Desert Dog here again with tips and "Smart Bets" for UFC Fight Night 14: "Silva vs Irvin," which is set to go off this Saturday, July 19 from "The Pearl" in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It’s a FREE fight card that will air on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET, which was slapped together to compete with the Affliction: "Banned" card hitting the pay-per-view (PPV) airwaves the same night. Considering how short the notice was for these fights there are some great battles lined up.
And of course the opportunity to see Anderson Silva face a new challenge in moving up in weight is well worth watching (or recording and watching later).
There are a few main card fights that odds haven’t been released for yet so I’ll provide an acceptable range that will offer good value when the odds come out later in the week.
Here are the "Smart Bets" for "Silva vs. Irvin:"
(Note: + = Underdog; - = Favorite)
Main card picks:
Anderson Silva -500 (add to three-fight parlay)*
Brandon Vera -550 (add to three-fight parlay)*
Hermes Franca +110 (Bet $100 to win $110)
Anthony Johnson -350 (add to 3-fight parlay)*
Cane Velasquez (If odds are favorable … see below)
CB Dollaway (If odds are favorable … see below)
*Three-fight parlay (Silva, Vera, Johnson) -121 (Bet $100 to win $82.33)
Whatever your bets are for UFC Fight Night 14 (these are merely for you to use as a guide) make sure you look at the realistic outcomes and use solid bets to cover your bigger risks. You don’t have to bet on them all -- just stick to the fighters you know and match ups that give that best probability on a financial windfall.
Now onto a more detailed breakdown of the fights for those bettors who require a little more reassurance.
Anderson Silva (-550) vs James Irvin (+400)
Anderson "The Spider" Silva holds a scary professional MMA record (21-4) and an even scarier record (6-0) in the UFC. His fights inside the Octagon were dominant victories over Chris Leben, Travis Lutter, Nate Marquardt, Rich Franklin (twice) and most recently Dan Henderson.
At 32-years-old, Silva is widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound MMA fighters on the planet.
Silva holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu0jitsu under reigning UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira. Silva is currently part of the Iron House fight team, training alongside Lyoto Machida, Paulo Filho, Vitor Belfort and the Nogueira brothers.
Anderson’s wins in and out of the UFC have shown how expansive his arsenal is. He is one of those rare fighters who is capable of finishing any fight from just about any position. Several fighters have looked to take Silva down and control him on the ground and have had limited success.
Regardless, that won’t be the case in this fight.
James Irvin has been through some ups and downs, but has persevered and reminded everyone of his punching power in his last bout with Houston Alexander. Irvin has stated and shown that he prefers his fights to stay on the feet and is looking for just that against Silva. I would talk about his past three or four fights, but honestly each of them have been so short and several ended on notes that he had no control over (DQ and knee injury).
Irvin’s game plan is simple, stand up, be willing to eat two shots to land one, try to wear Silva down until he can land a bomb. Irvin has stated that he doesn’t think Silva has the knockout power of Rampage – I guess that’s true. What do you think his past opponents opinion of his power is? That aside, what are the odds that Irvin’s straight forward game plan will succeed?
Looking at the physical match up, each fighter is 6'2", Irvin has a 75.5" reach and Silva has a 75.5" reach. Silva will be cutting around 10 pounds and be at about 210-215 fight time. Irvin will be cutting 15-20 pounds and will be about 220 fight time. Putting on more than 15 pounds rehydrating in 24 hours is pretty rare.
In the end Irvin will likely hold a pure strength advantage, but much like BJ Penn, Silva's strength is greatly bolstered by flexibility, leverage, and spot-on technique. I don’t see any major difference in the physical stature or athleticism of these two.
The difference is the variety of tools Silva holds, his proven ability to finish fights against many different styles of opponents and good old fashion momentum. If this fight were to stay on the feet -- no clinch or ground -- I’d give Irvin a 40 percent chance of winning and would drop a little coin on him in a heartbeat.
But, this is MMA and when I look at the whole picture I see Irvin outclassed in every aspect of the fight -- especially on the ground -- and realistically I only give him a 20 percent chance. The current odds give Irvin about a 25 percent chance, which is not a good deal. On the other side of the coin, the odds for Silva are pretty steep and offer a return of only 18 percent on your bet. That, too, isnot a great return, but it could make a decent anchor bet on a three-fight parlay.
Prediction: Anderson Silva via technical knockout (Bet: None or add to a three-fight fight parlay)
Brandon Vera (-550) vs Reese Andy (+400)
Brandon "The Truth" Vera holds an 8-2 MMA recordv (6-2 UFC), with notable wins over Assuerio Silva and Frank Mir. After an 11-month layoff because of contract disputes, Vera returned to the Octagon to lose a unanimous decision to Tim Sylvia at UFC 77: "Hostile Territory."
It wasn’t a great showing for Vera and he stated that he had broken his hand in the first round. There were no excuses for his last fight with Werdum, other than he and most of the fans out there wish the fight wouldn’t have been stopped so quickly.
Vera is primarily a Muay Thai fighter with dangerous kicks. He also has an underrated ground game, backed by wins in the Pan-American Championship and Grappler's Quest. Vera will likely look to use his reach advantage and kicks to keep this fight on the feet.
His opponent Reese Andy (7-1) reminds me a bit of Assuerio Silva in build and fight style. Reese was one of the top light heavyweights in the IFL and won the majority of his fights via decision, employing mostly ground control.
Although Reese is a bit of an unknown against this level of competition, it appears to be a very poor match up for him. Vera’s combination of striking skill and submission abilities off his back will put him in position to win this fight under most circumstances.
The odds for a fan favorite against an IFL veteran are as expected very lopsided. Much like the Silva fight, there’s little value in betting on either side of this one unless you want to put it in a three-fight parlay.
Prediction: Brandon Vera via technical knockout (Bet: None or add to a three-fight parlay)
Hermes Franca (+110) vs. Frankie Edgar (-140)
Hermes Franca (18-6) has been on the bench because of a 12-month suspension after testing positive for steroids, following his unanimous decision loss to then-lightweight champion, Sean Sherk. He owned up to the mistake, served his suspension and paid the fines.
Prior to the loss and suspension, Franca was among the top 155-pound finders in the sport. He was on an eight-fight win streak with all of those wins being finishes via submission, knockout or technical knockout.
Edgar is also looking to rebound after suffering his first loss to Gray Maynard back in April. It was a hard-fought unanimous decision loss in which Frankie had no answers for Maynard’s size and takedowns. Edgar -- who is still considered a top 10 contender in the division -- has some very impressive wins over Spencer Fisher, Mark Bocek and Tyson Griffin inside the Octagon.
The problem I see in Edgar’s fights is that he rarely can finish. He typically wins by outworking his opponents using speed and a relentless pace. In my opinion it’s a sign that he should be fighting at 145 pounds, but of course he doesn’t want to fight anywhere but the UFC.
Match up wise this is just the fight I’m looking for both in terms of entertainment and betting value. Franca will hold a slight size advantage, a decent reach advantage and he is a proven finisher. Due to his time on the sidelines the books have set him as a mild underdog in this fight. No math needed: this is a great value and Franca is my straight pick and top bet as long as you can get him for anything under -160.
Prediction: Hermes Franca via technical knockout (Bet: $100 to win $110)
CB Dollaway (-) vs. Jesse Taylor(-)
Taylor (6-2) -- an All-American wrestler from California -- won his way into the TUF finals with wins over Nick Rossborough, Mike Dolce, Dante Rivera and Tim Credeur. However, he was removed from the competition by Dana White after being a drunken dick.
During his time on the show Taylor showed some very impressive wrestling, ground and pound and quickly improving submission defense in his fight with Credeur. His actual submission attempts looked a little like a school ground fight though. His biggest assets are his strength, wrestling and endurance.
Dollaway (6-1) -- also an All-American wrestler at Arizona State University -- posted victories over David Baggett, Nick Klein and Cale Yarbrough to advance to The Ultimate Fighter 7 semifinals where he was defeated by Amir Sadollah via third-round armbar.
Following Taylor’s removal from the finals, Dollaway defeated Tim Credeur in a second-chance semifinal to earn a rematch with Sadollah in the finals. In The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale on June 21st, Sadollah again submitted Dollaway via first-round armbar to win the middleweight tournament. CB’s game is well rounded with striking and wrestling being his strengths.
Apparently, he needs to work on his armbar defense though.
Overall, Dollaway has the better skill set; he’ll just have to overcome the obstacle of Jesse’s power. His wrestling should be enough to either keep it on the feet or at least maintain control for the majority of the fight. I don’t see Jesse having many options to finish this fight, but I think CB could pull off a TKO or submission.
The most likely outcome though appears to be a 3 round battle for control with CB likely scoring more points with takedown defense and striking. It’s a tight match up and the odds favor a bet on Dollaway if they come in at -160 or better.
Prediction: CB Dollaway via decision (Bet: $100 to win ?)
Cane Velasquez (-) vs Jake O’Brien (-)
Alright let’s hear it for the UFC resigning Jake "The Wet Blanket" O'Brien:
He has a great record with only one loss to Andrei Arlovski in his professional career. What he doesn’t seem to have is any entertainment value. He’s an excellent wrestler who has been the most successful user of the beloved lay-N-pray I’ve ever seen. Against top level competition avoidance and takedowns are the only skills I’ve seen him put to use. The majority of his wins have come via technical knockout and he’s promised to be a different fighter who will lay it all on the line – we’ll see.
His opponent, Velasquez, is training with the American Kickboxing Academy. He has only three pro fights under his belt and in his UFC debut in April scored a first-round technical knockout of Brad Morris -- the same finish as his first two pro fights. He has a strong wrestling background and has shown amazing athleticism and agility for a heavyweight. Javier Mendez, owner and head trainer at AKA believes he’s going to heavyweight champ and could beat couture right now.
That’s some pretty serious praise for a guy this early in his career.
To win this fight Velasquez has to either defend the takedowns very well or be in the dominant position when ever the fight goes to the ground. Any time spent on the feet will go Cane’s way. I haven’t seen enough of Cane to know if he can finish Jake but I do believe he matches up well to at least out score him.
It’s likely with Cane being a newcomer he could be the dog on the books, let’s hope so because Cane has value at any odds better than -165, but if you can get him as a dog it a GREAT bet.
Prediction: Cane Velasquez via decision (Bet:$100 to win ?)
Anthony Johnson (-350) vs. Kevin Burns (+250)
Johnson (5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) -- an athletic and dangerous striker -- most recently defeated The Ultimate Fighter 6 runner-up Tommy Speer via vicious first-round knockout. He made his Octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 10 and earned a 13-second knockout of Chad Reiner, but then suffered a second-round submission loss to a much smaller Rich Clementi.
Johnson was in control of Clementi for the first round scoring with some solid strikes. In the second round when it went to the ground Johnson looked gassed and was easily choked out. Johnson has now been training with Cung Le and believes he’s added some solid kicks to his stand up. I doubt he’s up to Cung’s level, but, yikes this guy doesn’t need any more weapons.
Kevin Burns (6-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) debuted as a late replacement for an injured Ryo Chonan at UFC 85. In that bout he scored an upset of Roan Carneiro via second-round submission -- a performance that earned him a $50,000 "Submission of the Night" bonus. Burns was being dominated by Roan, but he stayed busy on the ground and looked very calm under the pressure. Kevin has stated in interviews that despite submitting a BJJ blackbelt, he prefers to strike and is looking for a battle on the feet with Johnson.
I’m not sure Kevin’s plan is the best idea. And to be honest I don’t think it’s what he’s going to do.
The majority of Kevin’s wins have come via submission and with Johnson’s ridiculous speed and power he has to be looking at where his one loss came from. Johnson’s wrestling will be the main obstacle for Burns getting this fight to the ground. If it stays on the feet too long Kevin will be taking a nap.
The odds are pretty heavy for Johnson still and with Kevin being such an unknown I doubt they will change much. Overall, I think Johnson will win this fight but the odds don’t offer a good return. I prefer to add this one to a three fight parlay.
Prediction: Anthony Johnson via technical knockout (Bet: None or add to a three-fight parlay)
That about does it for this installment of betting tips and advice. Remember to bet smart.
Enjoy the fights and good luck. Feel free to leave predictions and other thoughts in the comments section below. There have been a glut of readers sharing their thoughts and betting advice leading up to this particular main event -- can James Irvin pull off the upset?
Put your money where your mouth is ... and you might just be laughing all the way to the bank.