UFC 136: A Bettor’s Guide

 

Written by: AJ Hoffman

 

HERE WE GO HOUSTON! UFC 136!!! The time is upon us. The card is HUGE! Two title fights, a number one contender fight, and a stacked undercard. It is gonna be sweet. That said, I won’t lie. I don’t have a great feel for this card from a betting perspective. I won’t be betting the card myself, save probably two fights. I have a good feeling about some underdogs, namely Lauzon and Stann, but could also see them getting destroyed. Anyhow, without further ado, here is my best shot at a bettor’s guide. Enjoy the show Houston!

PRELIMINARIES

Steve Cantwell
(-145)
VS Mike Massenzio
(+115)

This is a pink slip match, plain and simple. Cantwell has lost 3 straight, all by decision. Massenzio has lost 3 of his last 4, and the lone win came on a local show. Expect Massenzio’s wrestling to be the difference in this match, controlling Cantwell en route to a unanimous, but not crowd pleasing, decision. MASSENZIO DEF. CANTWELL BY DECISION

Aaron Simpson
(-400)
VS Eric Schafer
(+300)

Schafer returns to the octagon filling in on late notice for Nick Catone, who injured his Achilles leading up to the fight. Simpson is on a two fight win streak. Schafer’s two losses in the UFC came against Ryan Bader and Jason Brilz, two top level wrestlers. Aaron Simpson happens to be a top level wrestler. Expect a heavy dose of takedowns and hold-downs for Simpson en route to an easy win. SIMPSON DEF. SCHAFER BY DECISION

Tiequan Zhang
(-130)
VS Darren Elkins
(+100)

If you don’t know Tiequan Zhang yet, you probably will soon. Zhang has excellent standup and an above average ground game. Elkins is a solid wrestler but is probably most remembered to Houston MMA fans for being submitted in :41 seconds by Charles Oliveira. Zhang does a good job avoiding takedowns and will punish Elkins in the standup game. If it does go to the mat, I expect Zhang to finish the fight.  ZHANG DEF. ELKINS BY SUBMISSION (RD 2)

Stipe Miocic
(-240)
VS Joey Beltran
(+190)

Joey Beltran is tough as hell. That is indisputable. I thought he might be the first person to die because of leg kicks when he fought Pat Barry, and he didn’t go down until the end of the third round. Stipe Miocic has only fought small local shows, but has a great pedigree as a boxer and collegiate wrestler. I am excited to see him fight. http://tiny.cc/4zfnn and http://tiny.cc/y38oe. Not gonna lie. Excited to see this guy in the UFC. Expecting big things. MIOCIC DEF. BELTRAN BY TKO (RD 2)

Demian Maia
(-300)
VS Jorge Santiago
(+220)
 

Santiago is a great watch every time. He has great striking and goes for broke. Also has an underrated ground game. Despite that, Demian Maia should walk through him. He is arguably the most dangerous guy on the ground in the UFC, and his standup, while not pretty, has become more and more effective. Look for Maia to work the fight to the mat and choke Santiago for the win. MAIA DEF. SANTIAGO BY SUBMISSION (RD 1)

  Anthony Pettis
(-280)
VS Jeremy Stephens
(+210)
 

This fight jumps out as a bargain to me. Pettis is very good, and probably the better all around fighter. Stephens has cartoon power though, and Pettis has shown a willingness to stand and trade when his opponent is willing. Stephens will be more than willing. I have gone back and forth on this pick, but if I had to lay money on it, I would go with Stephens at this number. STEPHENS DEF. PETTIS BY TKO (RD 3)

MAIN CARD

Nam Phan
(-240)
VS Leonard Garcia
(+190)
 

Nam Phan was the better fighter the last time out. He was robbed. Now he is pissed off that he was robbed, which is exactly why I think he will lose this fight. I think Phan pushes extra hard not to let this get to the hands of the judges, and any wildness plays right into Garcia’s strengths. Not a play for me, but at almost 2-1 I like the odds on Garcia. GARCIA DEF. PHAN BY TKO (RD 3)

  Melvin Guillard
(-400)
VS Joe Lauzon
(+300)
 

Guillard has a great chance to win this fight. I just don’t trust him. I probably should be over his past performances by now, getting choked out by Joe Stephenson and Josh Neer right when he was on the cusp of contention. He is as close to the top as he has ever been. Will he be able to perform when it matters the most. Lauzon is a tough guy who will always dig for submissions, even when he is under fire. I assume he will be under fire, and especially at 3/1, I will pick Lauzon to capitalize on a mistake. Again, not a play for me, but you get no value on Guillard at -400. LAUZON DEF. GUILLARD BY SUBMISSION (RD 2)

Chael Sonnen
(-280)
VS Brian Stann
(+210)
 

This is a really interesting match to determine who gets next crack at Anderson Silva. Sonnen obviously has the better track record, but has also lost a lot of fights you wouldn’t have expected to lose. Stann has been dominant since making the switch to middleweight. Sonnen hasn’t fought in well over a year, while Stann has stayed busy and is improving with every fight. I will go with the upset again here. I think Stann can fight off most of the takedowns, and his ground game has improved to the point where he can threaten Sonnen even when he is on his back. STANN DEF. SONNEN BY TKO (RD 2)

Jose Aldo
(-400)
VS Kenny Florian
(+300)
 

Anytime someone has dominated their division the way Jose Aldo has it is easy to assume he will continue to walk through every fight, a la GSP and Anderson Silva. Kenny Florian is no walkthrough opponent. He gets a title shot after just one fight at 145 lbs., but he is a clear threat to Aldo. I think he will make a tough fight for the champion, but in the end Aldo will avoid enough takedown attempts to punish Florian on the feet en route to a late finish. ALDO DEF. FLORIAN BY TKO (RD 4)

MAIN EVENT

  Frankie Edgar
(-130)
VS Gray Maynard
(+100)
 

Don’t ask me. These guys are obviously really evenly matched. I think Maynard is stronger, and Edgar is faster. Edgar is probably more skilled, but Maynard seems more desperate for a win. Flip a coin. I am taking Edgar, but I really don’t have a clue. I just hope that the fight is as competitive as their last time out. EDGAR DEF. MAYNARD BY DECISION

SAFEST PICKS MAIA, SIMPSON
RISKIEST PICKS EDGAR, LAUZON
CONSERVATIVE PARLAY SIMPSON, MAIA, ALDO, MIOCIC- PAYS 2/1
MODERATE PARLAY MAIA, MIOCIC, ZHANG, MASSENZIO-PAYS 6/1
AGGRESSIVE PARLAY MIOCIC, ZHANG, STANN, STEPHENS-PAYS- 23/1
LOTTERY TICKET PARLAY ALL 11 FIGHTS- PAYS 2213/1

(all head shots used courtesy of UFC.com)