UFC 132: A Look Through the Eyes of a Gambling Man
This Saturday live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada the UFC returns with yet another offering that was robbed of it’s headliner. Although this one wasn’t as last minute as last weekend’s Marquardt vs. Story cancellation, this card is surely hurting from a slight lack of star power after the loss of BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch 2. However, what remains is still a very solid fight card, with a lot of intriguing fights and of course, several great betting opportunities. Let’s take a look at some of them.
The first thing that anyone looking to bet on MMA needs to learn about is the website BestFightOdds (www.bestfightodds.com) this is a must check for the serious gambler. It provides up to the minute line movements on every major MMA fight as they occur. All of the betting lines that I will be using for this post are the best available market lines from BestFightOdds.
Now onto the UFC 132 fights…
Bantamweight Bout: Jeff Hougland (+200) vs. Donny Walker (-205) – Live on Facebook
Two UFC newcomers meet in a 135-Pound contest to get the night started. Admittedly I don’t know a whole lot about either fighter but will comment on what little I have seen. Both are fairly experienced veterans. Walker if 15-6 and seems to be the more technical striker of the two. Hougland, also an American is 9-4 and appears to have better ground skills but can oftentimes get himself in trouble by brawling. I think that will likely be his downfall in this fight, as it’s likely that Walker’s stand up abilities will be superior and too technical for Hougland to overcome.
Bets: With the little information I have, I don’t feel comfortable backing either fighter in this one. No bets for me here.
Prediction: Donny Walker via Unanimous Decision
Lightweight Bout: Andre Winner (+135) vs. Anthony Njokuani (-145) – Live on Facebook
This is the kind of fight that every fan wants to see. This one is likely going to spend most of the time on the feet as both men are stand up specialists. Winner is a British born fighter and seems to suffer from the same condition that many Brits struggle with a lack of wrestling or ground skills. However, standing Winner is quite formidable. Njokuani has had mixed results in his career, but in his last fight against the very tough and talented Edson Barboza Jr. he showed a new level. He was able to counter-strike consistently and was able to land several significant strikes against the Brazilian. Njokuani also has some options if the fight goes to the ground, so if he decides to shoot for a takedown it’s likely that he’s able to ground and pound effectively as Winner hasn’t shown much of a ground game during his time in the Octagon. This is likely a pink-slip fight for the loser, so both men should be leaving it all in the cage for this one.
Bets: Laying only -145 with Njokuani is a pretty attractive price. That represents a 59% chance of winning the fight for Njokuani. I think the true line is probably more like 60-65% for Anthony Njokuani. So it’s a small advantage, but one that I’m going to take a small shot with. Half a unit on Njokuani for me on this one.
Prediction: Anthony Njokuani via TKO in Round 3
Undefeated and highly hyped prospect Brad Tavares, the former cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter receives the stiffest test of his young career when he takes on Aaron “A-Train” Simpson. Simpson is an excellent wrestler, and with a career record of 9-2, has only lost to upper-tier Middleweights (Chris Leben and Mark Munoz.) Tavares has shown good stand up skills, although at times he tends to get dragged into brawls, however, he is still undefeated. However, he has yet to face someone with the wrestling credentials of Simpson. Since his losses Simpson has focused more on out-wrestling his opponents and I expect him to do much of the same in this fight. Three straight rounds of wrestling, top control and ground and pound. It probably won’t be pretty and there might be some rocky moments along the way, but I’m fairly confident that Simpson can win 30-27 on all three scorecards in this fight.
Bets: This line is fairly well set. Tavares can hit hard, but it took Chris Leben a lot of trying to finally drop Simpson and I don’t think Tavares hits quite as hard as Leben. But Simpson has a clear path to victory with his wrestling. However, I’m not interested in laying that kind of juice as I think there are better opportunities on this card. So no bets for me.
Prediction: Aaron Simpson via Unanimous Decision
Bantamweight Bout: Brian Bowles (-340) vs. Takeya Mizugaki (+300) – Live on Facebook
Brian Bowles is a former WEC Bantamweight Champion who is continuing his comeback trail. Bowles has strong wrestling as well as huge power in his hands. On the other side of the cage is Takeya Mizugaki who is one hell of a tough guy. Mizugaki isn’t great in any one area, but he seems bred to fight and oftentimes gets sloppy and relies on his toughness to win. Bowles is very quick and has a devastating right hand that can end the fight at any time, he will likely be looking to land that big shot on the Japanese fighter, who will be looking to grind on Bowles. Bowles should have the advantage on the feet, and his strong wrestling should allow him to dictate the pace and placement of the fight, which will likely be enough to earn him the victory.
Bets: There may be a bit of value left on Bowles, but I’m definitely not interested in laying over 300 in juice. That’s just too much chalk to lay for me, so I’m going to stay away from his one. Mizugaki’s best asset is his toughness, which doesn’t bode well against that thundering right hand of Bowles’ but still too much chalk.
Prediction: Brian Bowles via TKO in Round 2
Lightweight Bout: Rafael Dos Anjos (+205) vs. George Sotiropoulos (-220) – Live on SPIKE TV
George Sotiropoulos who was; until his last fight, considered to be a top contender at 155 Pounds, now sees himself relegated to the preliminary card. No matter where he fights though, it is hard to deny his talent for submission grappling. The Aussie is 7-1 inside the UFC with 4 Submissions inside the Octagon to his name. Rafael dos Anjos is no slouch on the ground either, owning an impressive record, with a fair number of submissions. This fight is likely going to come down to who can get top position, which will mean who can initiate the takedown. Sotiropoulous’ stand up looked quite weak against Dennis Siver in his last fight, but Siver is a much better striker than dos Anjos. Sotiropoulous should be able to use his height and reach advantages to close the distance and earn takedowns. From there it’s unlikely that dos Anjos is able to avoid the dangerous submission game of the Aussie.
Bets: At -220 George Sotiropoulos is being given a 68.75% chance of winning the fight. I think the true line is somewhere close to 70%, so the line is pretty well set. However, the Australian is fighting to get himself back into contendership in the very deep Lightweight division and he should be in fine form looking for the win in this fight. I think as long as he has worked on his stand up and closing the distance he should be able to earn a takedown and from there, should be able to search out a submission against the Brazilian. However, it’s not a big discrepancy so I’m only betting a Half Unit on George Sotiropoulos here.
Prediction: George Sotiropoulos via Submission in Round 2
Lightweight Bout: Melvin Guillard (-265) vs. Shane Roller (+245) – Live on SPIKE TV
Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard continues his career renaissance against one of the WEC’s best wrestlers. Shane Roller is a strong wrestler who often uses takedowns and top control to earn rounds while grinding away his opponents. His last fight he scored a huge right hand to earn a come from behind victory over Thiago Tavares in a fight he was sure to lose in a Decision. Melvin Guillard is one of the most physically gifted 155-Pound fighters in the UFC. He has strong wrestling and incredible speed and power in his hands. He has had his share of mental mistakes and problems in the past, however, those seem to be behind him as he is now riding a four fight win streak. Roller’s stand up is pretty weak and he often carries his hands low and moves slowly. This is a deadly combination against a powerful striker like Guillard. It is possible that Roller is able to hit some takedowns on Guillard, but I think the more likely scenario is that Roller is unsuccessful in his shots and will take some big punches on the way in. If any of those punches land clean, it’s going to be lights out for Roller.
Bets: I hate laying big money on fighters. Hate it. I usually try to avoid laying over -250 on any fighter, and refuse to do it for any big amount of money. So I refuse to bet on this fight. The high odds, along with Guillard’s past propensity to make mental mistakes and give fights away is enough for me to stay away from this one.
Prediction: Melvin Guillard via TKO in Round 2
Lightweight Bout: Matt Wiman (+110) vs. Dennis Siver (-115) – Live on Pay Per View
Siver is coming off of one of the biggest wins of his career after defeating jiu-jitsu phenom George Sotiropoulos. He has struggled against some of the elite fighters in the division but seems to be finding his stride and is currently on a three fight win streak. Siver has great technical kickboxing ability. Siver showed improved takedown defense in the fight against Sotiropoulos and will likely need to do the same to earn a victory in this one. His opponent is very durable and very talented on the ground, so Siver will need to use his sprawl and brawl to earn him the decision. Good takedown defense and solid counter-punching will be his keys to success.
“Handsome” Matt Wiman is a very tough and durable fighter, who while great at nothing seems to have a fairly strong overall MMA game. Wiman is on a three fight win streak of his own, although one has to slightly discount the win over Mac Danzig which was largely due to referee error. In his last fight he showed a very workmanlike style as he outhustled and out-grinded Cole Miller for three rounds to earn a Unanimous Decision. For him to win this fight, he’s going to need to nail takedowns and smother Siver with strong top control.
Bets: I’m still not totally sold on either fighter here. A win would surely earn the winner a step up in competition for their next fight, but I’m still not sure that either is ready. A lot of pundits are jumping on Siver after his performance against Sotiropoulos, however, the Australian was unable to earn any takedowns to work his submission game. Wiman I believe has the wrestling ability to take the fight to the ground, more so than Sotiropoulos at least. But +110 isn’t enough for me to back the underdog here, I’m going to stay away from this one.
Prediction: Matt Wiman via Unanimous Decision
Welterweight Bout: Carlos Condit (+110) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (-110) – Live on Pay Per View
“The Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim is undefeated in his career and is 5-0 (with 1 No Contest) in the UFC. The Korean born fighter doesn’t have much of a stand up game but has a smothering, grinding wrestling style. He is a Judo black belt and is also very large for a Welterweight. He uses his size and strength advantages to implement a wrestling based strategy against his opponents. Kim hasn’t fought since a Unanimous Decision win over Nate Diaz on New Year’s Day. Kim will be looking to do the same thing that he always does in fights, get the fight to the ground and work his top control to earn a Decision victory.
Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit is a very experienced MMA fighter. He is 3-1 inside the UFC, with his only loss a very close and somewhat controversial Split Decision loss to Martin Kampmann. Condit is an extremely game fighter with smooth stand up and a great submission game. Condit is coming off of two huge Knockout victories, one over Dan Hardy in October 2010 and one over Rory MacDonald. Condit also comes from a strong camp, as he is part of Greg Jackson’s MMA. If Condit wants to win this one, he is going to need to find a way to avoid being dragged to the mat and let loose with his explosive stand up.
Bets: This is a very close fight and the betting line indicates that. Condit is a slight underdog and he probably should be going against the undefeated Korean. This is a bad style match up for Condit, as Kim is likely going to earn takedowns at some point during the fight, the question is what can Condit do before those takedowns and what can he do on the ground. The bright point for Condit is that during his win over Diaz, Kim slowed considerably at the end of the second round and Diaz was able to land some big punches in the third round. Condit has amazing conditioning and if he can take advantage of that, he may be able to pull off another come from behind victory. However, I’m too much of a sissy to bet this one right now.
Prediction: Carlos Condit via TKO in Round 3
Light Heavyweight Bout: Ryan Bader (-500) vs. Tito Ortiz (+435) – Live on Pay Per View
I really don’t think I need to spend a whole lot of time on this one, it’s pretty ridiculous that Tito Ortiz is still fighting in the UFC. And this is likely to be his last hurrah. For those Ortiz haters (Myself included) we should be able to enjoy his head being beaten into retirement in this fight. Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz is a legend in MMA, but is nowhere near the fighter he used to be. Ortiz uses strong wrestling and ground and pound to negate his nearly non-existent stand up skills. Ortiz is currently on a three fight losing streak and hasn’t won a fight since beating Ken Shamrock in 2006. His last QUALITY win was over a very inexperienced Forrest Griffin in March of 2006.
Ryan “Darth” Bader is an extremely strong and extremely athletic Light Heavyweight Fighter. He is a strong wrestler with developing stand up skills and great takedowns. Simply put Bader is a younger, stronger, more athletic fighter with better stand up and better wrestling. He has only one career loss, in his last fight against now Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. He’ll be looking to get back into the Win column and back to climbing the Light Heavyweight Ranks with a statement win over Ortiz.
Bets: In the gambling community a line like this is what we call a bridge jump bet. This is for two reasons, firstly the long odds that you have to lay, secondly, you feel like jumping off of a bridge when you lose. I’m rarely interested in betting such big favorites, but I’m actually on Bader for 2 units. I was able to get a slightly better price by betting when this fight was announced and have Bader at -350. At current lines I wouldn’t recommend betting too much on it. -500 represents an 83.33% chance of winning and it’s probably closer to 85-90% in Bader’s favor here, but that’s a whole lot of juice.
Prediction: Ryan Bader via Unanimous Decision
Middleweight Bout: Wanderlei Silva (-160) vs. Chris Leben (+155) – Co-Main Event Live on Pay Per View
Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva is another legend of the sport, who is fighting into what seems to be the twilight of his career. Despite owning solid jiu-jitsu and grappling abilities Silva prefers to stand and brawl, using his Muay Thai to search for a knockout. Silva seems to be fading as he ages, which would make sense for someone who has spent their career in some of the greatest wars in MMA history. However, he still remains a dangerous fighter. There are a lot of questions about Silva however, he is fighting for the first time in 17 months after knee surgery, how that knee holds up will be one question, and how his already damaged chin and aging body will hold up is another entirely. This fight is going to be fought almost exclusively on the feet so if Silva wants to win, he is going to need to be quicker to the punch than Leben, which he should be. He’s going to need to accumulate some big punches to put a dent on the granite chin of Leben.
Chris “The Crippler” Leben is also a veteran of the UFC with 17 fights inside the Octagon’s fenced walls. This is going to be Leben’s kind of fight as it is likely going to look like something similar to Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots in the middle of the cage. Silva is likely the quicker puncher as Leben tends to wing big, looping haymakers, so it’s going to be a case of trading a punch or two for the chance to land the bomb for Leben. Chris has also shown improvements in his overall stand up by adding leg kicks to his arsenal. He should be able to throw those leg kicks with reckless abandon since Silva will not likely be looking for a takedown.
Bets: There are a lot of unknowns in this fight, but I think that it should be closer to a pick ‘em fight. In his prime, Silva should be a sizeable favorite over Leben, however Silva is far past his prime. Coming in off of a 17 month layoff is never good, especially for a fighter who was having mixed results before that. Leben is coming off of a pretty one-sided beat down loss to Brian Stann on New Year’s Day, and should be looking for vengeance in this one. At +155 he is being given a slightly less than 40% chance of winning this fight. As I said, I think with the unknowns about Silva this fight should be closer to a 50/50 fight, so I think there is value on the underdog Leben. As such I am placing a small One Unit bet on Chris Leben.
Prediction: Chris Leben by TKO in Round 3
Bantamweight Championship Bout: Urijah Faber (+140) vs. Dominick Cruz (-150) – Main Event Live on Pay Per View
The main event of the evening is a rematch several years in the making. Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz is looking to avenge his only career loss against the man that defeated him in 2007, Urijah Faber. However, that bout was 4 years and 1 weight class ago. Now at Bantamweight, Cruz seems extremely comfortable and confident. He is riding an 8 fight win streak since his loss to Faber and has captured the UFC Bantamweight Title with dominant performances along the way. He has a strange stand up style, using his speed and technique to attack from strange angles before darting back out of range. Cruz throws a lot of feints and a lot of fancy footwork to confuse his opponents and then swings away with big combinations. He has also greatly improved his takedown defense since his loss to Faber in 2007 and has made considerable improvements to his stamina and conditioning.
Urijah “The California Kid” Faber is the former poster-boy for the WEC who after an unsuccessful title bid against Jose Aldo at 145 Pounds has dropped to Bantamweight. He has since won 2 fights at his new weight class to earn him a shot at Cruz. Faber is a strong wrestler with good speed and decent stand up skills. He is also one of the best in the sport at creating and taking advantage of scrambles on the mat. If Faber is going to solve the enigma that is Dominick Cruz, he’s going to have to do it from in close. From a distance it is unlikely that Faber can keep up with Cruz and out strike him. His best chance is to get inside and use clinches and tie ups to dirty box and make the fight ugly.
Cruz fights so fast and aggressively that he often looks like he is brawling. However, his stand up is some of the best in the sport of MMA. Faber on the other hand is a wrestler first and will always be searching for takedowns. From there he can create scrambles and look for chances to search out submission attempts. With all that in mind, I’m going to sit this one out and watch this one only as a fan.
Prediction: Dominick Cruz via Unanimous Decision
– 0.5 Units on Anthony Njokuani @ -145
– 0.5 Units on George Sotiropoulos @ -220
– 2 Units on Ryan Bader @ -350
– 1 Unit on Chris Leben @ +155
Lee McGregor is a fan of all combat sports including both Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts. When not catching fights or watching hockey, he can be found as an Author and Editor at his own website MyManCave.ca