Once upon a time, he was a mixed martial arts (MMA) king. This Saturday (March 2, 2013), he returns to his former kingdom.
The former lord of Pride FC's 205-pound division, Wanderlei Silva, is out to give his adoring combat sports fans in "The Land of the rising Sun" another violent highlight when he faces Brian Stann in the UFC on FUEL TV 8 main event, which is set to go down under the legendary lights of the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, this weekend.
"The Axe Murderer" and "All American" will be joined on the televised main card by former K-1 champion and one-time conqueror Mark Hunt, who takes on rising Dutch bruiser Stefan Struve in the co-featured fight of the night. In addition, a bevy of Asian MMA talent will be on display, including the likes of Takanori Gomi, Dong Hyun Kim and Yushin Okami, among others.
We've got pivotal divisional clashes, the potential for significant fireworks, and -- if you know where to look -- the chance for profit.
Follow me below for a closer look at the latest odds behind -- and best bets for -- UFC on FUEL TV 8: "Silva vs. Stann:"
UFC on FUEL TV 8 Odds For the Under Card:
Riki Fukuda (-120) vs. Brad Tavares (EVEN)
Cristiano Marcello (-160) vs. Kazuki Tokudome (+140)
Takeya Mizugaki (-230) vs. Bryan Caraway (+190)
Alex Caceres (-155) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (+135)
Hyun Gyu Lim (-350) vs. Marcelo Guimaraes (+270)
Thoughts: I’m well aware that I’m playing with fire here, but in my humble opinion, the three best values on the card are Asian fighters, two of whom are making their Octagon debuts: Tokudome, Mizugaki and Kang.
I’ll admit that recent footage of Tokudome is scarce, but he’s demonstrated the skills necessary to beat Marcello: Existent takedown defense and stand up that compares favorably to that of a sloth. Cristiano is undeniably skilled on the mat, but he’s walking proof of the ineffectiveness of Brazilian jiu-jitsu without wrestling or striking. It doesn’t take much to outstrike him and, luckily for Kazuki, he’s got it.
Go straight-up on the Pancrase vet.
I’m wary of Mizugaki’s inability to put two straight wins together, but -230 against such a stylistically-favorable opponent is too good to pass up. Takeya is by far superior on the feet, demonstrating constantly-improving offensive and defensive wrestling since his time in the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC). Further, his submission defense has consistently proven to be ironclad, making him capable of winning this standing or on the ground without too much trouble.
He’s your parlay cornerstone.
Caceres is a skilled fighter, but he’s got two significant weaknesses: No stopping power and mediocre wrestling. Unfortunately for him, these play right into Kang’s hands -- a physical beast with a powerful top game, all signs point to him walking through "Bruce Leeroy’s" rangy kicks, dragging him to the ground, and surviving Caceres’ customary triangle/armbar attack to eventually tap him out.
Go big on Kang, who really has no place being an underdog.
UFC on FUEL TV 8 Odds For The Main Card:
Brian Stann (-245) vs. Wanderlei Silva (+205)
Stefan Struve (-175) vs. Mark Hunt (+155)
Diego Sanchez (-300) vs. Takanori Gomi (+250)
Hector Lombard (-210) vs. Yushin Okami (+175)
Dong Hyun Kim (-310) vs. Siyar Bahadurzada (+255)
Mizuto Hirota (-110) vs. Rani Yahya (-110)
Thoughts: He cost me big against Ben Rothwell, then made me some scratch against Cheick Kongo. Having therefore earned my faith, I nominate Hunt as the main card’s best bargain.
Struve’s advantage on the ground is obvious to anyone who has seen the two in action, but he has no real offensive wrestling, generally loses the first round, and couldn’t be worse at keeping people at range if he carried around an electromagnet and forced his opponents to wear tinfoil shorts. Unless Struve can pull guard instantly, Hunt will get inside and blow his face off in short order.
Bank on it.
As far as the rest, Hirota wouldn’t be the worst idea based on his stand up skills and powerful base. And you can get almost +150 out of parlaying him with Hyun Gyu Lim, the closest thing on the card to a lock.
UFC on FUEL TV 8 Best Bets:
- Single bet: Kazuki Tokudome -- Bet $40 to make $56
- Single bet: Kyung Ho Kang -- Bet $50 to make $67.50
- Parlay: Takeya Mizugaki and Kyung Ho Kang -- Bet $45 to make $106.20
- Single bet: Mark Hunt -- Bet $40 to make $62
- Parlay: Hyun Gyu Lim and Mizuto Hirota -- Bet $40 to make $59.20
Fight fans (that's you!) are always in for a treat when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heads to the "Land of the Rising Sun."
See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC on FUEL TV 8: "Silva vs. Stann" 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.