Best of the rest.
With current Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and former division kingpin Jon Jones ostensibly on course for a rematch, top-ranked 205-pound contenders Anthony Johnson and Ryan Bader are left to settle their differences, squaring off this Saturday (Jan. 30, 2016) in the main event of UFC on FOX 18 from inside Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Heavyweight hitters Ben Rothwell and Josh Barnett will join them in the co-main event, not to mention an excellent Bantamweight clash between Jimmie Rivera and Iuri Alcantara.
Oh, and Sage Northcutt, too.
It's an excellent card to fill the gap between the NFL conference championship and its Super Bowl in 1.5 weeks. Let's see if we can't get the dosh we need for a kickass Super Bowl party.
UFC On FOX 18 Odds For The Undercard:
Tarec Saffiedine (-245) vs. Jake Ellenberger (+105)
Olivier Aubin-Mercier (-290) vs. Diego Ferreira (+245)
Rafael Natal (-165) vs. Kevin Casey (+145)
Dustin Ortiz (-220) vs. Wilson Reis (+180)
Alexander Yakovlev (-130) vs. George Sullivan (+110)
Alex Caceres (-290) vs. Masio Fullen (+245)
Levan Makashvili (-310) vs. Damon Jackson (+255)
Tony Martin (-175) vs. Felipe Olivieri (+155)
Randy Brown (-165) vs. Matt Dwyer (+145)
Thoughts: Sadly, the public have caught on that Matt Dwyer shouldn’t be a massive underdog to a debuting, untested fighter, so the odds are not as tempting as before. Still, we’ve got Kevin Casey and George Sullivan.
Casey has all the tools to be a menace at 185 pounds: Big power, great grappling, solid takedowns. Though he doesn’t seem poised to finally put it all together anytime soon, he seems well-equipped to handle Natal. "Sapo" is terribly inconsistent and seems outgunned on the feet. Should the fight hit the ground, it’s likely to be on Casey’s terms, and he is more than capable of handling Natal’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Therefore, put some down on the former RFA champion.
The crux of my argument against Yakovlev is that the man struggles to drive through on his takedowns. He’s outgunned on the feet in both power and technique and, without power takedowns to fall back on, seems doomed to a long night of sprawl-and-brawl. The Russian’s durability and relentlessness could present an issue, but Sullivan has the stylistic edge.
Bank on it.
If you want a slightly better line on Sullivan, Dustin Ortiz would be a solid parlay. Ortiz’s frenzied grinding seems well-suited to counter the technically-brilliant, but dangerously fragile, Reis.
UFC On FOX 18 Odds For The Main Card:
Anthony Johnson (-325) vs. Ryan Bader (+265)
Josh Barnett (-135) vs. Ben Rothwell (+115)
Jimmie Rivera (-170) vs. Iuri Alcantara (+150)
Sage Northcutt (-470) vs. Bryan Barberena (+375)
Thoughts: UFC was all about "Paige and Sage." We were there to profit when Paige went down and now it’s time to do the same for Sage.
That’s right, we’re doing it.
Barberena, though not an actual Welterweight, is very big, very strong and tough to a truly ridiculous degree -- he walked through some massive shots from both Joe Ellenberger and Chad Laprise to dish out serious damage in the third round. He’s the biggest hitter Northcutt has faced thus far and the most relentless.
Plus, Northcutt has yet to go past two rounds as a professional.
Even if you disagree with most of my assessment, +375 doesn’t give Barberena nearly enough credit. I believe he’s got the goods for an upset, so make sure you’re in position to benefit.
UFC On FOX 18 Best Bets:
- Parlay -- Dustin Ortiz and George Sullivan: Bet $30 to make $61.50
- Single bet -- Kevin Casey: Bet $40 to make $58
- Single bet -- Bryan Barberena: Bet $30 to make $112.50
Free violence is the best kind of violence.
See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC on FOX 18 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.