By Dan George
The UFC returns to lovely…Newark, New Jersey this weekend with UFC 169, featuring a pair of lighter weight title fights and what *should* be a loser-leaves-town fight between Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir that you know who seems unwilling to commit to. There’s also a few badass Russians, a hard-hitting Canadian, and a surging TUF alum thrown in for good measure, so it should be a hell of a card.
And with each UFC pay-per-view comes the p4p best gambling advice on the internet: The Gambling Addiction Enabler. So join us below as we dissect UFC 169 and determine where the best opportunities to make some serious bank lie, because let’s be honest, we’ve all got child support payments to make. What? You don’t have any illegitimate children? I feel like I don’t even know you guys anymore.
The Good Dogs:
John Makdessi (-165) vs. Alan Patrick (+145)
At -165, Makdessi earns the right to be the favorite against undefeated Alan Patrick, who will be looking to make it 2-0 in the UFC. Both fighters are coming off first round knockout wins and while Makdessi has earned his stripes against better competition, it is hard to ignore “Nuguette’s” (?) winning formula thus far in his career. There is no denying that Makdessi is the more talented striker, but Patrick mixes up his striking with takedowns very well which may present problems for Makdessi if he is unable to stop the larger man from taking him down early and often. Against Hallman, “The Bull” showed that his Achilles heel is the ground game and this is where Patrick at +145 is worth some consideration based on what we have seen from him throughout his career.
Andy Enz (+160) vs. Clint Hester (-185)
Hester is a very solid stand up fighter coming in as the -200ish favorite against a relatively unknown Andy Enz, who will bring a perfect 7-0 record (5 via submission) into his Octagon debut. Training out of Gracie Barra Alaska, the 22 year old Enz has earned his nickname “Tank Mode” with a knack for his heavy grappling prowess, something Hester (9-3) may have trouble with if he cannot keep the fight standing. If Andy can take Hester down, the scales tip heavily towards Enz finding a way to finish the fight, but if Hester can keep the fight standing, all signs towards Clint picking up his third straight stoppage victory in the UFC. The undefeated prospect gets the finish over Hester, who has dropped 2 out of his 3 professional losses by submission.
Chris Cariaso (-145) vs. Danny Martinez (+125)
-145 favorite Chris Cariaso will look to bring his UFC flyweight record above .500 against WEC veteran Danny Martinez. Despite being his first bout in the UFC, Martinez has gone to the score cards with some of the highest caliber fighters in his weight class since he turned pro in 2006, but recently suffered a suprising loss to David Grant at the TUF eliminations for Team Rousey vs Team Tate. The prop that Cariaso wins by decision should pay out roughly 2 to 1 and is a respectable choice when noting Cariaso has 4 of his 5 UFC wins by decision.
Abel Trujillo is a small underdog at +120, but in the first tough test of his career, he came up short against The Eagle in which could be described as a veritable sambo clinic. Recognizing that Varner has fought higher level competition as of late and has the experience advantage suggests taking him as a favorite in the fight. The +230 prop that Varner wins this fight by decision may be a fruitful option in the plus money category as Trujillo has not been stopped since 2011.
Frank Mir at +280 is approaching the same price he was valued at against JDS and Daniel Cormier. Alistair Overeem has changed camps three times in as many fights and is now fighting for his job against arguably his toughest test in the UFC. OK, not arguably…but still a very live dog. The one major caveat that pops up can be found in Alistair’s ultra dangerous clinch game, which has spelled the death of Mir in his losses to Shane Carwin and Josh Barnett. Here’s to Frank keeping his back off the cage and hands by his head until Overeem gases.
Stay the Hell Away From:
Watson came out of the gate early this week at -200 territory which has quickly shifted towards -185 in the past 48hrs. Nick Catone will be returning to his familiar stomping grounds (as well as the middleweight division) as the +160 underdog. “The Jersey Devil” has only lost once in eight contests inside New Jersey state lines and has the tools in the grappling department to give Watson trouble here. If Catone can close the distance on Watson, the only question that remains is whether or not Nick can get the takedown. If Nick cannot take Watson down, the likelihood of Watson ending this fight inside the distance is strong (3 of Catone’s 4 losses have come inside the distance). Really hard to imagine Catone is as good a grappler as Thales Leites, but he may not have to be to still find his way to a decision victory. Simply too hard to predict this one.
Certainly a FOTN selection here as both men are known to produce fireworks inside the Octagon. The most interesting bet would be if Lineker makes weight at this point, since the fight itself is way too volatile to try a predict a winner when looking at how readily these two plant feet and launch bombs. The +105 prop that this fight goes the distance is not as interesting as just sitting back and enjoying the shootout between these two prospects.
Until Aldo looks to be in trouble in the Octagon, it will be business as usual for the champion, who will look to use his superior Muay Thai in combination with his legendary takedown defense to defeat his Lamas. “The Bully” poses the threat to take Aldo down and control the fight on the ground, but it is merely a threat that Aldo has faced and effectively overcome in the past. The prop of -121 that this fight starts round 3 may be a chance to shorten the price of wagering on this fight when acknowledging Aldo has gone past 3 rounds in his past two outings.
Faber has been 0-5 in fights where Zuffa gold is on the line, always rebounding and seemingly coming back better than ever. Urijah is sure to bring his most exciting brand of fighting into his rematch with Barao, who effectively out struck Faber and limited his takedown ability by punishing the California Kid’s lead leg at UFC 149.
Win or lose, it is hard to argue that Urijah Faber has had a very special 2013 and has proven that no matter what weight class he is in, he can still find a way to title contention. Barao most likely picks up right where he left off in the first fight with Faber and continues his run of dominance at the UFC Bantamweight champion.
Enjoy the fights and may the winners be yours!