By Dan “Get Off Me” George
It’s finally happening, Potato Nation. Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen a.k.a “the fight fans have been asking for” is set to go down this Saturday from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Although many fans have focused on the chemistry (or lack thereof) between Chael and Jon as reason enough to pass on this pay-per-view event, UFC 159 will be offering a solid card of competitive fights which on paper may make it a sleeper that you won’t want to miss.
So join us as we continue to contribute to the Save Danga’s Legs Fund (he’s almost better, but he likes the nurse visits) by highlighting where to place your money on a few undercard and all of the main card bouts. All betting lines courtesy of BestFightOdds.
Steven Siler (-120) vs. Kurt Holobaugh (+100)
Steven Siler comes in at around -130 for his fifth UFC appearance and will improve his Octagon record to 4-1 should he emerge victorious against the debuting Strikeforce veteran in Holobaugh. In his last outing, Siler was tarred and feathered by Darren Elkins‘ wrestling and was unable to take control of the fight for any sustained period of time. As an underdog who has only tasted defeat once in his career (a decision loss to Pat Healy), Holobaugh at even money or better is a solid choice. Kurt fights like a veteran and showed he can hang with some of the best in the world while dominating anything less than that caliber. Coming out of the Gracie Barra gym, Holobaugh will be too tough for Siler to submit and will put Super’s stand up game to the test with his own excellent striking. Holobaugh for the slight upset win.
Rustam Khabilov (-300) vs. Yancy Medeiros (+250)
The Sambo suplex machine rolls into town as a healthy -300 favorite and will look to couple his grappling skills with Greg Jackson’s game planning prowess (close the distance and look for a takedown) to overwhelm his +250 underdog opponent, Yancy Medeiros. Not sure about the line on this, but it may start to narrow leading up to fight night, as Yancy is notorious for finishing his fights with his fists, something Khabilov will surely try to avoid. Khabilov’s only loss was a split decision in Russia, while Medeiros has no losses on his record thus far. Historically, the classic grappler vs striker matchup puts Khabilov to win, but it’s only worth putting in a parlay at these odds. Khabilov by decision.
Main Card PPV:
Going directly to the FOTN bonus prop here. With both fighters only losing to top lightweights in the past three years respectively, this tilt will surely use all sides of the Octagon to showcase a high-paced, hotly contested bout. Looking at the skill sets of these fighters, a look at the prop that this fight goes the distance (provided -250 or better) is also another way not to get burned in this one. The hometown fighter paying out 30 cents on the dollar against what some may consider a carbon copy of himself seems a little steep, so sticking with the props and tighter odds is safest. Jim to pull off the hometown decision but not at that price.
With a moniker like “Mr.Wonderful,” it comes as no surprise that the price tag is -300 on Davis out-grappling BJJ specialist and former TUF finalist Vinny Magalhaes. Davis underwhelmed some in his lackluster outing against Rashad Evans, being dominated both on the mat and in the stand up portions of their contest. With the betting line in mind, the cost of wagering that Davis will not be caught in a submission or vulnerable position (like Evans was able to exploit) is too high. Magalhaes can hold his own on the mat, will avoid submissions, but may not be able to control Davis, which all points to a fight goes the distance prop. Davis to win via decision by fending off Vinny’s ground game.
If you took a stranger off the street, showed them photos of both fighters and asked them who will win if they fought, chances are Kongo would get the nod more often than not. However, -240 is almost a gift though when you look at the quality of opponents Nelson has been into deep waters with inside the Octagon. We may get a look at Roy’s ground game in this fight as Nelson will surely look to exploit Kongo’s less than stellar grappling abilities. Kongo is a world class striker, but Roy has an out of this world chin and some power of his own, something that has proved successful against Kongo in the past (the Mark Hunt fight comes to mind). Nelson is parlay bound and “fight does not go the distance” is also an alluring prop option (proption?) when two heavy hitting heavyweights step into the cage.
To the disappointment of many, “The Talent” showed that he still has issues with strong grapplers in his rematch loss to Yushin Okami at UFC 155. Thankfully, we should be spared this issue in his opponent and -170 favorite, Michael Bisping. Bisping tends to prefer striking over grappling, favoring using his crisp, quick stand up skills to outpoint many a fighter in the UFC. Belcher will surely welcome a stand up contest and may have the slight advantage if the fight takes place on the feet, where Bisping has been clipped by high level strikers before en route to losing. Belcher at +140 is the most alluring pick as an underdog on the main card to stop the takedown of Bisping and win the striking battle.
Facing a 10-to-1 favorite with literally perfect takedown defense, finding the advantages Chael has to win against Jon Jones may be an exercise in futility. The popular consensus is that “Bones” will beat Chael hands down and that ultimately the main event will be an anticlimactic squash match of sorts. However, Jones may use this opportunity to finish Chael where arguably the greatest fighter in MMA could not, inside 5 minutes, which may offer an exciting fight that pays a solid return on the prop bet that this fight does not go out of the first round. For the fans that get together for fights, friendly wagers that propose Jones does not get taken down will also add some suspense to a fight where most believe the outcome is simply a formality. I’m not saying Chael has no chance; you all are. I’m simply agreeing here.
-Holobaugh + Nelson
-Khabilov + Belcher
-Davis + Holobaugh + Nelson
Please share your thoughts on who you like to walk away with a “W” this weekend, CP nation.
Enjoy the fights and may the winners be yours!