It took a little doing, but Chad Mendes will finally get his title shot against Jose Aldo at UFC 142. Whether he comes to regret a shot at the Nova Uniao product will remain to be seen, but our ability to make money on this event is never in question! Below is my comparison betting odds for the fights, as well as some valid props. I’ve also included a confidence rating that gives you an idea of how much wiggle room we have with the line. High confidence indicates few surprises and plenty of footage to watch of both men, while a low rating means there are multiple variables or a lack of information present on new fighters.
Now, onto the fights!
Jose Aldo -200
Chad Mendes +160
Props: Fight Starts 3rd Round
While Mendes was passed up for a title shot last time around, he finally gets his chance to win the strap at UFC 142. Mendes has beaten all comers in his career thus far, using a fast and simple striking style along with his lightning shot. On paper, this could be a recipe for beating Aldo, and you have to give that potential outcome the respect it deserves. Overall I think Aldo has the speed to catch Mendes coming in on the shot with a fast knee and work his crippling leg kicks, but this fight is more than likely going into late rounds. Between Aldo’s somewhat passive style of late and Mendes being a gritty young fighter, lay down your units on this fight starting the 3rd round.
Vitor Belfort -140
Anthony Johnson +110
Props: Belfort KOTN, Johnson KOTN
In what could be an instant classic, old school striker Vitor Belfort welcomes Anthony Johnson to the MW division. This is a tough fight to call, as Johnson has shown he’s not afraid to play the blanket to get a win over superior strikers. The real question is, can the former WW Johnson take down the former LHW Belfort, or will he be forced to use his kickboxing against a lethal striker? While Belfort has been worked over on the mat before, the list of men who have pulled off the task make Johnson’s wrestling skills pale considerably. I think this fight ends up fairly close, as either can land KO blows, but I slightly favor Belfort’s hand speed and accurate power punches for the win. Betting wise, this will be one to avoid for the most part, although I recommend a play on both men winning the KOTN award, as either one can pull it off.
Erick Silva -260
Carlo Prater +200
Props: Fight Ends Inside Distance/Under
Hot prospect Erick Silva will take on journeyman and late replacement Carlo Prater in what could end up as a serious war. For those unfamiliar, Prater is an old school Luta Livre and BJJ fighter who has spent most of his career on the mat, picking up a few impressive wins along the way. While his overall skill set has been lacking at this level, he makes for a dangerous match for green fighters that won’t have the submission defense to avoid his entanglements. Silva isn’t green though, and with his natural speed and killer instinct, this is a fighter he can easily take from Prater early and never give back. I suspect the line on Silva will start out of reach, so I recommend a bet on ITD. Both men are fast starters and Prater tends to wilt under pressure, setting up a stoppage win for Silva in his home country.
Rousimar Palhares -240
Mike Massenzio +190
Props: Palhares by Submission
Leglock specialist Rousimar Palhares takes on unlikely opponent Mike Massenzio in what should be a worrisome fight for Massenzio. Palhares is coming into this bout off a dominant win over Dan Miller and one would expect he’d draw a tougher opponent here, but Massenzio could have some surprises for the Brazilian. Massenzio is a solid wrestler with submission skills, but has always had trouble breaking into even the middle of the division, and this fight isn’t going to be an easy one for him at all. Aside from a stall and brawl attack by Massenzio, I can’t see him pulling this off if this fight touches the mat. Hit the Palhares by Sub prop, as Masssenzio’s legs will be in peril here at some point.
Sam Stout -130
Thiago Tavares EV
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over
Two fixtures of the Lightweight division will face off, as kickboxer Sam Stout faces BJJ ace Thiago Tavares. Stout hasn’t changed much in the last several years, but his style of crisp kickboxing, takedown defense and token takedowns has seen him through some tough bouts. Tavares comes into this with his own fast and accurate hands, but has moved towards using his underrated submission skills more in his last several fights. The test here will be if Tavares can mix up his attack and score takedowns, and avoid being outpointed by Stout throughout this fight. While Tavares has a decent bag of tricks, Stout’s ability to work from the outside and force long shots should give him a comfortable amount of space here. The Over will be the safest play for this fight, but considering Stout’s history of long bouts, I don’t think we’ll be finding much value here anywhere.
Mike Pyle -160
Ricardo Funch +130
Props: Funch by KO
Cagey veteran Mike Pyle will step into the cage for his eighth appearance, taking on returning fighter Ricardo Funch. Pyle is one of the most underrated grapplers in the division with is quick bottom submissions and surprising strength in the clinch. Using newfound boxing skills, Pyle has set himself up with a solid game of range control with opportunistic takedowns that saw him put a few wins together before his previous fight. Funch is a cookie-cutter Brazilian fighter with more muscle than necessary, not enough of a bottom game, and not enough wrestling to compete with UFC-caliber wrestlers. I think Pyle can control this fight and either work takedowns or submit off his back if Funch can get a hold of him. I’d recommend the straight bet if odds are favorable, but keep an eye out for a Funch by KO prop, as Pyle has proven to have issues with his chin, particularly in GnP situations.
Fabio Maldonado -185
Caio Magalhaes +145
Props: Maldonado KO
One of my favorite LHW fighters will take on a new challenger, as Fabio Maldonado faces the debuting Caio Magalhaes. For those unfamiliar, Magalhaes is an ace BJJ fighter out of Nova Uniao and is taking a major step up in competition for this fight. While his mat work is certainly impressive, Magalhaes overall games is lacking and may get him into trouble at his level. Maldonado has some of the best hands in the division and a size advantage over Magalhaes that should see him through any attempts at his BJJ-style takedown. Betting wise, we’re not likely to see any decent straight lines, but Maldonado by KO remains an excellent play.
Gabriel Gonzaga -240
Edinaldo Oliveira -190
Props: Inside the Distance/Under
Yeah, Gabriel Gonzaga is back from his incredibly short-lived retirement. His opponent is a newcomer to the UFC, and another of the giant fighters they’ve been picking up for the division. At 6’7″ at close to the HW max, he brings a great deal of size to the cage, but unfortunately little else. This is a fight that a prime Gonzaga would laugh at, yet we never know where Gonzaga’s head is at. Based on Oliveira’s lack of elite-level skills, I can’t see him winning here unless it’s very early in the bout. Gonzaga should be able to put together the punches or submissions to put Oliveira away quickly and with little relative danger to himself.
Edson Barboza -160
Terry Etim +130
Props: Barboza by KO, Fight Of The Night
One of the most exciting fights on this card, Edson Barboza will look to continue his undefeated streak, taking on UK fighter Terry Etim. Barboza has fought some serious kickboxing competition in his career thus far, having soundly defeated both Anthony Njokuani and Ross Pearson in FOTN bouts. While both men here have outstanding bottom games, this is sure to play out on the feet, and I have to give a firm edge to Barboza. Barboza will be giving up a bit on reach, but with his superior kickboxing pedigree he should find his way past the long range attacks and land power shots on Etim time and again. While the straight odds might not be worthy of your time, a bet on FOTN and Barboza landing the KO shot are both fine wagers.
Yuri Alcantara -140
Michihiro Omigawa +110
Props: Alcantara Inside, Fight Of The Night
Undercard terror Yuri Alcantara will defend his position as the curtain jerker, taking on judoka Michihiro Omigawa. Omigawa has done fairly well for himself since dropping to FW, but is facing a difficult fight against the offensive animal in Alcantara. This is a situation where a smart Omigawa could take this fight, but he’ll spend far too much time playing with his flimsy boxing skills. Alcantara isn’t a world beater, but he is a solid striker with incredible killer instinct and reflexive speed. I see this being a back-and-forth affair, but one where Alcantara lands the majority of blows standing and stalemates on the mat. Betting wise, Alcantara’s relative obscurity could do us wonders here, as does Omigawa’s history of taking a beating and staying awake. I’d recommend a play on Alcantara and a small play on Alcantara winning ITD, along with a little bit on FOTN, as this could be a rapid fire bloodbath.