(Another) mixed martial arts (MMA) brawl in Montreal.
Returned from his suspension, former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz is getting a second crack at a 170-pound title, and this time, it's personal. Having riled up Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre like none before -- thanks in large part to "stalking" and "talking" -- prior to their upcoming clash (Sat., March 16, 2013), which will serve as the UFC 158 main event from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is sure to be one to remember.
And in case it isn't, you've got a clash between Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit, as well as Nate Marquardt's return to the Octagon opposite Jake Ellenberger. It's an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) pay-per-view (PPV) card with lots of potential, not to mention an opportunity to greet Spring with a full wallet.
Follow me below for a closer look at the latest odds behind -- and best bets for -- UFC 158: "St. Pierre vs. Diaz:"
UFC 158 Odds For The Under Card:
T.J. Dillashaw (-530) vs. Issei Tamura (+350)
Rick Story (-420) vs. Quinn Mulhern (+300)
Daron Cruickshank (-195) vs. John Makdessi (+155)
Jordan Mein (-270) vs. Dan Miller (+190)
Darren Elkins (-245) vs. Antonio Carvalho (+175)
Reuben Duran (-140) vs. George Roop (EVEN)
Patrick Cote (-190) vs. Bobby Voelker (+158)
Thoughts: Right off the bat, I see three severely-undervalued guys: Makdessi, Duran and Voelker.
I’ll admit that Cruickshank’s knockout of Henry Martinez was all kinds of kickass, but it’s hard to forget his uninspiring win over Chris Tickle. In addition, Martinez is pretty darn awful on the feet. Makdessi’s counter-striking looked absolutely brilliant against Sam Stout, especially that killer jab, and for once he is actually the same height as his opponent. Cruickshank is flashy, but Makdessi has shown better fundamentals and sufficiently-solid takedown defense to take Cruickshank’s grappling out of the picture.
Go big on "The Bull."
Duran’s recent bout with Hugo Viana could only have gone worse if Reuben had tripped and broken his neck on the Octagon steps Million Dollar Baby style during his walk-in, but considering his solid performances against quality talent in Takeya Mizugaki and Francisco Rivera, I’m willing to chalk that up to ring rust. And even if that isn’t the case, Roop is still an awkward, slow striker killing himself with a useless weight cut.
Duran will even up his UFC record ... bank on it.
Voelker’s been out of commission for a while, but you can’t call Cote's performances against Cung Le and Alessio Sakara anything but atrocious. And he’s making a weight cut out of desperation, not out of being legitimately too small for 185 pounds. Also, his chin was cracked for the first time in his career, which isn’t good for someone who looked seriously gun shy a couple fights ago and who is fighting a concussion machine in Voelker.
Don’t go as heavy on him as you do Makdessi and Duran, but definitely put a little money down.
UFC 158 Odds For The Main Card:
Georges St-Pierre (-500) vs. Nick Diaz (+400)
Johny Hendricks (-135) vs. Carlos Condit (+155)
Jake Ellenberger (-165) vs. Nate Marquardt (+145)
Nick Ring (-115) vs. Chris Camozzi (-105)
Mike Ricci (-270) vs. Colin Fletcher (+230)
Thoughts: I firmly believe St. Pierre is going to Hulk Smash Diaz into the ground, but I can’t be objective about a Diaz fight, so I won’t talk about it.
The two other welterweight fights are, in my opinion, not as close as the odds are making them out to be. In fact, I see Hendricks and Ellenberger winning relatively easily. Condit is the more technical and varied striker and undoubtedly has a superior submission game, but I just can’t picture him beating someone with Hendricks' wrestling pedigree. Literally everyone who has wanted to take down Condit in the UFC has gotten him down, even Nick "Ban Wrestling" Diaz, and I have every reason to believe "Bigg Rigg" can drag him down any time things get too hairy on the feet.
As for Ellenberger, I’m frankly not impressed with what I’ve seen out of Marquardt at 170 pounds. His mangling of Tyron Woodley was awesome, true, but he looked decidedly average against Tarec Saffiedine and -- despite "Sponge" historically failing to hurt people -- was knocked down, just as he was against Woodley.
"Juggernaut" is too strong, too fast and too good a wrestler to lose this fight, especially with his opponent coming in on short notice.
UFC 158 Best Bets:
- Single bet: Makdessi -- Bet $60 to make $93
- Single bet: Voelker -- Bet $40 to make $63.20
- Single bet: Duran -- Bet $70 to make $50
- Parlay: Duran and Hendricks -- Bet $50 to make $99
- Parlay: Makdessi and Ellenberger -- Bet $50 to make $155.50
When Georges gets angry, someone gets hurt. Might be Diaz, might be him.
See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC 158: "St. Pierre vs. Diaz" 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.