One of the best fights with the oddest conclusion will get its do-over as the main event of UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall, as “Uncle Creepy” Ian McCall takes on Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. With a bungle on the score cards, this fight was denied its 4th and final “Sudden Victory” round, so we’ll be getting a full replay of two elite Flyweights in action.
This is actually a surprisingly great card for free, and I’m sure we can pull some value out of this bad boy with the amount of new fighters and young talent on here. Below is my comparison betting odds, any props that catch my eye, as well as my general confidence my numbers where all variables are concerned. Now, onto the fights!
Ian McCall -130
Demetrious Johnson EV
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over
One of the best fights in recent memory, Ian McCall and Demetrious Johnson showed what the Flyweight division is all about in their first meeting, but due to complications with the scorecard, are forced into an immediate rematch. Looking at the last fight, I’m tempted to say Mighty Mouse has the potential to pull this off, yet his continued issue with defending takedowns makes me think this fight might only get worse for him. Johnson seems to be developing some power in his hands and may have the best shot to finish this bout, but I have to give McCall the nod to control the pacing and mat work here. Just as in the last fight, the Over is still the safest play here although we’re probably not seeing it come in at a reasonable number this time out. Play it how you like, but I’ll just be sitting this one out and enjoying the show.
Erick Silva -140
Charlie Brenneman +110
Props: Silva ITD
Coming off of a ridiculous DQ loss, Erick Silva faces Charlie Brenneman in an important fight for his overall career. Silva is a dangerous young talent that has had very little ring time at the upper level thus far, but Brenneman is someone who is difficult to put away in a hurry, and could show the world some glaring holes in Silva’s game. While we’ve never seen Silva work against elite-level takedowns, we know he has blazing attacks and a real killer instinct that could see him through this fight. Betting wise, I like an arb on Silva ITD and Brenneman straight if the odds allow it, as Silva’s path to victory lies in putting Brenneman away before getting sucked into a grappling match.
Mike Pyle -240
Josh Neer +190
Two veteran fighters will clash for the first time in their careers, as submission grappler Mike Pyle takes on the gritty Josh Neer. Pyle has had some ups and downs in his career, but if given the right match-up, tends to look like a million bucks on the mat. Hard to consider Neer in this match-up, as his reliance on clinch fighting and bottom game submissions will play perfectly into Pyle’s own game plan. My only concern for Pyle’s route to victory is finding himself on bottom against the hard-hitting Neer, as he’s shown an inability to withstand ground and pound throughout his career. Considering how unlikely a reversal by Neer is though, Pyle comes in as an easy favorite here for a healthy straight wager, defeating Neer by submission or decision.
Eddie Wineland -130
Scott Jorgensen EV
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over
With the top of the division seemingly abandoning ship to become Flyweights, Eddie Wineland and Scott Jorgensen will vie for one of those top spots in an exciting bout. Wineland is one of those guys that you forget about until he dishes out a beating on someone, and who rarely looks bad in a fight. While Jorgensen might look like a bad match-up on paper, this is a fight that should play out much closer than you might think. In the hierarchy of boxer/wrestlers, Jorgensen has always been towards the bottom of the barrel in a stacked division. Considering Wineland has fought tooth and nail against guys like Benevidez and Faber, the less wrestling-savvy Jorgensen appears to be a much more winnable fight in reality, and one I’d give Wineland a slight edge in. The safest bet here may be the over though as this could be a tricky one to score, and we don’t need the cards biting us in the ass. Look for the over as well as a juicy straight line on Wineland to make a potential grand payday if he pulls off a decision here.
Mike Pierce -120
Carlos Eduardo Rocha -120
Props: Fight Ends Inside Distance
Interesting grappling prospect Carlos Rocha will face off against hard-hitting wrestler Mike Pierce in one of the most highly contested bouts on the UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall fight card. Pierce had done well for himself as a wrestler with a simple yet effective striking game, yet has always been out-wrestled when attempting to break into the top of the division. His opponent may not be an ace wrestler, but Rocha’s submission game is ultra-dangerous and considering we’ve never seen how Pierce deals with aggressive submission fighters, this is truly up in the air. Overall I’d have to call this dead even, as Pierce has one-punch power while Rocha could easily end this on the mat if he can put Pierce down in a compromised position. Avoid the straight bets for the most part and look for an ITD prop, as Pierce’s habit of going to decision should allow for some decent value.
Jared Papazian -160
Dustin Paige +130
In a battle of kickboxers, the double-tough Jared Papazian faces off against TUF 14′s Dustin Paige in my personal FOTN contender. Papazian flew in under the radar for his fight against Mike Easton, but put on a hell of a performance with his high-paced attack and ability to absorb Easton’s best shots, though coming up short on the score cards. Paige himself brings some solid offense to the cage, but I’m not sold on him in a long-term striking bout with someone who isn’t going to flinch away from his attacks. This one has potential to be a dynamite scrap, but Papazian is the proven commodity here and I have to give his aggressive style the nod to hand Paige his walking papers in the UFC.
Buddy Roberts -150
Caio Magalhaes +120
Props: Roberts by KO
With his UFC debut being halted by a freak injury to opponent Sean Loeffler, Buddy Roberts will get his chance to shine in the cage, taking on Caio Magalhaes. Roberts is more slugger than tactician, but with a nifty ground game and raw power, he’s found success in his career thus far, and will look to make an imprint on the big stage against BJJ Ace Magalhaes. Brother to Vinny Magalhaes, Caio brings a style identical to Vinny, using kick attacks and reckless takedowns/guard pulls to get the fight where he wants it. This might work in the lower levels of MMA, but don’t expect Roberts to fall into this trap so easily. While I see this fight turning into a bizarrely scored decision, Roberts by KO seems like a great prop if he can catch Magalhaes mid-kick and drop him, or time a shot during a bullrush. This is a sketchy fight to wager on in general, so look for solid plus numbers if you’re laying down anything and keep your amounts small.
Henry Martinez -185
Bernardo Magalhaes +145
The classic loser leaves town match comes together on the UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall undercard as Henry Martinez takes on Bernardo Magalhaes in a lightweight affair. Both men had missteps in their debut, as Martinez came in on short notice as a welterweight, dropping a close decision to Matt Riddle, while Magalhaes injured his ankle early against Tim Means to lose a decision of his own. The major difference here is that Martinez did very well against a large Welterweight, while Magalhaes was unable to secure takedowns on a fleet-footed opponent his own size. Martinez brings the takedown defense and exquisite boxing skills to do major harm to Magalhaes here and have the potential to be a great value bet if he can slip under the radar. Watch the line and jump on it before the rest of the sharp players do.
Seth Baczynski -140
Lance Benoist +110
Lance Benoist came into the UFC with little fanfare, but for those that can spot a prospect, his entrance was well noted. Using a great deal of functional BJJ and a deadly striking arsenal, Benoist dominated the fight against Matt Riddle until a knee sundered his nose and left him on the defensive for the entire 3rd stanza, yet awarding him the decision win. His opponent is someone who floundered at Middleweight, but giant WW Seth Baczynski has done well for himself against the middle of the division and will look to bully Benoist in this fight. This is a tough match-up to cap due to Benoist’s time on the shelf after an injury, which could be damning at this stage of his career. While I think Benoist’s skills are a cut above Baczynski’s, the size disparity and ring rust could factor heavily into this bout. I couldn’t guess at an outcome here but I have to give Baczynski an edge to walk away with the win.
Sean Pierson -130
Jake Hecht EV
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over
When two powerful wrestlers collide, it’s a matter of either a bloodbath or a boring fight. Pierson comes into this bout off of a severe beating at the hands of Dong Hyun Kim, yet in that fight showed improvement with his snappy boxing and clinch wrestling that could translate well into other more manageable fights. For Hecht, he’s had an odd run this far, beating Rich Attonito by a freak KO from an elbow, but finding himself doing the quick tap in his next fight due to a flying armbar from TJ Waldburger. While Hecht has youth on his side, Pierson brings in some old man strength, the better wrestling and perhaps even the better striking of the two. While Pierson is a bit more shopworn at this point, I see him having the advantage to control this fight from the clinch or with boxing. I like the Over here at -150 or better, but Pierson will potentially come in as a sizable dog and may be the only bet you need.
Matt Grice -140
Leonard Garcia +110
Props: Garcia ITD
The perpetually injured Matt Grice will once again take to the cage, this time facing fan favorite Leonard Garcia in a critical fight for both men’s careers. Grice is one of those guys who had major potential early in his UFC career, but due to several injuries and a full-time job, found himself on the outside of the division rather quickly. Garcia, on the other hand, has been active at the top of the division despite not having the skills to compete with world-class competition. This fight marks a legitimate step backwards for Garcia, yet even so I don’t think he can win this fight more often than not. Grice brings underrated wrestling skills and some monster ground and pound to this fight, and Garcia may not be able to stop the forward momentum of Grice’s attack. This is a sketchy fight to bet on just because of Grice history of injury, but he could come in at an amazingly valuable line here that deserves your attention. If so, an arb with Garcia ITD makes a perfect wager, as Garcia should finish Grice if given the opportunity, or lose to his wrestling acumen.