UFC 139: A Bettor’s Guide

Written by: AJ Hoffman

UFC 139 features former UFC, Pride FC, Strikeforce and WEC champions. The main event features two of the most accomplished men in the sport, both trying to prove they deserve another shot at the top prize. This card is literally stacked from top to bottom. For every legendary Wanderlei Silva, Shogun Rua or Dan Henderson there are top prospects such as Danny Castillo, Michael McDonald or Chris Weidman. This should be one of the best cards of the year, and hopefully this helps you make a little bit of money on it.

PRELIMINARIES

Danny Castillo
(-300)
VS Shamar Bailey
(+220)
 

Shamar Bailey is a solid wrestler. The rest of his game, ummm, needs some work. When he couldn’t take down Evan Dunham he basically turned into a punching bag. Danny Castillo is probably the superior wrestler, and will probably dominate every other aspect of the fight. Castillo could get takedowns, but I expect him to keep it on his feet, and pick Bailey apart en route to a lopsided decision. CASTILLO DEF. BAILEY BY DECISION

Matt Brown
(-155)
VS Seth Baczynski
(+125)
 

Matt Brown remains one of the heaviest hitters in the division, and his wrestling has improved enough to not be laughable anymore. Baczynski has been in and out of the UFC, but has looked great recently, probably due to the fact he has started training with Ryan Bader and Aaron Simpson. Brown is always a threat for the KO, but I think this fight goes to the mat and Baczynski closes the deal with a submission. BACZYNSKI DEF. BROWN BY SUBMISSION (RD 1)

Michael McDonald
(-400)
VS Alex Soto
(+300)
 

McDonald is truly one of the top prospects in the UFC, and has rolled through the competition so far. Soto is undefeated as a pro, but making his UFC debut. Soto’s deficit in experience will likely be one of the difference makers here, and not many guys can match the pace that McDonald can put on you. I think this will be a tough fight for McDonald, but not one he will lose. MCDONALD DEF. SOTO BY DECISION

Gleison Tibau
(-180)
VS Rafael dos Anjos
(+150)

Tibau is a huge 155 with a sloppy striking game. He has great takedowns but is limited once it is on the mat. Dos Anjos has proven to have nice power, as he ended George Sotiropolous’ run at the lightweight title with a brutal knockout. Had he not had his jaw broken by Clay Guida, he may be working his way toward a title shot now. I think he pulls off the upset, using his superior jiu jitsu to win the fight. DOS ANJOS DEF. TIBAU BY SUBMISSION (RD 2)

Miguel Torres
(-350)
VS Nick Pace
(+250)

Pace is a really good fighter, but he is probably overmatched in this fight. He lost a tough decision (and probably a bad decision) against Ivan Menjivar back in August. Torres is not the guy to right the ship against. Once considered one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, he is coming off a decision loss to Demetrious Johnson. Torres has one of the best submission games in the sport, and I expect him to win via choke.  TORRES DEF. PACE BY SUBMISSION (RD 2)

Chris Weidman
(-350)
VS Tom Lawlor
(+250)

Chris Weidman is one of the fastest rising stars in the UFC. The Matt Serra student is 2-0 in the organization, and 6-0 overall. Having lost 2 of his last 3, this is probably a do or die fight for Tom Lawlor. Lawlor is tough as they come, and has dealt with several top level grapplers, including CB Dolloway and Aaron Simpson. Weidman is just too hot right now though, and I expect him outclass Lawlor on his way to a lopsided decision win. WEIDMAN DEF. LAWLOR BY DECISION

Ryan Bader
(-350)
VS Jason Brilz
(+250)
 

Ryan Bader needs to pop the parachute, because he is free falling. After being dominated by Jon Jones, he was shocked by Tito Ortiz, losing via guillotine and giving Ortiz his first win in 5 years. Brilz is on life support, having lost 3 of his last 4, most recently being knocked out by Vladimir Matyushenko. Bader is just a better version of Brilz, with better wrestling and more power in his hands. I don’t think Bader finishes, but he probably dominates bell to bell and takes a decision. BADER DEF. BRILZ BY DECISION

MAIN CARD

Kyle Kingsbury
(-145)
VS Stephan Bonnar
(+115)
 

Kyle Kingsbury is on a tear of late, winning 4 straight in the UFC. Bonnar has won back to back fights himself, though it is pretty obvious that being tough is his best attribute at this point. That won’t be enough against the rising Kingsbury. Look for Bonnar to do what he usually does, try to make it a slugfest. Kingsbury will dominate in the clinch with knees and punches before scoring late takedowns to secure each round. KINGSBURY DEF. BONNAR BY DECISION

Rick Story
(-145)
VS Martin Kampmann
(+115)

This is an interesting clash in styles. Story was on his way to a title shot before his momentum was derailed in an upset loss to Charlie Brenneman. Kampmann, once a title contender himself, has now loss back to back fights to Diego Sanchez and Jake Shields. Kampmann is great at what he does, but will probably not be able to avoid the takedowns from Story. Look for Story to grind out a tough decision win. STORY DEF. KAMPMANN BY DECISION

Urijah Faber
(-230)
VS Brian Bowles
(+180)

This is a battle of former WEC champions looking to get a crack at Dominick Cruz, who holds a win over both guys. Faber and Bowles are both really well rounded, and both will be comfortable wherever the fight goes. I think Faber is desperate to prove himself worthy of another shot, and I think he will win in a back and forth fight that ends with a Faber submission. FABER DEF. BOWLES BY SUBMISSION (RD 3)

Cung Le
(-150)
VS Wanderlei Silva
(+120)

The more I have looked at this fight, the closer it has gotten in my mind. These two guys are going to be more than willing to trade hands, and I doubt very seriously this fight goes to the ground. Silva is nearing the end of his career, and knows how important a win here is. I may be a sucker, but I see Silva landing something big in a wild exchange and hurting Le. Whatever the result, this will be one of the most entertaining fights of the night. SILVA DEF. LE BY TKO (RD 2)

MAIN EVENT

Shogun Rua
(-145)
VS Dan Henderson
(+115)

I don’t really even want to pick this fight. These are two of my favorite fighters ever, and two true legends of the sport. Rua came back strong against Forrest Griffin after losing his title to Jon Jones, winning by first round knockout. Henderson returns to the UFC after a 4 fight stint with Strikeforce. He has gone 6-1 since losing to Anderson Silva, including a win over Fedor Emelianenko. I could honestly see this fight going either way, so I will put my money on the underdog. Either way, this is a rare opportunity to see two of the greatest of all time in the cage together. HENDERSON DEF. RUA BY TKO (RD 3)

SAFEST PICKS KINGSBURY, MCDONALD
RISKIEST PICKS HENDERSON, SILVA
CONSERVATIVE PARLAY KINGSBURY, MCDONALD, BADER, WEIDMAN- PAYS 5/2
MODERATE PARLAY KINGSBURY, WEIDMAN, STORY, CASTILLO- PAYS 4/1
AGGRESSIVE PARLAY HENDERSON, KINGSBURY, CASTILLO, BACZYNSKI- PAYS 10/1
LOTTERY TICKET PARLAY ALL 12 FIGHTS- PAYS 385/1

(all head shots used courtesy of UFC.com)