By Dan “Get Off Me” George
This Saturday night, Zuffa will close out 2012 with a rematch between former UFC champion Cain Velasquez and current heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos. It has since been revealed that both fighters were injured heading into their original matchup (cue the guy who says “all fighters fight with injuries”), so there are a lot of extraneous factors heading into the rematch that you should seriously consider before placing your bets.
With a 3-4 record over the past 7 UFC shows, the GAE has slipped into the red for the first time since UFC 148 (thanks in no small part to that God damned injury curse) and we need a boost to avoid dining on Newfoundland steak and mashed potatoes in 2013. UFC on Fox 5 was a particularly cruel mistress, and like a Diaz brother taking a realtor’s exam, the result was a miserable failure. So follow us after the jump as we keep it short and sweet in the hopes of turning a profit for UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2.
Leonard Garcia will be looking to avoid his fourth consecutive loss against a young up-and-comer out of Hawaii in Max Holloway. Holloway will enjoy a 12yr advantage in the father time category and I believe Garcia gives him the stand up fight he wants on Saturday night. Holloway will be too fast and this may very well look like a Cerrone/Garcia barnyard sparring session, with Holloway playing the role of “The Cowboy.” Max makes the parlay list and wins in an exciting affair as “Bad Boy” tries to find the mark with those crazy hands of his while Holloway picks him apart from the outside.
In a PPV card-worthy affair, two of the top bantamweight contenders do battle to see who moves up the ladder in the 135lbs division. Both fighters are coming off equally impressive KO victories — Wineland stopping Jorgensen and Pickett finishing Jabouin. While I believe Pickett’s advantage is on the ground here, something tells me Pickett may opt to strike with Eddie, which basically is where Wineland has his best chance of finding victory. Pickett may only need “One Punch” to stop fights, but he sure likes to take more than one punch during said fights, and I believe that where Jabouin did not have the power to gain Brad’s respect, Wineland will. At almost even money, I like Wineland to outwork Pickett and take this fight via decision, as both fighters are very difficult to finish.
Chris Leben (-155) vs. Derek Brunson (+135)
In what may be a microcosm of 2012 for the UFC, this fight has suspensions, injuries and short notice replacements all wrapped together in one main card fight. Derek Brunson may be the first fighter to ever make his UFC debut coming off of back-to-back losses, but I suppose it has been that kind of year for Zuffa. I like the -150 territory with Leben as the small favorite, but until I see how “The Crippler” looks in the octagon, I will stay away from placing such a wild card match up in any parlays.
Cashing in as a huge underdog in his last outing, Alan Belcher comes into this fight at even money against a career top five middleweight in Yushin Okami. This fight is close at the books and comes down to where this fight will take place, on the feet with Belcher getting the better of Okami or on the ground with Okami on top winning in the eyes of the judges. I am not entirely sure if Belcher will shy away from the ground here or welcome a grappling affair with Okami, but if the latter is true I do not like his odds against Yushin. Belcher may keep this fight standing but I am unsure if he will be able to and ultimately will not place this fight in a parlay. Belcher by TKO or Okami by decision (just like Gustafsson vs Shogun with better odds).
How do you get pick ‘em odds when you place a fighter coming off back-to-back victories over top tier 185ers against an up-and-coming prospect whose highest profile victory came against Court McGee? I’m not quite sure, but the argument that Philippou can outbox and even stop the Barbarian is just as plausible as the notion that Boetsch could find a way to win in his last two bouts, yet he did all the same. I think training with guys like Chris Weidman will serve Costa well in this fight, but Boetsch is a cut above any competition Costa has faced before. That being said, I like Philippou to stop the takedown and steal Boetsch’s momentum in the 185 division.
Jim Miller is a little over -200 against the submission ace Joe Lauzon, who is definitely the favorite to win if this fight does not get out of the first round. Miller has shown that he has some submissions skills against strong grapplers (Oliveira) as well as some difficulties (Nate Diaz), but I see the more durable Miller being able to take this fight into the latter rounds, where Lauzon generally seems to fade. Not going to include him in the parlay, but I think Miller bounces back from his loss, out wrestles Lauzon, and wins by decision.
I do not believe there is a fighter in the HW division who can take the belt from JDS right now, plain and simple. Cain needs to take this fight down to the ground if he is going to win, something he has acknowledged and something that no one has been able to do to dos Santos yet. Did Cain not hit his takedown in the first fight due to a torn ligament in his knee? Or was “Cigano” simply able to avoid the takedown like he has been able to do against every opponent who has tried before in the UFC? Until I see Junior put on his back or even rocked during stand up exchanges, I will continue to surmise that these things won’t happen to him. Cain may once again be the biggest threat JDS has faced, but the line now is -200 because the public is starting to believe that maybe Cain will not be able to take JDS down repeatedly over the course of the fight without catching a KO shot from the champ first. I think JDS wins this fight inside the distance and retains the HW title.
Holloway-JDS ($30 wins $30)
Guillard-JDS ($10 wins $17)
Holloway-Wineland ($10 wins $14)
Here’s hoping to see you all healthy, happy and wealthy in 2013, Nation. Enjoy the fights and may the winners be yours.