UFC Fight Night 11 is set for September 19 at 9 p.m. ET on the Spike television network.
The main event between Kenny Florian and Din Thomas is a much better match up than the originally scheduled Spencer Fisher vs. Thomas showdown (Fisher pulled out because of a bad staph infection).
There are a number of other fights that should be very tight contests. No belts are on the line at this event, but as always the special event will help to sure-up the ranks of several divisions and provide some high quality entertainment.
And it's always fun to spice up the action with a friendly wager.
Without further delay, here are the "Smart Bets" for UFC Fight Night 11:
Main card picks
(Note: + = Underdog, - = Favorite)
Din Thomas +135 (Bet $100 to win $135.00)
Thiago Alves -220 (Bet $100 win $45.45)
Terry Martin -210 (No Action)
Pete Sell +190 (Bet $100 win $190)
Preliminary card picks
Nate Diaz -255 (No Action)
Luke Cummo -140 (No Action)
Gray Maynard -285 (No Action)
Cole Miller -130 (Bet $100 win $76.32)
Jonathan Goulet -145 (No Action)
As always — if you are going to bet — only play with what you are willing to lose.
Thiago Alves (-220) is the best value on this card with a simple chalk bet. The Miller bet has value but is should be a very tight fight, making a bet a bit risky.
The best probability for an underdog win is with a bet on Din Thomas (+140). A bet on Pete Sell is right on the edge of having value -- anything below +200 and it's probably not worth it.
The bet on Terry Martin is also on that edge of having value. I do believe he will win this fight; however, anything above -190 and he is overvalued.
Now onto a more detailed breakdown of the fights for those bettors who require a little more reassurance:
Kenny Florian (-165) vs. Din Thomas (+135)
This fight is definitely going to determine who the next top lightweight contender is, providing the winner with a probable match up against Joe Stevenson or another top dog.
This situation will become more clear once the final verdict on Sherk comes down on October 31.
Thomas continues to train with American Top Team. He holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and his prowess on the ground shows with more than half of his wins coming via submission. Since his time on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 4 he is unbeaten. Along with his strong ground game, Din has also displayed great technical boxing skills.
Before his fight with Clay Guida I was beginning to question if his heart was still in the game. Needless to to say, his is win over the relentless captain caveman impressed me.
Put simply, the crafty veteran knows where a win here will put him, and I believe he is prepared and we'll all see his A game.
Kenny Florian -- who also holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu -- has continued to surprise and improve. Although his submission game and sharp elbows are well-known, his marked improvement in Muay Thai (especially leg kicks) was evident in his submission win over Dokonjonosuke Mishima.
Florian's conditioning and "Never Say Die" attitude means no rest for any opponent.
Heart, conditioning and technique will determine the outcome of this one. When it comes right down to it, I see this fight as a coin toss, and when one side of the coin is worth more than the other that's where I'll put my money. I don't see a submission (maybe a technical knockout or cut) but most likely this fight will go to a decision.
Prediction: Thomas via decision
Terry Martin (-210) vs. Chris Leben (+170)
Has the legendary Randy Couture been able to teach Leben anything about strategy and game planning? Or will we see another slugfest?
The very heavy-handed Martin is on a tear since returning to the UFC and dropping to middleweight. I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again:
Terry Martin is a knockout machine.
A quick glance at his record tells you as much. His ground game has not been tested for a while and a well conditioned Leben should look there first for an advantage. Martin wants this win because he feels it will propel him into contention with the top 185-pound fighters.
And he's right.
So is Leben in the greatest shape of his life? Tomorrow nght will tell a lot, but I would counter that an in-shape Leben should be fighting at 170 pounds. If he chooses to stand up in this fight his iron chin will again be put to the test.
Training with Team Quest will make anyone solid on the ground and if he wants this win, he'll have to take it there and control to score points. I don't think he has the skills to finish from there but he could pull out a decision.
The likely scenario is a half a round of dancing around each other and then they move in for a big exchange. This will push Leben's buttons, leading to him forgetting any game plan and opening him up for another Mike Tyson looking knockout. I won't bet on this one unless I can get odds less than -200.
Prediction: Martin via knockout
Pete Sell (+190) vs. Nate Quarry (-230)
With Mike Swick out, Pete Sell finds himself again in the spotlight of a televised event.
And you know he's not going out easily.
Sell is an emotional aggressive fighter who has let his nerves and hunger get the better of him in the past. Pete's bizarre group hug loss to Quarry two years ago told me nothing of what to expect in this fight.
Overall he's about even in standup with Quarry and holds a decent advantage on the ground. Two years has allowed for improvement in all aspects of his game and hopefully this fight will repair his confidence.
The question for Nate Quarry is. "what have the last two years done for him?" Recuperating from a very serious neck injury, inactivity and removal from Team Quest leaves many open questions for "The Rock" to answer. Standup was always his game in the past and he will likely continue on that road.
Prediction: Sell via decision
Nate Diaz (-255) vs. Junior Assuncao (+205)
This is an excellent test for both fighters. Nate will not have to worry about being overpowered in this fight and he will be able to make excellent use of his reach advantage.
Assuncao is another strong submission fighter, but he still lacks a bit in the standup game. Often in these types of fights the submission skills cancel out and the fight is determined by standup aggression and points scored on the ground. Reach and better boxing skills should provide Diaz with the edge to pull out another win.
Prediction: Diaz via decision
Thiago Alves (-220) vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka (+190)
Before getting suspended Alves was gaining great confidence and showing some fantastic aggressive abilities in all parts of his game. Alves -- another ATT team member -- is training with some great competition and that type of work will show again in this fight.
Hironaka is a very solid Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Judo and "ground and pound" fighter. However, he tends to move to slow, often not looking to control a fight but find an opening. In this matchup that style will be overwhelmed by the aggression and athleticism of Alves.
Prediction: Alves via technical knockout
Dustin Hazelett (+115) vs. Jonathan Goulet (-145)
Tough fight to call.
The polls have Goulet way ahead. The Canadian import has fought his last four fights outside of the UFC and is looking to make things right after his loss to Josh Koscheck. He has very solid Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills and even better hands.
Hazelett is training with Team Jorge Gurgel and of course is known for his submission abilities. But those abilities will not be that big of a factor in this fight. Strikes and takedowns will decide this one and Dustin is likely not up to facing this level of competition.
But you never know, it's a fight and anything can happen.
Prediction: Goulet via technical knockout
Leonard Garcia (+100) vs. Cole Miller (-130)
This is a super close fight.
Garcia impressed the world in his fight with Roger Huerta and commands a lot of respect now for all aspects of his game. He's a gritty fighter who is hard to put away.
Cole holds as much experience as Garcia and has many of the same skills ... they are just packaged very differently. The only advantage I would give in this fight is to Miller's height, which will allow him to use those bony ass knees inside and solid overhand right on the outside.
Prediction: Miller via decision
Luke Cummo (-140) vs. Edilberto de Oliveira (+110)
Cummo continues to improve under the tutelage of UFC Welterweight Champion, Matt Serra. He should be able to put another win under his belt in the very interesting fight between two odd, but very skilled ground fighters. Somehow I see myself laughing out loud at some point during this fight.
Prediction: Cummo via decision
Gray Maynard (-285) vs. Joe Veres (+225)
Working with Randy Couture should help Gray to get his head on straight and become less of a one dimensional fighter. His wrestling is great and it seems that the UFC has thrown him a bit of a bone with the mostly unknown Veres.
Of course, some unknowns make a huge mark like the one like the ones Alexander Houston left on the faces of Keith Jardine and Alessio Sakara.
For now I'll go with what I know and pick Maynard. No bets though on a fight with little information or background.
Prediction: Maynard via technical knockout
That about does it for this installment of betting tips and advice. UFC Fight Night 11 is a solid card that offers some intriguing betting options.
Remember to bet smart.
Enjoy the fights and good luck.