Another weekend, another event! This time the UFC will debut a full card on Fuel TV, and while the fight quality isn’t as high as some events, it’s still free. Below we have some fights that I think we can turn a buck on, complete with comparison betting odds, valid props and my general confidence in the fight itself. You’ll notice several fights missing from the list, which is no error. With fights between newcomers, anything can happen, and I’d recommend avoiding wagers on the fights I haven’t listed.
Stick to things you can research and speculate on, rather than throwing money to the wind! Now, onto the fights!
Jake Ellenberger -260
Diego Sanchez +200
Props: Ellenberger inside 1st Round, Ellenberger Inside
A saddest part of sports is watching former greats deteriorate and fade away. As skills fail to keep up with the curve, reflexes become lax and the hunger diminishes, a fighter needs to find a gentle exit from the sport, moving onto the ventures of teaching the next wave. Despite being only 32, Sanchez is showing the signs of a worn out warrior, and after ten years in the sport, will be headed into perhaps the last high-profile fight of his career. Ellenberger comes into this bout riding high after a quick destruction of Jake Shields and could potentially be a fight or two away from a title shot here. This fight really comes down to a bad combination for Sanchez; Failing reflexes and Ellenberger’s crushing power. With Sanchez being much more of a target than before and not being able to absorb punches like he used to, this fight appears to be in the bag early for a fast starter like Ellenberger. The best bet for the night is going to be a first round finish, which you can hedge with ITD if you care to.
Dave Herman -185
Stefan Struve +145
Props: Herman by KO, Herman KOTN
Fresh off his marijuana suspension, Dave Herman returns to the cage to take on Stefan Struve. This is a classic case of two talented fighters with glaring flaws in their games, making this bout a near coin-toss in certain situations. For Herman, this flaw is an over-abundance of confidence, where he tends to let his guard down and showboat. For Struve, the flaw is his obviously weak jaw, which has seen him brutally KO’d in the cage on several occasions. In this situation, Struve’s chin should be the greater detriment, as Herman will want to keep away from Struve’s formidable guard and look to lay him out for the win. Herman by KO is an obvious prop choice here, but also keep in mind that Struve has been on the wrong end of two KOTN awards. Just the way a 7′ tall man flops to the mat makes for spectacular KOs, making that a must play prop.
Aaron Simpson -240
Ronny Markes +190
Props: Simpson by KO, Fight Goes Distance/Over
A hard-working fighter in the MW division, Aaron Simpson will look to add to his win streak, taking on Nova Uniao fighter Ronny Markes. Markes made his debut against Karlos Vemola, using surprisingly sound wrestling ability to put the Czech on his back over and over throughout the fight. The issue here is two-fold against Markes, as Simpson is the superior wrestler and has the kind of punching accuracy to strike his chin if he leaves it exposed. The step up on competition will prove to be a bit too much for Markes as Simpson’s well-rounded game leads to a win, either by early KO or decision. Hit the KO prop and Over on this one, and let’s all hope for a late KO for a sweet payday.
Stipe Miocic -240
Philip De Fries +190
Props: Miocic by KO
Another set of HW’s will look to work their way up the ladder as striker prospect Stipe Miocic takes on British grappler Philip De Fries. Both Miocic and De Fries had successful debuts in the UFC, scoring decisions over lower tier fighters Joey Beltran and Rob Broughton respectively. These two approach fights from a completely different direction though, as Miocic uses his wrestling as a defensive measure and compliment to his vicious kickboxing game, while De Fries is a do-or-die submission grappler with little else to offer. While De Fries is clearly a freak of nature in the strength department, his decidedly slow pacing and lack of set-up will make getting Miocic to the mat a nightmare for him. Don’t count on De Fries exposed chin lasting long here, as Miocic takes out his legs early and tees off when De Fries stalks forward.
Walel Watson -120
TJ Dillashaw -120
Props: Watson Inside
Team Alpha Male prospect TJ Dillashaw will look to rebound from losing the TUF 14 Finale contract, facing Canadian Walel Watson. Dillashaw is certainly a solid fighter with his elite-wrestling skills and heavy hands, but suffered from a bit of hero-worship in terms of training partner Urijah Faber. Having adopted Faber’s striking and grappling styles, but without having the decade of experience behind it, Dillashaw is setting himself up for a short career at this level. This isn’t an easy fighter for either man though, as Watson’s lack of takedown defense and suspect chin make him a target for Dillashaw here, just as Watson’s rangy striking and bottom game subs could halt Dillashaw. Overall, I think the value in this fight might be on Watson ITD, as Dillashaw will certainly be a favorite here, yet seems the most likely to lose before the final bell.
Ivan Menjivar -130
John Albert EV
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over
A bout with potential for serious entertainment, veteran fighter Ivan Menjivar will take to the cage against Victory Athletics John Albert. Albert surprised a lot of people on and off TUF 14, being the first man to ever take John Dodson down, and running through Dustin Paige in brutal fashion. Menjivar isn’t an easy fight though, as he’s one of the few old school fighters who has managed to progress with the sport. All aspects of this fight reflect the youth and strength of Albert, taking on the calm savvy of Menjivar, and the outcome is highly in question. From my view, I think Menjivar can stay safe and be one step ahead of Albert at all times, coming out of this one with a close decision win. Betting wise, the straight line could be tough to play, so grab the Over if it comes in below -160.
Jonathan Brookins -130
Vagner Rocha EV
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over
It’s rare to see a fighter drop a weight class off of a win, but Vagner Rocha apparently thinks the Featherweight division is a greener pasture than 155lbs. His opponent is certainly no pushover though, as Brookins will face off against the new FW and look to erase his last fight from the minds of the fans. This could be a spectacular ground fight, as Rocha’s highly functional BJJ makes him a true terror on the mat, yet Brookins remains one of the most seamless submission wrestlers in the game. In the grand scheme of things, Rocha’s cardio has always appeared to be his weak link, and dropping a weight class will initially make that worse. Combine that with Brookins’ superior wrestling and I could easily see this going in his favor after the first round as Rocha fades. Betting wise, Brookins chin and lack of striking skill should keep us safe from any surprise finishes on the feet, and I can’t see either man getting an early submission on the other. Bet the Over and respect the straight lines if they come out far outside of my CBO above, as Rocha does have value here at the right price.
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