UFC 138 has arrived after a big fight card last weekend at UFC 137. There are a lot of uneven odds in these fights, but the favorites are big favorites for a reason, of course, and most of them stand a great chance at completing what should be easy victories, making it interesting from a betting standpoint to back so many heavy favorites. All betting odds are taken from Bodog.
—John “The One” Maguire (1/1) vs. Justin “Fast Eddy” Edwards (10/13)
Edwards was ranked high earlier in this season, and was considered the top dog at the 170 lb weight class by a lot of experts. His possibly overly aggressive fighting style makes him a very exciting fighter, but he lost to Tony Ferguson and Clay Harvison, mainly because after his flagrant attack early, he lost steam. It was easy to say after those losses that he did not pose a threat as a contender, but then he beat Jorge Lopez. While he didn’t dominate that fight, he did beat a fighter who most consider to be better than him, and it re-solidified his place in UFC ranks. Edwards will face the 16-3 Maguire who has fought some pretty tough opponents. Maguire beat Dean Amasinger and Peter Irving, though a loss to Tom Watson counteracts these wins in a bad way. His other loss to Simeon Throesen is excuseable.
Edwards will likely come out swinging (literally) and will seek to finish this one early. But if Maguire can withstand the ealry onslaught then Edwards chances decrease exponentially since his conditioning isn’t good enough to endure in longer fights. This one, as indicated by the odds, could go either way quite easily. If it goes to decision, expect Maguire to win, while an early blow to the head could easily end the fight. I don’t advise placing a bet on this one unless you have an instinct on this fight that isn’t apparent to most bettors.
—Michihiro Omigawa (5/14) vs. Jason “Shotgun” Young (11/5)
Omigawa is receiving another chance in the UFC and his last fight against Elkins was odd, because while he looked like the better fighter, he still lost by decision. It was a controversial one and Omigawa still has yet to win a UFC fight in 4 attempts. With Jason Young, that may change. Young lost by decision to Dustin Poirier at UFC 131. His striking game is pretty solid, and he’ll be wise to keep this fight standing.
Omigawa has a judo background and will accordingly seek to take this fight to the ground. He has two submission wins and this could easily be his third. Both of the submissions are recent wins (Cole Escovedo and Sam Jung). While he will want it on the ground, he won’t be at a disadvantage if it reamains a triking fight. The fact that he has an advantage in either facet makes him a pretty safe bet, and while his 0-4 record may seem disconcerting, Jason Young is barely a UFC quality level fighter, and is one who will probably find himself out of the circuit soon enough.
—Philip De Fries (2/3) vs. Rob “The Bear” Broughton (6/5)
Rob Broughton entered this fight on very short notice and finds himself a slight underdog in this fight against Fries, who is making his UFC debut. Fries is 7-0 and could be a contender in eventuality, but all seven wins are by submission, with six occuring in the first round. De Fries wants to get this to the mat to stand his best chance, but his 7-0 just isn’t as impressive as it might be had he fought some better fighters. The win over Stav Economou was impressive, but De Fries still has to prove his weight in UFC. Broughton is more experienced, and though a slight underdog, bettors are wise to back a fighter who has the experience to dispose of a guy who may or may not be a legit contender. At this point it is too early to tell, but Broughton offers great value from a bettors standpoint, considering he is a underdog that should likely be favored.
—Che Mills (2/5) vs. Chris “C-Murder” Cope (39/20)
Chris Cope beat Chuck O’Neill in a fight that wasn’t as impressive as it might have seemed on paper. It was a striking match and Cope was a little better in it.
Cope is a heavy underdog in this one, though Mills is debuting in the UFC in this fight. Mills is 13-4 and probably not a true contender, but he is a lot better than Cope. He has beat some quality opponents, such as Magomed Shikshabekov and Jake Hecht, and he had an impressive TKO against Marius Zaromskis. Cope is going to have to have more than just an impressive defense to beat off Mills, though. Mills is a legit UFC fighter, which is hard to say about Cope, whose chances in this fight are not very good, and are probably worse than the nearly 2:1 odds he has received. With Mills very likely to win this fight, the 2/5 odds, while not very engaging, are a good enough value for bettors to back Mills in this one.
—Chris “Kamikaze” Cariaso (10/19) vs. Vaughan Lee (31/20)
Cariaso is a tough fighter to gauge at this point. He’s only fought 2 fights in the UFC, and he has split them. He was 1-1 in the WEC as well, and lost to Renan Barao, but beat Rafael Rebello. He hasn’t fought a lot of quality fighters, and his loss to Barao wasn’t bad since Barao is considered one of the top bantamweights, while losing to McDonald was OK too, since he is 5th ranked. The wins over Cappuzano and Rebello, however, don’t quite say as much for his fighting prowess, as both are mediocre talents.
Vaughan Lee is another mediocre talent and Cariaso is pretty heavily favored at nearly 2:1. Lee is making his debut in UFC, and previously had spent a long time fighting in England on the regional circuit there. Lee’s last three wins have all come against fighters with .500 or worse records, so there is little to suggest that his streak means all that much. Cariaso’s striking will give Lee a lot of problems and he should have no problem disposing of a pretty inferior fighter. At nearly 2/1 odds, you’re getting pretty decent value to back a fighter whose chances at losing are probably a lot more slim than one would guess just based on MMA oddsmakers picks alone.
—Cyrille “Snake” Diabate (1/4) vs. Anthony “The Hippo” Perosh (3/1)
Diabate “The Snake” is a great Muay Thai striker. He lacks superior defense, and after being taken down by Rua in his last fight, he ended up being the victim of a series of soccer kicks and stomps, that are only allowed in PRIDE rules. His poor takedown defense looked to be suspect to many experts early on, but he has won 2 of his 3 UFC fights, and he dealt a great TKO to Luiz Cane, while beating Cantwell by decision. Even against a good takedown artist in Cantwell, Diabate was able to avoid 6 of the 7 takedowns that Cantwell tried, and it resulted in a great decision win.
“The Hippo” volunteered to fight Cro Cop back at UFC 110, but got the crap beaten out of him by a superior fighter in Cro Cop. He looked better against Tom Blackledge at UFC 127, and he thoroughly dominated Blackledge.
Both fighters probably prefer to keep this fight standing. Diabate will work away at “The Hippo” and though he is vulnerable on the ground, that might not factor much into this fight. Diabate has been fighting better opponets, and Perosh really isn’t that good of a fighter, to even be in the UFC. Diabate’s success against better fighters is the reason he is such a heavy favorite in this fight. Perosh’s only chance is to get Diabate to the mat, but Diabate is good at avoiding take downs so the fight is quite unlikely to get there, and if it does, it might not stay there long. Expect Diabate to easily dispose of Perosh in this one, and even at 4:1 odds, it really isn’t that bad of a value considering his pretty slim chances at actually losing the fight. Either by decision or TKO, this one is likely to go in Diabate’s favor.
—Terry Etim (1/6) vs. Eddie “Falo” Faaloloto (4/1)
Etim is returning to UFC after losing in submission to Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 112. Etim’s long layoff may not help him, but he is a heavy, heavy favorite in this fight, so most MMA oddsmakers are not expecting it to play a big role in actuality.
Faaloloto is fighter, but not a UFC level ones, and his slim odds of winning obviously attest to that fact. He was knocked out in the first round in his last fight and while he put up a decent fight before the KO, it wasn’t impressive enough to render his status as anything more than a low level, fringe level caliber in the UFC. He still has won 2 of his 4 UFC fights, but Etim started out 9-0 against a lot of pretty decent opponents. Etim has beaten Sam Stout, Shannon Gugerty, Matt Grice, and Justin Bucholtz…all of whom are superior fighters to Faaloloto, so it is difficult to imagine him losing this fight. Even at 1/6 odds, you will find a lot of bettors still backing Etim in this fight, since Faaloloto is badly outmatched. While anything can happen in a UFC fight, I have trouble imagining Faaloloto having any kind of advantage, either on the ground or standing. Because of this, Etim is a decent bet, even at such a poor payout.
—Renan Barao (20/27) vs. Brad “One Punch” Pickett (21/20)
Renan Barao has not lost since his 2005 debut and has won an insane 26 fights since then (though one was a no contest). He has fought 25 of those fights in the Brazillian circuit though, and needless to say, most of those opponents were not UFC level quality.
“One Punch” Pickett is 21-4, though, and has beaten Demetrious Johnson. He did lose to Scott Jorgenson, though. Pickett is a good wrestler, and a better boxer, but Barao’s status as a top flight jiu-jitsu artist will make him tough in either respect.
Pickett is a top 10 bantamweight fighter nad beate Ivan Menjivar in a unanimous decision at WEC 53. He has yet to fight in the UFC but his strong grappling background will go good with his amazing power strikes. This one, uch like the Menjivar fight, will likely end in another unanimous decision for Pickett, who is slightly favored in this fight, and at nearly even betting odds, the payout is decent, making Pickett one of the better value bets in this fight cards.
—Thiago “Pitbull” Alves (4/13) vs. Papy “Makambo” Abedi (5/2)
Papy Abedi is making his UFC fight against a very established and goof fighter in Alves. To be sure, he is quite outmatched, but his unknown talents make this fight a very intriguing one from both a spectator and bettor’s standpoint.
Abedi is 8-0 and a true prospect, and he is built strongly, but sometimes that doesn’t always translate to true “fight strength.” His background in judo makes him a good takedown artist and his striking talents are considerable too, with 5 of his 8 wins having come by TKO. His fight history isn’t that impressive though. Only two of the fighters he has beat are really above average (Alan Carlos and Nathan Schouteren). His lack of fight history can’t really be held against him, though, and this will offer a good look at what kind of fighter he really is.
Alves has fought the best of the best and though he lost to Georges St-Pierre, Jon Fitch, and Rick Story, he still offers a lot of talent to make him the favorite in a fight like this. His kick game is his best aspect and he will seek to keep Abedi at a distance while utilizing his strikes to work away at him.
Alves has problems when opponents get physical with him and can be controlled on the ground against those with great ground games. Alves lost to Rick Story by being pressed against the fence and ending up with such poor positioning. Abedi might be wise to try to get Alves on the ground, and this is his big chance to make his mark as a UFC fighter.
While Alves is heavily favored with good reason, Abedi’s unknown status as a fighter makes him an intriguing speculative bet. Stranger things have happened, to say the least. I don’t advise betting on the heavy favorite in this one, and not enough is known about Abedi to back him against a fighter like Alves. For this reason, unless you know something about Abedi that I don’t, it’s difficult to wager on this one.
—Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz (5/13) vs. Chris “The Crippler” Leben (2/1)
Munoz is on the brink of being one of the top fighters in this division, while an unlikely victory by Leben would quickly propel him up the ranks. Munoz, though, is a teammate of Anderson Silva, so a title fight between the two is somewhat improbable.
Leben has won 4 of his last 5 fights, but none of them have been against top level competition. The best was Wanderlei Silva and that’s not saying much, is it? He did beat Maia at UFC 131, which put him on the map, but his fight style is unsophisticated and raw, which will probably not be enough against a versatile guy like Munoz. Munoz is a heavy favorite for a reason, and this one will likely NOT go the distance, with two heavy strikers like these two. Munoz should be able to “wreck” Leben early in this fight, most likely in the first or second round by TKO.
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