UFC on FOX: Odds and betting guide for 'Velasquez vs dos Santos'

The only thing better than a weekend packed with mixed martial arts (MMA) action is a weekend that includes a major title fight. And the only thing better than that is when it’s free to watch on network television.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will take its biggest step yet toward mainstream acceptance this Saturday (Nov. 12, 2011) when it takes over the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., with its inaugural "UFC on Fox" event.

Leading the way are heavyweight monsters Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos, while bonus magnets Clay Guida vs. Ben Henderson will headline the Facebook-based undercard. Of course, whenever and wherever there’s awesome MMA action, there’s money to be made. 

First you have to win, of course, and you should never bet what you can't afford to lose. But, since I've recently started putting money down on the sport I love, I thought it might be prudent to share some wagering tips before major UFC and MMA events, pointing out the most profitable scraps.

And which bouts to avoid.

Included in the UFC 136 betting guide are all the odds for tomorrow night's show, 

Follow me after the jump as we take a closer look at the odds for UFC on FOX 1: "Velasquez vs. dos Santos." as well as the best (and worst) bets to earn a little extra cheddar. But, first check out my three important rules every bettor should follow right here.

Ready? Great. Now then, let's get to it:

UFC on FOX 1 odds below come courtesy of Bodog.com. Be sure to remember that BestFightOdds also has a side-by-side comparison of various sites’ offerings that ensure you squeeze every nickel out of your profitable picks.

Undercard

Mike Pierce (-350) vs. Paul Bradley (+265)
Aaron Rosa (-135) vs. Matt Lucas (+105)
Mackens Semerzier (-135) vs. Robert Peralta (+105)
Cole Escovedo (-300) vs. Alex Caceres (+230)
Ricardo Lamas (-130) vs. Cub Swanson (EVEN)
DaMarques Johnson (-280) vs. Clay Harvison (+220)
Norifumi Yamamoto (-370) vs. Darren Uyenoyama (+280)
Ben Henderson (-280) vs. Clay Guida (+220)
Dustin Poirier (-280) vs. Pablo Garza (+220)

Thoughts: There are several ostensible mismatches this time around, but there’s still money to be made if you know where to look. Because of the funky nature of the undercard, I think it best if we look at them one at a time.

The Pierce-Bradley line is accurate. Pierce has only lost to the elite, while Bradley has lost to people like, well, Mike Pierce. Overall, I think you should just leave this one alone. But, if you must bet, you might get some value out of putting Pierce in a parlay. However, because of my inability to find too much footage, I can’t give too emphatic a recommendation.

As pathetic as Lucas’s recent competition has been, I have enough questions about Rosa to make that +105 line intriguing. Rosa has faced and beaten some good guys, but he’ll be weighing in 40 pounds lighter than he did last time out, not to mention the fact that he hasn’t made this cut in a long time. Lucas seems to have decent power in his hands and a good wrestling game, which should be enough to carry him to victory. I have the same reservations I have about all debuting fighters, so he shouldn’t be the cornerstone of any parlays, but Lucas should be a good bet.

Awesome as Semerzier is, he’s still 1-3 in his last four, with the sole win coming against Alex Caceres. Plus, despite his love of the striking game, Semerzier isn’t a knockout artist. Peralta, on the other hand, is -- he’s flattened 11 foes. And, as I mentioned in my Facebook "Prelims," managed to make noted brawler Hiroyuki Takaya gun shy. Plus, if Semerzier does decide to take it to the ground, Peralta has demonstrated a solid ability to stay on his feet, while still working an effective kicking game. Finally, if you, like me, don’t want to see Mack get cut, there’s value in betting on Peralta whether he wins or loses. Put a few on Robbie.

Cole Escovedo is going to destroy Alex Caceres. Caceres has dropped two straight, is making the cut to bantamweight for the first time, and really hasn’t looked good at all inside the Octagon. No matter where the fight goes, Escovedo is better. The current line (-300) is pushing it when it comes to making a profit, but you won’t regret sticking him in a parlay.

While my major memory of Ricardo Lamas will always be of him getting absolutely obliterated in one punch by Yuri Alcantara (who really should be getting a lot more attention, I might add), he’s a quality fighter in his own right, and there are several things working in his favor Saturday night. Swanson hasn’t fought in a year and is both the smaller and lesser wrestler of the two. Swanson’s entertaining, sure, but he’s not elite and it’s hard to ignore how impotent he was off his back against Chad Mendes. Granted, that’s the standard response for a Mendes opponent and Lamas isn’t Mendes by any stretch of the imagination, but Lamas definitely has the tools to replicate the results of that battle.

He’s worth a look.

I haven’t seen much of DaMarques Johnson aside from the time he got annihilated in every aspect of MMA by Amir Sadollah, but I have seen Clay Harvison, and I wasn’t impressed. Johnson, however, seems to be a bit too inconsistent to put money on, so I’m going to leave this one alone. Should be entertaining while it lasts, though.

I have every reason to think Yamamoto will win his fight in dramatic fashion, and that’s not just my irrational obsession with the guy talking. Uyenoyama has been out of the ring since his fight with Katsumura last year. He was going to fight in the DREAM bantamweight grand prix, but wound up injured. Not only that, but he’s making his UFC debut and really doesn’t  present any stylistic hazards that KID hasn’t brutally overcome before. The only Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist to have any success against Yamamoto was Masanori Kanehara. And while he did get takedowns much more easily than he should have, he also possessed a big size/reach advantage over KID. Uyenoyama does not, and while KID’s chin has been questionable ever since Mike Zambidis hit him with a right hand so huge that local jaw surgeons were dancing in the street afterward, Uyenoyama isn’t the sort of fighter to take advantage of that liability. Look for Yamamoto to bring Japanese fighters up to 3-0 in the past two months and maybe include him if you’re already betting on an underdog.

As a massive "Bendo" fan and outspoken Guida critic, I honestly think Henderson is being overvalued here. Yes, he’s looked absolutely monstrous since joining the UFC and, yes, I expect him to win this one handily, but Guida proved against Gomi and Pettis (both coming off of phenomenal, highlight-reel wins at the time) that he is a damn fine spoiler. I’m not betting on him out of principle, but there are definitely worse underdog bets you could make.

Garza’s last two finishes were awesome and Poirier’s fight with Young was less so, but this isn’t enough to make me forget that Garza not only got submitted  three fights ago by Tiequan Zhang, but was also getting absolutely tooled by Jabouin in the stand up prior to the triangle. I was underwhelmed by Poirier in his fight with Young, but that effort was still enough to convince me to give him the nod here. Two fantastic moments doesn’t trump a series of solid fights. If you’re betting on an underdog or minor favorite elsewhere on the card, Poirier is a good way to sweeten the deal.

Main Event

Cain Velasquez (-180) vs. Junior dos Santos (+150)

Thoughts: I made a decision a few months ago that I would under no circumstances bet on this fight. I like both fighters too much, there are too many questions, and the odds are too close.

If you had a gun to my head and made me make a choice, though, I’d ask you whether a piece of betting advice from a halfwit was worth an inevitably massive prison sentence. Then I’d say dos Santos.

Cain has been injured for the past year and nobody has been able to keep "Cigano" down. Plus, if it turns into a firefight, dos Santos is more likely to be the one left standing. I’m not saying Cain has a bad chin -- the right hands Cheick Kongo blasted him with looked like they would have dropped a horse. What that fight did show me, though, is that it’s physically possible to rock Velasquez, and if it’s physically possible, dos Santos can do it.

My big caveat would be dos Santos unproven ability to match the absurd workrate for which Velasquez is notorious. He slowed down considerably in the latter half of the Roy Nelson fight, and while he looked much fresher after brutalizing Carwin for 15 minutes, "The Engineer" didn’t force him to work. If the fight goes past the third round, Velasquez will win. I just don’t see it getting there.

But, like I said before, the whole thing is just too close for me to recommend putting money on it. My advice is to just sit back and enjoy it.

My current bets:

  • Parlay: Norifumi Yamamoto and Matt Lucas: $25 to win $40.10
  • Parlay: Ricardo Lamas and Dustin Poirier: $25 to win $35.03
  • Parlay: Cole Escovedo and Robert Peralta: $20 to win $34.67

If you’re not excited for this card, you might want to visit the doctor; you seem to have a mild case of death. We’ve got a great show this weekend; make sure to enjoy it responsibly.

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC on FOX results this weekend, which is as good a place as any to talk about all the action inside the Octagon, as well as what you've got riding on the sportsbook.

See you Saturday!

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