UFN 55 & 56- My 5 & the Bet Pack Review

Scott Johnson

With 21 fights over two days, UFC Fight Nights 55 and 56 produced 15 total finishes, the next Middleweight title contender, and the potential end of a Legend, amongst a number of other interesting scenarios. While there were a few forgettable moments, there were a lot that really stood out- lets take a look at “My 5” significant fighters and/or scenarios.

#5. Louis Smolka- an underweight ‘Showstopper’

When I was watching the weigh-ins I shared the confusion of many fighters when their weights were read of in kilograms instead of the more familiar pounds. Unfortunately, it was reveal afterwards that Smolka had be incorrectly informed that he had missed weight and subsequently attempted to cut more. The extra few pounds that the Flyweight attempted to cut could have been a disaster and cost him the fight, but he was able to rally and pull off a darn impressive finish. In fact, he landed what appeared to be a standing side kick or as WWE fans recognized- Shawn Michael’s ‘Sweet Chin Music’. Tune up the band Flyweights.

#4. Al Iaquinta continues to impress

Ross Pearson came in as a solid favourite in a matchup of surging lightweights. After a pretty solid sequence of exchanges, the TUF runner-up put his stamp on the Brit and continued his impressive accent up the ranks. The UFC was working to slowly bring ‘Raging’ Al along and his submission loss to a relative unknown in Mitch Clarke appeared to halt that progress, but Iaquinta has manage to recover quickly and with this win he grows ever so closer to cracking the Top 15 of the division.

#3. Luke Rockhold submits Michael Bisping

The last Strikeforce Champion crashed and burned quickly in his UFC debut. Since losing to Vitor Belfort, Luke Rockhold has finished 3 noteworthy opponents in Costa Philippou, Tim Boetsch, and now Michael Bisping. Not only did he finish each man, he did in impressive fashion and made it look easy. Chris Weidman is currently booked to defend his title against Vitor Belfort, but Rockhold should stay at the ready in case that falls through. If Vitor does make it to fight night, defeating the tough Brit in such dominant fashion should escalate Rockhold beyond the winner of Romer/Jacare and inline for the next shot at the 185 pound gold.

#2. Home Cooking

In bouts between local fighters and foreigners, Australians and Brazilian’s combined for an impressive 11-5 record. Some of those wins were earned, but others were undeservedly gifted with a bow on it. The Edwards/Silva and Alves/Jouban decisions were both contestable and have been examined to exhaustions across the various MMA forums. While I can see an argument for both sides, the issue I take with these two outcomes is that they are two more added to an already heaping pile of local fighters getting a hometown decision. Kenny Florian put it best when he stated after the Jouban/ Alves outcome that when this happens it further discourages foreign fighters from coming to Brazil to fight.

The lack of protection or proper consequences in the Magalhaes/ Smith bout was simply unacceptable. After Smith was hurt, his Brazilian opponent landed several shots directly to the back of the head leading to the stoppage. I was watching the bout at the time without sound and felt that this would be a clear cut DQ. Had the scenario been reversed and a local fighter felled by a sequence of illegal blows I struggle to believe we wouldn’t have see a different outcome or at the very least a far greater outcry.

Additionally, it was also quite discouraging to hear that the UFN 56 took place in arena that was devoid of air conditioning. This clearly favoured the local fighters who would be more accustomed to such conditions. The UFC needs to work hard to avoid such conditions for future events.

#1. The Fall of a Legend

It would be very short-sighted to suggest that the fall of Shogun Rua came as the result of a brutal 34 second knockout at the hands of OSP. Rua initially entered the Octagon with a significant amount of hype and despite the fact that he capture the promotion’s Light Heavyweight title it is a hard sell to suggest that he has lived up to those lofty expectations. He has struggled with consistency, managing to win back to back fights just once in his UFC career and is now 2-5 over his last 7. All of his wins have come over retired fighters or fighters no longer competing in the LHW division. He has also been finished in 5 of his 7 defeats. Many have called for Rua to cut to Middleweight, but the speed and depth of talent in the lighter division’s upper echelon would most likely further cement that it is time for the former champion to hang up his gloves for good.

If Rua is still insistent on competing, it might be time for him to join the senior circuit once occupied by the likes of Chuck Liddell and leave his goal of recapturing his championship glory behind him. Potential catch-weight bouts with the likes of Rich Franklin, Cung Le, or even Michael Bisping could still be interesting bouts to keep Shogun active.

With an overall record of 11-10, this was far from a successful prediction weekend. I did manage to land a pair of respectable upsets in Chris Clements and Al Iaquinta, but its hardly enough to overlook the forest for the trees. The quick summary on the Bet Pack looks like this: Parlay Winnings: $252, Top 5 Confidence Picks: 3-2, Value Bets: #2 Chris Clements & #3 Al Iaquinta, Prop Bets: 2-5. Look at the entire pack below.


UFC Fight Night 55 & 56

Parlay Breakdowns

Gold Plays

Parlay #1
Selection 1: TREVOR SMITH $2.90
Price: $2.90 x Bet: $100
Payout: $290
12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med Parlay #2
Selection 1: AL IAQUINTA $2.52
Price: $2.52 x Bet: $100
Payout: $252
Parlay #3
Selection 1: SOA PALELEI $1.68
Selection 2: IAN MCCALL $1.63
Selection 3: CLINT HESTER $1.56
Price: $4.28 x Bet: $100
Payout: $428
Parlay #4
Selection 1: DYLAN ANDREWS $1.61
Selection 2: IAN MCCALL $1.63
Selection 3: TREVOR SMITH $2.90
Price: $7.62 x Bet: $100
Payout: $762
Silver Plays
Parlay #1
Selection 1: CHRIS CLEMENTS $2.25
Selection 2: GUTO INOCENTE $1.54
Selection 3: LEON EDWARDS $1.54
Price: $5.34 x Bet: $100
Payout: $534
Parlay #2
Selection 1: CHARLIE BRENNEMAN $2.50
Selection 2: NINA ANSAROFF $1.65
Selection 3: CLINT HESTER $1.56
Price: $6.44 x Bet: $100
Payout: $644
Parlay #3
Selection 1: SOA PALELEI $1.68
Selection 2: SHOGUN RUA $1.56
Selection 3: WARLLEY ALVES $1.42
Selection 4: AL IAQUINTA $2.52
Price: $9.38 x Bet: $100
Payout: $938
Bronze Plays
Parlay #1
Selection 1: VAGNER ROCHA $4.36
Selection 2: SOA PALELEI $1.68
Selection 3: THOMAS ALMEIDA/ TIM GORMAN Total Rounds Under 1.5 $2.00
Selection 4: CLINT HESTER $1.56
Price: $22.86 x Bet: $100
Payout: $22.86
Parlay #2
Selection 1: IAN MCCALL $1.63
Selection 2: TREVOR SMITH $2.90
Selection 3: AL IAQUINTA $2.52
Selection 4: LEON EDWARDS $1.54
Price: $18.35 x Bet: $100
Payout: $1835
Parlay #1
Selection 1: IAN MCCALL $1.63
Selection 2: TREVOR SMITH $2.90
Selection 3: CLINT HESTER $1.56
Selection 4: SOA PALELEI $1.68
Selection 5: SHOGUN RUA Wins by Decision $4.00
Price: $49.56 x Bet: $100
Payout: $4956

Individual Fight Betting Breakdowns

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med JUMABIEKE TUERXUN $5.44 vs MARCUS BRIMAGE $1.20
This is it for Brimage if he can’t win this fight, especially considering how heavy a favourite he is. Tuerxun didn’t look good in his debut, but looked much better in fight #2 but still lost. These odds do nothing for me and they shouldn’t for you either. Brimage wins, but the risk/reward is not worth it. Pass

Kelly didn’t impress me at all on the show and all indications are he is too old and simply lacks to ability to compete at this level. Could he surprise us and pull the upset? Maybe, but not likely. Zachrich keeps him at distance and picks him apart taking either a clear decision or putting him down via strikes after something lands flush. On a normal weekend I would advocate using Zachrich as part of a Gold parlay but with so many options I will have to see how the next 20 or so fights look.

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med CHRIS CLEMENTS $2.25 vs VIK GRUJIC $1.74
The first solid line of the bunch. Yes Clements has lost his last 2 (we recognize a No Contest for what it really is), but he is dangerous striker that more then has the skills to get by Vik. Consider that Grujic is the favourite here makes the Canuck look even more enticing. Vik’s striking doesn’t look that great, his technique is slow and telegraphed and he leaves plenty of room to be countered. Clements is a flawed fighter as well, but he gets the job done here and the price is a nice one. He will most likely be either a single bet in the Gold Pack or part of a parlay in the Silver section.

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med LOUIS SMOLKA $1.31 vs RICHIE VACULIK $3.99
While I do think that Smolka is better in all areas where this fight could take place, including Vas’s strongest area which is on the mat- I am not overly excited about backing a fighter at this price on short notice fighting on enemy soil. Again with just one card of fights to pick from I would probably play Smolka in the Gold pack but considering the circumstances I just outlined and the vast number of options available I will most likely let him slide to a parlay on the Silver section.

I picked Alvey in his debut and outside of a third round rally that fell short and didn’t impress me. He is too tentative, holding back until the opportunity presents itself and if it doesn’t come he is going to get outpointed. He had a lot of trouble with the kicking game of Watson and simply was not diverse enough in his attack. Andrews is scrappy and the more diverse fighter. I expect to seem him chip away at Alvey with leg kicks and mix in a few takedowns where needed. He has to be careful of getting clipped, but I think Andrews is a solid play with some workable value. Gold Parlay Play.

Perosh routinely defies the odds, but at 42 and with a limited skill set how long can he continue to compete at this level? If he can get on top of Guto he is more then capable of ending this fight, but there is a real possibility that he gets cracked and knocked out again before that happens. At $1.54 there is a little pop behind the Brazilian, but until he wins at this level I won’t be able to use him in the Gold section- a Silver Parlay will fit the bill.

Everyone has to start somewhere and Matthews got his first win in the UFC under his belt. It came over an undefeated fighter, but that win losses a lot of its luster when you do a little investigating. I went over all of the details in my predictions, but Johnson was an undersized fighter with a massively inflated record. Rocha is not any of that. He isn’t much of a name and is most likely remembered for butt flopping against Donald Cerrone or getting knocked out by Jonathan Brookins. He did sub Cody McKenzie in between those fights. Those shortcomings aside, he is very good grappler and has picked up some pretty good wins on the regional circuit. Matthews still needs to prove himself at this level against a more accredited opponent before he should be this heavy of a favourite. If the fight stays standing I give him a slight edge, but I think he gets himself in trouble engaging Rocha on the mat and learns a valuable lesson. The play here is a single bet, probably in the Silver Section as Matthews is a young fighter capable of making significant strides between bouts.

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med SOA PALELEI $1.68 vs WALT HARRIS $2.41
This is a HW bout that is most likely ending inside the first round and a half. I do like Soa to get the job done here as he has greater experience and the more accomplished fighting skill set. At the same time, if Harris can keep his distance and force Soa to work hard he could get the big man to gas out. Harris is filling in on short notice and really hasn’t done much to earn his way back to the UFC so I don’t expect much of a turn around. I like playing Soa here and he has some solid value that could get him pumped into the Gold bracket, the under is also a pretty good option.

Hester is quietly progressing into a solid mid-level fighter. His ceiling will ultimately be determined by how far he can advance his defensive wrestling. In this fight I don’t think it matters. He is facing a fighter that is primarily striking based and moving up a division which should take a little of the impact out of his strikes. Whittaker was recently knocked out by Court McGee and while this fight might go the distance he is going to wear some damage. I like the price on Hester here, I feel very confident that he comes through here for a big win so the Gold pack works for me.

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med AL IAQUINTA $2.52 vs ROSS PEARSON $1.69
I have been very impressed with the improvements that Iaquinta has made with each fight. He comes from a very good camp and they are brining him a long quite nicely. Pearson has looked quite good as well, but far from invincible. I felt he lost the first round against Maynard and was in a much more competitive back and forth with G-Sots on the feet then he should have been. Pearson’s success has been keyed by his counter striking and movement, but while doing that he tends to let his opponent carry the flow of the fight. That cost him, unfairly, against Diego and will cost him here. Iaquinta is aggressive and will push the pace earning him the win in the judges’ eyes. The quality of Al’s opponent here will probably prevent him from making the cut as a Gold play, but a Silver bet- potentially a 2 leg parlay would be great.

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med LUKE ROCKHOLD $1.24 vs MICHAEL BISPING $4.80
This is a fight that I am not that interested in betting straight up. I like Bisping, but this is the ceiling fight that he almost always runs into. Henderson, Sonnen, and Belfort were all defeats that prevented him from taking the next step as a title contender. I see Rockhold being the fourth to join that list. Is Bisping worth a look at this price? Possibly, but as I have said so many times on this card there are plenty of fights to choose from your money is best spent elsewhere. I might take a look at the under bet as I think Rockhold could earn the stoppage and Bisping is also capable if he can break Rockhold down over a longer fight.

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med COLBY COVINGTON $1.24 vs WAGNER SILVA $4.75
These odds due nothing for me, especially considering how heavily favoured Covington is after just one UFC win. I will take a pass, the under seems a little inviting- I will revisit this one in the prop section.

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med THOMAS ALMEIDA $1.30 vs TIM GORMAN $3.85
I again would consider betting the under here, probably more inclined to with this one then the pervious fight. There is a very good chance that an upset of either Almeida or Covington takes place. If I had to guess I would say Gorman is more likely to pull it off then Silva, so betting this fight straight up isn’t that much of a fun proposition for me. First time versus an American wrestler can be tough. I will be watchijng this fight with great interest considering the hype around the Brazilian, but other then the Under, its a No Play.

This is a tricky fight. I think Brenneman’s skill set is enough to take this bout. Top pressure and wrestling has nullified the likes of Rick Story, Daniel Roberts, and Jason High- all good grapplers. Almost everyone of his defeats has come because he took one big shot on the chin that eventually lead to the end. Silva could score a knockdown that leads to a submission opportunity, but with just 1 knockout it the pure stoppage doesn’t seem likely. Brenneman has had some tough opponents thrown his way, this might be a bone thrown his way. His recent struggles are what have him set as the dog and I will bite. Due to his recent struggles he falls to a Silver play, potentially even Bronze.

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med DHIEGO LIMA $1.35 vs JORGE OLIVEIRA $3.70
Oliveira is taking this bout on short notice, 6 days to be more exact, which isn’t much. Lima should win this fight but I don’t know enough about Lima to consider this a valid betting options. I will pass.


This one is a bit of a head scratcher. Magalhaes has won 3 in a row, but really hasn’t looked that good doing it. In fact, he would be 1-3 if it wasn’t for a injury to Nick Ring that cost him the second half of the bout and a badly gassing Karlos Vemola who was mopping the floor with him for the first round. In both fights he spent some serious time on his back and didn’t have much to offer from the position. I see Smith scoring takedowns, controlling the action from top position, and nullifying his opponent’s grappling. I like this play and as the value increases it gets even more enticing. I am leaning towards a single play under the Gold section.

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med DIEGO RIVAS $1.87 vs RODOLFO RUBIO $2.00
I don’t know enough about these two to give feel comfortable investing money. I do this Rivas wins based on what I have seen, but I will take a pass. I will consider the Over simply because his is the final prelim bout which as we all know often goes Over the total.


Silva didn’t impress me prior to his first fight and even in victory I still wasn’t impressed. His success has been the product of a very weak schedule and Edwards is nice step up that will be too much for him. Silva has to get this fight to the floor and he is going to struggle to accomplish that. When he is forced to stand and trade with Edwards he is going to get absolutely lit up. Edwards is making his debut, but I was impressed with his technique and he has some solid wins on the regional circuit. It is almost always tough to go against a Brazilian in Brazil but that is not the case here. Edwards has some a nice little pop in the mid $1.50 range. I do feel he wins this bout, but because he is debuting he will slip for me to the Silver range.


Another pick against the local fighter? I could be in tough this weekend if the Brazilians run the table. Lima has already made her debut and I felt she performed above expectations. He still lost, but I felt it was a win that she didn’t get finished by a vastly superior striker. Ansaroff will once again be the better striker and I feel her grappling chops are better then Lima’s previous opponent. The potential for Octagon jitters and fighting in a hostile environment will keep Nina out of the upper echelon of my betting card. A Silver Parlay leg makes the most sense for me.

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med ALAN JOUBAN $3.35 vs WARLLEY ALVES $1.42

I was on Jouban to pull the upset in his debut, which he did. I am not on him here. I was impressed with how Alves fought in his TUF tournament finals win. He used a grappling heavy attack to exploit his opponent’s greatest weakness and executed it to perfection. Jouban is too willing to give up the takedown and try to counter off his back, that will cost him dearly here. He still has dynamite in his hands and could certainly catch Warlley during an exchange. With both men fighting for just the second time in the UFC there is still some uncertainty- Silver parlay.


I love this play! McCall has all the tools to exploit the short comings of Lineker- even more so then anyone he has faced before. He has great wrestling and a much more technical refined striking game. His footwork will make it difficult for Lineker to unload and his wrestling will force him to constantly be on guard. McCall has to avoid getting dragged into a dog fight which would favour Linker’s brawling high volume style. McCall is easily going to make the cut as a Gold parlay leg and will probably show up more then once.

SHOGUN RUA $1.56 vs OSP $2.65
With the Aussie card growing dangerously close I will keep this short so I can get on filling out the rest of the pack. Shogun needs to win this fight or else his relevance within the division will be all but gone. OSP is stepping in a big way versus the type of opponent he usually losses too. He just isn’t there yet as far as beating these top level guys, but is Shogun still at the top level? I don’t know, but I think we see a wrestling heavy approach from the former champ and either he grinds out a decision or eventually lands something huge during an exchange and knocks him out. I would love to play this fight in the Gold section, but the Silver pack makes much more sense for me.

Whole Event Confidence Bets Ranking (1- Most Confident to Win outright)


2. SOA PALELEI $1.68 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. IAN MCCALL $1.63

4. LUKE ROCKHOLD $1.24 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

5. COLBY COVINGTON $1.24 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med






10. WARLLEY ALVES $1.42 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

11. SHOGUN RUA $1.56

12. AL IAQUINTA $2.52 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

13. MARCUS BRIMAGE $1.20 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

14. THOMAS ALMEIDA $1.30 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med


16. CHRIS CLEMENTS $2.25 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

17. LOUIS SMOLKA $1.31 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med


19. DHIEGO LIMA $1.35 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med


21. VAGNER ROCHA $4.36

22. DIEGO RIVAS $1.87 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Top Value Bets (1- Greatest Value based on Betting odds & Ability to Win)

# Price Explanation
1. TREVOR SMITH $2.90 Magalhaes is getting way overvalued and/or Smith way undervalued. Smith replicates the success of his previous opponent’s by grinding him out with a heavy top game, but carries it through to the decision.
2. AL IAQUINTA 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med $2.52 Al continues to show improvement and I think this is the next step. Ross has looked good, but there are still some holes in his game that can be exploited by a more aggressive but equally as technical opponent.
3. CHRIS CLEMENTS 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med $2.25 I just don’t see Vik possessing the skills to ground Clements or trouble him on the feet. Clements is a solid bet at this price to land something big and floor his opponent.
4. CHARLIE BRENNEMAN $2.50 Brenneman has fallen on hard times of late, but is finally getting a step down in competition and I think he can get back to the wrestling that carried him to his previous 4 UFC wins.
5. VAGNER ROCHA $4.36 This is a well paying dog here, especially considering Matthews has never beaten anyone of this skill level. If Jake is the prospect that many believe him to be he wins this bout, but if not I think he gets a lesson.

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.

  • Even on a good night I don’t anticipate winning every fight on this list, realistically 2-3 correct picks would be considered a successful event.
  • I do not recommend backing every fighter listed, these are just suggestions where the greatest betting value on the card lies, it is up to you to make the decision where to invest your money.

Top Counter Bets (1- Greatest Value based on Betting odds & Ability to Win)

# Price Explanation

The Value list for Counter Bets 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.

Some people might question the use of one fighter in a parlay and the other (an underdog) in a straight up bet, but here is my logic.

Scenario: the Fav is in a 3 fighter parlay and it pays $5 x your bet of $30 and the dog pays $3.50 x your bet of $10.

The underdog single bet offers a nice safety net. If he wins then you bet a total of $40 and won $35, your losses are minimal. If your parlay wins then you bet $40 and won $150, so it is still a decent profit line.

There is the possibility that you might not win either bet, but having an “insurance” style bet can keep you from going broke a lot of nights.

Prop Bets-

DANIEL KELLY/ LUKE ZACHRICH Total Rounds Over 1.5 $1.64- I think Zachrich will want to limit the close range exchanges and will stick to the outside, picking away at this opponent. This type of approach will carry this bout into the second half.

LOUIS SMOLKA/ RICHIE VACULIK Total Rounds Over 2.5 $1.79- Both guys are capable of finishing on the mat, but I think we see a number of fun back and forth exchanges on the mat that lead to a decision outcome.

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med ANTHONY PEROSH/ GUTO INOCENTE Total Rounds Under 1.5 $1.74- Whether Perosh locks in a submission or Inocente hands him his 6th career defeat via knockout this bout as a very real chance of ending inside the first frame. I will play the Under.

SOA PALELEI/ WALT HARRIS Total Rounds Under 1.5 $1.65- Soa is a finisher and Harris crumpled pretty easy after just a single head kick. Look for Soa to close the distance, drag him to the mat, and overwhelm him with strikes.

12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med LUKE ROCKHOLD/ MICHAEL BISPING Total Rounds Under 2.5 $2.31- While this fight could easily go the distance I think there is a real chance we see it end early. Most likely it will be Rockhold ending it prematurely. Bisping seemed really unnerved by the threat of power from both Henderson and Vitor and I think we will see something similar here. Rockhold will stun him early close the deal shortly there after.

THOMAS ALMEIDA/ TIM GORMAN Total Rounds Under 1.5 $2.00- Almeida has been a stone cold killer, finishing almost all of his fights inside the first round. If he is the prospect that everyone says he is look for him to make short of work of Gorman, possibly landing something very hard to the body.

SHOGUN RUA Wins by Decision $4.00- While a finish is a real possibility, I think Shogun looks to use his wrestling to exploit OSP’s defensive lapses and grinds out a decision win. There is a tonne of value here, but of course some risk as well.