Contenders and bruisers and prospects ... Oh my!
This Wednesday night (Feb. 15, 2012), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will debut its first-ever mixed martial arts (MMA) event on FUEL TV from the Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska.
And to ensure the promotion makes a good first impression, it has loaded the fight card from top to bottom with talent.
In the main event, Jake Ellenberger will square off with Diego Sanchez with an interim welterweight title shot potentially hanging in the balance, while Stefan Struve will welcome Dave Herman back to the Octagon in what is sure to be a spectacular heavyweight affair.
For the degenerate gamblers among us, MMAmania has got all bases covered.
Join us after the break for an in-depth look at the odds behind UFC on FUEL TV: "Ellenberger vs. Sanchez" as we examine the betting lines for the upcoming MMA match ups:
UFC On FUEL TV Under Card Odds:
Bernardo Magalhaes (-225) vs. Tim Means (+175)
Justin Salas (-135) vs. Anton Kuivanen (+105)
Sean Loeffler (-125) vs. Buddy Roberts (-105)
Jonathan Brookins (-225) vs. Vagner Rocha (+175)
Ivan Menjivar (-270) vs. John Albert (+210)
Thoughts: These are some seriously intriguing "Prelims" -- every single one of these bouts has an interesting storyline and/or the potential for exciting back-and-forth action. In this case, your best bets are most likely Salas and Brookins.
I’ve been a fan of Kuivanen since I first started researching his previous fights. And while I really want to see him win this one, his takedown defense just doesn’t seem sufficient to ward off a wrestler of Salas’ caliber, nor does he have the sort of vicious guard necessary to convince me of his chances of winning off his back. He’s the better striker of the two by a fair margin, but he hasn’t shown much propensity for one-hitter-quitters or, really, the kind of power needed to make Salas hesitant about closing the distance.
The American is a safe bet.
Rocha’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu credentials are top-notch. When Pablo Popovitch -- who placed second in the ADCC Absolute division this year -- has you teaching jiu-jitsu at his gym, you’re doing something right. The issue is that his wrestling is pretty, well, bad. His stand up is nonexistent and his shots weak. And while that may cut it against the likes of Cody McKenzie, Brookins is a whole ‘nother animal. The latter is also a pretty poor striker, but he dictates position extremely well and has the know-how to, at the very least, survive on top of Rocha.
Stuff a parlay with our long-haired friend.
UFC On FUEL TV Main Card Odds:
T.J. Dillashaw (-255) vs. Walel Watson (+195)
Stipe Miocic (-500) vs. Philip De Fries (+350)
Aaron Simpson (-115) vs. Ronny Markes (-115)
Dave Herman (-140) vs. Stefan Struve (+110)
Jake Ellenberger (-325) vs. Diego Sanchez (+250)
Thoughts: Interesting collection of bouts. Let’s look a little more closely.
I willingly retract my precious slamming of Watson’s stand up skills. He’s definitely improved and now uses his height well. The problem here is that he won’t get a chance to use it -- Dillashaw will take him down hard and often, and I question Watson’s ability to finish off his back. He’s got those long limbs, sure, but his best trick seems to be a solid series of front headlocks, and Alpha Male’s front headlock series is second-to-none. He could conceivably worm a forearm deep enough to choke Dillashaw out, but I don’t see it happening.
Put Dillashaw in a parlay.
I will be absolutely stunned if Miocic doesn’t completely wipe the floor with De Fries. While the latter is ostensibly a submission specialist, his takedowns are incredibly telegraphed and he didn’t seem capable of much offense once on the ground. Against a Division I collegiate wrestler like Miocic, who also possesses huge power in all four limbs, that’s just not good enough. Still, anything can happen, and -500 just has too little of a return for my taste.
Leave this one alone.
While I was extremely impressed by Markes’ defeat of Karlos Vemola, Simpson still strikes me as a good bargain. Markes’ weight cut worries me. Sure, he’s doing it of his own volition and he looked soft against Karlos, but it’s still 20 pounds lighter than he usually fights. Simpson can’t seem to finish anyone these days, but he still packs huge power and a phenomenal wrestling game that’s let him go toe-to-toe with the likes of Mark Munoz. While Markes’ wrestling looked excellent against Vemola, Karlos can’t set up his shots and has some of the least-technical standup you’re likely to find. Simpson can wrestle and strike at once, and this ability will propel him over Markes.
Go big on "A-Train."
I’m probably going to regret this, as Struve is painfully inconsistent, but he’s the best underdog pick on the card. Herman hasn’t been in the cage since July and has really beaten nobody of note besides maybe Michal Kita. Further, he just plain doesn’t seem to give a toss, while Struve has been doing everything in his power to improve. He’s getting bigger every fight and looks to have finally figured out how to use that crazy reach of his. Further, while Herman can undoubtedly get him down, Struve has a nasty guard. While I can’t recommend putting too much on him based on his past inconsistency, a moderate bet on Struve wouldn’t be the worst idea.
In all honesty, this strikes me as perhaps the single worst stylistic match up at welterweight for Sanchez. He’s fighting someone bigger and stronger, with comparable wrestling and the ability to put away anyone in the 170-pound division with one punch. Sanchez's defense is atrocious, he’s been out of the cage for 11 months, and I am of the firm belief that Martin Kampmann defeated him. The only reason I’m not telling you to put everything and the kitchen sink on Ellenberger is because of the latter’s questionable cardio. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he’s improved it drastically since his fight with John Howard, but Sanchez pushes an obscene pace, one that could definitely get to the "Juggernaut" if he doesn’t, as I think he will, flatten Sanchez in the first round. Further, Sanchez's judge-hypnotizing powers seem to be at their peak, which makes this one I can’t recommend betting on.
The style match up is too bad for me to bet on "The Dream" and the line’s too skewed to bet on Ellenberger. Leave this one alone.
My UFC on FUEL TV Best Bets:
- Single Bet: Stefan Struve -- Bet $40 to make $44
- Parlay: T.J. Dillashaw and Jonathan Brookins -- Bet $100 to make $101.09
- Parlay: Justin Salas and Aaron Simpson -- Bet $45.05 to make $101.56
Nothing gives you the energy to make it to the weekend like some mid-week caged violence.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC on FUEL TV results this Wednesday, 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!