UFC 142: A Bettor’s Guide

 

Written by: AJ Hoffman

 

UFC 142 takes us back to Brazil, and the card is stacked with Brazilian talent. The headliner features Jose Aldo defending his featherweight title against Chad Mendes. The co-main matches up Brazilian legend Vitor Belfort against the hulking Anthony Johnson. You will also get to see some up and coming talent like Felipe Arantes, Yuri Alcantara, Edson Barboza, Ednaldo Oliveira and Erick Silva. The card is handicapped below.

PRELIMINARIES


Antonio Carvalho
(-220)
VS Felipe Arantes
(+175)
 

Antonio Carvalho is a Canadian jiu jitsu artist making his promotional debut. Looking over his resume, the first thing that jumps out is his decision win against Hatsu Hioki. Not a lot of people have those on their record. Arantes, who fights out of one of Macaco’s gyms in Brazil, is more of a striker than a ground worker. He has found the most success when he has been able to keep things standing. Carvalho is great on the mat, but it will be tough for him to get it there in this fight. ARANTES DEF. CARVALHO BY DECISION

Mike Pyle 
(-500)
VS Ricardo Funch 
(+350)
 

“You’re welcome.” – Mike Pyle after getting off the phone with Joe Silva after he is told he will be fighting Ricardo Funch next. Pyle is a former WEC champion who has some solid wins since he has been in the UFC. Funch got two fights and was cut. He won a fight against Ryan Quinn in Amherst, MA and was called back in to fight Pyle. Expect dominance. PYLE DEF. FUNCH BY SUBMISSION (RD 2)

Yuri Alcantara
(-200)
VS Michihiro Omigawa
(+160)
 

Alcantara won his UFC debut against Felipe Arantes, pushing his record to 26-3. He is a really well rounded fighter, who has great jiu-jitsu and good power. Omigawa is what he has always been. A good judoka with little else in the arsenal. This shouldn’t be a tough match for Alcantara. ALCANTARA DEF. OMIGAWA BY SUBMISSION (RD 2)

Gabriel Gonzaga
(-130)
VS Ednaldo Oliveira
(+100)

Gonzaga was cut from the UFC after losing three of four fights. The truth about him though, is that he doesn’t really have much of a resume. He has a highlight reel head kick KO against a “post-Pride” Mirko Cro-Cop, and losses against every other good heavyweight he has ever fought. Ednaldo Oliveira is the real deal. The Junior dos Santos protege is unbeaten in 15 pro fights, and has obscene knockout power. Gonzaga is the favorite here on name alone. Keep in mind that he was the short notice injury call-up, not Oliveira. OLIVEIRA DEF. GONZAGA BY KO (RD 1)

Thiago Tavares
(-150)
VS Sam Stout
(+120)
 

I have picked against Sam Stout literally every time he has fought in the UFC. I am starting to get tired of being wrong. He doesn’t have many tools besides his standup, and it isn’t usually all that great looking. Yet, he keeps winning. Tavares is up and down, but he is coming off a TKO win over Spencer Fisher last time out. Tavares may put him down and pound him out, but I am going to go with Stout this time by ugly decision. STOUT DEF. TAVARES BY DECISION

MAIN CARD

Edson Barboza
(-280)
VS Terry Etim
(+210)
 

Terry Etim isn’t bad. He has gone 5-1 in his last 6 after losing 2 of his first 3 in the UFC. He just hasn’t seen a guy like Barboza. Vicious leg kicks, good submission game. The unbeaten Barboza has it all. Look for him to press Etim and make him uncomfortable for three rounds en route to a lopsided decision victory in front of the home crowd. BARBOZA DEF. ETIM BY DECISION

Erick Silva
(-550)
VS Carlo Prater
(+375)
 

Houston sends another fighter to the big show in Carlo Prater, but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is his first big time fight. Prater is a veteran who has been in the cage with some of the top guys in the UFC (Condit, Guillard). Silva is a stud prospect who has yet to lose as a professional. He is a beast in pretty much every department. He will come in much bigger than Prater, who has been fighting at 155 pounds. This is a tough call for me, and I will probably put a little scratch on both guys. Silva in a parlay or two, and Prater straight up at the big value number of +375. Silva should win this fight, seeing as he will have a huge size advantage and Prater is coming in on short notice, but it wouldn’t shock me if Prater pulled off the big upset. I think Silva wins, but for betting purposes I will recommend you play the much better value, which is Prater. CARLO PRATER DEF. ERICK SILVA BY SUBMISSION (RD 3)

Rousimar Palhares
(-500)
VS Mike Massenzio
(+350)
 

I don’t think many guys were lining up to fight Rousimar Palhares. Mike Massenzio needs a job though, and this is what they offered him. I don’t see many scenarios that have Massenzio winning. Palhares is a beast. He finds a way to get it to the ground, and he grabs a leg in a scramble and finishes the fight. PALHARES DEF. MASSENZIO BY SUBMISSION (RD 1)

Vitor Belfort
(-115)
VS Anthony Johnson
(-115)

This fight could go one of two ways. Either Johnson rushes in and crushes Belfort minutes into the fight, or Belfort survives the opening scare and pulls Johnson into uncomfortably deep water. Johnson will be HUGE at 185, despite being the guy who last fought at 170. Belfort is trying to make one more run for a title, and I will trust he doesn’t get sloppy early in the fight. BELFORT DEF. ANTHONY JOHNSON BY DECISION

MAIN EVENT

Jose Aldo
(-260)
VS Chad Mendes
(+200)
 

There are few bigger Jose Aldo fans than me. He really does have one of the most complete games in MMA, and to me sits right behind Anderson Silva and GSP as best pound for pound guy in the world. He isn’t unbeatable though. If you told me to create a fighter who could beat Aldo, I would give you Mendes. He is physically stronger than Aldo and has world-class wrestling. Look for Aldo to implement the leg kicks that beat Mendes’ teammate, Urijah Faber. Also look for Mendes to turn kicks into takedowns, and control the fight en route to a decision win and a title. At 2/1, this is a value bet unless you think Aldo is going to have a brutal KO early on. MENDES DEF. ALDO BY DECISION

SAFEST PICKS PALHARES, PYLE
RISKIEST PICKS BELFORT, PRATER
CONSERVATIVE PARLAY BARBOZA, PALHARES, PYLE, ALCANTARA- PAYS 2/1
MODERATE PARLAY BARBOZA, ALCANTARA, STOUT, OLIVEIRA- PAYS 15/2
AGGRESSIVE PARLAY MENDES, PALHARES, OLIVEIRA, ALCANTARA- PAYS 10/1
LOTTERY TICKET PARLAY ALL 10 FIGHTS- PAYS 922/1

(all head shots used courtesy of UFC.com)