UFC On FOX 1: A Bettor’s Guide

Written by: AJ Hoffman

 

The UFC makes it’s network television debut this weekend with one of the biggest fights of the year, the heavyweight title fight between Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez. While it may or may not be the only fight you get to see on Spike, there are plenty of undercard fights you can catch on the interwebs as well. The card is handicapped below.

Aaron Rosa
(-150)
VS Matt Lucas
(+120)
 

Aaron Rosa has been a heavyweight most of his career, with varying success. He is more than willing to exchange hands, and is a very aggressive striker. Lucas was a standout in Elite XC. He has great takedowns and a very strong left hand. Rosa should be a force at this weight. Look for him to let his hands go and stop Lucas late in the fight. ROSA DEF. LUCAS BY TKO (RD 3)

  Mike Pierce 
(-375)
VS Paul Bradley(+275)

Mike Pierce was on a three fight win streak, and possibly setting himself up for a title run before losing a tight split decision against Johny Hendricks. Paul Bradley knows Pierce well. They fought before in April of 2009, with Pierce pulling out a unanimous decision. I wouldn’t expect much to be different here, with Pierce using superior grappling to control the match. PIERCE DEF. BRADLEY BY DECISION

Cole Escovedo
(-280)
VS Alex Caceres
(+210)

Both of these guys are in desperate need of a win here. Both have lost 4 of 5, and are trying to avoid their 3rd straight loss. Chances are really good that the loser of this one is looking for work after this fight. Escovedo’s story is well chronicled. He is a former WEC champ who had to step away from the sport due to a near fatal bout with staph infection. Alex Caceres, aka Bruce Leroy, is best known for his polarizing run on The Ultimate Fighter. I have yet to see Caceres prove to belong at this level. I look for Escovedo to hurt him on the feet and finish him on the ground. ESCOVEDO DEF. CACERES BY SUBMISSION (RD 2)

Mackens Semerziar
(-120)
VS Robert Peralta
(-110)

If you were a WEC fan, you know Mackens Semerziar has the potential to be great. You also know he hasn’t been yet. His ground game is not at a top level, and he just lacks consistency. He crushed Alex Caceres in his UFC debut, but who knows how much that really means. Peralta won a unanimous decision over Mike Lullo in his UFC debut, but doesn’t have nearly the experience against top competition that “Mack” does. I have gone back and forth on this one, but in the end I think Semerziar has one of those performances that gets us back on his wagon. SEMERZIAR DEF. PERALTA BY TKO (RD 2)

Norifumi Yamamoto
(-400)
VS Darren Uyenoyama
(+300)

“Kid” Yamamoto may just not be a kid anymore. The once critically acclaimed Yamamoto was a TKO machine for years, racking up a 17-1 record. He has lost 3 of 4 since, including a loss in his UFC debut. Darren Uyenoyama is a name new to UFC fans, but has had some good success in Strikeforce, piling up a 3-0 record with that organization. Call me a sucker, but I think the UFC is trying to get Yamamoto on track and lined up this fight because they think he can win it. I don’t love the odds, but I will take Yamamoto to win. YAMAMOTO DEF. UYENOYAMA BY TKO (RD 2)

DeMarques Johnson
(-280)
VS Clay Harvison
(+210)

Neither of these guys will be a threat to GSP’s title anytime soon, but this is guaranteed to be a scrap. Both of these guys are known to go in and put on a show. Both have had their ups and downs, but I have become a big fan of Harvison’s style. This fight could go either way, but at the price, I will go with the knockout power of Harvison. This is definitely one to look forward to.  HARVISON DEF. JOHNSON BY TKO (RD 3)

Ricardo Lamas
(-150)
VS Cub Swanson
(+120)

Ricardo Lamas is a veteran of the WEC, where he went 4-2 before coming to the UFC and winning his debut. Swanson is also a WEC import. His only losses with the organization came against Jens Pulver, Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes. This will be a very interesting matchup. Swanson has more big fight experience, but I think Lamas is on the verge of a breakout. LAMAS DEF. SWANSON BY DECISION

Dustin Poirier
(-350)
VS Pablo Garza
(+250)

Dustin Poirier defeated Josh Grispi in his UFC debut after filling in for Jose Aldo. The upset put him on the map, and he followed it up with a second win inside the octagon against Jason Young. Garza has a similar resume, coming up through the WEC and winning his first two fights in the UFC, both in spectacular fashion. This is another one I have gone back and forth on, but in the end the value on Garza is too good. GARZA DEF. POIRIER BY TKO (RD 2)

Ben Henderson
(-280)
VS Clay Guida
(+210)
 

Both of these guys have been on a tear of late, and the winner is going to get a crack at Frank Edgar’s lightweight title. Guida will likely look to Grind Henderson out in this one, much like he did to Anthony Pettis. The difference here is Henderson’s wrestling. He will not be easy to put on his back, and in fact may find himself taken down in this one. Henderson is the more explosive and athletic fighter, and will use those skills to get a submission. HENDERSON DEF. GUIDA BY SUBMISSION (RD 2)

MAIN EVENT

Cain Velasquez
(-150)
VS Junior Dos Santos
(+120)

This is going to be a good one. Both guys have great knockout power. Dos Santos has an underrated ground game, and he may need to show it off against Velasquez, who will have a noticeable advantage in wrestling. Dos Santos should pose the same kind of problems for Cain that Cheick Kongo did. I can’t think of many times I have seen either guy that they didn’t land big leather and rock their opponents. The thing that scares me off the champ a little is that he hasn’t fought in over a year, when he beat Brock Lesnar. I am torn, but since there is value on Dos Santos he will be my pick. I wouldn’t recommend a heavy play, other than I have a hard time seeing this going past a round or two. DOS SANTOS DEF. VELASQUEZ BY TKO (RD 2)

SAFEST PICKS PIERCE, ESCOVEDO
RISKIEST PICKS DOS SANTOS, GARZA
CONSERVATIVE PARLAY PIERCE, HENDERSON, LAMAS, ROSA- PAYS 7/2
MODERATE PARLAY LAMAS, SEMERZIER, YAMAMOTO, ROSA- PAYS 11/2
AGGRESSIVE PARLAY DOS SANTOS, HARVISON, SEMERZIER, ESCOVEDO- PAYS 35/2
LOTTERY TICKET PARLAY ALL 10 FIGHTS- PAYS 386/1

(all head shots used courtesy of UFC.com)