UFC 167: The Bets

Lance Fischel (@LanceFischel5)
Josh Koscheck (+100) 3 – Units
Chael Sonnen (+165) 2 – Units
Evan Dunham (-105) 2 – Units
Will Campuzano (+360) 1 – Units
Cody Donovan/Vill G. Villante Un 1.5 (+105) 2 – Units
GSP ITD (+365) 1 – Units
Jason High/Rick Story (-105) 2 – Units
Tim Elliot/Eric Perez (+101) 2 – Units
Josh Koscheck by Sub (+955) 0.25 – Units
Tim Elliot by Sun (+613) 0.5 – Units

Jay Primetown (@JayPrimetown)
Tim Elliot (-135) 1 – Units
Donovan Villante Ends ITD / Erik Perez ML (+103) 1 – Units
Jason High / Rick Story Parlay (-106) 0.75 – Units
George St. Pierre Wins ITD (+376) 0.5 – Units
High Wins by Submission (+120) 0.5 – Units
Sonnen Not ITD / Figueroa Perez Ends ITD (-118) 0.33 – Units
Cerrone Dunham Wins FOTN (+300) 0.33 – Units

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Northeast MMA Exclusive: American Fighting Organization Turmoil

The northeast has always been a hotbed for MMA but what has transpired over the past couple of months has got one promotion in deep waters.  From cancelled events, to failed sponsorship deals, to fighter pay issues and to even bounced Athletic Commission checks one local promotion needs a life vest, fast.  Thankfully, it looks like a savior, who is a big name athlete, has stepped up to throw the necessary life vest into the northeast MMA waters.  Oddly enough, by way of MMA manager and co owner of the Combat Sports Agency, Brian Gillespie.

The promotion that I am talking about is the American Fighting Organization (AFO) out of Providence, Rhode Island.  With over 30 plus events in the past six-years, the AFO is the longest active promotion in the Northeast.  AFO was also the the first organization in the northeast to have a local TV deal and at one time was the go-to promotion if you wanted to get into the UFC or other major organizations.

Sadly, over the course of the past 12 months, the AFO has destroyed several big sponsorship deals, including one that I personally brokered with my former company MMA Victor (Fantasy MMA.)  They have also cancelled numerous events and even took a half-of-year off to cool down the heat from upset fighters, sponsors and even the commission.

The last straw for AFO came last month at its annual Summer Brawl event where numerous fighters have reported that they were not paid and the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission checks bounced.  Safe to say, the AFO in its current state is not only drowning, but needs a life vest, now.

Thankfully, this is where Brian Gillespie contacted me. I had the luxury of speaking with Gillespie briefly this morning about this  deal and how a big athlete wants to right the wrongs of the past in AFO and gets these fighters, as well as others, taken care of.

“This person was planning on starting his own promotion anyway, he heard about the problems knew he could fix it and simply asked if I could step in and broker the deal. First and foremost, he is going to take care of these guys who are stuck in limbo, and make sure that everyone owed money gets paid. What happens after that is not for me to say, but it is about to get interesting again” stated BG to me this morning.

Now, when I dug for a name Gillespie wouldn’t allow me to use the other persons name, but he did tell me the “who” and fans of combat sports as well as local fighters  should get ready .

Safe to say, the northeast is going to have a revitalization and it is going to be something that MMA fans, fighters and fellow promoters will not want to miss.  Also, for anyone owed money from that Summer Brawl 6 show should contact Brian Gillespie directly.

I will have more on this as the story evolves, so stay tuned for more only here on TheMMAReport.com

UFC Heavyweight Title Bouts: Expect the Unexpected

On Saturday, May 25, UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez will look to defend his title against Brazilian Antonio “Big Foot” Silva. This is a rematch of a fight took place a year ago in which Velasquez dominated Silva from the opening bell before the referee stopped the bell near the end of the first round.

This isn’t the first time Velasquez has attempted to defend the heavyweight title. In 2010, Velasquez knocked out Brock Lesnar to win the championship for the first time, but in his first title defense, Brazilian challenger Junior Dos Santos knocked out Velasquez in the first round.

In a recurring theme over the years, the heavyweight championship has played hot potato. TheMMA-Analysis dug into BestFightOdds.com archive of betting lines for heavyweight title fights, dating back to 2007, here’s some of the results of our research:

Heavyweight Title Fights since 2007: 11
Fights where there was a defending champion: 9
Times matchup was for the vacant heavyweight title: 2
Amount of Heavyweight Title Fights won by betting favorite: 5
Amount of Heavyweight Title Fights won by betting underdog: 6
Record of Champion: 5-4
Record of Title Challenger: 4-5
Most consecutive title defenses: 1 (Accomplished 4 times)
Biggest Favorite ever in title fight: Junior Dos Santos (-475) in knockout win over Frank Mir
Biggest Underdog to win Heavyweight Title: Frank Mir (+325) in TKO win over Antonio Minotauro Noguiera
A 1 unit bet on each of the 11 eleven title fight underdogs would net a profit of 2.39 units.

On Saturday night, Cain Velasquez will be the biggest heavyweight championship fight favorite in the period of time researched. Furthermore, the title fight line will likely dwarf the largest previous heavyweight title fight line (-475). Given the relative success of title challengers, it’s hard not to consider Antonio Silva in this fight. Title challengers have won the championship over 40% of the time and betting underdogs in those fights has netted a profit of 2.39 units or a ROI of 22%.

However, given the stylistic matchup of these two fighters plus their past history, Cain Velasquez should have a relatively easy path to victory. Moving forward, should be much more challenging for the champion. The difficulty that heavyweight champions have had defending the title beyond one fight is clear and that would be a better time to back the challenger.

Heavyweight Title Fights Odds History

Heavyweight Title Fights Odds History

Special thanks to Ivan Saenz ( @IvanS61 ) for collaborating on this analysis.

Brazil vs The World: Update 2.0

In January 2013, TheMMA-Analysis published an article about “homefield advantage” for Brazilian fighters fighting in their home country against fighters from other countries around the world. At the time of that publication, Brazilians had won over 77% of those fights dating back to UFC 134. Furthermore, Brazilian favorites were 18-3 in that same time frame for an astonishing 86% win percentage.

Moving forward from our original article, there were an additional 7 Brazil vs. The World fights on January’s UFC on Fuel 7 Fight Card. The results of those fights saw the following:

UFC on Fuel TV 7: Brazil vs. World Results

UFC on Fuel TV 7: Brazil vs. World Results

• Brazilian fighters fighting on home soil had a 4-3 record against fighters from other countries

• Brazilian favorites went 4-2, while Brazilian underdogs went 0-1

• Largest international underdog to hit was CB Dolloway (+130)

• A bet on all Brazilian favorites (Risk X to win 1 unit) netted a profit of .25 units

• A bet on Brazilian underdogs saw a net loss of 1 unit

• Of the 7 fights, 3 ended in a decision, 2 ended by KO, and 2 ended in a submission

While the results were not as significantly in Brazilian fighters favor on the last card, the trend did continue overall for the Brazilian fighters. Of the five fight cards to take place in Brazil during the UFC’s modern era, all five cards have seen Brazilians win at a minimum 50% of the fights. The largest international underdog to win was Stanislav Nedkov at +220.

With that said, here are the Brazil vs. The World Matchups on the May 18th UFC on FX 8 card:

UFC on FX 8: Brazil vs The World Matchups

UFC on FX 8: Brazil vs The World Matchups

This is the largest amount of Brazil vs. The World fights there has ever been on a UFC card with 10 bouts fitting the profile. Of those 10 fights, Brazilians are favored in 8 of those bouts. In the two bouts where Brazilians are underdogs , Vitor Belfort is +105 and Hacran Dias is +110, so nearly a pickem in both of those fights.

If results for Saturday’s fights hold true to form, Chris Camozzi, Jeremy Larsen, and Mike Rio are in for a long night. All three of these fighters are greater than +220 underdogs. No underdog above that number has ever won on Brazilian soil in the UFC. A parlay of the their three Brazilian opponents: Ronaldo Souza, Lucas Martins, and Francisco Trinaldo pays (as of publication) +106. A plus money wager to continue this trend is certainly intriguing.

In our analysis, Brazilians have won 25 of 34 fights that we have tracked for a winning percentage of 74%. If results hold true, expect Brazilians to win 7 or 8 of these 10 bouts. Brazilians tend to win roughly 50% of their matches when priced as an underdog, with two small underdogs on Saturday’s card, expect either Vitor Belfort or Hacran Dias to get the win.

As for fighters outside of Brazil, there should be 1 or 2 underdog winners on this card. The non-Brazilians have had their most success in fights where they are priced in the +120 to +140 range. In short, small underdogs that have been larger than their opponents that have a wrestling advantage or capable of preventing takedowns. Both Chris Cariaso and Azamat Gashimov are close to that price range and have a size advantage in their respective bouts against Jussier Formiga and John Lineker. Look for either the American or the Russian to win on Saturday.

Saturday’s large fight card should be really telling to show just how significant the Brazilian advantage is. The event takes place at a new venue with a lot of fighters fighting in the UFC for the first time on Brazilan soil. Brazil is no longer a novelty location, so the idea of strategic matchups just so Brazilians are winners should no longer be in question. Saturday’s fights should give us the clearest picture to if there truly is a home octagon advantage for Brazilians.

Brazil vs The World: Full Result Chart

Brazil vs The World: Full Result Chart

The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale Weigh In Highlights

The weigh ins for the “TUF” finale have just been completed, with all fighters but one making their contracted weights on their first attempt. As always, I’ll touch on a few weigh ins that were notable, if I don’t mention it assume both guys looked in top shape and are ready to roll.

Maximo Blanco (147)* vs. Sam Sicilia (146)

Blanco missed weight on his first attempt, even with the use of Dana and Burt’s incredible towel holding skills. He has one hour to cut another pound, he didn’t look all that sucked up and uncomfortable, so it shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s still cause for concern.

Sicilia looked a little better his second time in at this weight. Still looks unhealthy but better than last time where it didn’t seem to effect him much. I was probably going to be Sam anyway, so this helps.

Cole Miller (146) vs. Bart Palaszewski (145)

Cole Miller weighed in for the second time at this weight as well, missed weight at first but made it after the towel came into play. Still looks like he has a hard time getting to this weight. Bart looked great, ready to go.

Clint Hester (185) vs. Bristol Marunde (185.5)

A member of last seasons’ “TUF,” also known as the worst season ever, Bristol Marunde made weight but didn’t look to be in the best of shape. Hester looked great. Bristol probably still has more tools but as I told the boss, I always fade the love handles.

Travis Browne (239) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (261)

Gonzaga weighed in looking a little bit larger than normal, but still in good shape. Browne came in a little bit lighter than normal, looking perhaps in a little bit better shape. Might have focused on his speed and cardio for this fight.

Miesha Tate (135.5) vs. Cat Zingano (136)

This weigh in was notable because it was the first ever UFC face-off in bikinis….and because it appears that Miesha Tate got a little cosmetic work done in preparation for this fight. Fun times!

Kelvin Gastelum (186) vs. Uriah Hall (185)

Kelvin also had to use the towel after weighing in just a tad bit over 186. Hall looked great as always, bet accordingly.

Urijah Faber (136) vs. Scott Jorgensen (135.5)

Both guys looked as per usual, both guys are pros at cutting weight, no issue for either man.

*Maximo Blanco was able to make weight on his second attempt

Conor McGregor vs. Marcus Brimage: The Striking

Switching it up from our normal main event/co-main event breakdowns we go all the way down into the Facebook prelims for a featherweight bout between Ireland’s Conor McGregor and Alabama’s Marcus Brimage. Much has been made about the debut of Cage Warriors standout McGregor, so I decided to delve deeper into the fight, especially the striking aspects of which this fight is expected to feature. That and I have a striking article…..so there’s that.

Conor McGregor:

McGregor brings with him to the cage an all-out attacking style of striking. It’s not the technical, set up power strikes with jabs type of game, it’s the throw everything hard as he possibly can type of game. He’s got good offensive boxing, throwing combinations rather than picking one spot, and he mixes up his attacks with straights, hooks, and uppercuts. Fighting southpaw, he punches almost exclusively to the head, he also like to lead with an uppercut at times, which is dangerous. He’s great moving forward, but offers little on the defensive side of things, tending to back straight up and keep his head in the same position regardless of where he’s at in the cage. He kicks hard, almost exclusively from the rear leg, mixing up front kicks with round kicks to legs, body, and head. He most recently showed a penchant for throwing some wild, 360 degree spinning kicks, something which isn’t usually recommended.

Out of every fight I watched I saw him slip one punch, where he finished a clearly outmatched Ivan Buchinger after about the tenth straight left in a row. His chin has held up well, although it doesn’t seem he’s faced anybody that could test it. He deserves some credit for that though as well, as his aggressive, in your face style forces opponents into uncomfortable situations. He’s got good power, finishing eleven of his twelve wins by TKO/KO, mostly in the first round.

Marcus Brimage:

Brimage is perhaps the most athletically gifted fighter in the UFC, and that’s saying something. He’s clearly the more technical striker of the two, and is improving every fight. Also a southpaw, he works behind a decent jab and attacks with very good boxing, changing levels and mixing up shots to the body and head. His head movement is subtle but effective as it should be, able to slip punches and counter with a powerful left hook. He utilizes angles well, able to get his opponent to circle with him, stop on a dime and attack with straight punches. His speed his perhaps his best asset, as most opponents just aren’t able to keep up with him at 145lbs. He’s got okay kicks but is mostly a boxer. He’s not a huge power puncher, but has the ability to finish with flurries. His chin has held up as well, never being finished in his career.

The Advantage:

After watching the tape I see a clear striking advantage for Marcus Brimage in this fight. You’ve heard me preach head movement before, when to strikers fight and one doesn’t move their head, I’m usually going to go with the guy who does. McGregor looks like a guy who has fought and prepared for subpar caliber opponents. When you are throwing in capoeira kicks but fail to implement proper head movement and striking defense, you’ve obviously seen no need for it. In the lower circuits a game plan of superior pressure striking and crazy ground scrambles can win you a belt, but it can get you put to sleep in the big show.

Brimage possess stellar head movement, McGregor basically stands a bit hunched over and attacks. Brimage’s ability to utilize angles will also play a big part in this fight as he should be able to lull McGregor into following him around the cage before planting and attacking. McGregor loves to stand right in front of guys which plays into Marcus’ game. Anything can happen with a pressure fighter like Conor, but short of blitzing right out and overwhelming Brimage, Marcus should win should the fight be a kickboxing match. Even if this fight goes to the ground, Marcus showed a much improved defensive game against the very talented Jim Hettes, who is much more talented than McGregor on the ground. I already bet Brimage at +130, and I’ll bet it again should the price go up.

Should you disagree with me or your Irish and just want to hurl obscenities at me for picking against your guy, get at me on Twitter @Hof23. Good luck!