The spots were few and far between for value bettors this weekend, but those with a sharp eye found a few easy bucks to be had. While the lack of Tachi Palace Fighting odds hurt players, wagers could be made on Legacy Fighting Championship 15, Bellator 81 and UFC 154, leaving us with a wide open field. While favorites were king this weekend, let’s check out a few of the underdogs that padded our pockets.
Rich Clementi vs. Marcin Held: Bellator 81
Odds: Clementi -200, Held +160
Result: Held via 2nd round Sub
Capping difficulty: 2
The mat work was sizzling in Bellator, as Clementi and Held tangled on the mat in a great show of submission prowess. With Clementi working his mix of conventional wrestling and BJJ, Held made use of his long limbs and flexibility, working every entanglement he could muster up to put the veteran fighter away. While this one looked too evenly matched to call after a non-stop first round, Held found the leglock he was looking for against Clementi, forcing a tap and putting the 20-year-old fighter into the tournament finals for the first time.
This was value betting elementary and the odds were an easy smokescreen to see through. While it’s true Clementi had a far better showing against a dangerous opponent than Held against his lesser rival, that doesn’t change the fact this was a dead even fight all along. Anytime two men of this skill level hit the mat, it’s a coin flip, and taking either at solid dog odds was the best bet you could make on the entire card.
Sam Stout vs. John Makdessi: UFC 154
Odds: Stout -220, Makdessi +180
Result: Makdessi by Unanimous Decision
Capping difficulty: 6
Long-time UFC veteran Sam Stout has fought nearly every striker in the division to date, but found himself a step behind against TKD star John Makdessi. Working a game of heavy counters and sharp jabs, Makdessi never let Stout get anything off inside his punching range as Makdessi floated around the cage. While Stout worked towards takedowns to tip key rounds in his favor, Makdessi’s anti-wrestling and speed were too much for the shopworn fighter to match at this point, giving Makdessi the nod on the scorecards.
Despite the fact Stout is only one year older than his opponent at 28, he’s gone thirty-five rounds in his UFC career alone to date and is starting to show it. The deterioration has been subtle, but Stout’s movement is clearly on the decline and it took a fast fighter like Makdessi to show exactly how bad it’s gotten. What I felt was a close fight was anything but, and the dog play on Makdessi was smart money if you made it.
Pablo Garza vs. Mark Hominick: UFC 154
Odds: Hominick -285, Garza +225
Result: Garza by Unanimous Decision
Capping difficulty: 6
Two men on the brink of being expelled by the UFC, Hominick and Garza went all out in their bout in Montreal. While Hominick had a handful of moments in the first round, this fight was all Garza as he battered the former title contender standing and turned him into hamburger on the mat. Two consistent rounds of elbows and punches from top position left no doubt as to who would take a decision after three rounds.
My money was on Garza because of Hominick’s chin of late and Garza’s all-offense style, but I never expected wrestling to play heavily into it. A win is a win though, and the underdog odds on someone I considered a favorite made it the best play of the night. This is also the third fight in a row Hominick has lost as a favorite, coming in at -500 against Jung and a staggering -900 against Yagin. Value is doubtful on Hominick in the future, but I hope you all enjoyed the ride.