Strikeforce never die!
Two of the now-defunct promotion's standouts, Robbie Lawler and Gilbert Melendez, will challenge for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) titles this Saturday (Dec. 6, 2014) when they face champions Johny Hendricks and Anthony Pettis, respectively, at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The two championship showdowns will headline UFC 181, which will also feature a match between recently-derailed Heavyweight notables Travis Browne and Brendan Schaub, as well as a Lightweight bangfest between knockout artists Tony Ferguson and Abel Trujillo.
UFC 181 is set to be a terrific pay-per-view (PPV) card' therefore, let's do the logical thing and potentially compromise our enjoyment of it by getting money involved.
UFC 181 Odds For The Under Card:
Urijah Faber (-450) vs. Francisco Rivera (+360)
Eddie Gordon (-160) vs. Josh Samman (+140)
Corey Anderson (-330) vs. Justin Jones (+270)
Ashlee Evans-Smith (-190) vs. Raquel Pennington (+165)
Sergio Pettis (-320) vs. Matt Hobar (+260)
Alex White (-135) vs. Clay Collard (+115)
Thoughts: I like the looks of two under dogs and one favorite: Samman, Hobar and White, respectively.
I won’t deny that Gordon’s trashing of Dhiego Lima was impressive, but the rest of his The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 accomplishments aren’t that impressive. He barely edged Mike King and Cathal Pendred, the latter of whom is a Welterweight and thus far unimpressive inside the Octagon. Samman, by contrast, is a big, powerful Middleweight with a three-inch height advantage.
Though the layoff is troubling, it would take some major improvement from Gordon to make me think he can handle Samman.
Pettis is an excellent technical striker despite not being the creative wunderkind his older brother is. Still, he seems to lack power and his wrestling is a work-in-progress, which doesn’t seem like a great combination of issues when dealing with a strong grinder.
Pettis almost certainly has the greater upside, but Hobar seems like a rough stylistic match up at this point in his career.
Collard’s madcap aggression is commendable. The problem is that he hasn’t got the synergy in his attacks he needs. In addition, he doesn’t have a focused body attack and does not seem to set up his strikes, being instead of the "throw crap at the wall and see what sticks" school of stand up. White seems the harder puncher and is certainly more technically sound. I see this as more one-sided than the 50/50 affair the odds seem to suggest, so have a go on White.
UFC 181 Odds For The Main Card:
Johny Hendricks (-220) vs. Robbie Lawler (+180)
Anthony Pettis (-250) vs. Gilbert Melendez (+210)
Travis Browne (-330) vs. Brendan Schaub (+270)
Todd Duffee (-325) vs. Anthony Hamilton (+265)
Tony Ferguson (-250) vs. Abel Trujillo (+210)
Thoughts: Though he came up short in the first bout, I still have faith in Lawler’s ability to dispatch Hendricks. But, for a few minor adjustments, he could have lifted the title from him earlier this year. Lawler needs to check the low kicks and find his range earlier, both of which I believe he is capable. Plus, Hendricks has been out of commission since May, while Lawler has thoroughly dominated two 170-pound elite fighters since that bout.
"Ruthless" was inches away the first time out. This time, I think he takes it. Lawler for the upset.
UFC 181 Best Bets:
- Parlay -- Alex White and Josh Samman: Bet $40 to make $125.20
- Single bet -- Matt Hobar: Bet $25 to make $65
- Single bet -- Robbie Lawler: Bet $30 to make $54
Two great title fights and knockout artists from top to bottom. Nothing like pure violence to get into the holiday spirit, Maniacs.
See you Saturday!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC 181 results on fight night, 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.
Running Profit For 2014 Based On This Column: $6.11 (still in the black!)