UFC 129: A Bettor’s Guide

Written by: AJ Hoffman

UFC 129 features two of the best pound for pound fighters in the world in Georges St. Pierre and Jose Aldo. For betting purposes, it means there are pretty good values to be had if you believe Jake Shields or Mark Hominick can pull off an upset. There are a few undercard fights with well priced underdogs. The card is handicapped below.

PRELIMINARIES

Yves Jabouin
(-170)
VS Pablo Garza
(+140)

Garza has a much better record at this point, but Jabouin has faced a much higher level of competition. He has lost six fights, but those include defeats to Sam Stout, Raphael Assuncao, Mark Hominick and Jonathan Brookins. Jabouin has knockout power. Garza will give him some trouble early, but he won’t be able to avoid the big shot.  JABOUIN DEF. GARZA BY KO (RD 2)

John Makdessi
(-200)
VS Kyle Watson
(+160)

Makdessi was outstanding in his UFC debut against Pat Audinwood. I haven’t seen much of Watson outside of his run on The Ultimate Fighter, where he was impressive until he ran into eventual winner Jonathan Brookins. His only fight since has been against fellow TUF alum Sako Chivitchian. Makdessi will probably be too much for Watson, and he won’t be stopped once he gets on top. MAKDESSI DEF. WATSON BY TKO (RD 2)

Ryan Jensen
(-135)
VS Jason MacDonald
(+105)

This is one of the tougher calls of the night. MacDonald was on a good run before breaking his leg in his last match. Jensen has been up and down in his career, and struggles against fighters with a good submission game. That is definitely MacDonald, and if his health is back after nearly a year layoff, MacDonald should be able to get back in the win column. MACDONALD DEF. JENSEN BY SUBMISSION (RD 1)

Ivan Menjivar
(-180)
VS Charlie Valencia
(+150)

Menjivar is a tough guy to pick against because he has a ton of experience against top level guys, including Caol Uno, Urijah Faber, Matt Serra and Georges St. Pierre. Valencia has a ton of experience as well, with fights against Faber, Dominick Cruz and Miguel Torres on his resume. Valencia had been on a nice run until his September loss to Torres. Look for him to find his groove against Menjivar, who has dropped 3 of 4. VALENCIA DEF. MENJIVAR BY DECISION

Claude Patrick
(-155)
VS Daniel Roberts
(+125)

This is a matchup of two really talented, underrated fighters. Patrick has trained with Georges St. Pierre for years and has a great blend of Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu. He is currently riding a 12 fight win streak and has looked great in his first two bouts in the UFC. Roberts has lost only once, a brutal knockout at the hands of John Howard. Since that loss he has racked up three straight in the organization. Look for Roberts to get the fight to the mat, where Patrick finishes with a sub. PATRICK DEF. ROBERTS BY SUBMISSION (RD 2)

Jake Ellenberger
(-200)
VS Sean Pierson
(+160)

Ellenberger had worked his way up to a matchup with Jon Fitch before Fitch was pulled to fight BJ Penn. He has outstanding wrestling, and knows what to do after he gets the takedown. Pierson was able to neutralize the wrestling of Matt Riddle in his last fight, but Ellenberger is a rising star in the division. This will be back and forth until late when Ellenberger pounds out a victory. ELLENBERGER DEF. PIERSON BY TKO (RD 3)

Nate Diaz
(-115)
VS Rory MacDonald
(-115)

Despite the fact that six of MacDonald’s ten victories are by submission, I think Diaz will still have the advantage on the ground. Diaz should also have a decided advantage on the feet as well. I can’t picture MacDonald catching Diaz with a sub, though I think he will have him in trouble a few times before Nate catches MacDonald with something from the bottom. DIAZ DEF. MACDONALD BY SUBMISSION (RD 3)

MAIN CARD

Vladimir Matyushenko
(-115)
VS Jason Brilz
(-115)

This might be the most boring fight of the night. Matyushenko is being overlooked a little bit because he got smashed by Jon Jones. But really, who hasn’t been smashed by Jon Jones. Both fighters will look to utilize their wrestling here, and it is almost a draw in that department. Matyushenko is more experienced though, and doesn’t really have a bad loss on his resume. I expect him to control the top a little bit more en route to a close decision.  MATYUSHENKO DEF. BRILZ BY DECISION

Ben Henderson
(-145)
VS Mark Bocek
(+115)

This is one of my favorite bets of the night. Henderson should be a bigger favorite than this. The UFC clearly wants to get him on track after losing the decision to Anthony Pettis in their last WEC fight. Bocek is good, but not on the level of “Smooth.” Bocek is great with submissions, but I have a hard time seeing him getting Henderson, a two time NAIA wrestling champion, onto his back. Look for Henderson to beat him up and jump in for a guillotine after ground and pound. HENDERSON DEF. BOCEK BY SUBMISSION (RD 2)

Lyoto Machida
(-350)
VS Randy Couture
(+250)

This is a risky bet, so don’t throw the farm down on it, but I think Couture is too good to pass up at this price. Machida struggled in his last three fights with Shogun Rua and Rampage Jackson when they pressed the action against him. That had been a strength for him before. Couture won’t offer the striking that those two did, but he will be the first guy in recent memory that will look to get Machida to the ground. Machida could finish this one ugly, but I will go out on the limb for the price and take Couture by a grinding decision. COUTURE DEF. MACHIDA BY DECISION

Jose Aldo
(-600)
VS Mark Hominick
(+400)

I really wish I could tell you that Mark Hominick at +400 is too good of a price to pass on. Alas, I think it’s a pretty fair number. Hominick has great standup, but probably not as good as Aldo’s. Anywhere else, Aldo has a huge edge. I think this will be a fun fight, but probably pretty lopsided. Expect Hominick to survive a round before succumbing to strikes early in the second round. ALDO DEF. HOMINICK BY TKO (RD 2)

MAIN EVENT

Georges St. Pierre
(-450)
VS Jake Shields
(+325)

Every time Georges St. Pierre fights, people try and give me a good reason why this is the guy who will beat him. I have heard the arguments for Jake Shields. I just don’t buy any of them. Jake Shields is a very one dimensional fighter. He has a great submission game, and if St. Pierre got sloppy, he could get caught. Unfortunately for Jake, GSP doesn’t really get sloppy anymore. He learned from his loss to Matt Serra to fight every fight like it is against the greatest opponent he has ever faced, and he doesn’t underestimate opponents anymore. Shields GSP is the most complete fighter in MMA, and I expect him to prove it once again on Saturday. Shields gas tank is a huge question mark at 170 lbs., and I don’t think he will last long enough to go to the judges. Look for St. Pierre to finish it off early in the 4th round.  ST. PIERRE DEF. SHIELDS BY TKO (RD 4)

SAFEST PICKS ST. PIERRE, ALDO
RISKIEST PICKS COUTURE, J. MACDONALD
CONSERVATIVE PARLAY ST. PIERRE, ALDO, HENDERSON, ELLENBERGER- PAYS 5/2
MODERATE PARLAY ST. PIERRE, HENDERSON, MAKDESSI, MATYUSHENKO- PAYS 5/1
AGGRESSIVE PARLAY PATRICK, HENDERSON, COUTURE, DIAZ- PAYS 17/1
LOTTERY TICKET PARLAY ALL 12 FIGHTS- PAYS 887/1

(all head shots used courtesy of UFC.com)