Mixed martial arts (MMA) mayhem at Mandalay Bay.
After having his 155-pound reign cut short in controversial fashion by Ben Henderson, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight king, Frankie Edgar, will look to set up a new dynasty 10 pounds south, taking on pound-for-pound bruiser Jose Aldo for the latter's Featherweight title in the UFC 156 main event.
In addition, Alistair Overeem will make his long-awaited return to the cage this weekend (Sat., Feb. 2, 2013) in Las Vegas, Nevada, against Antonio Silva in a battle more than one ear in the making. And let's not forget about other fine fights on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card, including Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia and Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall.
It's set to be one hell of a card. And the best part is that you can fatten your wallet in time for all your drunken Super Bowl bets.
Follow me below for a closer look at the latest odds behind, and best bets for, UFC 156: "Aldo vs. Edgar:"
UFC 156 Odds For The Under Card:
Gleison Tibau (-130) vs. Evan Dunham (EVEN)
Tyron Woodley (-155) vs. Jay Hieron (+125)
Francisco Rivera (-325) vs. Edwin Figueroa (+250)
Jacob Volkmann (-360) vs. Bobby Green (+270)
Yves Edwards (-245) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (+185)
Chico Camus (-165) vs. Dustin Kimura (+135)
Thoughts: Rivera apparently opened at -190, which would have had me grinning like the Cheshire Cat on a particularly potent acid trip, but I’ll have to settle for two guys in close fights who I nonetheless feel are being undervalued: Dunham and Hieron.
Dunham may not have had any really great performances since the Sean Sherk and Tyson Griffin fights, but he’s still got all the skills that made him such a hot commodity. His wrestling is superb, most likely considerably superior to Tibau’s despite the latter’s immense size. He’s also looser on the feet than Tibau, though neither is outstanding in that area.
Dunham at least breaks even on the feet and controls it on the ground, making him worth a look.
Woodley’s evolved his striking game, but his bread and butter is still his wrestling. He hasn’t demonstrated the ability to adapt when his takedowns are denied, nor does he mix them up particularly well. Hieron can certainly keep it standing, and Woodley’s increasing reliance on failed takedowns will only serve to exhaust him and widen the gap on the feet that much more.
Bet on Hieron to get his elusive first UFC victory at long last in "Sin City."
UFC 156 Odds For The Main Card:
Jose Aldo (-220) vs. Frankie Edgar (+180)
Alistair Overeem (-390) vs. Antonio Silva (+320)
Rashad Evans (-500) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+400)
Jon Fitch (-175) vs. Demian Maia (+155)
Joseph Benavidez (-250) vs. Ian McCall (+210)
Thoughts: The main and co-main events are the only ones that really catch my eye. I’d recommend putting some on Fitch, but the odds are tilted just a bit too far in his favor.
I just don’t see how Edgar beats Aldo. He’s at a speed disadvantage for the first time in his career, his tendency to move in a straight line when attacking puts him in danger of the Brazilian’s killer knees, and Aldo has eaten fast wrestlers for breakfast during his World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and UFC reigns. Plus, the Henderson fights suggest that "The Answer" isn’t fond of getting kicked in the legs, which Aldo will do with unparalleled gusto.
Stick Aldo in a parlay.
I’m aware that a gigantic chin is more than a minor liability when dealing with a man who, in the immortal words of Seanbaby, "looks like someone at Marvel Comics drew a man genetically engineered to f*ck your girlfriend," but hear me out. Overeem has been out for a year and had his offense completely blunted by the threat of takedowns from Fabricio Werdum. "Bigfoot" may not be on that same level of Brazilian jiu-jitsu brilliance, but his ground-and-pound is some of the most savage in the division and his physical strength is immense. "Demolition Man" will almost certainly own the cage early, but cage rust and Bigfoot’s size combining to wear him out to the point where he can be taken down and mollywhopped is, in my opinion, a plausible enough outcome at +320 to make him worth a pittance.
UFC 156 Best Bets:
- Single bet: Jay Hieron -- Bet $40 to make $50
- Single bet: Evan Dunham -- Bet $50 to make $50
- Parlay: Evan Dunham and -- Bet $30 to make $57
- Single bet: Antonio Silva -- Bet $20 to make $64
Every fight on the main card has title implications -- it doesn't get better than this, Maniacs.
See you Saturday.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC 156: "Aldo vs. Edgar" results this Saturday night, 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.