(Oh, jeez. Has Michael seen this poster yet? He is gonna be piiiisssed.)
By Dan “Get Off Me” George
You know that saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Well, such is the case with UFC 151’s trash (which coincidentally resembles the remnants of a totaled Bentley) and UFC 152’s treasure. And those of us who were smart enough to recognize a curse when we saw one and purchase our tickets accordingly will reap the rewards of the 151 fallout by being treated to two title fights on the very same card. Suck it, over-saturation!
This Saturday night, the GAE will attempt to go where no other MMA blog/website/”professional MMA gambler”(my favorite) has gone before, a perfect 4-0 generating plus money dating back to UFC 148. So follow us after the jump as we try to navigate through the good, the bad, and the ugly betting lines of UFC 152: Jones vs Belfort (courtesy of BestFightOdds).
Charlie Brenneman (-225) vs. Kyle Noke (+185)
I feel that the Spaniard will be able to get this fight to the mat and establish himself as the dominant fighter. Hovering around -225, the line is appealing when you examine how Kyle Noke has lost his last two UFC bouts coupled with how Charlie has found victory throughout his UFC career (Ed note: Except here). This fight falls into the good category for betting lines and Brenneman will find his way into my parlay as the well priced favorite here.
Walel Watson (-200) vs. Mitch Gagnon (+170)
Hometown underdog Mitch Gagnon will be looking for his first UFC win against another good favorite here in Walel Watson. Watson lost his first ever professional MMA fight via submission, but since then has avoided being submitted and has been in the octagon with fighters of a much higher pedigree than Gagnon. While Mitch has a large list of submissions victories and an impressive UFC debut under his belt, Watson seems like the only fighter of the two that has the ability to win this fight both on the feet and on the ground, and is another solid parlay pick as well.
Seth Baczynski (-150) vs Simeon Thoresen (+130)
This fight is sitting around pick’em status with Thoresen as the slight underdog. Seth has a few submission losses on his record, but has a well-rounded ground game that may be the deciding factor considering Thoresen’s striking game is simply not at the level of the “Polish Pistola.” Add in the fact that Thoresen is fighting for the first time in North America and going after the underdog line could prove to be a bad decision. I am much more comfortable looking at the prop that this fight does not go the distance. Thoresen’s last five fights have not seen the judges cards while Baczynski has only been to a decision once in his last five fights.
Jimmy Hettes (-440) vs Marcus Brimage (+350)
File this one under the ugly. Jimmy Hettes is the right favorite, but the price is simply too high and not worth the risk to your parlay. Brimage is talented and beat a well respected Maximo Blanco his last time out, but the minute Brimage finds himself locked up with Hettes, he will most likely be on his back defending submission attempt after submission attempt. Marcus will not be easy to put away, but I do believe Hettes will win here, potentially submitting Brimage in the process.
Sean Pierson (+145) vs Lance Benoist (-165)
A fun fact here is that both fighters have been on the winning side of the cards in exciting fights against Matthew Riddle. Pierson is a veteran of the Canadian martial arts scene and will be looking to come back strong after losing via KO to Jake Ellenberger the last time he fought in Toronto. Since then, however, Pierson has gone 1-1, splitting a pair of UD’s to Dong Hyun Kim and Jake Hecht. Benoist is the younger fighter and the favorite, but Pierson is worth a look as the underdog and may find himself on the end of a favorable (think Nick Ring/Court McGee) decision win here. It’s Pierson or nothing for me. Not a parlay fight, but a look that the fight goes the distance may be the safest bet.
Evan Dunham (-185) vs TJ Grant (+160)
Not to sound like “that guy,” but Evan Dunham has only really ever lost to Melvin Guillard; his decision loss to Sean Sherk is perhaps the worst decision I have seen in UFC history. Dunham seems to have the advantage in the stand up game here and I think he uses his skills to keep this fight standing while out striking Grant en route to a decision victory. Grant will not be a walk in the park; he is well rounded and has the ability to push this fight to the cards like he has done with Hendricks, Kim, and Almeida in past losing efforts. The line sitting at around -200 for Dunham, however, is too alluring to pass up. Dunham for the win and fight goes the distance are both solid picks.
Igor Pokrajac (-175) vs Vinny Magalhaes (+155)
I will take the bad favorite here and suggest Igor keeps this fight standing, possibly finishing Vinny at some point during the contest. Everyone and their cat knows that if this fight goes to the ground Igor is in big trouble, and while Vinny has the ability to submit anyone, he also seems to be at a marked disadvantage when fighting stand up (Ed note: Vinny’s striking did look much improved in his last fight. Just sayin’.). The -200 territory that Igor is able to stop the takedown is bad, mainly because he seems to welcome the ground game in his fights which could be his undoing here. Lay your money on the prop that the fight does not go the distance because this one ends in either KO or submission before the end of the third.
Cub Swanson (+200)vs Charles Oliveira (-240)
Cub is tough fighter to figure out and while he has managed to put together two straight wins, there seems to be a ceiling that he cannot break through. It is easy to pick Oliveira here based on the assumption that he will finish Swanson via submission (like Lamas did), but with so few underdogs worthy of picking, I prefer to stay away from this favorite hovering around -250. The prop that the fight does not go the distance feels right as I do not believe that Oliveira and Swanson will waste any time trying to finish each other (Greg Jackson game plan aside).
Matt Hamill (-365) vs Roger Hollett (+305)
On one side, Hamill is coming off a year long retirement from MMA (so a vacation, I guess?), while on the other side, you have a relatively unknown fighter coming in on short notice to fight the man he was supposed to have fought before pulling out due to injury. Anyone else confused? The line on Hamill is just fugly, too many unanswered questions to go into -350 territory and not a clear cut case for the underdog to win other than home field advantage/judges gift. I do like the prospect that this fight goes the distance and instead of risking heartbreak betting on Hamill, I would rather pass and go with the fact that Hamill will be able to wrestle his way to a decision victory.
Michael Bisping (-185) vs Brian Stann (+160)
The price is very fair for Bisping if you look at the popular opinion that Bisping is simply better than Stann in every aspect of the sport. Personally, I think Stann is the better striker, not technically, but simply more dangerous. I do not think Wandy was a better technical striker than Bisping, but he won the fight by being more aggressive that night and delivering more damage than Bisping could. I think the book is out on Stann’s grappling deficiency and I would not be surprised at all to see Bisping go for the takedown and look for a submission. The glaring advantage Bisping has on the ground together with Bisping’s ability to take down excellent grapplers (Chael) leads me toward Bisping here.
Joesph Benavidez (-275) vs Demetrious Johnson (+235)
I am not exactly sure why Benavidez is such a heavy favorite, sitting close to -300 even, when both fighters have seen their only losses come at the hands of Bantamweight kingpin Dominick Cruz. Joe may have the advantage in the stand up, but this title fight feels more like a pick’em to me. Both fighters have defeated top level competition, both seem to have solid stand up to compliment their ground game, and their cardio levels are out of this world. I am much more comfortable suggesting along with most that this fight goes the distance and depending on what the lines are, I would look at playing over rounds up to fight goes the distance. Gun to the head I will go with Benavidez to bring home Team Alpha Male’s first UFC title.
Jon Jones (-800) vs Vitor Belfort (+600)
A -800 line that Jones wins this fight should have most people staying away from this one altogether. A puncher’s chance is what Vitor has and a Pterodactyl wing for an arm is what Jones has. For five to one on your money, do you think Vitor can get through Jones’ extended left arm, open hand, backing away style of defense to find the money with his fists? Sadly, I think not. Simple as that. The prop that this fight does not go the distance is also just as ugly sitting around -500. With minimums on props, risking $100 will bring you $20 is as close to a guaranteed investment as you can get in MMA. I think if there is a prop on under 1 ½ rounds available at -300 territory, jumping on it would be wise; Vitor’s either going to sink or swim quickly in this fight.
-Baczynski/Thoresen fight does not go the distance
-Dunham/Grant fight goes the distance
-Pokrajac/Magalhaes fight does not go the distance
-Swanson/Oliveira fight does not go the distance
Follow the usual CP breakdown of betting higher on the parlays and lower on the props and feel free to heckle when/if these parlay’s fall apart. But most importantly: May the winners be yours.