The public enamoring over the heavyweight division has been a constant theme in combat sports. For the first time in UFC history we will see the Heavyweight Championship for free on network television.
UFC ON Fox 1: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos for Heavyweight Strap
When Cain Velasquez meets Dos Santos it will be
his 1st title defense since upsetting Brock Lesnar back in 2010. Aside from taking
home the UFC belt that night, Cain also sustained an unfortunate tear to his
rotator cuff, sidelining him for the majority of 2011.
It’s an injury which has directly affected the progression
of the betting line. Now that UFC betting fans have been reassured of some successful
rehabilitation, we’re beginning to see some movement in favor of the champion. Some
sportsbooks have pushed the UFC odds up as much as 15 cents.
During the 10 month span of Cain Velasquez rehabbing his shoulder,
Dos Santos managed to coach an entire season of the ultimate fighter before
ultimately going on to beat Shane Carwin. His 7 fight winning streak has rightfully
earned him this title shot, and note that in those 7 fights only two men have made it to
the final bell. He also currently holds one of the highest knockout ratios at heavyweight.
inside the distance at +177 is the only reasonable offer when it comes to
betting on Cigano. Outside of an early knockout I find it hard to envision Dos
Santos overcoming the champion’s relentlessness over an entire 5 rounds. More specifically, I’d target 5dimes’ option
winning in round 1 or 2.
To counteract Cain’s wrestling, Santos has enlisted former All American
wrestler Josh Janousek. Emulating Cain’s wrestling style is no easy task
though; you have to remember his own wrestling is constantly evolving. Consistently
training with elite level wrestlers like Muhammed Lawal and Daniel Cormier makes
it so there’s no choice but to improve or get left behind.
Under the guidance of Javier Mendez, Team AKA has developed
a knack for seamlessly transforming elite level wrestlers into credible kick
boxers. The striking progression of guys like Cain, Koscheck, and Daniel
Cormier is undeniable. Guys once thought of as one dimensional wrestlers are
now knocking guys out on a consistent basis.
There are at least 3 primary questions heading into this
fight. One: how does Velasquez plan on neutralizing Cigano’s lead uppercut?
Two: How will Cigano’s cardio hold up in a 5 rounder with Cain? Three: What
kind of threat, if any, will Cigano provide off his back?
My take on this fight: Cain will tentatively throw
his combinations until he finds the proper spacing to shoot for a double or
single leg against the cage. If Santos
can’t catch him in the first two rounds then I think Cain’s grind will induce
an unavoidable wilting process. Round by round we’ll see Cain slowly zap the
life out of the young contender. While many will point to Cigano’s defensive
wrestling against Carwin, it’s just not comparable to Cain’s blend of speed and
athleticism. Play Cain at -135.
Ben “Smooth” Henderson
vs. Clay “The Carpenter” Guida
It was just a few months ago when almost the entire UFC
roster was ready to write off the competition from the newly acquired WEC.
Fighters like Ben Henderson and Donald Cerrone, though, have quickly shown why
overlooking them was a mistake.
In only 4 months Henderson
managed to upset the previously ranked number one lightweight contender. Surprisingly,
outclassed Jim Miller for the entire three rounds. Watching Miller take that
kind of beating was a definitive eye opener for the rest of the division; never
in Miller’s career had we seen such a one sided affair.
Looking at the betting line, I can’t help but think Guida’s
win streak along with his overall popularity has shaded the line in his favor. The
truth is: Guida’s last 4 fights have all been stylistically favorable.
You’d have to go back to 2009 against Kenny Florian to see
the last time he fought someone who could stuff his shot. It just so happens he
was boxed up and choked out in the first round.
he’ll be fighting a rubbery jointed wrestler who easily holds an offensive and
defensive edge. Henderson’s
size and ever improving arsenal of strikes is well worth the current price of
-220. My advice is to place your bet sooner rather than later before the line
potentially closes against you. Expect another ordained performance from the
Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier vs. Pablo “The Scarecrow”
These two former lightweights have been a on a tear since
making a highly beneficial jump down to featherweight. After some rough outings
at 155, it was decided each man’s frame was better suited for a lighter weight
class. Since the switch they’ve managed to post an impressive 5-0 record
between the two of them.
Standing at 6’1, the “Scarecrow” has shown great use of his
advantageous length and range. An exemplary example came against Fredson Paixao
when Garza launched a flying knee that ended the fight in the first round. Not
only does his length give him an edge in striking exchanges, but watch his most
recent fight to see how his longs leg increase the intricacy of his
Since derailing Josh Grispi’s hype train, Dustin has
established himself as an elite featherweight contender. In his last fight he
was able to out-strike Jason Young for portions of their fight. The 22 year old
has shown the type of development you’d like to see out of a future champion.
I have this fight coming down to Dustin’s ability to be the
aggressor while easily controlling whether or not he wants to grapple or
strike. Garza at anything above +235 would make him a live dog but I see Dustin
controlling this fight for a decision win.
Mike “Megatron” Pierce vs. Paul Bradley
A battle between touted wrestlers takes place when Portland State’s Mike Pierce takes on the heavy
handed, Paul Bradley. This is one fight where I’m willing to lay some
Bradley was largely unimpressive in his UFC debut against Rafael
Natal. All through the fight he demonstrated lackadaisical defense along with a
questionable gas tank. His punching power is supposedly his one edge in this
fight, but against Pierce’s durability, he’s looking at an uphill battle from
the opening bell.
Not only does Bradley have to worry about the fact that Mike
has never been finished, but judging from how Pierce’s wrestling has translated
into MMA, Id say he easily controls where this fight takes place.
Use Pierce to fill as many optimally priced parlays as you
can. I think we can expect Mike to secure an early submission with either a
side choke or some form of arm bar.