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I’ve mentioned that college football is my forte when it comes to getting in on the action and betting on games. While that is true to an extent, I have to admit to you gentleman that may be an alternative fact. While I do well for myself in the fall betting on 18-22 year-old kids every Saturday, I’ve made the most money throwing down coin on Mixed Martial Arts.
Many look at MMA as a sport full of douche bags who wear Tapout and Affliction shirts while they dry hump each other in their underwear. Fair observation. In reality, MMA combines a number of tough martial art disciplines, where each and every one could end the fight at a moment’s notice. Strength, agility, endurance, and explosive power are constantly on display. Due to this being an up and coming sport, many of you may not have the knowledge to place your bets on the fighters that you should. Fear not, fellas, Mel is here to help you out. We have two different events this weekend, a Fight Night from the UFC and Bellator 172. Neither are stand out events, but both have a few fights that are intriguing, and both definitely have some value fights worth betting on. Let’s get to it.
All of the odds listed are those at mybookie.ag as of February 16.
UFC Fight Night: Halifax
Heavyweight: Travis Browne (-105) vs Derrick Lewis (-115)
This heavyweight matchup is the main event for UFC’s Fight Night in the Great White North. Derrick Lewis is a talented prospect who is on a five-fight win streak and possesses arguably the worst nickname in the game (The Black Beast). He comes with a ton of power and horrendous cardio. He’s up against Travis Browne, the long time contender who has faced the who’s who of UFC heavyweights. He’s dropped four of his last six fights after losing in a title eliminator against former champ, Fabricio Werdum. Browne has a ton of tools, and is proficient in every aspect of the game. If you’re not a fan of the fight game, you might know Browne for his current girlfriend, Ronda Rousey. Because of that relationship, Browne moved his camp to Glendale Fight Club to train with Rousey and the absolute worst coach in the sport. Facing criticism, he’s been moving around camps in preparation for the fight. The odds are about even for the fight, and Browne is a slight dog. I look for Browne to use his footwork, cardio, and crisp boxing to outclass Lewis, wearing him down finishing him via TKO in the second. He has too many tools for Lewis to have an answer.
The bet: Travis Browne, -105
Middleweight: Hector Lombard (-140) vs Johny Hendricks (+120)
This is a matchup of two guys who are on the back nine of their careers. Hendricks has lost three of four after losing the welterweight title to Robbie Lawler and had missed weight in his past two fights causing his bump up to 185 lbs. Lombard also has had issues making weight at welterweight, with this only being his second fight at 185. He comes off two consecutive losses, being stopped in both fights. Physically, these two are in a different league. Lombard looks juiced to the tits (and has been caught multiple times), and Johny blows up to 220 lbs when he’s not in fight camp. Johny has long been called lazy, getting by on his extremely good wrestling and God-given power, and has been accused of mailing it in as of late. After his last fight, he noted that retirement was a thought in his mind, and that he would talk to his wife. Being one foot out in this sport is never good, especially when facing a physical freak like Lombard. I look for Hendricks to wear down in the second half of the fight, and for Hector to pour it on, stopping him in the second round with punches.
The bet: Hector Lombard, -140
Heavyweight: Fedor Emelianenko (+110) vs Matt Mitrione (-130)
This one hurts for me, guys. Fedor Emelianenko is the great heavyweight MMA fight of all time, period. He has beat some of the best fighters to walk the planet, and has done so looking like a water man from Philly. He’s a balding, overweight fighter who insists on wearing the shortest, tightest shorts possible. But in his prime, he was an absolute killer. The reality of the situation is that he is now 40-years-old, and has been through many wars. Fedor is currently on a five-fight win streak against lackluster opponents, with one of them being extremely controversial. This leads us to Matt Mitrione, a former UFC heavyweight who was the epitome of average. For much of his career he was known as a gate keeper, the guy who would fight the up and comers to see if they were ready for the top tier heavyweights. As mediocre as he was, UFC found him disposable and didn’t choose to resign him. He’s now in Bellator and looks like a promising fighter, even at 38 years old. He’s an exceptional athlete who does everything well. At this stage in their respective careers, Mitrione is faster, hits harder, and may be a better overall fighter than Fedor. Mitrione has only made it out of the first round in two of his past ten fights, and I don’t expect that trend to change. As much as it hurts me to say, I expect Mitrione to hurt and stop Fedor with punches in round one. That being said, Fedor has a hell of a right hand that can put anyone to sleep, so he’s never out of a fight.
The bet: Matt Mitrione, -130
Josh Thomson vs Patricky Freire (No Odds Available)
As someone who’s balls-deep in MMA, this is an extremely fun fight for me. Neither guy is a huge name, but both are talented and exciting. Freire is one of Bellator’s mainstays, and someone they will put in big, intriguing matchups. Thomson is a longtime veteran of the sport, fighting in Strikeforce, UFC, and now Bellator. Both guys have lighting quick hands, great jiu jitsu, and huge power. The big edge one way or another that I see is Thomson’s wrestling. Thomson has great wrestling that works phenomenally in MMA, where he ties it in masterfully with his striking and jiu jitsu. I see Thomson using that wrestling to control the action, and work his way to a decision over “Pitbull” in what I would guess to be fight of the night.
The bet: Josh Thomson.
Image via Youtube