By Seth Falvo
I have a feeling that most of you degenerate gamblers are going to take this weekend off. And hey, that’s a very logical decision. The TUF: China Finale is packed to the brim with squash matches and unknown prospects, and if you’re the type of person who doesn’t normally watch Bellator or Titan FC, it would be an incredibly stupid risk to throw money down on fighters you barely recognize.
Which is exactly what makes a “Gambling Addiction Enabler” for this weekend’s fights so appropriate. With the UFC hosting an obscure Fight Pass card — and Bellator and Titan FC featuring guys you’ve heard of but aren’t necessarily invested in — only the most hardcore MMA fans and the most hopeless gambling addicts are going to be risking their money on this weekend’s fights. If you fall into either category, we’d be letting you down if we decided not to share our rock-solid (*tries to stop laughing*) gambling advice with you.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys drinking Camo 24, betting on professional wrestling, getting a PhD in English, and other reckless, high-risk activities, then read on for my picks and suggested parlays, which are based on the odds at 5Dimes. May the winnings be yours.
The Main Events
It’s hard to disagree with the odds here. Kim has not only faced tougher competition, but he also has the advantage of fighting on his home continent; not exactly a frivolous observation, as Kim himself would be quick to point out. A straight bet on Kim won’t yield an impressive return, but it does make for a low-risk parlay addition.
On paper, Christian M’Pumbu is exactly the type of fighter who Rampage Jackson should have zero problems with — he’s as pure of a kickboxer as you’ll find in a major MMA promotion, who would rather stand and trade haymakers than clinch against the cage. Yet after watching Jackson’s promotional debut against Joey Beltran, Rampage at -450 is not even remotely worth the risk of an upset. Especially when you consider that Bellator is sort-of hoping for Rampage vs. King Mo in the next round of this tournament, which obviously means that at least one of them is destined to lose on Friday night. M’Pumbu at anything over +450 would be worth a $5 for shiggles, but at +360? Move along, people; this fight is in Stay the Hell Away From territory.
Unfortunately, there is no “This Fight Will Make Everyone Feel Very Empty Inside” prop.
Also Worth Consideration
I’m surprised that Shawn Jordan isn’t a bigger favorite. Jordan has the better record, the more impressive resume, and better wrestling; he should have zero problems with Matt Mitrione. Honestly, the only advantage that I’m giving to Mitrione is that his body isn’t covered in blatant scratch worthy of a spot on our ugliest tattoos in MMA list. Seriously, person who drew Jordan’s chest/shoulder piece, what the hell?
TUF: China Finale: Hatsu Hioki (-400) vs. Ivan Menjivar (+280)
Bellator 110: Mike Richman (-250) vs. Des Green (+190)
Bellator 110: Will Martinez (+280) vs. Goiti Yamauchi (-370)
Titan FC 27: Bryan Goldsby (+240) vs. Kevin Croom (-300)
And now we’re entering the squash match portion of the upcoming bouts. Don’t be fooled by Hatsu Hioki’s three-fight losing streak — he has looked unstoppable on Asian soil. Add on that this fight is a must-win for him, and there’s no way that his hand isn’t getting raised on Friday. Over in Bellator, Mike Richman should prove too experienced and well-rounded for Team Bombsquad product Des Green. Goiti Yamauchi is a twenty-one year old grappling ace with thirteen of his sixteen career victories coming via submission — eleven of which coming in the first round — fighting an 8-2 curtain-jerker. The prop that this fight will last less than 1.5 rounds is definitely worth exploring here. Meanwhile, in Titan FC, Kevin “The Hard-Hitting Hillbilly” [Author Note: Not sure if nickname is awesome or terrible] Croom is not only also a fantastic grappler, but he also benefits from fighting a 17-15 journeyman with seven career submission losses. Easy call.
The Good Dogs
Both Phan and Lee are coming off of losses, but Phan is favored here because he’s an Asian (sort-of) fighting in Asia, I guess. Except, you know, Phan grew up in California, so there is no “fighting on his home continent” advantage here, and Lee has proven that he can win in Asia at this level with his victory over Kid Yamamoto at UFC 144. At +145, a straight bet won’t provide a ton of bang for your buck, but Lee makes for a relatively low risk parlay addition.
“Hey, I’ve actually heard of this guy, so he will win” isn’t exactly a smart betting strategy. This is especially true with Mikhail Zayats; he has won eight of his last ten fights — including a first-round TKO over Babalu — and those two losses come to Emanuel Newton and Vinny Magalhaes. Bessette’s resume is slightly less impressive, but he’s an attractive pick simply due to how inconsistent Diego Nunes has looked recently. Nunes has lost three of his last four fights, and is coming off of a quick, nasty knockout loss to Patricio Pitbull at Bellator 99. Bessette isn’t worth a spot in your parlay, but a straight bet on him is far from the worst way you could spend $5 this weekend.
Stay the Hell Away From
Titan FC 27: Matt Riddle (-180) vs. Michael Kuiper (+150)
Remember our “Who Is the Biggest Waste of Potential in MMA History” roundtable? You can pretty much copy and paste what ReX13 wrote about BJ Penn here for my analysis of this fight. On paper, yes, this is Riddle’s fight to lose. But after a year that has consisted of retirement, unretirement, pulling out of fights, and getting fired from Bellator for Riddle, betting on “Deep Waters” this Friday is just as risky as betting on a post-Sonnen Paulo Filho: He may fight like the elite fighter he is, or he may put in the bare minimum effort needed to collect his paycheck, or he may decide to pull out of the fight at the last minute because, you know, whatever. The bottom line here is that this fight is a crap shoot, and neither fighter offers an attractive enough return on your investment to justify the risk. Just say no.
Suggested Stakes for a $50 Wager
The Ultra-Conservative Approach:
$25 on Kim+Hioki+Ricci parlay (returns $20.44)
$20 on Richman+Yamauchi parlay (returns $15.57)
$5 on Shawn Jordan (returns $3.70)
In the likely event that all three bets pay off, you’ll earn a total of $39.71 for your efforts.
The Live Dangerously Approach:
$20 on Richman+Yamauchi+Jordan parlay (returns $41.91)
$20 on Kim+Zayats parlay (returns $53.29)
$5 on Matt Bessette (returns $14.25)
$5 on Croom+Lee parlay (returns $11.33)
I once read that the biggest mistake that novice gamblers make is betting not to lose; whether that’s a quote from a book about Nick the Greek or something I read off of the bathroom wall at a gas station casino is irrelevant. With a little luck, this parlay returns $120.78.
The “Whatever, It’s Mardi Gras #YOLO” Approach:
$25 on Hathaway+Bessette+Gurgel (returns $2,169.50)
$20 on Lee+Zayats (returns $119.65)
$5 on Matt Riddle (returns $2.78)
Semi-Related: It’s common for gambling addicts to find the rush of losing and trying to win back their losses more addictive than actually winning. I figured that was an appropriate disclaimer to use before casually pointing out that this strategy will return $2,291.93. Have a nice day.