It’s nice to have a few free events in a row to build up the bankroll and while the format is a bit odd, we get another outstanding event for UFC on Fox 1. Title fights are always worth a wager, and this bout between Velasquez and JDS will anchor your entire fight card, so let’s dig into my comparison betting odds and valid props for this event.
Now, onto the fights!
Cain Velasquez -240
Junior Dos Santos +180
Props: Fight Ends Inside Distance/Under, Velasquez by KO
With all the terrible Heavyweight action we’ve had to endure in the last several months, it’ll be nice to get world-class talent out there. Cain Velasquez comes into his first title defense after a lengthy recovery time for a torn rotator cuff. While ring rust could be an issue here, his worth ethic in the gym is relentless, and I feel we can expect to see the best Cain Velasquez against JDS. Dos Santos has had a bit of a layoff himself, but after cementing his number one contender status against Shane Carwin, will look to keep his undefeated streak alive in the UFC.
This is one of those fights that will look much closer on paper than inside the cage when it finally goes down. The factor that’s allowed Velasquez to dominate in his career this far is his incredible speed for a HW, and this is something JDS will have a hard time dealing with. While JDS was the much faster fighter against Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson, he’ll be on the receiving end of the same treatment against Velasquez. With the superior wrestling ability and hand speed, Velasquez can dictate the fight everywhere, and I don’t see JDS being able to keep up with Velasquez for long here. This isn’t the kind of fight that goes five rounds, and betting ITD should pay out almost every time. The idea that JDS’s chin will see him through might make Velasquez by KO line an attractive one, and could pay out due to cuts or sustained GnP, both more likely than a straight KO.
Benson Henderson -150
Clay Guida +120
Props: Fight Ends Inside Distance/Under, Henderson By Sub
Hold onto your hats, because two of the fastest Lightweights are going to throw down! Former WEC champion Benson Henderson has always been a dangerous foe, but he really came into his own against the ultra-gritty Jim Miller in his last outing, taking a lopsided decision victory. Clay Guida hasn’t been lazy on his end of things either though, having put together four solid wins with three inside the distance, and looking nearly unstoppable since joining up with Greg Jackson. This is going to be a fast-paced bout with little room for error, as both are whirlwind grapplers with wild striking styles. The one area I think Henderson truly excels at is his seeming immunity to submissions, allowing him to give up bad positions, avoiding the sub, and winding up on top. This fight is too close to call on the straight bet, but I do like how little credit either man gets for finishing the fight. Bet ITD at a heavy positive, or grab Henderson by Sub, at what should be a great value.
Dustin Poirier -160
Pablo Garza +130
Props: Fight Ends In 1st Round, Poirier by KO
In what should be a short and explosive fight, Dustin Poirier will look to extend his UFC win-streak, taking on The Scarecrow. Poirier exploded onto the scene as a late replacement for Jose Aldo, but showed he’s not someone to be taken lightly, destroying potential title challenger Josh Grispi. Garza has had his fair share of impressive outings as well, with his most recent win coming by way of a flying triangle in a pitched battle against Yves Jabouin. With Garza’s incredible reach, Poirier can’t afford to play a conservative kickboxing game and I’m sure he knows this. Meanwhile, Garza can’t afford to let Poirier get inside on him, meaning he’ll be launching salvos of head kicks and flying attacks right off the bat to put Poirier on his heels. This all comes together in an explosive and short fight, and one Poirier is more likely to get the KO in when striking Garza’s lofty chin. Bet the first round finish here and Poirier by KO for some big money in this fight.
Ricardo Lamas -120
Cub Swanson -120
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Cub Swanson in action, but with all of his injury problems hopefully behind him, he returns to face fellow WEC veteran Ricardo Lamas. Lamas has operated almost entirely off the radar in his Zuffa career, but made a bit of a splash in his last bout, flattening Matt Grice with a perfectly placed head kick on the Facebook prelims. This is a fight I’d take Swanson on almost every time, but his string of serious injuries has me nervous about the amount of ring rust that may be present. Lamas is certainly no tune-up fight and if Swanson comes into this one firing on one cylinder, he’ll have a tough night ahead of him. This is one to avoid wagering on unless something funky happens with the odds here, but the Over seems to be your safest bet at a positive number due to the relatively even playing field.
DaMarques Johnson -185
Clay Harvison +145
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over
Two fighters trying to tread water in a stacked division, DaMarques Johnson and Clay Harvison will fight for their careers on the undercard. An underrated fighter whose history of injuries has seriously hindered his career, DaMarques Johnson has nevertheless had a decent run at Welterweight with several exciting submission and KO wins. Clay Harvison is having much less success with a 1-1 mark thus far, but his dynamic striking style and bottom game make him a tough fight for some of the lower-tier wrestlers in the division. Unfortunately for Harvison, Johnon isn’t one of those guys, and has a style that looks like a more mature version of Harvison’s own. This plays out with Johnson being a step ahead of Harvison on everything and working his way towards a late TKO or decision win.
Kid Yamamoto -200
Darren Uyenoyama +160
Props: Yamamoto by KO, Uyenoyama by Sub
One of the greatest Featherweights in JMMA history, Kid Yamamoto returns to the cage, taking on fellow JMMA fighter Darren Uyenoyama. Yamamoto has been plagued by injuries in both his MMA and wrestling careers, but when he’s healthy, brings one of the most ferocious offensive games in the business. His last outing was a bit of a disappointment as he was soundly out-wrestled by Demetrious Johnson, which may explain why the UFC chose to dust off Uyenoyama. For those unfamiliar, Uyenoyama is a pure submission grappler who fights very infrequently, having last fought over a year ago. Uyenoyama is the definition of a hand-picked opponent, as he theoretically stands no chance of further damaging Yamamoto’s career. Even still, I’m not so sure Uyenoyama is the best match-up here, having a vicious arsenal of submissions and transitions that could put Yamamoto in trouble. Don’t even look at the straight lines when they come out, and instead play the above props for a great payout, with heavy money on Yamamoto KO and a small safety bet on Uyenoyama Sub.
Mackens Semerzier -140
Robert Peralta +110
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over
One of my favorite gutsy fighters in the division, Mackens Semerzier will look to even out his record, taking on tough striker Robert Peralta. Semerzier has been matched hard for his level of experience, and while he doesn’t have the wins to show for it, his rate of improvement has been incredible. Peralta has had a more natural progression in the sport, having come from Strikeforce where he defeated Dream Featherweight Champion Hiroyuki Takaya and defeating Mike Lullo in his UFC debut. This is another hard fight for Semerzier, as Peralta has exceptional striking skills coupled with some seriously diverse takedown defense. Semerzier will need to get past the wall of striking offense and take this to the mat if he stands a chance, and from there we’ll see what Peralta’s ground game actually looks like. This is simply too risky of a bet until we see a bit of Peralta on the ground, or against a solid wrestler, but look for the straight line and perhaps bet the Over if it comes in favorably.
Alex Caceres -130
Cole Escovedo EV
A last chance fight for both men could pan out to be one of the best fights on the card, as TUF 13′s Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres takes on Cole Escovedo. Both men have earned 0-2 marks in their UFC stint with both being matched with tough opponents, but they’ve shown an ever-present fighter’s heart which makes them worth the investment in another bout. Both men are long kickboxers with the lanky BJJ guard to give fits to the majority of fighters, with Escovedo being the more seasoned of the two. Escovedo is also a bit more battle-worn at this point though, and as close as this fight may be, I have to give a slight edge to Caceres based on his youth and edge in speed. This is one I’d avoid betting on as it can play out almost any way, so unless the straight line is a surprise, just sit back and enjoy the show!
Mike Pierce -120
Paul Bradley -120
Props: Pierce by KO
A rematch of a fight no one saw, Mike Pierce will move up to Middleweight, taking on ousted TUF cast member Paul Bradley. Pierce has been a bit of a dark horse in his career, having stomped the bottom tier of the division, but having faltered against other strong wrestlers. Bradley has done well for himself outside the UFC, but didn’t fare as well against Rafael Natal in his UFC debut. On paper, these guys are practically the same person, although one would imagine Pierce will give up some size coming into this weight class. The one thing Pierce has that Bradley seems to lack is proper punching form, and I think Pierce by KO is perhaps the only bet worth taking in this razor-close fight.