It doesn't get much wilder than this mixed martial arts (MMA) main event.
With 170-pound kingpin Georges St. Pierre sidelined with a surgically-repaired knee, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has decreed that an interim champion will be crowned in his absence, tagging former Strikeforce and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) welterweight champions, Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit, respectively, to battle it out for the right to unify the world title against "Rush" later this year.
The talented pair of top-ranked combat sports veterans will collide the belt this Saturday (Feb. 4, 2012) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, in what is sure to be an absolute barnburner.
In addition, Fabricio Werdum will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon against Roy Nelson, while Renan Barao will look to extend his ridiculous win streak to 28 at the expense of perennial bantamweight contender Scott Jorgensen.
In short, we've got one hell of a fight card lined up, with profitable gambling opportunities to match.
Join us after the break for an in-depth look at the odds behind UFC 143: "Diaz vs. Condit" as we examine the betting lines for the upcoming Super Bowl weekend MMA match ups:
UFC 143 Odds for the Under Card:
Rafael Natal (-185) vs. Michael Kuiper (+150)
Stephen Thompson (-275) vs. Dan Stittgen (+215)
Matt Riddle (-475) vs. Henry Martinez (+325)
Matt Brown (-300) vs. Chris Cope (+230)
Dustin Poirier (-500) vs. Max Holloway (+350)
Alex Caceres (+105) vs. Edwin Figueroa (-135)
Thoughts: This is a nice under card that is filled to the brim with contenders, highly-entertaining veterans and top-tier prospects. I could get used to this.
If you’re going to want to stuff a parlay, Brown is your man. He’ll lose to anyone and everyone with a solid ground game and the ability to get him there, but Cope has neither. He should wipe the floor with "C-Murder" with relative ease.
Your best underdog bets are Kuiper and Caceres. "Judo" was better than +200 recently, which struck me as a goldmine, but his current odds are still profitable. Natal is 1-1-1 in the UFC, with a win over a late-notice welterweight and a draw with someone who was cut shortly after their fight. Kuiper’s competition has been incredibly weak, but he’s got his Judo background to keep him standing and some legitimate power in his hands. Bet on him with confidence.
Caceres is another guy whose odds were far more tantalizing recently, but he’s still a profitable underdog. From what I’ve seen (and this could certainly have changed since his last fight), Figueroa is tough and not much else. He’s got power, certainly, but he’s got the worst technique this side of Leonard Garcia, and Caceres should be able to pick him apart. Go big on "Bruce Leroy."
UFC 143 Odds for the Main Card:
Ed Herman (-300) vs. Clifford Starks (+230)
Renan Barao (-225) vs. Scott Jorgensen (+175)
Josh Koscheck (-265) vs. Mike Pierce (+205)
Fabricio Werdum (-150) vs. Roy Nelson (+120)
Nick Diaz (-240) vs. Carlos Condit (+190)
Thoughts: What we have here is a main card significantly more intriguing than the odds make it out to be. Let’s take a look.
Assuming his knee doesn’t explode again, Herman should be able to dominate Starks because frankly, he’s better everywhere. Starks isn’t going to want to take him down and he isn’t proficient enough on the feet to grasp victory there. Herman’s faced and beaten better, while Starks, to put it bluntly, hasn’t. Use Herman as a parlay stuffer.
I honestly think Jorgensen has a legitimate shot at an upset, at least enough to warrant a relatively small bet on him. He is without a doubt one of the scrappiest men at 135 pounds, with solid wrestling, decent pop in his hands, and airtight submission defense. Barao has looked monstrous in both striking and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but Jorgensen will be the best wrestler he’s ever fought. And considering Jorgensen’s notoriously vicious pace and high durability, the combination could conceivably carry the day for him. Put a small amount on him.
The thought of Pierce continuing the trend of young upstarts viciously knocking out veteran wrestlers fills me with glee, but strikes me as unlikely. Despite Joe Rogan’s assertions, Pierce doesn’t really hit all that hard. And while Koscheck’s power is severely overstated and his technique poor, he’s got all the tools to hold down Pierce and grind out another decision win. Leave this one alone.
The Fabricio Werdum vs. Nelson fight is too close to call in my book. I have questions about Werdum’s cardio after the Alistair Overeem debacle, while Nelson’s gas tank looked great against Mirko Filipovic. On the other hand, Werdum has very good kicks and overall better stand up than he’s given credit for, while Nelson is content to remain a puncher. Werdum is better on the ground ostensibly, but Nelson can definitely hold his own. Sit back and enjoy, but don’t put any money on the line.
I’m not going to say anything about the main event. I know that you know that I know that I am horribly biased against the Diaz brothers. And, if I go into the kind of diatribe I feel brewing in my head, I will look incredibly stupid on Saturday if/when I’m wrong. All I’m going to say is that Condit strikes me as worth a small bet at +190, considering his fantastic cardio and more diverse striking game. That's all I’m going to say.
My UFC 143 Best Bets:
- Parlay: Matt Brown and Scott Jorgensen -- Bet $38 to make $101.33
- Single Bet: Alex Caceres -- Bet $50 to make $52.50
- Single Bet: Carlos Condit -- Bet $24.50 to make $46.55
- Parlay: Michael Kuiper and Ed Herman -- Bet $43 to make $100.33
Pure, unadulterated violence awaits us this weekend.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC 143 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.