Things didn’t go so hot last time for your old buddy the Gambling Addiction Enabler. Sometimes you ride the bull, and sometimes the bull knocks two of your teeth out on a Russian game show. That’s life. But even if you never take our betting advice again, you owe it to yourselves to at least check out the odds for Sunday’s UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko show, because whoever set the lines for the preliminary card must have been high on cheese. As always, the opportunity for profit is there, if you’re a little smart and very lucky. BestFightOdds.com with the numbers…
Jacob Volkman (-116) vs. Paul Kelly (+115)
Matt Riddle (-150) vs. DaMarques Johnson (+185)
James Irvin (-160) vs. Igor Pokrajac (+155)
Mike Massenzio (-150) vs. Brian Stann (+140)
Charles Oliveira (-300) vs. Darren Elkins (+300)
Rob Kimmons (-215) vs. Steve Steinbeiss (+175)
Let’s go to work…
The Main Event: After crunching the numbers, I’ve determined that Vladimir Matyushenko has exactly zero ways to win this fight. Not that freak upsets don’t happen all the time in MMA, but that’s no justification to lay money on somebody, even if you’d theoretically get 4.5 times your investment in return. Matyushenko’s strength is his wrestling, and yet Jon Jones is a more dynamic, effective wrestler. Jones holds the edge in standup, and will be aided by an insane reach advantage. He’s more athletic and more creative than Matyushenko. The betting line reflects all this. But at -505, Jones isn’t worth a straight bet, and he’s barely worth including in a parlay. Let’s move on to the real action…
The Good ‘Dogs (aka "The Great Preliminary Card Clusterf*ck of 2010"): Man, where to begin. James Irvin is without a doubt the most cursed fighter on the UFC’s roster. Four out of his last five fights have ended with him writhing on the mat in pain, clutching either his eye or his knee, and he’s coming back from a horribly botched attempt at a middleweight run. Pokrajac may be 0-2 in the UFC, but I can’t help but think he’s a safer bet, simply because he isn’t a magnet for bad luck. At the very least, don’t put money on the Sandman.
Next on the list is Darren Elkins, whose +300 line should catch your attention like a $20 bill in a urinal. Do you dare pick it up? We know that Oliveira is an undefeated wrecking machine with great grappling credentials — but virtually all of his wins came against guys you’ve never heard of in Brazilian minor leagues. Elkins has already shook off the first-time Octagon jitters, and honestly, his resume is just as impressive. So why is he such a heavy underdog? Don’t ask, just place your wagers before the oddsmakers wise up.
Finally, Matt Riddle (-150) vs. DaMarques Johnson (+185). I had to read that three times to make sure the + and – weren’t in the wrong places. Johnson has been a walking highlight-reel since his time on TUF 9, scoring a Submission of the Night bonus against Edgar Garcia, and a Knockout of the Night award against Brad Blackburn. Riddle, on the other hand, has just sort of cruised along under the radar since his own TUF 7 stint, picking up decision wins over Steve Bruno and Dan Cramer, getting TKO’d by Nick Osipczak and taking a DQ victory after being upkicked by Greg Soto at UFC 111. Riddle has the advantage in wrestling, but Johnson has more weapons overall, and he should rightfully be the favorite in this fight.
Meanwhile, Back on the Main Card: With a similar toolset as Okami, Munoz has a solid chance at scoring an upset here; I don’t see him being physically bullied around like the guys Okami has defeated in the past. John Howard is also worth a look. He’s already 4-0 in the UFC, and though his victories haven’t always been pretty, he’s the definition of a gamer. (See his knockout win over Dennis Hallman at the TUF 10 Finale, with five seconds left in a fight that he might have lost on the scorecards.) For some reason, Howard’s name hasn’t caught on yet, which might be why he’s not getting the proper respect from oddsmakers. Gomi’s pretty much toast, though.
Suggested Wagering Breakdown, Based on a Hypothetical $50 Stake:
– $10 parlay on Jones + Griffin
– $10 on Johnson
– $10 on Elkins
– $10 on Pokrajac
– $5 on Munoz
– $5 on Howard