyan). If he can do this with regularity then he should be able to earn a decision win on the basis of a dominant position. I would suggest using Grice as part of a parlay, maybe consideration for him as a single bet is worthwhile and as part of a parlay, Garcia really hasn’t looked that great since knocking out Pulver back in 2008 so I don’t suggest backing him as a favorite.
Lance Benoist 1.87 vs Seth Baczynski 1.87
Nothing like a pick’em fight to get the old blood boiling. One thing that I have come to notice over several years of betting on MMA is that when the odds are even like this, often one of the fighters will have a dominant performance. I’m backing Baczynski here at $1.87 because Benoist is a relatively new fighter to the UFC with one fight against a far from elite level opponent in Matt Riddle, while Baczynski has been in the cage with some pretty decent talent including his submission win over the season and durable Matt Brown. It is difficult to back any fighter making his debut, and even though Benoist is not he is only one fight removed and in my opinion making a significant step up in competition. Additionally, Baczynski’s size posses a distinct obstacle for any fighter at Welterweight, let alone someone who has most likely never dealt with such physical disparities in previous fights. If Benoist pulls off the win then this is a nice stepping stone for his young career, but I feel there are too many indications that the bigger, more experience, and potentially more well rounded fighter leaves the cage with the ‘W’. I like Baczyski as part of a central parlay or as a single bet and don’t be afraid to shop around as I have seen sites that have him ranked as the dog paying just shy of $2.00.
Carlos Eduardo Rocha $2.85 vs Mike Pierce $1.40
Carlos Eduardo Rocha where have you been? Not that long ago he was undefeated and in the midst of giving top contender Jake Ellenberger fits, before eventually dropping a split decision. It appeared at the time that the dangerous submission artist was on the verge of competing with the upper level of UFC talent. Unfortunately his recovery from elbow surgery took longer then anticipated and he has been out of action for over a year. He has made the jump to team Black house to continue his training along side some of the biggest names in Brazilian MMA. This fight has some underlying hostility in the build up as Pierce asked for a fight against any Brazilian Welterweight under the premise that it would be an easy fight and Rocha stepped up in response. I break this fight down like this: we have a dangerous submission fighter against a solid wrestler with pretty decent striking which favours Pierce. Addtionally, i’m not sold on Rocha’s ability to take Pierce down, he wasn’t able to get Ellenberger down relying on Jake’s takedowns to set up his grappling and Pierce is a difficult guy to put on his back especially with his low centre of gravity. Rocha has cardio issues while Pierce does not, which will result in the threat of a submission dropping of as the fight progresses. I expect Pierce to use his wrestling in reverse to keep the fight vertical and beat up Rocha with his hands, although he will need to be careful in the clinch with his striking as this will give Rocha an opportunity to pull guard. I like Pierce as part of a parlay, he offers a decent risk/reward and should be coupled with a few other fighters in parlay form. If you want to keep things simple maybe consider Pierce with Baczynski or Ian McCall in a 2 fighter parlay, which Rocha has been out of service and has too many question marks about his ability to implement his game plan against this type of opponent to back for anything less then $3.25.
Eddie Wineland 2.80 vs Scott Jorgensen 1.42
I already mentioned above that Wineland is not my favorite prediction of the event. He did a nice job against both Faber and Benavidez who are the elite of the division. He was able to defend against their wrestling based attacks but wasn’t able to do enough to put him over the top with his striking. Jorgensen’s striking is far from terrible but he struggled against Jeff Curran and Ken Stone standing and was forced to resort to his takedowns as a result. Based on those fights and Jorgensen’s struggle with opponents that he wasn’t able to LnP for 3 rounds (See Cruz and Barao) I certainly see potential for the upset and with Wineland at $2.80 there is value here. That being said if Jorgensen lands a takedown early and does it with some regularity all of Wineland’s value is going out the window in a hurry. I would suggest betting on Wineland as a single bet, shop around for the best price, and do it sooner rather then later as I have seen some movement where he has dropped from to the $2.65-$2.60 range. If you want to include him in a low risk/ high reward style parlay like I did above that is a good idea, but don’t allow him to dictate the entire success of your evenings investments. If you prefer to back Jorgensen maybe double him up with another dog like McCall or Brenneman, but I see enough of an oppurtunity for the dog in this scenario that Scotty @ $1.42 isn’t that enticing.
Josh Neer 2.55 vs Mike Pyle 1.51
Interesting fight between a pair of solid veteran fighters that can fight both on the feet and on the mat. I give Neer the edge in the striking department, which is the main reason I don’t have Pyle on my top 5 confidence list. At the same time, Pyle is the type of fighter that has given Neer issues over his career using takedowns to control and frustrate the dentist from bell to bell (See Neer v.s Pellegrino). Neer is the type of guy that likes to scrap, while Pyle seems to use a far from calculated and intelligent style of fighting. If Neer can keep this fight standing long enough to do damage I could see him hurting Pyle or earning a a very close split decision win on the basis of superior striking. So my advice is back Pyle at $1.51 as part of a parlay while use Neer as a single bet at $2.55 to ensure you walk away with something in your pocket if the Dentist pulls this one out.
Charlie Brenneman 2.45 vs Erick Silva 1.54
I want to level with you guys on this one; when I sat down to record the podcast I was taking Silva by knockout. Right before I did the prediction I revisited a couple of stats, reread the previous notes I had made for both fighters and suddenly everything that I had compiled pointed to Brenneman winning this bout. Silva is riding a hype train based on his ‘two’ (technically one win, but lets be serious he lost because of a few shots to the back of the head that are usually let go, right Vitor) wins over non-top 30 ranked opponents. Now hype trains like Silva’s are often derailed by fighters like Brenneman who have solid wrestling that can neutralize the explosive striking skills that had previously render opponents unconscious. Recently we saw underdog Darren Elkins (your welcome;) ) defeat hard hitting knockout artist Diego Brandao on the basis of his ability to endure the early onslaught and then grind out his exhausted opponent. If Brenneman is going to emerge victorious in this bout he will need to follow a similar blueprint of enduring the early push and then implementing his game against an opponent unaccustomed to not being able to end the bout early. Attetion should be given to the fact that Brenneman has been knocked out on 3 occasions, 2 in the UFC. Looking at those fights a little closer and more specifically his bout with Johnny Hendricks, Brenneman’s ability to land 2 takedowns on 4 attempts against an elite level wrestler like Hendricks could be just a important a stat as the knockout. Brenneman is a hustler and the type that will break an opponent with his worth ethic (see Brenneman vs Story) and he has shown the ability to controlled a skilled BJJ players for a full 3 rounds (see Brenneman vs Roberts). Silva hasn’t faced a great deal of adversity in over 2 years and he has had cardio issues in the past against opponents that pushed him into the later stages of a fight using a ground based attack. Silva’s ability to score flash knockout wins sounds distinctively like a ‘puncher’s chance’ and although it is definitely a more likely outcome then in most scenarios, its makes him an unapealing investment as a betting favorite. Silva has the striking advantage, the speed is close, while I give the conditioning and wrestling edges to Charlie until proven otherwise. I like Brenneman at $2.45 on a single bet and I feel confident in him to include him as part of a parlay, but again don’t go all in on him because if Silva proves to be the real deal we don’t want that to ruin our evening…..wow was that long winded especially if Silva knocks him out inside the first 60 seconds, lets hope not.
Ian McCall 2.15 vs Demetrious Johnson 1.69
Easily one of my favorite type of fights to predict; a rematch, especially considering the first fight happened recently. My original prediction was Johnson by decision, which was the case, but not really. As I said in the podcast I felt that McCall had done enough to win that fight and should have been given the nod, with a draw being the best scenario that Johnson could have hoped for. I was pleasantly surprised by McCall’s status as the underdog for the rematch. I had expected this fight to be close to a pick’em, with McCall paying less then $2.00 and potentially even coming in as the slight favorite. Johnson’s name still holds a lot of cache considering his success at Bantamweight, but like mentioned on the show I attribute a lot of his good fortune at 135 to his speed advantage, something he has lost at 125. In fact, (I will repeat the analogy from the show because I liked it) I equated Johnson’s loss of the speed advantage to a heavy handed striker (like Wanderlei or Chuck) losing their ability to take a punch. When such an important aspect of a fighter’s game is gone it can be incredibly difficult for that fighter to cope. Johnson is an uber talented fighter, but his speed is vital to his success and now that his opponent’s can match that aspect of his game it will be interesting to see what changes he makes. That is a huge issue here too, if Johnson makes the proper adjustments he could potentially dominate this fight. Although, I saw enough in favour of McCall that I feel confident even if Johnson makes adjustments Ian will still get the nod. McCall’s wrestling both offensively and defensively was better and he hit with more power backing Johnson up. If Ian can use his wrestling to control Johnson for slightly longer durations then in the first bout this should seal the deal in their second meeting. As I said I like McCall @ $2.15 and I fully expect him to drop to closer to $2.00 by the time the fight starts so don’t wait too long. Use him as a single bet and as part of your main parlay with an assortment from my confidence list or the first parlay I listed above. For Johnson, with him paying $1.69 he also has value. I would suggest putting a combo together of Johnson, Pyle, Baczynski and Papazian ($7.50). I like those fighters from earlier and if they all win you should go into the main event standing to make profit not matter who gets the nod.
1. Jared Papazian– not a great start
2. Mike Pierce
4. Ian McCall
5. Charlie Brenneman
1. Ian McCall $2.15
2. Charlie Brenneman $2.45
3. Matt Grice $2. 30
4. Seth Baczynski $1.87
5. Eddie Wineland $2.80
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.
Ian McCall by TKO/KO/DQ @ $7.50– this is purely a value bet based on the $7.50. I don’t know how close McCall was to earning the TKO in the later stages of round 3 when he had Johnson’s back and was landing undefended shots. I don’t like the way Johnson defended himself by simply covering up and taking them, had Ian pushed the pace a little more I think the ref (who was watching closely) would have stopped the fight.
Charlie Brenneman on Points @ $3.00- If Brenneman wins this fight its not by submission or knockout it will be by decision so consider subbing Brenneman straight up to Brenneman by decision to add extra value.
Wineland/Jorgensen Total rounds over 1.5- Jorgensen’s mode of operation is winning by decision and he is a tough guy to stop so either way I see this fight going the distance.
Garcia/Grice Total rounds over 1.5- Garcia has gone to a lot of decisions lately and has never been knocked out so unless Grice submits him which is doubtful I think this fight goes into the second half.
Papazian/ Pague Total rounds under 1.5- I don’t need to repeat myself from above as to why I think this fight ends early and if Pauge happens to catch Papazian via submission inside the first half you still get some coin with this prop.