That's all I can say about the fifth trip for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to the FOX network, which will go down at the KeyArena in Seattle, Wash., this Saturday night (Dec. 8, 2012).
With a lightweight title bout between Ben Henderson and Nate Diaz sitting atop the mixed martial arts (MMA) marquee, with a supporting cast the includes meaningful bouts like Alexander Gustafsson vs. Mauricio Rua and Rory MacDonald vs. B.J. Penn, the fight card has all the potential to be one of the best of 2012.
And quite profitable to boot, if you know where to look in the MMA sportsbook.
Follow me for a closer look at the odds behind UFC on FOX 5: "Henderson vs. Diaz:"
UFC On FOX 5 Odds For The Under Card:
Dennis Siver (-300) vs. Nam Phan (+220)
Mike Easton (-190) vs. Raphael Assuncao (+150)
Scott Jorgensen (-260) vs. John Albert (+180)
Tim Means (-290) vs. Abel Trujillo (+235)
Daron Cruickshank (-150) vs. Henry Martinez (+110)
Ramsey Nijem (-180) vs. Joe Proctor (+140)
Jeremy Stephens (-180) vs. Yves Edwards (+140)
Thoughts: Hold on to your hats because this is going to BLOW YOUR MIND:
I don’t like any of the underdog bets on the "Prelims" portion of the UFC on FOX 5 fight card.
WHAT A TWIST.
On a serious note, I’m liking Nijem, Easton and Cruickshank here. Nijem and Proctor have very similar skillsets and, frankly, Nijem’s is just better. I fully expect the fight to be contested mostly on the ground, where both are comfortable, but where Nijem holds the advantage with his wrestling ability.
Plus, Nijem fights out of a superior camp, which combines with the above to make him worth a straight-up play.
I’m not that high on Easton, but he matches up very well with Assuncao. The Brazilian isn’t bad on his feet per-se, but Easton’s leg kicks and peek-a-boo boxing mean he should have the advantage no matter the range. Further, while Assuncao undoubtedly is the superior wrestler, "The Hulk’s" powerful base and defensive wrestling should make that inconsequential.
Purple shorts FTW!
My pick of Cruickshank is based less on his ability than it is on Martinez’s lack thereof. Yes, he beat up Matt Riddle on the feet, but that’s an accomplishment about on par with putting on your shoes in the morning. And let's not forget he got crushed as soon as Riddle’s two brain cells collided and he thought to take him down. His fight against Bernardo Magalhaes was painful to watch, as Magalhaes’ stand up comprises entirely leg kicks and Martinez still barely outdid him. Cruickshank, who is also bigger than Martinez, ought to crush him.
Might as well make some money off of it.
UFC On FOX 5 Odds For The Main Card:
Thoughts: Greetings! This is Nega-Stumberg from the Negaverse, here to tell you NOT to bet on a favorite while that chump Stumberg is in the bathroom with last month’s Hustler.
As skilled and well-rounded as Swick is, there’s just no getting around the fact that he’s one of the least durable guys in the division. Dan Hardy, who hasn’t so much as rocked anyone but the notoriously-fragile Rory Markham and Duane Ludwig in some time, had Swick on rubber legs, as did Paulo Thiago. He may be able to outspeed, outstrike and outgrapple Brown, but odds are he’ll eat something big early and that’ll be it.
Put some down on "The Immortal."
Whoops, I hear flushing. I’m off.
Stumberg here. Did someone mess with my computer while I was gone? Eh, I’m sure it was nothing. So sure, in fact, that I won’t even proofread this post in case it was vandalized.
As much antipathy as I feel toward Penn and as little as I think of his status at welterweight, that training footage of him a couple weeks ago has me worried. MacDonald doesn’t have the greatest jaw -- Mike Guymon hurt him and it was a Carlos Condit right hand that kicked off his epic comeback at UFC 115.
Penn can undoubtedly lay the hurt on him if that right straight connects. The reason I’m not betting on him, though, is his eternal problem at 170 pounds: cardio. He was completely useless after one round against Nick Diaz and basically rolled over and died against Jon Fitch. Before you go and blame the former on Diaz’s body attack, consider that Penn’s physical exertions for the first eight minutes of the Fitch fight comprised two takedowns and hand fighting and still managed to wipe him out.
Leave this one alone.
As insane and irrational a "Shogun" fan as I am, Gustafsson just strikes me as a terrible match up for him. Shogun’s speed is gone at this point, and with the length and footwork of "The Mauler," getting those sledgehammer fists and kicks to bear is going to be nightmarishly difficult. Plus, Gustafsson’s wrestling has looked fantastic since the Phil Davis fight, making Shogun’s vicious ground-and-pound a non-factor.
Still, Rua looks in (relatively) unbelievable shape, so while I advise putting Gustafsson in a parlay, don’t go too heavy on it.
Look, let’s be frank about the main event: I can’t be objective about a Diaz fight. As much as I respect their skills, I just don’t like them as people and can’t bring myself to look past that bias and give an accurate assessment of their chances. I think Henderson is going to win based on his kicking and submission defense, but I couldn’t tell you how much of that prediction was derived from actual logic.
Therefore, bet on this one however you like.
UFC On FOX 5 Best Bets:
- Single Bet: Mike Easton -- Bet $80 to make $42.10
- Parlay: Alexander Gustafsson and Matt Brown -- Bet $30 to make $55.80
- Single Bet: Daron Cruickshank -- Bet $60 to make $40
- Parlay: Mike Easton and Ramsey Nijem -- Bet $30 to make $41.70
Wow, this is going to be awesome.
See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of UFC on FOX 5: "Henderson vs. Diaz," beginning with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook scheduled for around 3:45 p.m. ET. In addition, we will also provide LIVE, real-time results of the main card action as it happens throughout the evening this upcoming Saturday, starting promptly at 8 p.m. ET.