Jon Jones and Dan Henderson will not be the only big names to grace the Main Card of UFC 151. Let's break down the rest of the main card and decide where the best betting value lies. Let's try to keep our recent run of winning UFC picks on a roll.
UFC 151’s main card features the long awaited
return of former welterweight contender Jay Hieron, who will be taking on Jake
Ellenberger in his first return bout to the UFC. Also, find out how German
kickboxer Dennis Siver will look to further establish himself as a viable
featherweight contender with a knockout over the dangerous Hawaiian, Eddie
UFC 151: Main card Breakdown
The incentive of
reentering the UFC after 7 years was enough for Jay Hieron to accept a
bout against a top 10 welterweight in Jake Ellenberger on such short notice.
If you credit Hieron for the split decision loss
against welterweight champion Ben Askren, which many felt Hieron won, then over
the last 5 years he’s gone on a 12-0 win streak consisting of notable victories
over Rick Hawn and Brent Weedman during his recent stint with Bellator
The problem for Hieron in this match is dealing
with the speed in which Ellenberger closes distance with his heavy right
hand, which is arguably one of the top 3 most devastating strikes in the
division, as evinced by Jake’s ability to severely stagger nearly every
opponent he’s faced with it.
While Hieron’s defense has always been
competent, I don’t see him possessing the required reaction and positional
awareness needed to avoid one of Jake big right hands while he’s still fresh in
the first 7 minutes of the fight.
However, given Jake’s propensity to fade past
the second round, there’s a strong chance that Hieron may be able to steal a
close decision or even finish a fatigued Jake Ellenberger in the closing
minutes of the fight.
I see Jake’s power being the defining edge for
this UFC pick. Look for most of the betting value to show up in
Ellenberger’s knockout and round 1 props at 5dimes. The only foreseeable value
I can see on Hieron as an underdog would have to be on the extremely long betting odds
on him finishing a gassed out Ellenberger in the third round
UFC Pick: Jake Ellenberger
Michael Johnson vs. Danny Castillo
Johnson’s recent upset over Tony Ferguson
as a +210 underdog has set up his biggest test to date as he prepares to
take on Team Alpha Male’s Danny Castillo.
Since transitioning over from the WEC to the UFC
in 2011, Castillo has gone 4-1 with his only loss coming at the hands of Jacob
Volkmann. In the past we’ve seen him decision credible wrestlers such as
Joe Stevenson and John Cholish, but who he struggles against seems to be
superior strikers who can push the pace on his sometimes suspect cardio.
Most notably, he was knocked out by a headkick
from Anthony Pettis and did just enough to squeak out a split
decision over Anthony Njokuani.
While Johnson lacks the pure technique possessed
by both Pettis and Njokuani, the recent development and evolution of his
overall striking makes him a much tougher opponent over similar wrestlers who
Castillo ended up handling with ease in the past.
Seeing Johnson out strike a clever boxer like
Ferguson instantly alters the perception of what he’s capable of against
someone who’s arguably less skilled in Castillo.
Since the Blackzillians came together in 2011,
Johnson has been one of the camp’s few fighters that’s maintained any prior
success. In fact, out of an entire camp full of former champions and number one
contenders, Johnson has been the most consistent while making the greatest
leaps in each individual faction of his game.
I expect a close match but have to side
with Michael’s youth and higher learning curve at this stage in their
UFC Pick: Michael Johnson
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Jeff Hougland
Perhaps above any other match-up at UFC 151,
Mizugaki vs. Jeff Hougland looks to be one of the more discernable mismatches
on the card.
There are two things we can take from Hougland’s
only two performances in the UFC so far.
First off, we know his submission game is lethal
enough to submit Mizugaki anytime in the first round. The second thing of his
to take not of is his tremendous resilience and ability to absorb punishment,
which was on full display against Yves Jabouin when he was forced to survive a
three round battering from a legitimate bantamweight striker.
Though Mizugaki doesn’t present quite the
striking advantage that Yves had over Hougland, his longer reach and decent
power should prove more than enough to control the exchanges in both the clinch
and from range behind his jab.
Hougland looked so badly outmatched in his last
fight that it’s now hard to even consider a pick on him
against such a qualified veteran in Mizugaki. I like Takeya’s chances pushing
the pace and finishing Hougland off with a high volume of strikes down stretch.
I see Hougland gradually wilting if he’s unable to secure an early
submission in the first round. Yves Jabouin
UFC Pick: Takeya Mizugaki
Dennis Siver vs. Eddie Yagin
In a featherweight showdown between two renowned
strikers, German kickboxer Dennis Siver will square off against the Hawaiian
Siver was able to silence the critics earlier
this year in his featherweight debut with a decision victory over Diego Nunes,
who at the time was considered a top ten contender in the division. The
decision to cut to 145 pounds for the first time proved to be the correct
decision as Siver now finds himself at the front of the line of a much
Equally impressive, Eddie Yagin also entered his
last fight against a former top ten featherweight and won a convincing decision
as a +400 underdog over Mark Hominick, which was by far the largest upset on
In the striking exchanges, Siver will need to be
cautious of Yagin’s powerful lead hooks.
Despite the sloppy and often times telegraphed
motion behind Yagin’s punches, his opponent have trouble timing and picking up
on the release point behind their awkward and unorthodox delivery, as was
evinced by Hominick’s inability to avoid getting caught twice in their fight.
Aside from punching power, Siver arguably holds
almost every other advantage in this fight. On the outside, he’ll be forced to
deal with Siver’s accurate kicking game. If he decides to pressure Siver in the
clinch, he has to worry about getting outmuscled by someone who is much
stronger and more reliably conditioned than him. And on the mat, Siver’s size
alone will likely end up dictating most of the offensive action between the
Expect to see a high price worth laying on
the German as he walks away with a clear unanimous decision and rightfully
claims his place as a viable contender in the near future to Featherweight
Champion Jose Aldo.
UFC Pick: Dennis Siver