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UFC 79 betting odds: Free tips and advice from Desert Dog

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NOTE: We're putting together a pretty cool contest that we will announce in the next day or so -- some big prizes will be available. To be eligible participants will have to create an account at either BetUS or (or both). Sign up now through prior to UFC 79 -- it's quick and easy. More details to follow soon.

Desert Dog here with tips and "Smart Bets" for UFC 79: "Nemesis" this Saturday, December 29, at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It's a fight card that has some intriguing story lines and historic implications, from the showdown between former champions Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva to the rubbermatch between Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre. In addition, a handful of talented fighters such as Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Soa Palalei, Manny Gamburyan and others are making there Octagon debuts.

UFC 79 also offers some great betting opportunities that we can't ignore. There's great value and a ton of creative betting options on the table. For this one we're just going to touch on the main cards bouts. It's absolutely loaded and it deserves our utmost attention.

Let's get to it.

Here are the "Smart Bets" for UFC 79:
(Note: + = Underdog; - = Favorite)

Main card picks

Georges St. Pierre -200 (Bet $100 to win $50.00)
Wanderlei Silva -125 (Bet $100 to win $80.00)
Rameau Sokoudjou +100 (Bet $100 to win $100)
Melvin Guillard -260 (No Action)
Soa Palalei -140 (No Action)

Other bets offered at BetUS:

Over / Unders

St. Pierre vs. Hughes: Over 1.5 (-180) Under (+140)
Liddell vs Silva: Over 1.5 (+100) Under (-140)
Machida vs Sokoudjou: Over 1.5 (-180) Under (+140)


St. Pierre, Silva, Sokoudjou: (+431) (Bet $100 win $431)
St. Pierre, Silva, Machida: (+370) (Bet $100 win $370)
Hughes, Liddell, Sokoudjou (+1032) (Bet $100 to win $1,032)

NOTE: recommends to place wagers (FREE $75 play with a deposit of $200 and FREE $175 play with a deposit of $500 or more ... you actually make money). However, is also a good place to bet and compare odds.)

ufc 79 betting

As always, if you are going to bet only play with what you are willing to lose.

The easiest pick 'em for the night is St. Pierre to win; however, in terms of value all three of the main card bouts look good for a straight bet. I also want to quickly highlight a few other types of bets offered at BetUS that make some interesting options.

First, the over/under (O/U) bets that are based on whether a fight will be over or under a certain number of rounds. These are usually only offered on main card fights. For UFC 79, the Hughes-St. Pierre O/U bet is very likely to go over 1.5 rounds. Remember this is a five round fight and no matter who wins both guys tend not to be quick finishers.

The other option is a parlay bet. BetUS offers these on all open fights. A parlay comprises picking two or more winners for the night. The more fights you pick the greater the odds, but you must hit all of your picks to win. Obviously, the payouts on these bets are quite high but that's because the odds of even getting three fights right is relatively low.

With the main card fights all having relatively tight odds a three fight parlay will return very good payouts no matter what your pick. I included the odds for my three picks as well as the odds for the three favorites (+370) and the three underdogs (+1032).

As you can see it's a way for a single well placed bet to provide a healthy payoff.

Now onto a more detailed breakdown of the fights for those bettors who require a little more reassurance.

Main card bouts:

Georges St. Pierre (-200) vs. Matt Hughes (+190)
When was the last time Matt Hughes was a 2 to 1 underdog? Never. The real question is have the books picked this one right and are now just using odds to tempt the public money, or will the self professed farm boy return to glory?

Hughes has admitted in recent interviews that he is nearing the end of his storied career and is looking to this as his big redemption fight. That more than likely means in his mind that a win over St. Pierre will lead to him retiring in a blaze of glory, leaving only the bloody remains of "Rush," Matt Serra and what the hell ... Anderson Silva, too, as evidence of his mighty reign.

In the real world, Hughes has endured a nine-month layoff since his last snoozefest with Chris Lytle, as well as a stint as coach on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) mixed martial arts reality series. And up until a month ago, he thought he was training for Serra in what he viewed as an easily winnable fight.

Now he finds himself facing his true "nemesis" in St. Pierre -- the man who dealt him possibly the biggest loss of his career.

No matter how mature Hughes is as a fighter that always plays a roll in the mental battle of this game. Hughes has stated what he sees as his advantages in this fight, including the shortened training time for St. Pierre, his strength, and his dominance on the ground. However, looking from the outside I only see Pierre's training time as a real factor.

Hughes' game plan will be straight forward ... it has to be. His strengths are simple: relentless takedowns, tremendous strength and the ability to take advantage of the smallest error when the fight is on the mat, especially if he has dominant position. So without a real standup game (yes, his jab is better, but he's still a stubby arm puncher) Matt will have to put himself in the pocket repeatedly to secure solid takedowns.

And the pocket is a dangerous place to be with GSP.

St. Pierre is pushing into the prime of his career and knows that a loss here derails everything. With the knowledge that Hughes is coming to this fight with a more basic plan of attack he and his trainers have an interesting choice for the gameplan. Without Hughes staying on the outside absorbing leg kicks and Superman punches he will be forced to concentrate on his grappling and ground game.

St. Pierre's takedown defense is top notch and already proven to be tough for Hughes, but a great defense doesn't win fights. So, I'm interested to see if he deploys the same logic he did with Koscheck and try to beat Hughes to the punch by putting him where he's going to be least comfortable ... on his back. Although Hughes thinks he is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, his guard is nowhere near as dangerous as his mount. GSP has successfully used this tactic with BJ Penn and Koscheck and I think he'd be well advised to follow suit here, too.

Much like Jon Fitch and Randy Couture, I never bet against GSP and I'm not starting here. Bodog's odds (-200) are the best available right now and have enough value for me to lay down the cabbage. I'm betting GSP will attack Hughes, repeatedly putting him on his back. By the third round Matt's frustration will lead to him thinking he's a boxer again, which of course ends with Hughes waking up with that goofy dazed look we've all seen before.

Prediction: St. Pierre via late technical knockout

Chuck Liddell (+100) vs. Wanderlei Silva (-125)
Another fight fan dream match up has finally come to fruition. It's a little late but I'll take it. If this fight would have happened a year ago I think the outcome would have been very different, but winds have shifted in significantly in 2006 and I think Chuck Liddell has lost his fire.

Wanderlei Silva helped make the ChuteBoxe Academy what it is; however, now that he's returning to the Octagon "The Axe Murderer" recently began training with X-Treme Couture in Las Vegas Vegas, Nevada, alongside top level UFC fighters. In short, Silva is making all the right moves to prepare for this fight.

And if the Wandi that Pride FC fans loved shows up on SuperBowl weekend look out -- one more bonafide superstar will be added to the 205-pound roster.

Silva is best know for his aggressive technical striking and vicious Muay Thai knees ... just ask Rampage Jackson. Remember he's also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt and throughout his career has faced every style and size of fighter in the world and found a way to beat most of them. The case could be made that one of Wandi's recent losses was with a similar opponent in Cro cop. Similar in the sense that Mirko was probably the only one dimensional fighter to really give Silva problems (yes, I think Liddell is one dimensional!).

What Chuck had in the past was the ability to concentrate on that one dimension with unwavering confidence. He developed a very strong sprawl and scramble that left him ready to let his hands fly at will. That confidence has faded with time and two difficult losses. His last two fights didn't necessarily put his chin in question; instead they put in question how he stacks up against technical strikers/kickboxers.

Chuck has done nothing to fortify his game or to change his training. He's simply looking to knock someone out. Of course he'll always be a dangerous striker, but in a match up like this it's more likely he'll just be outclassed and eventually caught looking for a shot.

Prediction: Silva via technical knockout

ufc 79 betting

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (+100) vs. Lyoto Machida (-130)
What a great fight this should be.

Lyoto is a very experienced and balanced fighter standing on an unbeaten record. Charging like a bull across the ring will be Sokoudjou the "African Assassin." Machida will more than likely have no choice but engage in a high-paced battle -- something with which he doesn't seem to familiar or comfortable.

Sokou has been quickly accepted by fight fans and analysts as a true top level contender in the light heavyweight ranks. In fact, he's ranked number five at and number eight at -- in both cases he's sitting several notches above Machida. This may seem a surprise considering he has only five pro fights on his record; however, his last two wins were straight up knockouts of "Little Nog" and Ricardo Arona that bolstered his ranking. Not to mention that he competed in the 2001 U.S. Open Judo Championship and he also has a sprinkle of general badass.

Training with Dan Henderson at Team Quest is also a huge bonus and anyone who has seen this guy in the gym walks away wide eyed ... he's a beast. As far as weaknesses go it's hard to say we haven't seen him in the ring long enough to see all of his abilities tested.

Lyoto Machida is an excellent fighter out of Black House, training with the likes of Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. His unbeaten record tells quite a story as well with wins over Stephan Bonnar, Rich Franklin, Michael McDonald, B.J. Penn, Vernon White, Sam Hoger, David Heath and Kazuhiro Nakamura.

What has frustrated the UFC and the fans has been the pace of his victories and lack of finishes. Machida has the strange ability to dictate a slow methodical pace in a fight. Opponents seem lulled into overextending takedown attempts or reaching with their strikes; and Lyoto's counter striking and unorthodox ground game give him the ability to attack and recoil for the next opportunity. It's been a winning style so far, but the UFC promotes exciting fighters not just those with the best record.

Put simply, Machida must finish this fight convincingly or he will continue to find himself lurking in the background of the division.

Unfortunately for Machida, he's not being fed a Houston Alexander. He's facing an equally skilled fighter (not in all the same aspects) who's much more explosive and aggressive. This should be a real battle that will likely not make it to the final bell. Meaning no decision, no judges and most likely no win for Machida. There are a couple of options for a bet on this fight, including an over/under but with a finisher fighting a point scorer you have better probabilities just making a straight bet.

Prediction: Sokoujou via technical knockout

Melvin Guillard (-260) vs. Rich Clementi (+200)
Well, I don't have much to say about this fight.

These two have nearly a 100 fights between them and they're both pretty set in their styles. I've never been too big of a Clementi fan. I think he's competitive against B-level fighters and struggles against well-trained athletes, getting outworked and outclassed.

Guillard is by all standards a much better and more effective fighter. His real downside in this or any fight has been his inconsistency. He's prone to mental mistakes that have left us all shaking our heads. However, expect him to come out with a vengeance in this fight because of his recent suspension. He has more on the line than Clementi that's for sure and the striking contrast in speed and power will be very evident in this fight.

With that said I'm definitely picking Melvin to win but with his ability to screw up at any given minute I'm not willing to play with odds (-260).

Prediction: Guillard via technical knockout

Eddie Sanchez (-140) vs. Soa Palalei (+110)
I remember the first time I saw Sanchez fight back in September 2006. He knocked out Mario Neto and said he'd knockout any heavyweight in the world he could get his hands on.

ufc 79 betting

Unfortunately, he never quite got his hands on Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 67.

In what looked like a child running from his father's belt, Sanchez suffered the first loss of his career, as well as a real loss of confidence. Now working to regain some steam, Sanchez has worked his way through a difficult fight with Colin Robinson and now finds himself facing a very similar opponent in Soa Palalei.

Palalei's been very quiet for the last three years with only one pro fight in 2007. He has stepped up his training spending valuable time with Henderson and his band of merry men at Team Quest. "The Hulk" has a comparable style to Sanchez with both of these fighters being very aggressive and naturally strong. His training partners claim he's very well rounded, but I'd have to say his one big advantage in this fight is simply his training. Being in the ring day after day with Henderson, Soukodjou and some ridiculously huge heavyweights is a luxury Sanchez is not afforded.

This is a tough fight to call because of Palalei's recent inactivity, but I'm going to pick him to win this one. As far as a bet goes there are too many unknowns for me so I'll just sit back and enjoy the fight.

Prediction: Palaei via technical knockout

That about does it for this installment of betting tips and advice. For the rest of the UFC 79 line up click here.

Remember to bet smart.

Betting is not for everyone. But if you want to take a stab at it head over to (Get a FREE $75 play with a deposit of $200 and a FREE $175 play with a deposit of $500 or more) or to compare competitive MMA lines visit

Enjoy the fights and good luck.

Feel free to leave predictions and other thoughts in the comments section below.

ufc 79 betting

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