The Ultimate Fighting Championship is back in action this Saturday with UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop. The pay-per-view event will feature 5 fights, all of which have the potential to be great television. UFC 119 is being underrated by a lot of fans, but although this pay-per-view may not have the cream-of-the-crop names, this is very solid card from top to bottom. We’ll take a look at the 4 undercard fights and give out our free picks for each. All odds shown are taken from Bodog.
Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens (18-5-0) vs. Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard (24-8-2, 1 NC)
Trying to finally capitalize on the flashes of promise he’s shown over the last 5 years, Guillard step into the Octagon on Saturday to take on Stephens, who will be looking to finally establish some consistency. Both fighters are known for their all-out attacking style, and Saturday night should be no different. Both Stephens and Guillard are great strikers and both are willing to sacrifice defensively for the chance to knock the other guy out, so this could, and probably will, come down to which fighter is the first to land a solid blow.
Stephens is the underdog heading into this one, and he can definitely pull a victory out. Take Stephens at +140 to win. Also check out the prop for the over/under 1 round. Both fighters will come out at the bell looking for the knockout, so the under at +250 in offering good value.
Sean “The Muscle Shark” Sherk (33-4-1) vs. Evan Dunham (11-0)
Although Dunham currently carries an untarnished record, he has never faced anyone nearly as experienced as Sherk. Ironically, Sherk’s losses are arguably more impressive than Dunham’s wins. Sherk’s 4 career losses have come to Matt Hughes, Georges St. Pierre, B.J. Penn, and Frankie Edgar- quite an impressive list. Sherk is one of the toughest fighters in the UFC, and he doesn’t give fights away. Dunham has shown promise, but hasn’t yet proven that he can step into the Octagon and take a fight from a world-class elite fighter. Dunham’s time will come, just not this weekend. Expect Sherk to remain relevant in the division by handing Dunham his first career loss.
According to the odds, Sherk is actually the underdog in this one, so definitely take him at +190. There’s also great value on the distance, with Sherk winning by decision at +400. However, Sherk seems due for a submission, so Sherk in under 3 rounds at +625 is one of the best values of the night.
Matt “The Terror” Serra (11-6) vs. Chris “Lights Out” Lytle (29-17-5)
This fight will be a rematch of The Ultimate Fighter 4 finale, which Serra won via split decision. Since then, Lytle has been the much more active fighter, compiling a 7-4 record since then. While Serra, has only fought 4 times since then and has gone 2-2 in those matches, his 2 losses where to Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre, and one of those wins was against GSP. Serra has not fought nearly enough in recent years, and needs to jump-start his career. He’ll be looking to do just that Saturday against a fighter he’s already defeated. Both fighters will be equally hungry, but Serra is the better fighter. If he executes his game plan and doesn’t commit any mental errors, he should walk out of the Octagon on Saturday with a win.
Serra is the underdog in this one, but this is probably due to mostly to his inactivity. Take Serra in this one at +120. Serra has shown improved power in recent fights, so the Serra inside the distance at +450 has good value.
Ryan “Darth” Bader (11-0) vs. Antonio Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogueira (19-3)
Bader, the winner of TUF 8, will be looking to solidify his place as a legitimate contender on Saturday, and a win over MMA legend Nogueira will go a long way in doing that. Although Bader has been impressive in his wins, he has yet to defeat any real contenders. He will have a great opportunity this weekend, but it will be against one of toughest fighters in all of MMA. While Bader has compiled his perfect record against sub-par fighters, Nogueira has built his impressive fighting all over the planet against the world’s best. Bader clearly has the talent to compete at the highest level. However, he is still inexperienced untested at the highest level. This could work for Nogueira, who will walk into the Octagon knowing that nothing is going to surprise him.
Again, I like the dog in this one. Take Minotoro at +145. Little Nog has also earned 11 of his 19 victories via KO or submission, so the Nogueira to win inside the distance at +350 has good value.
Make sure to also check out our preview and free picks for the main event between Frank Mir and Mirko “Crop Cop” Filipovic.