By Dan “Get Off Me” George
Grab your cowboy hats and pack up your saddles my fellow CP readers, because this weekend we are headed to the home of the world famous Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta, Canada for UFC 149 Barao vs Faber! From a wagering standpoint, this card is pretty much a prime example of why bookies offer MMA betting lines, as this card is chock full of close fights and odds that will surely entice the gambling public as well as crush the majority of parlays, all the while raking in money for the house.
Luckily for you (or not), we do not have to go on the cuff for this card, as those who followed UFC 148’s GAE were rewarded with a 4 team parlay that paid out 7 to 1 at the window. All betting odds are courtesy of BestFightOdds.com, so join me as I try to offer some insight on how to go after plus units on Saturday’s upcoming card.
Bryan Caraway (-190) vs. Mitch Gagnon (+175)
Both fighters have strong submission skills, but I believe Caraway is the favorite because the majority of the public believe “Kid Lighting” is the better submission fighter out of the two. At around -200, Caraway should have what it takes to out-grapple his Canadian counterpart and find a way to win this fight. This may be stretching my psychic abilities to the max, but upon victory, I expect Caraway to announce that he is undergoing a sex change, signing with Strikeforce, and challenging Ronda Rousey to a “loser leaves town” match at 135 lbs. Any takers?
It has been a long time coming for CP’s own Ryan Jimmo, who will be riding a 16-fight win streak and fighting in his own backyard against the always tough (not to mention streaking) Australian vet Anthony Perosh. This fight boils down to whether or not Jimmo can find himself on top of Perosh for sustained periods of the fight en route to scoring a stoppage or decision win (likely the latter). I can’t pick a winner here, but I will go with the prop that the fight goes over 2.5 rounds or fight goes the distance. Jimmo will not be easily submitted and Perosh will not be easily finished; those are the only things I am certain of in this fight.
Rolande Delorme (+107) vs. Francisco Rivera (-117)
TUF 14 alum Roland Delorme has looked better with each appearance in the octagon, most recently “stunning” than submitting slight favorite and fellow Canuck Nick Denis at UFC on FOX 3. That said, I still think Francisco is the better all around fighter and is only a slight favorite because of where this event is taking place. I see Delorme possibly being able to find himself on the ground in favorable positions with Rivera, but Rivera’s no slouch, and should be able to control the fight on the feet and fend off most of what Delorme has to offer on the ground. I would just enjoy this fight and take some notes for future reference.
I’ll put it simply: If this goes the distance, McGee is going down. Nick was able to best McGee in their bout back on TUF 11, and it’s not like Ring hasn’t been gifted decisions in the past (Riki Fukuda). Considering that the heroic tale of Nick Ring thwarting a mugging has captivated the local community, I would not be surprised to see him pull out another close decision in his fight with McGee, thanks in no small part to the seedy underbelly of both Canada and MMA judging in general. That’s right, the fix is in and I’m calling it. I think Court has hit a plateau of sorts, and unless he presses forward and tries to finish this fight, he may become a victim of that round bacon-eating, Molson-drinking excuse for a crowd (I kid, I kid). Again, a prop bet that this fight is decided by the judges will be where I look at laying my money.
Matt Riddle has consistently shown that he is willing to fight for the fans (look no further than his most recent win over Henry Martinez) and I believe that, while he could lay-n-pray his way to victory here, he may just go out and stand toe-to-toe with Clements. Unless Riddle has made a marked improvement in his striking game, I am going to lean on the Canuck as the underdog to find a way to win this fight by outgunning Riddle.
Brian Ebersole (-360) vs. James Head (+325)
File this one under “bad odds.” Much like with the Mendes/Mckenzie fight at UFC 148, the best opportunity to make some money here is by finding a prop on Ebersole winning inside the distance. I do not see this fight going the distance, so this is where anything near -400 territory is ignored in favor of even money on the prop side of the book.
Cheick Kongo (+115) vs. Shawn Jordan (-125)
All signs point towards Jordan and the price is ultra alluring. This line has recently tipped in favor of Jordan, but like with Riki Fukuda at UFC 148, line movement is not gospel and often can be misleading. In this instance, Jordan is the favorite and seems to have all the tools to stop Kongo with his striking if he keeps it on the feet and avoids Cheick’s unconventional style of GnP (shorts grabbing, testicle shattering, etc). I really want to say Jordan takes this by TKO, but I can’t ignore Cheick’s ability to pull wins/draws/decisions out of his ass when he is counted out by the public. If there is plus money on the prop that this fight goes the distance, I will be looking to put my money there, but picking a winner could be a parlay crusher.
While I want to suggest Tim Boetsch will find a way to take this fight down on the cards, or take advantage of a gassed Lombard as the fight goes on, I keep picturing Boetsch moving forward and exchanging with Hector en route to suddenly finding himself looking up at the lights. It is no news that Hector hits harder than anyone Boetsch has faced before and I think Hector will be able to find Boetsch’s off switch before the end of the third round. Boetsch does not throw the straightest of punches and his constantly pressing style plays right into Hector’s powerhouse hands.
That being said, at Boetsch’s current rate, even a small bet could pay off if Lombard decided to come down with a case of the octagon jitters. “The Barbarian” doesn’t have nearly as much to prove as Lombard, who has likely been under a tremendous amount of pressure and stress to prove that he is more than a glorified can crusher, so a small bet on Boetsch wouldn’t be a terrible idea, just an incredibly risky one. In either case, just keep it the hell away from your parlay.
I have heard that Barao looks depleted and so on, but I contribute this to his travel to the great white north more than anything. I think come fight night, Barao makes Faber his 30th straight victim for more reasons than I have time to list. Simply put, this feels like Aldo/Faber 2, and like his training partner from Nova Uniao, Barao will find Faber’s lead leg with ease while picking “The California Kid” apart using his reach and those devastating knee’s. The -200 price tag is another reason that Barao is a parlay must here. Currently 0-4 in his last 4 title fights, Faber is going to show us what he does best as of late when gold is on the line, push the fight to the limit but come up short in the end.
Parlay 2(Bellator bonus)
-Jimmo/Perosh goes the distance
-Ring/McGee goes the distance
-Ebersole/Head does not go the distance
-Ebersole wins inside the distance
Bet what you feel comfortable with and may the winners be yours!
As always, please share your thoughts on who you think will win this Saturday night in the comments section.