It’s Brazil vs. The World (well, except for Jabouin vs. Loveland) as the UFC hits up Rio with an excellent card. We have title shots, rematches and straight-up slugfests on tap, so let’s see if we can’t make a little money off the festivities. Below is my comparison betting odds, as well as a list of valid props for the fights.
Anderson Silva -450
Yushin Okami +325
Props: Okami by Decision, Fight Goes Distance/Over, Silva by KO
The UFC once again tries to convince us that a title challenger has a chance to win, as Yushin “the strongest Middleweight…..EVER” Okami takes on Anderson Silva. In order to put an end to Silva’s Middleweight reign, you need someone with an iron chin, expert takedowns and impeccable defense, both standing and from top position. While Okami has done well from that top position, he’s seldom fought anyone that wasn’t already looking for a ground battle, and will need to find a way to get the fight there. Don’t count on that, as Silva is a menace standing and should easily out-strike Okami for as long as this fight lasts. This is a great bout to lay down several units on, as Okami’s only out is a decision, allowing you to stack up Silva bets with relative safety. The above string of props should allow for huge money on Okami by Decision and cover you if Silva decides to coast to a decision as well.
Mauricio Rua -200
Forrest Griffin +160
Props: Rua KO, Griffin Decision
A fight whose betting potential will be answered at the weigh-ins, Mauricio Rua will face Forrest Griffin in a rematch from UFC 76. Rua is a hugely talented fighter, but suffers from ring rust like no other athlete I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t entirely sure he was even going to fight Jon Jones for the title when rumor of his knee injury became more alarming, but he stepped up to the plate and promptly showed why he shouldn’t have taken the fight. With that behind us, we’re left with the quandary of whether Shogun is physically able to fight Griffin. Make no mistake, a healthy Shogun will tear Griffin to pieces, but an unhealthy Shogun could find himself in another embarrassing outing. The line and props above are for a healthy Shogun, but if he comes into weigh-ins with his belly flab on display, feel free to lay down on Griffin.
Brendan Schaub -200
Antonio Nogueira +160
Props: Schaub by Decision, Fight Inside Distance/Under
While it’s certainly lucrative, it’s still sad to be laying down money against a former MMA superstar. Such is the betting life though, as the old lion in Antonio Nogueira comes back from a lengthy lay-off to face Brendan Schaub in Brazil. With the extent of Big Nog’s surgeries, I’m having a hard time seeing how he can possibly bounce back for this bout, and his opponent isn’t exactly a meatball either. Schaub has molded himself as a HW Chuck Liddell, and while I have no doubt a younger Big Nog would tear him to pieces, I don’t see this fight going his way. For me, the money is on a straight bet on Schaub, a small wager on Schaub by decision and betting the under to cover yourself if Nogueira surprises us all with a flash KO or submission.
Luiz Cane -185
Stanislav Nedkov +145
Props: Fight Ends Inside Distance/Under, Cane by KO, Nedkov by Decision
Having waited almost a year after signing to make his UFC debut, Stanislav Nedkov will finally get his chance to shine, taking on dark horse LHW fighter Luiz Cane. Honestly, Nedkov is one of the last people I’d ever expect the UFC to scoop up from the Japanese MMA world, but the European wrestler and BJJ stylist brings a stellar record to this promotion. Cane is one of the most underrated battlers in this division though, and his laser-accurate left hand will make a bad counter-part to Nedkov’s lack of head movement. The string of props above will hopefully make for a money-winning scenario, with Nedkov by Decision being your safety net.
Edson Barboza -185
Ross Pearson +145
Props: Fight Ends Inside/Under and Barboza by Decision or Barboza by KO and Fight Goes Distance/ Over
One of the most dangerous prospects in the LW division, Edson Barboza will take on TUF 8 champion Ross Pearson in a pivotal fight. Barboza has impressed greatly with his razor-sharp stand up skills, judo takedowns and overall ground game, but will face a much more well-rounded fighter than in previous outings. Pearson is one of the better pure boxers outside of the championship circle, and brings a bulldog tenacity to his fights that could unnerve Barboza in a drawn out battle. My problem here is that Pearson tends to be a slow starter which has gotten him in the trouble in the past. This is all the opening Barboza needs to end the fight early, or get into an early lead if the fight goes long. In my book, it’s about a 50/50 shot for a Barboza finish vs. decision, so grab the best O/U and KO or Decision props.
Spencer Fisher -140
Thiago Tavares +110
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over
A fun fight to watch, but probably not one worth betting on, as Lightweight mid-carders do battle. Fisher has been testing every striker in the division for years, but Tavares isn’t just a one-dimensional fighter, and could potentially blind side Fisher here with a smart game plan. Tavares’ chin has proven to be a liability in the past though, and Fisher’s overall game makes him a tough draw for the Brazilian here. While I wouldn’t lay down a lot of money, the straight odds could hold some value here, or the Over if it comes in at a positive number.
Rousimar Palhares -200
Dan Miller +160
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over, Palhares by Submission
One of the most dynamic grapplers in the Middleweight division, Rousimar Palhares tangles with submission wrestling ace Dan Miller in a whirlwind fight. Palhares comes into this fight with a stellar record against other BJJ fighters, but Miller’s counter-grappling submissions could make this an interesting one. Overall though, I feel Miller is going to be sucked into Palhares game more often than not, and will need to avoid the leg lock traps and top position quagmire set by Palhares. This has potential to go long, so check your odds on the over and hope for a Palhares submission.
Paulo Thiago -240
David Mitchell +180
Props: Thiago Inside Distance
While his UFC record might not be impressive, Paulo Thiago has been fighting at the deep end of the division since the beginning and will finally get a tune-up fight here. His opponent is the one-time undefeated David Mitchell, whom found his record snapped at the hands of Anthony Waldburger in his UFC debut, and who now faces a harsh foe in Paulo Thiago. No matter how you slice it, Mitchell is a standard grappler in a den of exceptional grapplers, making for a showcase fight for Thiago. While a KO or Sub are just as likely, I’d take Thiago’s Inside Distance prop, as well as a healthy straight bet for this one.
Yves Jabouin -120
Ian Loveland -120
Props: Jabouin by KO, Loveland by Decision
The only non-Brazilian fight on the card has potential to be the best fight period, as Yves Jabouin drops to Bantamweight to face Ian Loveland. Both men in this fight are tragically underrated, as Jabouin has some of the fastest varied striking arsenals in the sport and Loveland brings ridiculous natural power, both in his strikes and his wrestling game. This is a very close fight, and one that will be difficult to make money on, as it could go down in a myriad of ways. Strategically, I’d hit the best underdog straight and then the best prop associated with them to maximize profit in this coin-flip fight.
Raphael Assuncao -260
Johnny Eduardo +200
Props: Fight Ends Inside Distance/Under
One of the monster BJJ practitioners floating around in the UFC, Raphael Assuncao hasn’t had the easiest road thus far, but will look to right the ship against newcomer Johnny Eduardo. Eduardo comes into this fight with sharp muay thai skills and fast hands, but will have a tough road ahead of him with his somewhat lackluster grappling. This isn’t the best fight for Eduardo, as Assuncao needs this win to keep his job, and will likely play a safe game of takedowns, top control and submissions. There is value on an Eduardo KO, but play it safe and take the Inside distance or under prop if it’s at 2 1/2 rounds.
Keep in mind odds change all the time, so any questions about lines can be directed towards me on twitter @MikeHammersmith
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