After what has been a long six weeks, a UFC event is finally on the horizon, Potato Nation. And thank Allah, because we were starting to get desperate. Like a Jencum addict without a balloon desperate. In either case, tomorrow night’s UFC on FUEL event provides the perfect opportunity for us to regret ever becoming gambling addicts in the first place, so let’s skip the bullshit and get right to it. Check out the betting lines, courtesy of BestFightOdds, and join us after the jump for our advice on where to place your hard-earned cash.
Alexander Gustafsson (-220) vs. Thiago Silva (+180)
Brian Stann (-400) vs. Alessio Sakara (+325)
Paulo Thiago (-145) vs. Siyar Bahadurzada (+125)
Dennis Siver (+150) vs. Diego Nunes (-170)
DaMarques Johnson (+140) vs. John Maguire (-160)
Brad Pickett (-230) vs. Damacio Page (+190)
Preliminary Card (Facebook)
James Head (+200) vs. Papy Abedi (-240)
Tom DeBlass (-200) vs. Cyrille Diabate (+170)
Magnus Cedenblad (+225) vs. Francis Carmont (-265)
Yoislandy Izquierdo (+190) vs. Reza Madadi (-230)
Besam Yousef (+250) vs. Simeon Thoresen (-300)
Jason Young (-185) vs. Eric Wisely (+160)
Here we go…
The Main Event: Given all the praise Gustafsson has been receiving as of late, combined with the fact that Thiago has been out of action for over a year now, the spread is a bit closer than we would have imagined. It might be due to Gustafsson’s recent list of victims, which includes the now retired Matt Hamill and the 41-year old Vladimir Matyushenko, or it could be attributed to the fact that we’ve yet to see Gustafsson’s chin really tested. Given Silva’s well documented power, he’s not a terrible choice if you’re looking to go balls out, but we’re going to stick with “The Mauler” here. He’s undoubtedly quicker than Silva and a smarter fighter to boot. He should have this, more than likely by way of second round GnP TKO.
The Good Dogs: At first glance, Siver looks pretty good as a slight dog. He’s coming off a tough loss to Donald Cerrone, however, prior to that he put together an impressive four fight win streak over good to mid-range competition. But when you take into account that he’s making his featherweight debut, and took two tries to make weight, he could be in for a long night against Nunes, who will likely hold the speed advantage over the German. It’s a tough call, but should be a great fight no matter which way it goes. Just for the heck of it, we’ll place a small bet on Siver, because the man has looked Goddamn brilliant in most of his victories.
And speaking of great fights, look no further than the Paulo Thiago/Siyar Bahadurzada scrap, which has FOTN written all over it. Thiago has been struggling as of late, recently rebounding from a two fight losing streak by decisioning David Mitchell back at UFC 134, but is one tough SOB in victory and defeat. Bahadurzada, on the other hand, has been on a killing spree over the past three years, scoring five wins by way of (T)KO in his current six fight win streak. The fact that he’s making his UFC debut does not tilt the scales in his favor, nor does the fact that Thiago has never been finished before, but like we said, it all comes down to how much you’re willing to lose. If that number is relatively high, a side bet on Bahadurzada is more than justifiable. Just keep him out of your parlay.
Looking over the rest of the card, one name that pops out is Damarques Johnson, who is coming off an impressive KO victory over a less than impressive opponent in Clay Harvison. We’ve only seen Maguire fight once in the UFC, on the other hand, and though he demonstrated a great grappling base when he decisioned Justin Edwards at UFC 138, he has yet to face anyone with as much experience as Johnson. If “Darkness” can keep it standing, look for him to end this one early. The fact that Cyrille Diabate is listed as a significant underdog to an injury replacement opponent on less than a week’s notice in Tom DeBlass should tell you the direction that one’s going to go. Steer clear.
The Sure Thing: Brad Pickett. Damacio Page hasn’t fought since his rematch with Brian Bowles at UFC Live 3 in which he was choked out at the exact same time he was choked out in their first meeting. He’s got some decent power, but is simply too one dimensional to handle a seasoned veteran like Pickett, whose only losses in the past five years have come to top contenders in Scott Jorgensen and Renan Pegado.
Prelim Steal: Reza Madadi, who more than lives up to his nickname.
Official CagePotato Parlay: Gustafsson + Stann + Pickett + Carmont + Madadi
Suggested wager for a $50 stake
-$20 on the parlay
-$5 on Silva
-$5 on Siver
-$10 on Bahadurzada
-$10 on Johnson