With my temper still up after spending $55 on UFC 149, it’s at least nice to see the free UFC on FOX 4 card on deck. Light Heavies are on deck here, as former champions Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua take on some talented mid-card competitors in Ryan Bader and Brandon Vera respectively. We’ve got some great bets to make on this card, so free up your bank roll and get ready to hit these wagers as they emerge.
Now, onto the fights!
Mauricio Rua -240
Brandon Vera +190
Props: Rua by KO
Easily the weakest main event in some years, former Champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will make his return to the cage following a loss to Dan Henderson, taking on UFC journeyman Brandon Vera. This has potential to turn into a muay thai purists fight, as both men have spent a lifetime honing the art, although Vera’s wrestling experience could be something Rua may have issues with. As with every fight, the nature of Rua’s career needs to be taken into account, where he’s looked at times unstoppable and utterly useless inside the cage. The number you see above represents a lukewarm Rua, and if he looks fit and ready at weigh-ins, feel free to bump that CBO up considerably. As far as props, Rua brings the power and overall technical edge over Vera that should allow him that KO finish under most circumstances, making for a quality play.
Lyoto Machida -160
Ryan Bader +130
Props: Machida by KO
Yet another former champion in the Light Heavyweight division, Lyoto Machida will come off of his failed title bid, taking on young gun Ryan Bader in the UFC on FOX 4 co-main event. There may be the temptation to do a bit of MMA math here in the form of Bader>Rampage>Machida, but I believe the comparison would be a grave error. Every Machida fight comes down to what you can do to avoid being counter punched and out-pointed for the entire fight. Rua discovered a weakness to leg kicks and swift counter punching of his own, Jackson used a brawler’s method that narrowly worked for a decision, while Jones had a clear reach advantage and superior in-fighting skills. Bader has plenty of skill, but his strength lies in being the stronger man against similarly skilled fighters, and he brings little to the table to halt Machida here. The main issue I see is Bader’s horrendous footwork and lack of head movement, which is what gave him issues against Jardine and cost him the fight against Ortiz. Machida has incredible hand speed and range control, as well as the takedown defense to make Bader waste a lot of energy going for those long-shot takedowns. This is a bout Machida should be able to win in vintage fashion, although the Machida KO prop could be a fantastic value and not even remotely out of the question.
Phil Davis -350
Wagner Prado +250
With his first loss under his belt, Phil Davis will look to grow as a fighter and move forward, taking on UFC newcomer Wagner Prado. For those unfamiliar, Prado comes to us from Team Nogueira, and fights exactly like a much rawer version of JDS with heavy punches and a visibly solid chin and frame. While Prado is going to be a terror against some fighters in the division, Davis strikes me as being the worst possible match-up for him, making great use of outside striking and with his extraordinary wrestling. While Prado is murder inside the pocket, Davis will never be there and should be able to execute whatever game plan he cares to against the Brazilian.
Jamie Varner +145
Props: Fight ends Inside Distance/Under
This isn’t a fight I thought I’d ever see, but here it is, as Joe Lauzon faces Jamie Varner inside the Octagon. No matter what you think of Varner the person, he’s always been one of the most complete fighters in MMA, with legitimate boxing skill, high-level wrestling and functional submissions. Lauzon comes into this as a dangerous match-up for him though, being a fast starter that can break Varner’s sometimes fragile mindset and with the long limbs and slick transitions to lock on a submission early. This could pan out to be closer than I think, but Lauzon presents a bad stylistic match for Varner, and I think he gets an early finish here. Hit the straight line with the most value as well as the Under to set up a potential blockbuster bet.
Phil De Fries -120
Oli Thompson -120
Two UK fighters looking to keep their UFC careers afloat will clash, as Strongman Oli Thompson faces BJJ fighter Phil De Fries. This fight is kind of fun, as both men are what I’d call “throwback” fighters due to their limited skill sets. As such, both men will be in trouble at moments in this fight, as De Fries will look to trip Thompson to the mat and use his submission skills while Thompson will want to bring his heavy punching power to bear or gain the upper hand on the mat. This is a close one, yet I have to give De Fries a slight edge to pull off the win, as he has the best chance of sweeping the sometimes lumbering Thompson in a ground fight, and has the cleaner all around technique. With that said, this isn’t a great fight to invest in, so look elsewhere for your fortune.
Michihiro Omigawa -130
Manvel Gamburyan EV
Props: Fight goes the distance
In a rare battle of two judokas in MMA, Manny Gamburyan will face Michihiro Omigawa as they both fight for their jobs at UFC on FOx 4. Both men have faced stiff competition in their careers thus far, and as such, folks tend to forget how talented both men are within their comfort zones. While I think Gamburyan certainly has a power advantage, Omigawa is one of the most underrated grapplers in the division with his own functional strength and a slick positional grappling game, and while Gamburyan might have his moments, Omigawa can dazzle on the feet and hit his own takedowns as needed. This isn’t a great one to bet straight, but both men are very durable and a distance prop seems to be your safest bet, albeit with the least potential for value.
Josh Grispi -150
Rani Yahya +120
Props: Grispi by KO
The mat will be red……with ring rust, as former number one contender Josh Grispi and former title challenger Rani Yahya. A year off leaves a lot of questions, but when two men have been away for a year, we’re left with a nearly unbettable fight due to the X-factors involved. Grispi has tremendous punching power and a great functional reach, but his subs will be nearly useless against Yahya, who will do anything it takes to get a takedown to work his submission game. While the outcome is sketchy here, I do like Grispi by KO if you can find it, as his reach, timing and power could allow him to blast a recklessly charging Yahya early in this fight.
Nam Phan -150
Cole Miller +120
One of the more entertaining fights of the UFC on FOX 4 card, TUF fighters Nam Phan and Cole Miller will face off in a Featherweight bout. Phan has one of the more interesting skill sets in the sport, using traditional boxing style with a great functional BJJ game that has seen him through some tough fights. Miller brings a reach advantage over just about anyone in the division, but his chin and fight smarts aren’t up to snuff for the upper level of fighters. Miller’s best chance comes on the mat or fighting from the outside, but I don’t think he can hold range against the talented Phan, who should be able to slip inside and land all the shots he needs to win this fight. I’m not sold on any props here, but feel Phan has a better shot of walking away with a win and expect a decent straight line.