Strap yourselves in ... this is going to be a long one.
It's mixed martial arts (MMA) all day this Saturday (June 28, 2014) as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heads to both Auckland, New Zealand, and San Antonio, Texas, with UFC Fight Night 43 and UFC Fight Night 44, respectively.
The former is headlined by a bout between power-punching James Te Huna and former No. 1-ranked Middleweight contender Nate Marquardt. It's an odd pairing, with Marquardt returning to the division after an unsuccessful run at Welterweight and Te Huna making his 185-pound debut thanks to struggles at Light Heavyweight.
In the FOX Sports 1 co-main event, Jared Rosholt takes on Soa Palelei in a match up of massive grapplers.
Meanwhile, at UFC Fight Night 44 hours later in San Antonio, a Featherweight bout between beatdown artists Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens sits atop the marquee, joined by a 170-pound bout between prospects Kelvin Gastelum and Nico Musoke in the co-main event.
Let's see if we can help you afford all the illicit substances you'll need to stay awake for the entire shebang:
UFC Fight Night 43 And UFC Fight Night 44 Odds For The Under Cards:
Jake Matthews (-135) vs. Dashon Johnson (+105)
Richie Vaculik (-160) vs. Roldan Sangcha’an (+130)
Vik Grujic (-125) vs. Chris Indich (-105)
Neil Magny (-280) vs. Rodrigo Goiana de Lima (+220)
Dan Hooker (-120) vs. Ian Entwistle (-110)
Gian Villante (-300) vs. Sean O’Connell (+240)
Carlos Diego Ferreira (-265) vs. Colton Smith (+185)
Johnny Bedford (-195) vs. Cody Gibson (+155)
Andy Enz (-180) vs. Marcelo Guimaraes (+140)
Ray Borg (-420) vs. Shane Howell (+300)
Alexey Oleinik (-160) vs. Anthony Hamilton (+120)
Thoughts: Lots of close fights with plenty of variables to discourage the enterprising degenerate, but I like the looks of two fighters: Grujic and Hamilton.
My pick of Grujic isn’t so much based on his own merits as it is on Indich’s lack thereof. Indich can take a punch, true, but most judges I’m familiar with aren’t keen on scoring the damage a fighter’s face does to the other’s fists. He’s slow, limited and very easy to hit. Grujic, while not elite in any sense of the term, should have the size and grappling advantage to beat Indich with relative ease.
He’s a good choice if you’re looking to bolster a bet on a big favorite.
Oleinik’s been everywhere and fought everyone; what he lacks is the sort of win to convince me he’s more than a journeyman. Taking out the decrepit husks of Jeff Monson and Mirko Filipovic isn’t as impressive to me as starching Smealinho Rama. In addition, Oleinik is a small heavyweight, one who has competed at 185 and 205 pounds before, while Hamilton is four inches bigger and tips the scales near the division’s limit.
There’s too much going Hamilton’s way for him to be an underdog in my book; therefore, take advantage of this.
UFC Fight Night 43 And UFC Fight Night 44 Odds For The Main Cards:
James Te Huna (-220) vs. Nate Marquardt (+180)
Jared Rosholt (-150) vs. Soa Palelei (+130)
Charles Oliveira (-190) vs. Hatsu Hioki (+165)
Robert Whittaker (-300) vs. Mike Rhodes (+250)
Cub Swanson (-255) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+215)
Kelvin Gastelum (-380) vs. Nicholas Musoke (+315)
Cezar Ferreira (-190) vs. Andrew Craig (+165)
Ricardo Lamas (-190) vs. Hacran Dias (+165)
Antonio Braga Neto (-150) vs. Clint Hester (+130)
Joe Ellenberger (-210) vs. James Moontasri (+160)
Thoughts: Once again, lots of questions that make it difficult to be confident in a pick. I do like the lines on Palelei and Dias, though.
Rosholt has some of the best wrestling credentials in the Heavyweight division. He is also somewhat limited on the feet and has struggled with big punchers like Derrick Lewis and Walt Harris. Paleiei’s got absurdly heavy hands and solid grappling chops of his own. My enthusiasm for this pick is somewhat tempered by the fact that the Polynesian's current UFC run is rather short on even mid-tier fighters, but I do like his chances of cracking Rosholt’s jaw.
Small bet here, not as big as I’d recommend on Hamilton.
Dias’ long layoff is rather troubling, but I like the stylistic match up with Lamas. Though Lamas is lethal on top and has some decent striking chops, his takedowns are somewhat underwhelming. He about broke even with Hioki in that regard and struggled to get Erik Koch down until the latter made a mistake trying to capitalize on a slip.
"Barnabe" is a quality grappler, adept at both getting it to the ground and keeping it there. The fact that he went toe-to-toe with Nik Lentz’s frantic assault suggests good things.
A moderate bet on Dias seems to be the ticket.
UFC Fight Night 43 and UFC Fight Night 44 Best Bets:
- Single bet -- Anthony Hamilton: Bet $50 to make $60
- Single bet -- Soa Paleiei: Bet $30 to make $39
- Parlay -- Vik Grujic and Hacran Dias: Bet $30 to make $113.10
The New Zealand fights look fun and good things have come out of San Antonio lately; therefore, let's see if we can squeeze an enjoyable weekend out of this double dip.
See you there, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will offer live UFC Fight Night 43 results RIGHT HERE and UFC Fight Night 44 results RIGHT HERE this weekend, 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: -$271.00