UFC 137: A Bettor’s Guide

Written by: AJ Hoffman

UFC 137 definitely lost a little luster with Georges St. Pierre dropping out of the main event against Carlos Condit with a knee injury. Overall the card is solid though, with Penn and Diaz being a very worthy replacement headliner. There are several young prospects making their UFC debut, as well as some old vets making a return. The card is handicapped below.

PRELIMINARIES

Dustin Jacoby
(-120)
VS Clifford Starks
(-110)
 

Tough fight to call since there isn’t a lot of film on either guy. They are also very similar. Starks probably has a little bit better wrestling, as evidenced in his decision win 2 weeks ago against Houston’s Artenas Young. Jacoby seems to be the more willing and capable striker. From the little I have seen, Jacoby seems like the more interesting prospect. I will take him to walk out with the win. JACOBY DEF. STARKS BY TKO (RD 2)

Chris Camozzi
(-130)
VS Francis Carmont
(+100)

Carmont trains with Georges St. Pierre at TriStar and is a pretty solid prospect. Camozzi has had his shot at the big time and has failed to impress. I expect Carmont to be put on his back, but Camozzi has proven to be submittable. Carmont has 8 wins by submission, and look for him to make Camozzi number 9.  CARMONT DEF. CAMOZZI BY SUBMISSION (RD 2)

Ramsey Nijem
(-220)
VS Danny Downes
(+175)

This is Nijem’s first fight since losing (surprisingly) to Tony Ferguson on The Ultimate Fighter finale. Downes is a WEC vet who went 15 minutes with Jeremy Stephens, which is an accomplishment in it’s own right. Nijem should have a significant advantage in the wrestling department. Look for him to take Downes down and grind out a decision win. NIJEM DEF. DOWNS BY DECISION

Brandon Vera
(-500)
VS Eliot Marshall
(+350)

When you get cut after going 3-1 in the UFC, they obviously aren’t in love with your style. That is the case with Marshall. Vera has been whipped recently, but his style affords him another opportunity. Vera has fought considerably tougher competition, and has a few inpressive wins. This seems like a matchup put together for Vera to shine. I think he does just that. VERA DEF. MARSHALL BY TKO (RD 3)

Tyson Griffin
(-400)
VS Bart Palaszewski
(+300)

Griffing just broke a three fight losing streak with a win over Manny Gamburien. Palaszewski was on a great tear in the WEC before dropping his last fight to Kamal Shalorus. He struggled against the much stronger wrestler, which is exactly what Tyson Griffin is. Griffin should be able to keep Palaszewski on his back en route to a frustrating, but lopsided win. GRIFFIN DEF. PALASZEWSKI BY DECISION

Donald Cerrone
(-260)
VS Dennis Siver
(+200)

This is lined up to be one of the best fights on the card. Both are great strikers and both are on a recent tear. There aren’t many lightweights who are more accomplished strikers than Cerrone, but Siver is just that. Cerrone could pull this out if he decides to force the fight to the mat, but knowing “Cowboy”, he will go down trying to put on a show. Should be exciting to say the least, and I can’t see Siver finishing Cerrone. I do see him pulling out a close win. SIVER DEF. CERRONE BY DECISION


MAIN CARD

Scott Jorgensen
(-450)
VS Jeff Curran
(+325)
 

Curran has been out of the UFC for a while. He hit some hard times, but has recently righted the ship. Jorgensen has been tearing through everyone he has faced whose name isn’t Dominick Cruz. Curran will try to keep Jorgensen on his back, but his takedown defense is good enough for him to keep it up, where he will have a noticeable advantage.  JORGENSEN DEF. CURRAN BY KO (RD 1)

Hatsu Hioki
(-400)
VS George Roop
(+300)
 

I have seen so many great Japanese fighters come over to the UFC and fall completely flat once they make it. Hatsu Hioki is a hidden gem, who has spent the last several years dominating the international circuit with his outstanding grappling. George Roop can usually be counted on to put on a good show, but he is far from an elite featherweight. Hioki could fall victim to the Japanese curse, but I just have a hard time seeing it against Roop. HIOKI DEF. ROOP BY DECISION

Roy Nelson
(-260)
VS Mirko Cro Cop
(+200)
 

This is a really tough one for me to call. Cro Cop is one of my favorite fighters ever, and in a dream scenario, he would head kick Roy Nelson to the moon. Sadly, this isn’t a dream. Nelson has an iron chin and will have a considerable advantage when it goes to the mat. Expect for Nelson to test himself on the feet against Cro Cop, and should the situation ever get murky, take him down and finish the legend with ground and pound. Not the way I want to see Cro Cop go out, but it is hard to call it any other way. NELSON DEF. CRO COP BY TKO (RD 3)

Matt Mitrione
(-140)
VS Cheick Kongo
(+110)
 

Matt Mitrione started out getting by on sheer athleticism, but he has blossomed into a really good fighter. He has passed every test he has been faced with. Kongo will be a whole different monster. He is riding high coming off his incredible comeback win over Pat Barry. Mitrione is a great finisher when he has you in trouble. He will be willing to stand and throw with Kongo, and right now I just trust Mitrione’s chin a little more than the Frenchman’s. MITRIONE DEF. KONGO BY KO (RD 2)

MAIN EVENT

BJ Penn
(-130)
VS Nick Diaz
(+110)

It has been quite some time since we had such an evenly matched main event. Both Penn and Diaz have great boxing and great jiu jitsu. This is one of those fights where both guys have a respect for the other’s strengths. The question will be who dictates where the fight takes place, and who can avoid making a big mistake. Diaz is definitely the hotter fighter right now, but has not faced nearly the competition that Penn has recently. Penn gassed late in his fight against Jon Fitch, which cost him what looked like a sure win. He seems to be taking his cardio much more seriously in this camp. Diaz has to prove he belongs after his antics leading up to the event cost him a title shot. I really think this fight could go either way, but I will go with BJ seeing as he has a little more big fight experience. PENN DEF. DIAZ BY DECISION

SAFEST PICKS JORGENSEN, VERA
RISKIEST PICKS PENN, JACOBY
CONSERVATIVE PARLAY NIJEM, VERA, JORGENSEN, NELSON- PAYS 2/1
MODERATE PARLAY NIJEM, GRIFFIN, CARMONT, MITRIONE- PAYS 5/1
AGGRESSIVE PARLAY GRIFFIN, SIVER, MITRIONE, PENN- PAYS 10/1
LOTTERY TICKET PARLAY ALL 11 FIGHTS- PAYS 150/1

(all head shots used courtesy of UFC.com)