Tuesday, 27 December 2011

UFC 141 Betting

And here we go again. The last UFC was a disaster for me so I'll leave it at that and we'll move on to this Friday night's card.

Main card

Heavyweight bout: United States Brock Lesnar vs. Netherlands Alistair Overeem
Lightweight bout: United States Nate Diaz vs. United States Donald Cerrone
Welterweight bout: United States Jon Fitch vs. United States Johny Hendricks
Light Heavyweight bout: Belarus Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Sweden Alexander Gustafsson
Featherweight bout: United States Nam Phan vs. United States Jimy Hettes

Preliminary card (televised)

Featherweight bout: England Ross Pearson vs. Brazil Junior Assunção
Lightweight bout: Nigeria Anthony Njokuani vs. United States Danny Castillo

Preliminary card (Facebook) 

Welterweight bout: South Korea Dong Hyun Kim vs. Canada Sean Pierson
Lightweight bout: United States Jacob Volkmann vs. Mexico Efrain Escudero
Welterweight bout: United States Matt Riddle vs. Brazil Luis Ramos
Featherweight bout: Armenia Manvel Gamburyan vs. Brazil Diego Nunes

This is one hell of a card to end the year and has a few interesting plays available in my opinion. There's the possibility for a few upsets and I think the bookies have massively overpriced 2 guys at least on this card.

Right lets take a look at the main event as ever first and work our way down the rest of the card. Here's the extended preview for the event should you wish to get a quick snippet of what is coming your way on Friday night.

Heavyweight bout: United States Brock Lesnar vs. Netherlands Alistair Overeem

Simply put this is the biggest fight of both these men's careers. A shot at the UFC Heavyweight title is up for grabs and many questions hang in the balance about both men. One thing is for sure this is going to be 265lb behemoths colliding and there's a number of ways it could possibly pan out.

We'll start with Lesnar. What can be said about Brock that hasn't been said time and time again. He's a world class wrestler and former NCAA Division 1 champion. He's a former Undisputed UFC Champion and won the UFC Heavyweight title in only his fourth professional MMA fight. Not to mention he's survived nearly breaking his neck in a WWE ring trying to do a shooting star press. Most recently he's dealt with a second case of diverticulitis and had surgery to remove part of his colon to remedy the longstanding illness. This is one of the two big questions over Lesnar going into this fight. How healthy is he? Can he survive a Overeem onslaught?

Judging by the videos that have been released of Lesnar's training camp the answer to the first question is very. The bigger question is whether Brock has learned to take a shot to the face or not. We've seen it in his two most recent fights that he doesn't react well to receiving strikes to the face. Sure one of the opponents was the mallet fisted Shane Carwin but in the Velasquez fight at UFC 121 it was Brock's reaction to being hit that caused him to lose his footing and lead to the eventual ass whipping he received. That's now over a year ago though and in the Carwin fight we saw Brock get back up by the end of the first round and of course go on to beat Carwin by submission so there is a bit of light in that.

The biggest problem I have with Lesnar in that type of situation is his defensive guard or lack thereof. He's sort of turtled in both scenarios and flailed a bit trying to block strikes rather than trying to find some sort of defensive guard. Admittedly this might be because he's trying to recapture his wits as these guys aren't throwing pillow punches but it is something to keep in mind.

The major positive with Lesnar and this was re-affirmed as recently as 2 weeks ago by an outside source in Randy Couture. Lesnar learns fast and is steadily improving in all aspects of the game. With a year out who knows what tricks Lesnar will have picked up. His Ground and Pound game is scary as hell and he does have some massive power even if his technique still needs work. Witness his fight with Herring when he broke Herring's orbital bone and sent him head over heels with a punch.

And on we move to Overeem. The Demolition Man has had a storied career thus far going back to his days in Pride when he fought primarily in their Middleweight division (the equivalency of the UFC's Light Heavyweight division). During his time in Pride Overeem fought some legends of the game. Namely against the likes of Vitor Belfort, Lil Nog, Shogun Rua and Chuck Liddell. His last run at Light Heavyweight involved three losses incurred through strikes against varying degrees of fighter (Lil Nog, Shogun Rua and Ricardo Arona). Having found the cut to 205 increasingly difficult to make and feeling their would be a benefit in putting on some more muscle mass Overeem started working on building himself up to fight comfortably at Heavyweight.

Since making the move he has benefited massively. He's only lost once in 13 fights and currently holds a seven fight win streak following a No Contest with Cro Cop. Overeem has one of the best kick boxing and muay thai games in the heavyweight division and is a K1 calibre kick boxer. Correction he's a champion at K1 level. Currently holding their Heavyweight championship as well as the Strikeforce Heavyweight title. This is why Overeem becomes an increasingly interesting fight for Lesnar as his striking is extremely good and Lesnar'sOvereem has a nasty guillotine choke so Lesnar has to watch out for both his clinch and submission game should he get in Overeem's range.

One thing that interests me though is Overeem's ability should Lesnar get on top and this is where I think is key for the fight. No-one and I mean NO-ONE has stopped Lesnar from taking him down in a fight. Lesnar's power shot usually results in someone's ass hitting the floor. If Brock can control him on the ground like he did a much bigger threat on the ground in Frank Mir the fight's going to be over quickly or Overeem is going to be in for a painful night. Ask Heath Herring how it feels to have Lesnar on top of you for a few rounds.

Recommendation: Brock Lesnar for the upset victory in this one. It's a pick'em fight but I can't look past Lesnar's wrestling and dominant ground game. He's currently priced at 5/4 on Bet365.

Lightweight bout: United States Nate Diaz vs. United States Donald Cerrone

If there was a fight that has Fight of the Night written all over it this is the fight. Quite simply put you've two of the most talented members of the 155lb division taking on each other with some major implications in the division. The winner of this fight is probably only one more fight away from a title shot if not being placed next in line behind Benson Henderson.

Nate Diaz is a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter and is a member of the famed Cesar Gracie team. He is one of the most versatile fighters in the division and is happy to be standing and trading or working on the ground. He's got multiple wins by both KO/TKO and submission and any other night I'd say he's value to put a submission of the night bet on. With Cerrone that's not a clever bet.

Donald Cerrone is another one of the WEC converts that have made the 155lb division ever more difficult to navigate. A former kick boxer with an unbeaten record in 29 fights. Cerrone is another versatile fighter and comes from the Jackson MMA camp. The Cowboy has been on a tear since moving over to the UFC with hugely impressive victories against the likes of Dennis Silver, Charles Oliveira, Vagner Rocha and Paul Kelly. 3 of the 4 victories being stoppages by submission or TKO.

Recommendation: I see this fight being on the feet for the most part and because of that I have to go with the Cowboy Donald Cerrone. I'm a massive fan of both fighters but Cerrone has victories over a better quality of opponent and should take this one. Current odds are around 4/11.

Right that's the main event and co-main event. Here's the other plays I'm making this Friday night.

Welterweight bout: United States Jon Fitch vs. United States Johny Hendricks
Recommendation: If this was under any other circumstances I'd be making the Jon Fitch play but I think he's vulnerable after 10 months on the shelf with a shoulder injury that required surgery. Hendricks has a wrestling pedigree of his own and has some knock out power in his hands. At 15/8 he's a tastey prospect for an upset.

Light Heavyweight bout: Belarus Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Sweden Alexander Gustafsson
Recommendation: Gustafsson for me. He may be 2/7 but he's one of the top prospects at 205 and his grappling game is something to behold. Not taking the Janitor lightly. The only dude to get the better of him since his UFC return in 09 is Jon Jones esquire. Similarly Gustafsson's only pro loss is to Phil Davis.

Featherweight bout: United States Nam Phan vs. United States Jimy Hettes
Recommendation: It's my opinion that the bookies have vastly under-estimated Judo Jim's skills and for a guy with a 9-0 record coming out of the Jackson MMA camp you would think they'd know better. 2/1 is too tasty a price.

Welterweight bout: South Korea Dong Hyun Kim vs. Canada Sean Pierson
Recommendation: Kim's judo game and grappling skills should see him ride out a decision at the minimum against Pierson. 1/4

As ever these selections and prices are through www.bet365.com and are correct at the time of writing. For the 6 fights I've got marked here it's a 41.52/1 shot. If you take out the riskiest bet in Hendricks vs Fitch it's still a 13.79/1 shot.

For those of you solely wanting a fiver bet to nothing on underdogs solely. I'd say go with Lesnar, Judo Jim Hettes, Efrain Escudero and Hendricks. That acca is worth 62/1 right now.

As ever happy punting my friends and I hope this will be a late Christmas present to both mine and your wallets.

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