UFC 130: A Bettor’s Guide

Written by: AJ Hoffman

UFC 130 lost a little bit of luster with injuries to both Gray Maynard and Frank Edgar, delaying their rubber match for the UFC lightweight title. It is a deep card though and boasts former UFC champions Rampage Jackson and Frank Mir. There are some surprisingly lopsided betting lines, and some even money bets. Should be a good night of fights to kick of the run of 6 straight Saturday nights with Zuffa action.

PRELIMINARIES

Renan Barao
(-375)
VS Cole Escovedo
(+275)

Renan Barao is a 24 year old Brazilian who lost his first fight by split decision. He has not lost in the 26 fights since then. His competition level has been so-so, but he does hold WEC wins over Chris Cariaso and Anthony Leone. Escovedo is a former WEC champion who missed almost three years of action with a life threatening staph infection. Escovedo has been in the cage with top featherweights, including Urijah Faber and  Michihiro Omigawa, but has not had much success against them. These guys are headed in different directions at this point. BARAO DEF. ESCOVEDO BY SUBMISSION (RD 1)

Michael McDonald
(-350)
VS Chris Cariaso
(+250)

McDonald is one of the hottest prospects that made the move from WEC when their talent moved to the UFC. He won his UFC debut against Edwin Figueroa in March, earning him Fight of the Night honors. Cariaso is also a former WEC fighter who won his debut against Will Campuzano at the Fort Hood card in January. McDonald will likely be too well rounded for Cariaso to keep up. MCDONALD DEF. CARIASO BY DECISION

Gleison Tibau
(-375)
VS Rafaello Oliveira
(+275)

Oliveira is back in the UFC after going 4-0 in smaller shows following his release. He likes to be aggressive, but has a tendency to gas and struggles against strong wrestlers. Gleison Tibau is a strong wrestler. He will have a huge size advantage and should score plenty of takedowns. Tibau pulled out a split decision over Kurt Pellegrino, who has a better all around game than Oliveira.  TIBAU DEF. OLIVEIRA BY DECISION

Kendall Grove
(-150)
VS Tim Boetsch
(+120)

Every time I see Boetsch on a card I am shocked that he is still in the UFC. He is just not that level of a fighter in my opinion. That said, he is going up against Kendall Grove, who has dropped 3 of his last 5 fights. I almost always pick Grove because I always feel like his reach advantage should make him a better striker than what he has shown lately. I will stick with Da Spyder, as he tends to rise to the occasion when his job is on the line, which it probably is (for both guys) in this fight. GROVE DEF. BOETSCH BY SUBMISSION (RD 2)

Miguel Torres
(-115)
VS Demetrious Johnson
(-115)

This fight really could go either way, as the betting line clearly reflects. Torres looks like he may have returned to title form. He has outstanding reach and an excellent submission game from the bottom. Johnson is an excellent wrestler and an up and coming prospect in the division. Johnson will probably score some takedowns in this fight, and Torres will probably land some nice shots on him when he does. I think Torres’ submission game is the tiebreaker here, and I expect him to pull one off late in an exciting fight. TORRES DEF. JOHNSON BY SUBMISSION (RD 3)

MAIN CARD

Travis Browne
(-160)
VS Stefan Struve
(+130)

Travis Browne has yet to lose a fight. His only hiccup was a draw against hard hitting Cheick Kongo. Every dog has his day though, and I expect Saturday will be Browne’s day. Struve is a handful to deal with because of his size. He utilizes his jab well and has nice kicks. He is also excellent with submissions, which is how I expect he will end this one. STRUVE DEF. BROWNE BY SUBMISSION (RD 2)

Thiago Alves
(-210)
VS Rick Story
(+165)

Alves is an absolute monster when he makes weight. He has not lost to anyone but Jon Fitch and Georges St. Pierre since 2005. Story is on a 5 fight win streak, but one of those is a debatable decision over Nick Osipczak. Story is really good, but this is a pretty big step up in competition for him. Alves will look to utilize the leg kicks that he dominated John Howard with. Alves is too much for Story here. ALVES DEF. STORY  BY TKO (RD 2)

Roy Nelson
(-115)
VS Frank Mir
(-115)

This is another really intriguing matchup. Whoever wins this probably jumps back in to the top tier of heavyweights, while the loser probably drops well out of contention. The division will likely get a big influx of talent with the Strikeforce acquisition, so this is an important fight for both guys. They have a lot in common. Both are great on the ground and have really heavy hands. I think Mir will get too comfortable standing, as he tends to, and eat a heavy shot that ends his night early. NELSON DEF. MIR BY KO (RD 2)

Brian Stann
(-145)
VS Jorge Santiago
(+115)

Brian Stann made a statement in his last fight, knocking Chris Leben out on New Year’s Day. He has been dominant since moving to 185 lbs. Santiago has also been impressive of late. He lost 2 of 3 his first stint in the UFC back in 2006, but has since gone 11-1. Santiago is the real deal and has been facing good competition outside the UFC, fighting in both Strikeforce and Sengoku. This fight really could go either way, but I will go with Stann. This number will probably push closer to even money as the fight happens, so bet accordingly. STANN DEF. SANTIAGO BY TKO

MAIN EVENT

Rampage Jackson
(-350)
VS Matt Hamill
(+250)

I will go ahead and say now, I think Rampage is going to win this fight. That said, I could not blame anyone one bit for throwing a little coin down on Hamill at this price. In fact, I will probably hedge a little against some parlays with Hamill to win. This should be a lot closer to the Stann-Santiago line. Rampage is coming off a huge win against Lyoto Machida. He has taken this training camp very seriously, which he didn’t do before his fight with Rashad Evans. Rampage still hits as hard as anyone in the division. Hamill has also been on a tear, winning 5 straight (including the controversial win over Jon Jones) since being TKO’ed by Rich Franklin. Rampage will look to keep it on the feet, and Hamill will not have an easy time getting in for a takedown. Not many guys that Hamill goes against are stronger than him. Rampage is. Fight could go either way, but my pick is Jackson. JACKSON DEF. HAMILL BY TKO (RD2)

SAFEST PICKS GROVE, TIBAU
RISKIEST PICKS JACKSON, NELSON
CONSERVATIVE PARLAY JACKSON, GROVE, TIBAU, BARAO- PAYS 5/2
MODERATE PARLAY ALVES, TORRES, GROVE, TIBAU- PAYS 5/1
AGGRESSIVE PARLAY TORRES, NELSON, GROVE, STRUVE- PAYS 25/2
LOTTERY TICKET PARLAY ALL 10 FIGHTS- PAYS 88/1

(all head shots used courtesy of UFC.com)