It's (almost) showtime.
After weeks of isolation, the mixed martial arts (MMA) Middleweight hopefuls who competed on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 this past season on FX are ready to strut their stuff for real inside the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon.
TUF 17 Finale, which takes place at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, this Saturday night (April 13, 2013), will feature almost every cast member from the show, which will be capped off by a clash between 185-pound finalists Uriah Hall and Kelvin Gastelum.
In case a bunch of middleweights unleashing weeks of pent-up frustration isn't enough, the promotion will also serve up former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Strikeforce champions, Urijah Faber and Miesha Tate, respectively, taking on scrappy contenders Scott Jorgensen and Cat Zingano, the latter of which will determine who coaches opposite Ronda Rousey on TUF 18 and challenges for her 135-pound title later this year.
It's got all the trimmings to be an great card, and one with the potential for profit if you know where to look.
Follow me below for a closer look at the latest odds behind -- and best bets for -- TUF 17 Finale: "Faber vs. Jorgensen:"
TUF 17 Finale Odds For The Under Card:
Daniel Pineda (-130) vs. Justin Lawrence (-110)
Maximo Blanco (-245) vs. Sam Sicilia (+175)
Jimmy Quinlan (-130) vs. Dylan Andrews (-110)
Luke Barnatt (-130) vs. Collin Hart (-110)
Josh Samman (-390) vs. Kevin Casey (+270)
Clint Hester (-170) vs. Bristol Marunde (+130)
Thoughts: There are many close lines this weekend; however, I still see some profitable investments, including Lawrence, Andrews and Hart.
I feel like the hype behind Lawrence early in TUF 15 and the subsequent losses to Michael Chiesa and Max Holloway have resulted in him becoming seriously underrated. He’s not a world-beater yet, but he’s young, fighting out of a great camp and has crushing power in every limb. Pineda is solid in all areas, but getting his chin cracked by Antonio Carvalho can’t be good for someone whose style revolves around constant aggression. And I don’t see him dragging down Lawrence with any consistency.
Therefore, a moderate bet on the younger man should pay dividends.
Quinlan’s upset of Hester on the show was impressive, but things look grim for him this weekend. He crumbled as soon as Samman put his hands on him, he hasn’t demonstrated any outstanding striking ability and Andrews has more than six times as much cage experience. Quinlan’s credentials are solid, sure, but I feel Andrews has proven more in MMA and thus recommend a small-to-average bet on him.
Barnatt is big, which is really the extent of his advantage in this bout. He has decent knees, but his striking is rough, while he moves like his feet are filled with lead. And I’m less than impressed by the takedown defense he showed against Andrews. Hart’s a decent-sized middleweight himself with an effective ground game, and so long as he keeps pressure on Barnatt and takes advantage of his inability to maintain distance, he should take this without too much trouble.
TUF 17 Finale Odds For The Main Card:
Urijah Faber (-450) vs. Scott Jorgensen (+360)
Uriah Hall (-370) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (+280)
Cat Zingano (-130) vs. Miesha Tate (+100)
Bart Palaszewski (-190) vs. Cole Miller (+150)
Travis Browne (-290) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (+230)
Robert McDaniel (-170) vs. Gilbert Smith (+140)
Thoughts: Really, I’m not seeing much here. If Gonzaga’s cardio hadn’t looked so abysmal against Ben Rothwell, I might have considered putting a handful down on him; therefore, "Bartimus" seems the only worthwhile investment.
Miller’s ground game is all kinds of nasty, but that doesn’t mean much when you haven’t got anywhere near the takedowns to implement it consistently. Even if he does drag down the International Fight League (IFL) standout, "Bartimus" is an absolute pain in the ass to finish, meaning this one’s going to get back to the feet eventually.
Nam Phan, who is three inches shorter than Palaszewski and seven shorter than Miller, got inside with incredible ease, which means that if "Bartimus" lands the kind of shots Phan did, this isn’t going three rounds.
Bank on it ... literally.
TUF 17 Finale Best Bets:
- Parlay: Justin Lawrence and Bart Palaszewski -- Bet $40 to make $76.80
- Single bet: Dylan Andrews -- Bet $40 to make $36.36
- Single bet: Collin Hart -- Bet $60 to make $54.54
- Parlay: Collin Hart and Bart Palaszewski -- Bet $30 to make $57.60
Knockout artists and two Top 10 showdowns ... we can't ask for much more than that on an otherwise sleepy Saturday night.
See you then, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live TUF 17 Finale: "Faber vs. Jorgensen" results this Saturday evening, 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.