Prepare for some thunder from down under (the Equator, that is) when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this weekend (Jan. 14, 2012).
And the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion has some heavy-duty combat violence in tow with UFC 134: "Aldo vs. Mendes."
UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo will make the third defense of his 145-pound title in the main event of the evening, taking on unbeaten Team Alpha Male standout Chad Mendes, while Vitor Belfort and Anthony Johnson will square off in what will assuredly be a spectacular display of raw power. Prospects Erick Silva, Terry Etim and Edson Barboza will also light up the Octagon in South America come Saturday night.
As you should know by now: Where there’s pain, there’s potential profit.
Join us after the break for an in-depth look at the odds behind UFC 142: "Aldo vs. Mendes" as we examine the betting lines for the upcoming myriad MMA match ups:
UFC 142 Odds for the Under Card:
Antonio Carvalho (-225) vs. Felipe Arantes (+175)
Mike Pyle (-450) vs. Ricardo Funch (+300)
Yuri Alcantara (-170) vs. Michihiro Omigawa (+140)
Sam Stout (-115) vs. Thiago Tavares (-115)
Gabriel Gonzaga (-130) vs. Edinaldo Oliveira (EVEN)
Thoughts: While Carvalho is being undervalued here and, along with Pyle, will make a nice parlay stuffer, the best outright bargain here is probably Omigawa.
Alcantara is a finishing machine, with 26 of them in all different flavors. He packs huge power and a nasty submission game that can come out of nowhere, as seen in his come-from-behind armbar of top prospect Francisco Drinaldo.
What makes Omigawa a bargain is that he’s dealt with that before -- Hiroyuki Takaya and Marlon Sandro pack demonic punching power and neither was able to dent him. Admittedly, the fact that Alcantara has put down countless lightweights fills me with some dread, but his bombing style is inviting a world of hurt from Omigawa’s peek-a-boo boxing, which also transitions into his Judo.
It might be hairy -- and it wouldn’t surprise me if Alcantara had him on the ropes at some point -- but Omigawa is a bargain at +140.
Going back to Carvalho and Pyle, it wouldn’t hurt to stick them in parlays based on the fact that Carvalho has a more complete game than Arantes and Funch isn't really on Pyle's level. Leave the Stout alone, as well as Gonzaga. I was thinking of putting some down on Gonzaga, but his shaky chin and poor game planning make me hesitant to recommend it unless those odds slip down into the positives at some point.
UFC 142 Odds for the Main Card:
Erick Silva (-500) vs. Carlo Prater (+350)
Edson Barboza (-340) vs. Terry Etim (+260)
Rousimar Palhares (-600) vs. Mike Massenzio (+400)
Anthony Johnson (-125) vs. Vitor Belfort (-105)
Jose Aldo (-280) vs. Chad Mendes (+220)
Thoughts: The lopsided-looking odds belie some intriguing match ups both stylistically and monetarily. Let’s look closer.
Silva is a major league prospect and I’m quite disappointed that he couldn’t welcome Siyar Bahadurzada to the Octagon, but the -500 line and the fact that I have the same weird feeling about this fight that I had about Nam Phan vs. Jim Hettes makes me hesitant. Prater is fighting above his normal weight and on short notice, but he’s almost three times as experienced as Silva and has some wins over serious competition, including a guillotine victory against Carlos Condit. Still, those reservations about size and preparation are enough to dissuade me from betting on him, either.
Leave this one alone.
I expect Barboza to win this fight, but Etim is being severely undervalued -- he is not +260 material. Barboza shrugged off Pearson’s takedowns with relative ease, but was flustered by the The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner’s slickness, and Etim definitely has the tools to keep Barboza on his toes in similar fashion. He’s also a superior submission player to Pearson and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see him lock up that evil guillotine of his, especially since he’s one of the few fighters in the division taller than Barboza.
Still, I expect the power of Barboza to be too much, but Etim is definitely worth a straight bet.
Even at -600, I still consider it a wise investment to stick Palhares in a parlay. There is literally nothing Massenzio does better than Palhares besides maybe basic algebra. As inconsistent as Palhares has been in the past, he’d need a brain fart of biblical proportions to fall to Massenzio. Palhares was rocked by Dan Miller, but he shrugged off Dan Henderson’s best shots. And, despite getting bombed by Nate Marquardt, never lost consciousness and got right to his feet as soon as the bout was stopped, which leads me to treat the Miller incident as an exception. Even Massenzio’s forte, the ground game, pales in comparison to Palhares’. "Toquinho’s" enormous strength and powerful takedowns practically ensure that he he’ll wind up on top if it goes there, and considering he’s subbmitted Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts like Lucio Linhares in MMA and Rafael Lovato Jr. in grappling.
I think it’s safe to say he’ll be just fine against Massenzio in the grappling. Stick the "Tree Stump" in a parlay.
There might have been something worth risking money on when one of these gentlemen was in the positives, but as it stands, Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson strikes me as too close a match up with too little profit. "Rumble" is enormous even as a middleweight, possesses staggering power in his hands and feet, and has a previously-underutilized wrestling game in his back pocket in case things take a turn for the worse. Belfort, on the other hand, has faster hands and more experience at 185 pounds, in addition to cleaner punching on a technical level.
Frankly, I think it best to just sit back and pray this doesn’t turn into Melvin Guillard vs. Jeremy Stephens.
While Aldo hasn’t been the perpetual violence machine he was in the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), the gap between him and the rest of the division still looks enormous. Mendes, however, may have the best chance of all. In addition to his vaunted wrestling game, he’s got extremely good striking and some serious pop in his hands. For example, nobody has dominated Omigawa on the feet like that in recent memory. Even if Aldo’s historically-impregnable takedown defense holds, Mendes is willing and able to hold Aldo against the fence until he tires, and unlike Kenny Florian, he’ll have Aldo on his toes at all times.
That said, he’s still fighting Jose Aldo, who is still one of the most vicious dudes on the planet. If you’re going to bet on this fight, make it a pittance on Mendes. I don’t think he’ll pull it off, but he has the tools and is a decent bargain at those odds.
My UFC 142 Best Bets:
- Parlay: Mike Pyle and Michihiro Omigawa -- Bet $34 to make $65.73
- Parlay: Rousimar Palhares and Antonio Carvalho -- Bet $66 to make $45.22
- Single Bet: Terry Etim -- Bet $24.67 to make $64.14
We’re about to hit one hell of a streak of UFC events; I, for one, am ready for the ride.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC 142 results this Saturday, 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 then, Maniacs!