If you’re even half the fight fans we are, you do NOT want to miss UFC 157. Live from Anaheim, California, we will witness history with the main card featuring the first ever women’s UFC fight starting at 10pm ET, this Saturday, February 23rd. The preliminary fights start at 7pm ET on Facebookand continue at 8pm ET on FX. In an earlier article, we broke down the statistics behind the main event bout between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche. In this article, we will predict three of the remaining four main card fights.
Once the full odds come out later this week we will post a summary of our picks for the entire card.
The statistics we discussed in our Rousey vs Carmouche article show no reason to doubt Ronda Rousey in this fight. While the odds aren’t great at 1.09 to 1, our model has Rousey as an overwhelming favourite. We are placing a 1 unit bet on Rousey.
In the co-main event, in a bout where the winner will likely earn a title shot against Jon Jones (or Chael Sonnen), Dan Henderson takes on Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida. Our model favours the 8 years older Dan Henderson. As a strong underdog, he is definitely worth placing a bet. Henderson has been fighting for over 15 years, mostly in Pride, where he was simultaneously the Pride Light Heavyweight and Middleweight champion. He has fought and beaten many of the top competitors in the sport and will likely end up in the UFC hall of fame, possibly even before he retires. He currently finds himself on a four fight win streak – the last 2 being over Fedor Emelianenko (who many call the best ever) and Shogun Rua (which will go down as one of the best fights in history). It must be considered too though that Henderson is 42 years old and was forced out of his UFC 151 fight vs Jon Jones with a knee injury that required surgery. We wonder, will Henderson be able to bounce back from such a devastating injury this late in his career?
Machida comes off a dominant performance over Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox last August. Prior to that, he had a loss against the champion Jones, and a spectacular jumping front kick knockout win over Randy Couture. Prior to those 2 fights, he lost 2 in a row against Rampage Jackson and Shogun Rua. Following his win over Bader, he was supposed to receive a title shot vs Jones, but he turned down the opportunity to face Jones with late notice at UFC 151 after Henderson withdrew due to his knee injury. The question: Can Lyoto Machida utilize his karate to stifle the power punching of Dan Henderson?
Based on the model output, we are putting a 1 unit bet on Dan Henderson at 2.87 to 1, but we acknowledge there are a lot of question marks heading into this one. Had Henderson been less of an underdog, say 2 to 1, our valuations would make it difficult to bet on him.
Prior to the main event, we have a bantamweight bout between “The California Kid” Urijah Faber and Ivan “The Pride of El-Salvador” Menjivar. Faber has had 4 title shots in his last 8 fights since losing the WEC Featherweight Championship back in June, 2008. Unfortunately for him, he has not been able to capitalize, losing each and every one of those opportunities. On the plus side, he has won all 4 of his non-title fights over that stretch. Menjivar has won 4 of 5 since debuting in the UFC, but has never struck us as an upper-echelon bantamweight fighter. Our model agrees showing Faber as a heavy favourite. At 1.28 to 1, there is enough value to bet on Faber to take the win in this fight. We are betting 1 unit at 1.28 to 1 on Faber.
To kick off the main card, Josh Koscheck will be taking on Robbie Lawler. We will never forget the epic battle between Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith on EliteXC: Primetime back in May, 2008. The fight was back and forth for almost 3 full rounds before ending as a no contest due to an eye poke by Lawler. Though, as an upper tier middleweight in Strikeforce (losing to the top guys, defeating some of the middle and all of the lower tier guys), we don’t see Lawler defeating a guy like Koscheck who has been a top tier UFC welterweight since debuting back in 2005. We expect Koscheck to be able to mitigate Lawler’s kickboxing with his wrestling. Our model also has Koscheck as a heavy favourite. We placed a 1 unit bet on Koscheck at 1.21 to 1.
Rousey over Kaufman. 1 unit at 1.09 to 1
Henderson over Machida. 1 unit at 2.87 to 1
Faber over Menjivar. 1 unit at 1.28 to 1
Koscheck over Lawler. 1 unit at 1.21 to 1