UFC 139 is here, and I’ve taken to the task of covering the fight card for this UFC event, though not all of the fights as customary. There are a host of fights that promise to be very exciting this week and the main event should be worth watching, even if neither fighter ultimately represents a contending battle. All betting odds are taken from Bodog.
Danny “Last Call” Castillo (4/13) vs. Shamar Bailey (5/2)
Shamar Bailey has dropped a weight class, down to lightweight, and he fought Evan Dunham last fight. Dunham beat him badly, but Bailey did better than expected and probably gave his career second life after hanging with a much better fighter in Dunham. The problem for Bailey is that he isn’t much more than just a wrestler, and Castillo isn’t a bad wrestler in his own right. He has won the take down game over most of his opponents and he is great at avoiding big hits, which allows him to conserve energy for later in the fight when his opponents begin to tire. Castillo isn’t great offensively, but he is a good defender and will look to get this one to the mat, most likely. He has an advantage standing, even if he can’t get it to the mat, which is what makes him such a heavy favorite in this fight.
Matt “The Immortal” Brown (10/13) vs. Seth “The Polish Pistola” Baczynski (1/1)
Seth Baczynski lost to Brad Tavares in his UFC debut, and then had to fight the stalwart Clay Harvison on short notice, so it was somewhat shocking when he finished Harvison off by submission. He is a tall for the 170 pound weight class at 6’3″, but it doesn’t help or hinder him quite as much as one would expect either way. He defends well enough to keep it from being a disadvantage, but never seems to take advantage of the added reach that being that size gives him.
Matt Brown has gone to decision only 3 times in his 22 pro fights, and he was just 7-6 prior to his UFC debut. He has been good recently, though, so that is why he is in this event. His UFC wins are not over the greatest of fighters, but he has been aggressive and if it stays standing, he has a much better chance of winning this one. He’s not a big favorite, but he is standing. On the ground, it goes the other way, to Baczynski. That’s the reason for the near even odds.
Miguel Torres (10/37) vs. Nick Pace (14/5)
Miguel Torres suffered a disappointing loss in a decision to Demetrious Johnson, which could mainly be attributed to having poor position in the fight. He won’t make that mistake again, and against a fighter he is heavily favored against, we shouldn’t suppose he has any reason to succomb to carelessness, either.
Torres is exciting and a great striker. He is also good grappling, but has a long way to go as a wrestler, and most opponents who work away at him are able to take him down. Pace is a prospect — of sorts. He hasn’t done anything remarkable yet, but he is a good grappler if nothing else. His loss to Ivan Menijvar doesn’t bode well though, and that is a loss to a fighter far inferior to Torres. While it isn’t inconceivable Pace could win, the prospect is bleak. There are just too many ways for a fighter like Torres to affect a guy like Pace, and through one of those methods, be it submission or even if it goes to decision, he should get the best of Pace.
Gleison Tibau (5/8) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (13/10)
Rafael dos Anjos is one of the best Brazillian Jiu Jitsu fighters in the world, and Tibau is probably the biggest lightweight figher in the division. Tibau is not the greatest of strikers, but he throws a lot of punches and by pure chance some of them connect. He needs to work on being more effective when he does connect, and stop relying only on his size to dominate smaller opponents. He knows his best chance is to get the smaller guys on the floor and utilize his length, but he is not always able to do so, and probably won’t be able to readily do so against dos Anjos. Rafael dos Anjos is very good on the ground and already has 7 submission wins in his career. He will often work from bottom position in this fight when it goes to the ground, but that’s fine. Dos Anjos is good from that position as well. He beat George Sotiorpoulos and Etim, and while Tibau is not exactly bad on the ground, I don’t think he can match Dos Anjos there. I like Dos Anjos particularly at these 13/10 odds and recommend backing him in this fight.
Chris “All American” Weidman (1/4) vs. Tom “The Filthy Mauler” Lawlor (3/1)
Chris Weidman is 6-0 so far in his career and is considered one of the best at the 185 pound middleweight class. He has already beat Jesse Bongfeldt, Alessio Sakara, and Uriah Hall. That speaks volumes and he is only 27. He could easily move up the ranks of the middlweight class quickly.
He shouldn’t have much of a problem continuing his undefeated ways against Lawlor. Lawlor’s best chance is to keep the fight standing, as he is an above average striker, but Weidman is a great take down artist and I don’t expect Lawlor to be able to avoid those attempts. Weidman has six takendowns in his 6 matches, and none of his opponents have even attempted a take down against him. He also has a good guillotine choke and showcased that against Bongfeldt. Lawlors only real chance is to get some weird KO that catches Weidman off guard, and Weidman isn’t known to be complacent. Weidman should be able to get to the mat and utilize his superior wrestling to force a submission, possibly a triangle choke or rear arm bar. At 1/4 odds it is still rewarding to back Weidman here.
Michael “Mayday” McDonald (1/5) vs. Alex Soto (7/2)
One could make an argument that McDonald is an elite fighter. Ostensibly, there are four far better than him (Dom Cruz, Joseph Benavidez, Brian Bowles, and Renan Barao), but you have to look beyond his record to see the real deal. He hasn’t looked great in his last two fights, and it took him longer and was immensely more difficult than expected to put away Edwin Figeroa. He had trouble with Chris Cariaso and won by a split decision. While he is only 20, the trend is not encouraging as a fighter, and he really needs to tighten up his attacks and stop letting inferior fighters control the fight for so long. Against Soto, however, that shouldn’t really be a problem. Soto is 6-0-1 afterall, but all his fights have been against scrubs and he is taking this fight on very short notice. He has an off chance at an upset though, and we don’t actually KNOW how he responds to superior competition, so this one isn’t all that attractive from a bettors standpoint, since we see so many odd underdogs win fights after receiving little hype over great starting records.
Ryan “Darth” Bader (2/9) vs. Jason “The Hitman” Brilz (13/4)
Ryan Bader, for as good as he really is, had a horrible 2011. He lost in decisive fashion to Jon Jones at UFC 126, and he was just disappointing in that fight, there is no other way to say it. He was submitted by Tito Ortiz at UFC 132, which signaled that he was no longer an elite light-heavyweight and probably will never re-emerge as a contender at this point. Beating Brilz will be the start of that, but Brilz is more exciting than good, and he lost by split decision to Antonio Noguiera. He also lost in a 20 second KO to Matyushenko. He really has to win this if he wants to stay in UFC, that much is a given. Bader isn’t the greatest of strikers, but Brilz isn’t well suited in that facet either, so it may not matter. Brilz will want to try to wrestle and grapple as much as possible, though Bader is actually better there, too. Bader will probably be able to work away at Brilz until he gives way to a submission.
Kyle “Kingsbu” Kingsbury (2/3) vs. Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar (6/5)
Stephan Bonnar is a good fighter and is most known for his ridiculous knockout over Forrest Griffin, that many refer to as the most important fight in UFC history. He is always an entertainng fighter, but at this point in his career, he isn’t what he ised to be. He is one of the lower tier light heavyweight fighters at 205 pounds and isn’t notably better from a lot of guys who have been flat out written off at this point in their careers. Bonnar doesn’t win fights, though, and that is the problem. People aren’t going to want to tune in to watch Bonnar really, and while he is still a UFC level fighter, it isn’t byh much, because hs is afterall only a 7-6 fighter in his UFC career.
Kingsbury is one of the top 10 fighters in the weight class, and he has fought some guys with almost no experience, like his weird loss to Tony Lopez.
I am not suggesting at all that this fight won’t be exciting. It will be. Kingsbury is in it for that very reason, and put on a great show against Fabio Maldonado in his last fight, and won by decision. While it doesn’t mean either will ever contend by beating the other, they did pick a good ticket. It’s just not by virtue of the fact that we are watching top class top tier fighters, rather just exciting ones who are still UFC quality in their own rights, if only barely so for Bonnar at this point. I like Kingsbury, and this one will go to Kingsbury because Bonnar doesn’t have the strength at this point. There won’t be a lot of things that purists like, but are there really any purists in the MMA world at this point, anyway?
Now that we’ve taken a look at the fight card for UFC 139, you may feel inclined to go back up a bet at Bodog, where they offer 10% bonuses on deposits as well as a great free cashout system. We suggest Bodog for all your MMA betting needs, where they offer per round prop bets, as well. Don’t miss our MMA previews here at Maddux where we provide free betting predictions for all MMA bettors.