Time for a spot o' tallywhackin', wot?
The leaves are falling, the nights are getting longer, and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back with a vengeance, hitting the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England, this Saturday (Sept. 29, 2012) in its second of a four-week stretch of mixed martial arts (MMA) fights.
Headlining the free card, which is set to go down on FUEL TV, are Heavyweight finishing machines Stipe Miocic and Stefan Struve, who have gone the distance all of twice in 38 combined fights. As befitting a card in the United Kingdom, several of the organization's premier British fighters will be in action, including former Welterweight title challenger Dan Hardy, Bantamweight standout Brad Pickett and submission magician Paul Sass.
And where there's violence, there's profit hiding just under the surface.
Grab some fish and chips, crack open a Newkie brown and follow me for a closer look at the odds behind UFC on FUEL TV 5: "Struve vs. Miocic."
Here. We. Go:
UFC on FUEL TV 5 Odds For The Under Card:
Andy Ogle (-175) vs. Akira Corassani (+145)
Jimi Manuwa (-170) vs. Kyle Kingsbury (+140)
Robert Peralta (-150) vs. Jason Young (+120)
Brad Tavares (-140) vs. Tom Watson (+110)
Gunnar Nelson (-275) vs. DaMarques Johnson (+215)
Thoughts: Pretty much every fight on the "Prelims" has the potential to be excellent, but only two stand out as moneymakers: Peralta vs. Young and Tavares vs. Watson.
As hard as Peralta hits, he’s pretty much a pure brawler when you get right down to it, albeit one with solid takedown defense. Against a technician like Young, that’s just not going to cut it. "Shotgun," ironically, may not have the power to stop Peralta, but he’s more than slick enough to deal steady damage and stay out of harm’s way for a decision. Plus, he’s got homefield advantage and an opponent who hasn’t stepped into the cage since November.
I consider Young the safest underdog bet on the card -- go straight-up or stick him in a parlay.
"Kong" is an entertaining fighter with legitimate talent on the feet, but he doesn’t have anywhere near the wrestling chops needed to excel in a division that’s positively loaded with fine grapplers. Tavares is a mid-tier fighter at best, but he’s got solid takedowns and is competent enough on the feet to survive until the opportunity to wrangle "Kong" down reveals itself.
Bet on the Hawaiian to piss off the local crowd with a relatively uneventful grinding decision win.
UFC on FUEL TV 5 Odds For The Main Card:
Stipe Miocic (-185) vs. Stefan Struve (+155)
Dan Hardy (-200) vs. Amir Sadollah (+160)
Che Mills (-250) vs. Duane Ludwig (+190)
John Hathaway (-340) vs. John Maguire (+260)
Paul Sass (-135) vs. Matt Wiman (+105)
Brad Pickett (-270) vs. Yves Jabouin (+210)
Thoughts: I foresee some awesome battles in this bunch. Let’s see if there are any worth putting some dosh on.
As a massive Pickett fan, those odds look a bit steep to me. He’s a great, well-rounded fighter with some pop in his hands, but Jabouin has shown steady improvement in his wrestling and grappling since dropping to 135 pounds. On the feet, I’d say Pickett has a slight advantage, but considering Jabouin’s speed and kicking arsenal, he may want to take it to the ground sooner rather than later. With how solid Yves’ takedown defense has looked lately, though, that may be easier said than done.
I still think Pickett edges him out, but a handful on Jabouin wouldn’t be the worst idea.
I’m going to go out on a limb and call Sass-Wiman the sleeper hit of the card. Sass has demonstrated one of the meanest guards in the entire organization and, unlike Wiman, has actually fought in the last eleven months, but I just can’t get the image of Wiman sitting in Miller’s guard and easily pulverizing the bejeezus out of him out of my head. This is probably more of a gut call than anything else, but I like Wiman to win a decision -- homefield and rust advantage notwithstanding, Sass has only ever left the first round once and is a non-factor on the feet.
I expect the fight to tip more and more in "Handsome’s" favor as it progresses and recommend putting a small sum on him.
Maguire is a character and an excellent grappler, but I just don't see this going in his favor. Hathaway, in addition to being a huge welterweight, is the better wrestler of the two and the better striker by a fair margin. That said, you could have said the same things before Hathaway's fight with Mike Pyle and we all know how that turned out. It's hard to get a gauge on where Hathaway is when you've got great performances against Diego Sanchez, Rick Story and Pascal Krauss intermingled with a narrow split decision over Kris McCray.
Leave this one alone ... too many variables.
I love watching "Bang" Ludwig fight. He’s technically brilliant, has heart for miles, and is one of the sport’s pioneers. But damn, he can’t take a punch anymore.
It doesn’t matter how often he beats Mills to the punch or how clean his combinations are, all Mills has to do is touch him once. Jim Miller dropped "Bang" at Lightweight, Nick Osipczak was having his way with him before gassing and Hardy put him to sleep.
I can’t in good conscience recommend betting on someone this fragile, but -250 is a bit steep to put anything on Mills. If he gets to -200, however, go for it.
As a fan, I like Sadollah and Hardy. As a gambler, I dislike this fight. Hardy is too inconsistent to be worth betting on and Sadollah is just kind of, "meh." If you absolutely have to bet on it, let the odds get closer to even and put some down on Hardy, but I recommend just staying away from this one.
I kind of feel the same way about the main event, too. Miocic hits too hard to put money on Struve and "Skyscraper" is too crafty to put money on Miocic. If you find Struve at +200 or better, put a small amount down based on his experience and grappling chops, but otherwise leave this be.
UFC on FUEL TV 5 Best Bets:
- Single Bet: Jason Young -- Bet $50 to make $60
- Single Bet: Brad Tavares -- Bet $60 to make $42.86
- Single Bet: Matt Wiman -- Bet $30 to make $31.50
There may not be a title fight on tap, but we've got a hell of a lot of fine MMA matchups in store to watch this weekend. This oughta' be a good 'un.
See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC on FUEL TV 5: "Struve vs. Miocic" results this Saturday afternoon, 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.