For those of us skipping the abysmal UFC 147 card, we have an excellent and free card taking place at the UFC on FX 4 that should prove to be action-packed. In our main event, Gray Maynard will look to rebound from the first loss of his career as he faces lightweight perma-contender Clay Guida in an epic bout. With an emphasis on the lower weight classes for this card, we’re sure to see some fast and fierce battles, and there’s plenty of opportunity to make some quick cash here.
Check out my comparison betting odds, any props that I think could hit for profit, and my general confidence in the predictability of these fights, so you can pick out your spots for max profit. Now, onto the UFC on FX 4 fights!
Gray Maynard -300
Clay Guida +220
Props: Maynard by KO
Confidence: Very high
While the title is once again held hostage by a useless rematch, the top of the division will scramble to line up for their own shots at the strap, bringing Maynard and Guida together for this bout. Maynard has shown an amazing amount of improvement in his career, yet the true test of a fighter is how they rebound from their first loss. For Guida, we have a fighter who’s fought and beaten the majority of the upper crust of the division, yet has never made it to that coveted number one contender spot. Don’t expect this to be different for our furry friend though, as Maynard is perhaps the worst possible match-up for Guida and should have this bout easily. With Maynard’s truly technical boxing, crippling power and wrestling talent, Guida is drawing nearly dead here, and Maynard is the best parlay player you’ll see on this card. On a side note, Maynard by KO might be your best value here with the straight line being pricey, as his counter punching is always on point and could flatten Guida.
Sam Stout -130
Spencer Fisher EV
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over
A trilogy that’s been on the back burner for years, Sam Stout and Spencer Fisher will close out their series with a prime spot on the card. With the score set at 1-1 with two decisions, these two have always been fairly close in terms of skill throughout their careers, but the gift of youth is certainly on Stout’s side here. By my estimations, Stout’s use of reach and tighter defense this time around should give him the nod over Fisher, although if Stout can’t deal with Fisher’s angled attack, he might easily drop a decision. Overall, the only safe bet is the over, but the value isn’t going to be there for a heavy bet. If you don’t see any lines you like, feel free to sit this one out and enjoy the kickboxing exhibition.
Brian Ebersole -200
TJ Waldburger +160
Props: Fight Ends Inside Distance/under
In a fight sure to please grappling purists, Brian Ebersole will take on TJ Waldburger in an attempt to add to his win-streak. Ebersole is one of the oddest grapplers on the planet, as nothing he does is textbook, yet it always seems to come together. Blessed with the kind of grappling comfort that allows him to avoid the majority of submissions, his relentless pacing and surprising strength have seen him hustle some truly great submission fighters in his career. Waldburger is an underrated BJJ fighter with an affinity for scrambles and sweeps, but his career has always been hindered by a terrible chin. With the grappling being close, it’s the chin I see costing Waldburger the fight with Ebersole’s brutal clinch knees and ground and pound. I have no doubt Ebersole should control the top during this fight and he should be able to work from dominant position to avoid Waldburger’s tricky bottom game. No matter how this plays out, I don’t think we see the score cards here, and would recommend hitting the ITD prop if it’s within the -150 range.
Ross Pearson -120
Cub Swanson -120
While sources peg Pearson as the next TUF coach, he finds himself inside the cage first, taking on WEC vet Cub Swanson. Pearson has always been a tough draw due to his well-rounded skill set, and his near professional level boxing, yet faces a bit of an unknown in Cub Swanson. Swanson is someone that’s looked either world-class amazing or amateurish depending on the fight, and we never know who is stepping into the cage come fight time. This makes handicapping a bitch as a primed and ready Swanson has the hand and foot speed to do wonders against Pearson, while a lackluster Swanson would be rag dolled around the Octagon. All things considered, this is an even bout, but I think Pearson is the larger and technically superior fighter in many of the facets of MMA. While betting here isn’t wise, if you can’t help yourself, a small play on Pearson could pay off if you find reasonable odds.
Hatsu Hioki -185
Ricardo Lamas +145
Props: Hioki by Submission
One of the best grapplers to come out of Japan with some success, Hatsu Hioki will work towards a third win in the Octagon as he faces Ricardo Lamas. Hioki has always been an interesting fighter, as he fights as a pure grappler for the majority of his bouts, resting on the laurels of his size and judo skills to close distance. With some of the slickest transitioning abilities you’re likely to see, Hioki is a killer both from top and bottom and making escape a distant possibility. Lamas is a solid fighter in his own right, but comes in with few of the tools that he’ll need to deal with Hioki. If Lamas can rely on his footwork and power punching, he stands a chance of upsetting the Asian phenom, but one mistake is all it’ll take to put Lamas on the mat in compromised positions. I feel Hioki is an easy favorite here and would recommend a play on his straight line, as well as a small wager on a Hioki Submission.
Ramsey Nijem -185
CJ Keith +145
Props: Fight Ends Inside/Under
As awkward as he is, TUF 13′s Ramsey Nijem is still alive and kicking in the UFC, where he welcomes CJ Keith to the fold. For those unfamiliar, Keith comes out of the same camp as Strikeforce product Billy Evangelista and has a nearly identical style, using traditional muay thai and American wrestling as a base. While Keith is the better kickboxer, Nijem has extremely heavy hands and throws at odd angles, which tends to clip superior strikers unexpectedly. Couple this with Nijem’s power wrestling and top game, and we have a recipe for an unsuccessful debut for Keith, as he’ll be hard-pressed to get anything off. For this one, I’m looking at a straight wager on Nijem and the Under as a hedge of sorts, as Keith’s best chance is to level Nijem coming in, but Keith could just as easily be put away here.
Rick Story -240
Brock Jardine +190
Props: Jardine by KO
A rising talent that was derailed on his way to the top, Rick Story returns to action, taking on UFC newcomer Brock Jardine in a stellar tune-up fight. Jardine comes into this fight with mid-level wrestling geared more towards submissions than top control, and a simple striking game using awkward angled punches and plenty of power. This is a skill set that has seen Jardine through tough fights, but one that might not translate well to elite competition. Story brings a similar style with an edge in size and certainly an edge in experience against tough opponents, making this a harsh debut for Jardine. Even so, the prop that strikes me as a potential lottery ticket is Jardine by KO, as his undeniably heavy hands and wild angles could put the mildly rusty Story out cold early. I wouldn’t bet the rent on it, but a little on Jardine by KO and a hearty dose of Story straight could be a great hedge.
Steve Siler -185
Joey Gambino +145
Props: FOTN, Fight Ends Inside Distance/Under
Perhaps the surprise fighter of the season, TUF 14′s Steve Siler has shaped himself into a finely honed weapon, and will bring himself to bear on undefeated newcomer Joey Gambino. Gambino brings a 9-0 record into the UFC as a well-rounded fighter and natural athlete with a serious up-side. In theory, Gambino brings the kind of aggression and accurate striking that could undo Siler’s similar game plan, but Siler’s height and reach, as well as experience against top-level competition has me doubting Gambino’s chances. While Siler is realistically a solid favorite, Gambino has the natural talent to come in looking like a million bucks and put Siler away quick. For me, this is all in the props, as a FOTN prop seems likely if these guys tear each other to pieces late into the fight, while the ITD covers you if there’s an abrupt end to this bout.
Matt Brown -200
Luis Ramos +160
After dismantling Steven Thompson in his last bout, Matt Brown will have a quick turn-around as a replacement for Matt Riddle, taking on Luis Ramos. Ramos comes into this bout off a quick loss to Erick Silva and a long lay-off due to Matt Riddle being ill and scrapping the previous match between them, leaving a lot of questions surrounding Ramos. While Ramos comes in as a jack-of-all-trades, he’s also an obvious LW fighting outside of his weight class, and will have little advantage against Brown. Look for a serious beating to be dished out by Brown here, as Ramos doesn’t have the lethality to put a halt on Brown’s assault. Wager wise I’m nervous about taking any ITD props due to Brown’s tendency to burn himself out early, but would be happy with a large straight bet at smart odds.
Nick Catone -160
Chris Camozzi +130
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over
I dare say that no man has had more injuries under the UFC banner than Nick Catone, but with luck, he’ll make his way to the cage to face Chris Camozzi. Camozzi has had a tough run in the UFC, having been ousted once already, but has kept afloat by beating the bottom of the division in a handful of solid showings. For Catone, he’s managed to do very well despite many long layoffs and tough match-ups, but his high-level wrestling and heavy hands have seen him through some nasty scraps. While I’d generally avoid fighters with this many injuries, Catone has been operating at less than 100% his entire UFC career and still done well for himself. Couple this with Camozzi’s striking style, which is heavy on leg kicks and lunging punches, and you have a recipe for Catone to work his counter punching and takedowns to great effect here. If the straight bet makes you nervous, this fight should pass the 2.5 round mark, as Catone’s ability to control the fight and stellar chin would carry this deep no matter what.
Dan Miller -160
Ricardo Funch +130
One of the best counter wrestlers in the business, Dan Miller makes his welterweight debut, taking on Brazilian bruiser Ricardo Funch. Funch thus far has gone winless in his UFC career, but his bouts in the regional circuit show a power-first, technique-second approach to fighting that hasn’t been a recipe for UFC greatness so far. As with any Miller fight, my main concern with his chances stems from the continued illness of his child, which has been an ongoing struggle and juggling act in his life. A weight cut and the stress of home could be a bad combination when taking on such a strong grinder like Funch, and I’d recommend avoiding large bets in any direction for this fight.
Francisco Rivera -200
Ken Stone +160
Props: Fight Ends Inside Distance/Under
An ace slugger that’s finally getting some attention, Francisco Rivera will enter the cage after a short time away, facing fellow Bantamweight Ken Stone. Rivera is a great example of a can crusher that has matured into a legitimate high-level fighter, having turned his pure aggressive style into something a bit more measured, but no less deadly. Stone is a good fighter himself, with snappy muay thai and long limbs built for BJJ, but his career has taken a decidedly bad turn following his fight with Eddie Wineland. After being badly knocked out when slammed to the mat, Stone has proven to be soft in the chin thereafter, finding himself knocked out yet again by a handful of strikes from his guard. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that will be fixed and you can expect limited ability to absorb damage from Stone for the duration of his career. With an accurate striker like Rivera and Stone’s offensive guard game, this should prove to be a short fight, making an ITD play your best wager.
The UFC on FX 4 takes place Friday June 22nd from the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.