The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 Finale is not providing much in the way of betting values. There are several lopsided bouts, including the return of the little boiled lobster, Allen Berube.
Why is this sack of taters fighting?
Well with odds like these bettors are forced to look to the dogs to find any sort of value. Currently, I'm looking at three matchups and probably only two bets unless there is some favorable movement in the odds.
The "Smart Bets" for TUF 5 Finale:
Main card picks:
B.J. Penn -340 (No action unless odds hit -275)
Manny Gamburyan -115 (Bet $100 to win $86.96)
Preliminary cards picks:
Joe Lauzon -650 (No action)
Cole Miller -600 (No action)
Gray Maynard -550 (No action)
Leonard Garcia -800 (No action)
Brian Geraghty +400 (Bet $100 to win $400)
Thales Leites -600 (No action)
Roger Huerta -850 (No action)
(NOTE: UFCmania.com recommends BetUS.com to place wagers. However, Bodog.com is also a good place to bet and compare odds -- this site usually has the complete lines up for the fights earlier than the competition.)
As always -- if you are going to bet -- only play with what you are willing to lose.
Now onto a more detailed breakdown of the fights for those bettors who require a little more reassurance:
BJ Penn (-340) vs. Jens Pulver (+270)
The big question surrounding this fight is how can Pulver win?
BJ has never been knocked out (no I don't count the Hughes TKO) -- his chin is solid. This really cuts into Pulver's odds for finishing the fight on the feet (under 10 percent). On the other side, Jens is facing a heavy-handed opponent and he has been TKO'd five times throughout his career, including his most recent loss to Lauzon.
Jen's is a collegiate wrestler, but his only option on the ground is escape or defend. BJ could fade as he has in the past, but if BJ's current weight is any indication, his conditioning is good to go. So in my mind the only two possible ways for Jens to win are TKO stoppage (Prediction: Penn via submission.
Manny Gamburyan (-115) vs. Nathan Diaz (-115)
This is a pretty nice match up for the finale. There's the family intrigue, striking difference in physical packaging, and these two fighters who go 100 percent to the end.
Manny has the advantage in overall aggression and explosive strength. On the ground, Manny is technically very sound and active as well. In the stand up, Manny has powerful striking but Diaz will likely be able to utilize his reach and outwork his opponent. I don't see Diaz pulling out a technical knockout, but if the fight doesn't go to the ground much he could easily pull a decision.
However, when two technical fighters hit the ground there's typically a lot of transitions, reversals, etc. This can make for difficult scoring if it goes to the cards and judges tend to award more for takedowns than submission attempts. I don't think either one will pull off a submission and in the end Manny's aggression and takedowns will give him the decision.
Prediction: Gamburyan via decision.
Roger Huerta -850 vs. Doug Evans +525
I'm glad to see Huerta fighting again so soon, but it seems like he should have an opponent someone has heard about.
The unbeaten Evans (5-0) is likely not ready for this level of competition. The fight makers must have run out of names to draw from for this finale. I know many people believe that every fighter has a punchers chance or that anything can happen.
But the odds of a punch ending a lightweight fight are much less than in other divisions. Technique, stamina, and aggression rule the 155-pound division and Huerta possesses too many of those attributes to drop this fight.
It's an easy pick for this fight, but no value on either side.
Prediction: Huerta via technical knockout.
Thales Leites -600 vs Floyd Sword +400
Sword is another UFC newcomer welcomed with a less than ideal matchup. Although Sword has a good record (9-2) with most of his wins coming by way of submission, he finds himself looking across the ring at a much more accomplished Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter.
Thales lone loss came from the hands of the very fast and technical striker Martin Kampmann. So unless Sword has been hiding some serious stand up skills, he will likely be controlled until the later rounds when Thales can finish the fight.
Prediction: Leites via submission.
Joseph Lauzon (-650) vs. Brandon Melendez (+450)
Brandon's weakness on the ground will again be exposed in this one-sided fight. I don't see any value on either side at these odds.
Prediction: Lauzon via technical knockout.
Cole Miller (-600) vs. Andy Wang (+400)
Cole should own this one, but his strength is in his ground game and just how good is Wang on the ground?
Good enough to hold a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt, but with only one win by submission on his record, it's not likely he can translate it into an Octagon win over a very savvy Cole Miller.
Cole fights a smart fight, stays outside picking Wang apart until the final bell.
Prediction: Miller via decision.
Gray Maynard (-550) vs. Rob Emerson (+350)
Another one-sided matchup with Emerson's biggest weakness (takedown defense) falling right into the hands of the wrestling wizard Gray Maynard. No value on either side of these odds.
Prediction: Maynard via decision.
Leonard Garcia (-800) vs. Allen Berube (+500)
As with Huerta, I'm glad to see Garcia back so soon, but the UFC may as well have given him a sack of potatoes to beat on. This one isn't worth my time.
Prediction: Garcia anyway he wants it.
Matt Wiman -600 vs. Brian Geraghty +400
We didn't get to see much of Brian Geraghty, but his strength as a wrestler and excellent jiu-jitsu could be enough to get him past Wiman's early aggression.
If Geraghty can take control of this fight on the ground it will easily go his way.
In case you haven't looked at his record, he has 27 fights in the last seven years. And almost 60 percent of his wins are by way of submission. With odds of +400 he only needs to win a bit more than 20 percent of the time in this match up to have a positive expected value.
In other words, he's my dog for the night.
Prediction: Geraghty via submission.
That's a wrap folks. I'll be back later in one week to share some more insight on the UFC 73: "Stacked" card that is set for July 7.
It should be a dandy.
Don't forget that a friendly wager always makes the fights that much more interesting when there is money to be won. Especially on a card like the TUF 5 Finale, which is a little top heavy.
Therefore, head over to BetUs.com (with a deposit you get a $50 free play) if you've got an itch that just can't be scratched. Don't forget that Bodog.com also has some competitive MMA lines (including the EliteXC/Strikeforce event tonight that features Phil Baroni vs. Frank Shamrock).
Enjoy the fights and good luck.