Someone new is stirring trouble in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) neighborhood.
Evicted from their Strikeforce stomping grounds earlier this year after a Zuffa takeover, the now-defunct San Jose, Calif.,-based mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion's best and brightest are making the jump to the Octagon en masse, resulting in a sensational line up of FOX fights this weekend (Sat., April 20, 2013) at the HP Pavilion.
Standouts Jordan Mein, Josh Thomson and Daniel Cormier will all be featured in televised UFC on Fox 7 main card action, while the main event pits reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson against longtime Strikeforce 155-pound titleholder Gilbert Melendez.
Even before we get to those showdowns, however there are eight intriguing "Prelims" under card matches slated to air on FX Networks and Facebook.com. Indeed, it's set to be one hell of a card, and if you know where to look, one you'll finish watching a bit wealthier than when you started.
Follow me below for a closer look at the latest odds behind -- and best bets for -- UFC on FOX 7: "Henderson vs. Melendez:"
UFC On FOX 7 Odds For The Under Card:
Chad Mendes (-750) vs. Darren Elkins (+450)
Francis Carmont (-155) vs. Lorenz Larkin (+115)
Myles Jury (-295) vs. Ramsey Nijem (+215)
Joseph Benavidez (-530) vs. Darren Uyenoyama (+350)
Jorge Masvidal (-165) vs. Tim Means (+125)
T.J. Dillashaw (-420) vs. Hugo Viana (+300)
Anthony Njokuani (-195) vs. Roger Bowling (+155)
Yoel Romero (-165) vs. Clifford Starks (+125)
Thoughts: For such a big under card, there is a paucity of solid bets. One I do have my eye on, however, is Means over Masvidal.
Masvidal is powerful, technically sound and well-rounded. I’d argue, in terms of his skillset, he has the potential to be a Top 10-ranked UFC lightweight without any significant trouble. The problem is that he’s too damn passive. For example, even if Masvidal clearly has an opponent outgunned on the feet, he is content to sit back and potshot, never taking any undue risks or actively pursuing the knockout. Means, meanwhile, is taller than him, every bit as nasty in the striking department and has the advantage of a vicious killer instinct.
Masvidal’s game simply won’t work on someone like "Dirty Bird;' therefore, turn this knowledge into a sizeable investment in Means.
There are a few other tempting bets, but none tasty enough to overcome my misgivings about one or both fighters involved. For what it's worth, I do think Nijem is being undervalued, meaning a smallish bet on him wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.
UFC On FOX 7 Odds For The Main Card:
Thoughts: It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if all the favorites won their fights handily, but I think there’s value in Brown and possibly Thomson.
Mein’s boxing, in my opinion, is some of the best in the Welterweight division. He hits hard, is laser-accurate and demonstrates fantastic footwork to complement the striking. In a technique-based exchange, I don’t think there is anyone at 170 pounds who could get the better of Means.
And that’s the last thing Brown is going to give him.
What Brown does better than maybe anyone in the division is make a fight ugly. His in-your-face style can turn a fight with almost anyone into a pure war of attrition. And he’s quite good at winning wars of attrition.
Regardless, Means is the favorite for a reason; however, just too much of one for my taste. A bit on Brown would make some sense.
Look, I can’t judge a Diaz fight accurately. I know that, you know that -- I’m not going to insult your intelligence by implying I’m impartial. I just believe, from a stylistic standpoint, Thomson can be a handful.
Diaz does and has always struggled with one particular archetype: The big, strong, relentless wrestler. Every single loss he has had since 2006 has been to this type of fighter. Thomson has never been submitted and his only losses in the last six years have been to other wrestlers (Gilbert Melendez and "Crusher" Tatsuya Kawajiri).
If not for Thomson’s inconsistency and the fact that his knees are held together with duct tape and prayer at this point, I’d recommend a bet on him. As it is, wait until he’s +200 or better.
UFC On FOX 7 Best Bets:
- Single bet: Tim Means -- Bet $60 to make $75
- Single bet: Ramsey Nijem -- Bet $30 to make $64.5
- Single bet: Matt Brown -- Bet $25 to make $63.75
Great fights on free TV -- there's something to be said for the simple pleasures in life.
See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC on FOX 7: "Henderson vs Melendez" 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.