UFC on FX 7 from Brazil brought a fantastic sequence of fights highlighted by a main card with 2 knockouts, 1 submission, and 1 back and forth fight of the night performance. All in all the Brazilian crowd was treated to some excellent performance and while there were a few low points it was a pretty solid night of in cage entertainment. Kamikaze Overdrive finished with a 6-4 prediction record and despite a less then exciting final record some the 4 losses weren’t as significant with 3 of the 4 ranked at the bottom of the event confidence list. Of the 6 wins 3 were on the top 5 confidence list, #2 was the no contest involving Yuri Alcantara and 3 were on the value list including #1 Nik Lentz. You can check out the entire bet pack below and now let’s look at the fights.
-Trinaldo looked pretty decent putting away Keith, but Keith put up a little bit better of a fight then I expected. Most likely Trinaldo will remain a regular on the undercard, especially in Brazil while Keith will get the axe. Prediction: Trinaldo by TKO
-Wagner Prado’s mental state was a major concern for me heading into this fight and although I picked him the outcome wasn’t that much of a shock. In fact I labelled Prado as a no play and listed Alcantara as my #1 non-predicted winner value bet. Alcantara will get to participate on future Brazil cards I would expect and will most likely do so at 185 pounds, while Prado gets cut. Prediction: Prado by TKO, but listed it as a No Play
-Yuri Alcantara looked great at 135, but against questionable competition. I look forward to seeing him against an established 135er as a rematch is not needed here. I was hoping Nobre would get a chance to fight in the UFC at Flyweight but that acting performance will most likely get him cut. I really was shocked at the poor judgement on Big Dan’s part, but he saw what he saw. On a side note most of the “major” MMA websites that do predictions need to pay attention as everywhere I read they were talking about this fight taking place at Featherweight, completely unaware that Alcantara was making his Bantamweight debut, shame. Prediction: Alcantara by Sub
– I missed this fight when I flipped the channel to catch a little bit of the Bruins/ Rangers game and when I turned it back it was all over. Much like I expected Barboza picked up the win and should get a push back up the ranks, Barboza vs Jorge Masvidal (when he signs) would be a great fight. Martins will probably get another chance against a lower level opponent. Prediction: Barboza by TKO
-potentially my favourite fight of the night and first of two upsets. Nik Letz looked like a beast and with the exception of a few tense moments late, he handled a very talented Diego Nunes. Nunes is a talented guy but once again lacked the ability to get a big win when he needed. Nunes will stick around but most likely be relegated to the prelims for the rest of his UFC career while Lentz keeps climbing the ladder and should be consider a top 10 contender. This was also easy money betting on the total rounds over, your welcome. Prediction: Lentz by Decision
-Ronny Markes isn’t pretty, I’m not sure what to make of him, but he could have the ugliest 3-0 record in UFC history. Craig gave him all he could handle late and I was starting to worry that the fight might get stopped. Neither guy is going to crack the top 10 unless they clean up their skills in a big way. Again another Total rounds over play that cashed. Prediction: Markes by Decision
-The decision in this one took some cash out of my pocket with Vieira being the only fighter I was really counting on to win that didn’t. I did rank Godofredo on my list of non-predicted winner for basically the exact reason I think he won- he had more gas late and looked like the less damaged fighter. I had the fight 29-28 Vieira with him winning rounds 1 & 3, but it was close and Castro clearly had the best round in the second. Prediction: Vieira by Submission
-I wasn’t a fan of Nurmagomedov before this fight, but he is growing on me. I went back and forth on this fight initially but then when I started counting the Russian’s unorthodox style as a positive not a negative it became clear that he was the pick. Tavares will be a UFC constant as a low level gatekeeper and in this case Khabib smashed through his gate like only a big Russian ass kick-machine could. Nurmy is calling out Nate Diaz but I don’t think he is quite there yet, but I expect his next appearance will again be on a main card against a next level opponent. Predicition: Nurmagomedov by Knockout
– I found out well after my prediction was in the books that Big Ben had a bad camp and it showed here as he looked to be in pretty rough shape right out of the gate. I did post Gonzaga on my non-predicted winner list and he came through in that sense. I would like to see Rothwell get himself healthy as I think he can be a decent lower level member of the division because I don’t expect to see him get cut with the lack of depth in the division. For Gabe, he his 2-0 since returning to the UFC and should get a slight step up in competition. I believe he was paired up with Roy Nelson at one point, let’s make that happen. Prediction: Rothwell by Knockout
-This was a tale of two halves. Sarafian won the first round and was winning the second round until CB caught him late and stole the round with the most significant strikes of the frame. The third round was again close with both guys having their moments, but it looked like CB did just enough to get the nod. Sarafian should move down to Welterweight, but he is a thick kid so it could be tough. For Dollaway it was a win, he has won 2 in a row, but I hope he enjoyed the co-main event spotlight because he wont be there again. CB vs Riki Fukuda would be a decent scrap. Prediction: Dollaway by Decision.
-Michael Bisping once again came up short when he had a shot at the title within his grasp. Bisping was classy in defeat and made no excuses for his performance, but I felt like he look more timid then normal, not engaging Belfort has he has other fighters in that past. That for the most part could be attributed to the danger that Belfort presents and he didn’t his fellow countrymen down when he put his the Count down…for the count. Calling out Jones and saying Sonnen needed relinquish his title shot was an odd move. I don’t want to see him fight Bones again, but a rematch with Anderson would be interesting if he can get another win or two under his belt. Belfort vs the winner of Okami/ Lombard is a good looking fight and Bisping vs the loser. Prediction: Bisping by TKO
A Puncher’s Chance
Selection 4: K
I really like Alcantara here but at $1.22 there isn’t much of a return. Most likely I will use him in the system play, but with him dropping to Bantamweight for the first time there could be complications. Nobre is a natural Flyweight and didn’t look good in his last attempt to fight at 135. If Alcantara slows then Nobre will out work him, but I expect that Yuri should be able to finish this fight before it gets to that point. I was really looking forward to Alcantara vs Roop, until Roop got hurt as I felt Alcantara would have paid better and I would have still been as confident in his ability to win. Unfortunately with MMA injuries happen and fights change. I hope they keep Nobre on after this fight as I think he would be a solid addition to the Flyweight division.
Keith impressed me in his pre-fight UFC footage, but came up significantly short in his UFC debut against Nijem. I actually picked Keith and felt he had a good chance against a developing fighter like Ramsey, but not here against Trinaldo who is a pretty solid veteran. Trinaldo already has 2 UFC bouts under his belt and put up a decent performance against one of the toughest fighters in the division in Tibau. If Keith wasn’t able to hand the grappling of Nijem I struggled to see him fairing much better against the power and strength of Trinaldo. This is the type of fight where a fighter’s height advantage will actually work against him as I expect Keith is going to struggle to keep Trinaldo off of him and stand taller will leave him vulnerable for the overhand left that the Brazilian will be tossing at him. I will use Trinaldo in the system parlays and would consider doubleing him up with Rony Marks for a nice low risk bet. Keith is in a tough spot here so most likely I will pass.
Martins looks like a solid prospect but he is drawing a tough debut here. For the most part he seems to fight a similar style to Barboza and I just don’t see him getting the better of Edson in this way. Additionally he doesn’t put too much focus on his ground game which is a weapon that fighters have threaten Edson with in the past. Unless Martins shows something in this fight that I haven’t seen in past footage it will be Barboza with the advantage in grappling and I expect to see him scoring periodic takedowns to throw Martins off. At $1.32 Barboza isn’t the most valuable bet and Martins does have a pretty decent skill set, but I still have Barboza emerging with the victory. I would refrain from a single bet and use Barboza as part of your parlays. For Martins its a big step up in competition and I would like to see him fight at this level before we start investing in him.
This is a No Play for me, I do think Prado takes this based on the footage I have seen but the odds are not that appealing, again based on the footage I have seen as I don’t think these two are $1.62 apart. If Alcantara were to end up with the W I wouldn’t be shocked. I was impressed with his striking and saw some things I liked, but his size could be an issue or maybe not these things can be hard to tell sometimes. The manner in which Prado carried himself pre and post fight concerns me and while I expect that most young fighters will rebound from a defeat there is just something unnerving about him that is screaming at me, keep your money in your pockets. There you have it.
This has the potential to be a very close fight and considering it is in Brazil that could sway things in favour of Diego. Nunes is a talented guy with all the tools and just hasn’t been able to get that big win to move into the elite level of contenders. Lentz was quietly putting together a nice run at LW and doing it against larger opponents. Now he will have the size advantage in this fight and he is the best wrestler that Nunes has ever faced. Facing an D-1 level wrestler for the first time can be an eye opener and really pose some problems. Nunes has had encounters before with grapplers with mixed results; his struggles against Mike Brown were noteworthy until Brown got tired and Kenny Florian had success with takedowns. On the positive side he did well against guys like Raphael Assuncao and Manny Gamburyan. Nik Lentz represents the next level of grappler and at $2.60 there is a tonne value. Nunes is at his best when he is able to fight at a distance and unload his kicks but Lentz is the type of guy that will keep moving forward and limit Diego’s space with the possibility of using the kicks he attempts as a gateway to a takedown. I like Lentz I think he is worth a decent size bet as he has a good return and represents a new challenge for Nunes. I intend to use him in multiple parlays as well, but don’t over commit because I felt Nunes made some strides in his last fight so don’t let you night be ended by one fight. So far Nunes is 0-2 against UFC Lightweights moving down to 145 (yes Gamburyan was a UFC lightweight but physically he is not as big as Florian, Siver, or Lentz and was fighting above his natural weightclass for lack of a betteroption) and in this fight Lentz size could have an even greater impact then Florian’s or Sivers’s.
I can’t say I am not disappointed with these odds. I was really hoping that Castro’s time on the Ultimate Fighter would give him the exposure and make him the betting favourite or least closer to even against a guy that debuted with a draw on the prelims. I said in the breakdown Vieira is just a better more experienced version of Castro. I really don’t expect to see Castro getting the better of Vieira on the ground and unless he catches him with one of his wild punches, it won’t go much better on the feet. I really like Vieira, this is his fight to lose and I will be using him as part of my system play and might even consider a small single bet on him if the number starts to rise a little bit. For Castro, first time fighting outside of the realm of the Ultimate Fighter can be a tough one so he is a no play. He needs to tighten a few aspect up and show that he can fight with his head and not with his heart.
Even with Markes settling around the $1.45 mark I still think this price is a bargain. Craig is a scrappy guy but I really haven’t been that impressed with him in either UFC fight despite the 2 wins. Markes’s grappling should be the most significant aspect of this bout and with two strong wrestlers already succumbing to it, I just don’t see Craig doing much better. The developing striking of Markes gives me a little pause if Craig is able to make some serious contact, but its a puncher chance- a possibility, but not that great of one. Looking at the betting public picks- Markes currently sits at 100% putting him in the 95-100% category where the public is a perfect 4-0 which is also encouraging. I would suggest making a large sized bet on Markes along with working him into most of your parlays. For Craig, pulling off one comeback at the UFC level is significant, 2 is unreal, 3 is almost an impossibility so I will pass.
To be brutally honest I am not a big fan of Nurmagomedov and looked very hard at how Thiago could win this bout. Nurmys win over Kamal Shalorus has been severely diminished after Kamal finished his UFC career 0-3 getting finished all 3 times. Then in his win over Tibau, I feel he did more in that fight and off the two should have got the win, but draw would have made more sense for me. While he was easily the busier of the two fighters, he was also the more ineffective of the two landing no takedowns and having limited success with his strikes. Skill wise, his striking his sloppy and he looks at times like he is scared to get hit when he raises in his chin up and swings wildly to keep his opponent off of him. None of this will instill much confidence in the Russian, but what he does bring to the table should give Thiago a lot of problems. My guess is that their respective grappling skills will cancel each other out and this is going to be a striking based fight. Thiago has been working hard to fine tune his stand-up, but he will struggle with the type of pressure that Nurmagomedov brings on the feet. While his technique leaves a lot to be desired his pressure, pace, and unorthodox style are a handful. Thiago is a great front runner, but when things aren’t going his way he can struggle and even when he is having success as was the case in the Roller fight, his chin is a question mark. Of the two I think that Thiago will suffer more from an inability to land takedowns and this shows up. I recommend playing Nurmagomedov in your parlays, no single bet here, and I was tempted by Thiago but my interested did wain as I watched more footage.
Rothwell is currently favoured by the betting public at a clip of 65% despite being the underdog. Gabe is 1-6 in big fights against UFC-level Heavyweights, with his only win coming against Cro Cop. A lot of people are jumping back on his bandwagon after he submitted his opponent in his return to the UFC because they feel he has returned to his roots, BJJ, and given up on using a predominantly striking based attack. If this is the case he can hang with anyone he can get to the ground and control, but Rothwell is a big man and will make it tough on GG to establish his ground game. Gonzaga has had problems with pressure in the past and if Rothwell gets in his face and punches him in the teeth (mouth guard) I have no reason to believe he isn’t going to fold up shop. Big Ben hasn’t looked that great of late, but he appears to haven gotten in better shape and in his fights against Gilbert Yvel and Mark Hunt he was dealing with injuries in the first and fought at altitude in the second. Gabe hasn’t fought in a year, has only fought twice since 2010, and this will be his first real test against a UFC level HW since he originally retired from competition. For my money I’ll back the larger, more active and in my opinion tougher fighter with better value. I would suggest placing a decent size bet on Big Ben here along with using him in the majority of your single plays. Gabe hasn’t shown me enough recently or even when he was considered a top heavyweight to consider backing him here as the favourite.
Sarafian is making his first foray into competition against an establish fighter from the UFC roster. There is no denying that he looked like a beast on the show and Dollaway isn’t at the top of the division, but this is still a big step up in competition. Other aspects of this fight to consider- Sarafian has been out of action for well over a year and ring rust, Octagon shock, and the pressure of debuting in the co-main event in front of your fellow countrymen will most likely have an impact. Additionally, Dollaway is an NCAA Division I wrestler and Sarafian is 0-2 against American based wrestler of lesser talent. CB didn’t really impress many by getting rocked by Jason Miller twice and most of the fight Mayhem was fighting on one leg. One advantage that will most certainly aid CB is his size. He is a decent sized Middleweight and Sarafian is a bulky but undersized MW that will most likely cut down to Welterweight before his career is over. Sarafian is capable of pulling off a submission, but if Dollaway can establish the position early on a submission by a smaller, tired, and slippery fighter from the bottom will be difficult. CB ranges from $2.30 to $2.65 depending on the site and anywhere between gives Dollaway some solid value. I would suggest a mid-range bet on CB, and working him into your parlays. Do not go to far as Sarafian does have weapons both standing and on the ground an if CB losses this fight it won’t be the first time he’s come up short in a position where he held significant advantages.
These odds are moving and by fight time they should be close to even and Bisping might even be slightly ahead. Belfort has KO power and fantastic set of hands, but his ability to win a fight drops off the table after the first round. If his conditioning holds up he will remain a threat, but he will need to be at his peak performance best in order to avoid gassing out based on the pace that Bisping normally sets. The count needs to be focussed and normally I would be concerned with a fighter facing such a ‘hometown’ favourite like Belfort as the crowd is going to be insane. But with Bisping he has been the bad guy in almost every single fight he has had in the UFC so he should be more then accustomed to the negativity and even feed off of it. Bisping has really developed as a fighter and for he most part is under appreciated by most of MMA fandom. I think Bisping avoids the early advances of Belfort and will eventually overwhelm scoring a TKO or outwork him for a decision win. I would suggest a single bet on Bisping along with using him in part of your parlays. Belfort certainly has the tools to win this fight so by no means am I discounting his ability to win this one, I just think that Bisping has more tools to win and a bigger window in which to do it in. Food for thought, currently 60% of the betting public is in favour of Bisping and since I opened the new page the public is 0-2 picking the main event.
3. Francisco Trinaldo $1.32
4. Milton Vieira $1.47
5. Edson Barboza $1.32
-Purchase the $5 Bet Pack to get my rankings for the entire event + my non-predicted Top 5 Value Plays
1. Nik Lentz $2.60
3. Ben Rothwell $2.09
4. CB Dollaway $2.64
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.
Diego Nunes/ Nik Lentz Total Rounds Over 2.5– I don’t expect this one to pay much better the $1.55 but it is almost a lock, I would never say a fight is a guaranteed lock, but this one is close. Diego has had 10 straight decisions and Lentz is known for going the distance. Both guys are tough to finish and I don’t see either one getting the finish here. Play the Over.
Andrew Craig/ Ronny Markes Total Rounds Over 2.5– The knock on Markes in his first two fights has been a lack of desire to finish. He is able to control his opponent but just seems unwilling to risk giving up the position in an effort to finish. Craig did get rocked in the Natal fight but was resilient and although he finished Natal I don’t see him being in a position to end this fight.
Ben Rothwell to Win by KO/TKO/DQ– Most HW fights end early, not all but most. Ben has power; 18 wins by KO or TKO and Gabe has been stopped 5 times in his career, 4 times in the UFC. I have Rothwell winning and I don’t see him getting a submission, so I like the knockout play.
Michael Bisping/ Vitor Belfort Total Rounds Over 3.5 or 4.5– If Belfort wins this fight it most likely isn’t going over, but the threat of him KOing Bisping should drive this price up a bit. I expect Bisping will try to drag this bout into the later stages and test Belfort”s conditioning. Playing the Over here is a risk, but I would consider it.
Michael Bisping to Win on Points $3.60– Same reasons and risks as posted above, but this one has a number to consider while I am writing this and I really like it.
3. Francisco Trinaldo $1.32
4. Milton Vieira $1.47
5. Edson Barboza $1.32
7. Nik Lentz $2.60
1. – if you want to bet this fight take the dog with the decent cash return, Alcantara has a lot of experience and is a decent striker and I’m still not sold on Prado 100%.
2. Vitor Belfort $1.83- this line is moving and if Vitor becomes a dog of anything over $2.00 he is worth a play. He has the ability to win this fight with his hands and is fighting at home against a guy with a history of getting clipped in fights.
4. – there are rumours going around that Big Ben had a rough camp and won’t be 100% for this fight. I’m not sold on GG against a healthy Rothwell, but its hard to guess how Benny will perform in this spot if he is hurting. If this number rises maybe he is worth a look.
5. No Play, 4 is enough
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.