The countdown is up, and we’re ready to give you our full predictions for the event. A total of 12 fights will be going down at UFC 159, 8 of which we are able to predict using our mathematical model. A much higher ratio than we have had for many of the recent less significant cards. We have already predicted the big name fights like the main event, Jon Jones vs Chael Sonnen for the UFC light heavyweight championship, and in a separate post, Bisping vs Belcher, Kongo vs Nelson and Davis vs Magalhaes. In this article, we will finish our predictions by predicting the outcomes of four more fights. The card takes place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey this Saturday, April 27. Facebook prelims will be getting underway at 6:30pm ET, the FX prelims will begin at 8pm ET (on Sportsnet for those of you in Canada), and the main card will start up at 10pm ET. This event caps off a huge month for the UFC with over 50 fights taking place.
As stated in our previous article, we feel the risk of betting on Phil Davis is too high because the statistics from his opponent, Vinny Magalhaes, don’t reflect Magalhaes recent performance since he only has 3 fights recorded and 2 of those are from 2 UFC losses back in 2008/2009. He is now on a 6 fight winning streak after a mediocore begin to his career. At 1.33 to 1, we feel there is too much risk to place a bet on Phil Davis, so we will be steering clear from this one even though Davis is a significant favourite in our model.
To finish off our predictions for the main card, we have Jim Miller as an extremely heavy favourite in our model to defeat another Strikeforce crossover (seems to be the theme of the month) in Pat Healy. Pat Healy was an upper tier lightweight in a pretty limited Strikeforce lightweight division. Over the last few years, Healy hasn’t really beaten any top tier talent and seems to lose when facing the top tier guys. Since 2008, he has lost to Jake Ellenberger, TJ Waldburger and Josh Thomson. He does tend to finish pretty well though with 21 of 29 of his victories coming by way of submission or knockout. To counter that though, we can see that he has 16 losses, 10 of which he has been finished. His opponent, Miller doesn’t finish as often, but has also only been finished once in his career. Miller has also been fighting upper tier UFC fighters for the last 5 years so his record is even more impressive. Surpisingly, the two men have a relatively similar stat line with the major differences in takedowns per 15 minutes (3.65 for Healy vs 2.06 for Miller), takedown defense (42% for Miller vs 71% for Healy) and submission attempts (2.84 for Miller vs 1.56 for Healy). The fact that Healy has advantages in some categories doesn’t scare us though as he has been fighting a lower calibre of opponent. Since Miller is just 1.34 to 1, we have decided to place a parlay bet with the next fight we will discuss.
That fight takes place in the middle of the undercard and it is Ovince St Preux vs Gian Villante. Our model favours St Preux and a quick look at the fighters history shows us why. Firstly, both fighters stand at 6’3″ tall, but St Preux has a 79″ reach while Villante’s reach sits at just 75″. In addition, it can be argued that St Preux has been fighting a slightly higher calibre of opponent, with wins over Jason Day and Benji Radach and a loss to Gegard Mousasi. Villante holds a win over Trevor Smith, but losses to Chad Griggs and Lorenz Larking. The stat line tells us St Preux throws more strikes with more accuracy, while absorbing less strikes. In addition, he attempts more takedowns and has more success with them. Realistically, there is little reason to believe Villante can defeat St Preux. We placed a 1 unit bet on Miller to defeat Healy AND St Preux to defeat Villante at 2.08 to 1.
The other two picks we have on this card are both underdogs with the potential for decent payoffs. Firstly, in the second fight of the Facebook prelims, we have Nick Catone beating James Head. Both fighters have had limited success in the UFC with Catone sitting at 3-4 over his career and Head at just 2-2. Catone holds a notable split decision victory over Costa Philippou from UFC 128 a couple years ago. Head also holds a notable split decision victory, with a win over Brian Ebersole at UFC 149 to snap the 66 fight veteran’s 4 fight UFC win streak. Head throws and absorbs a lot more punches. Catone, being a former division 1 wrestler has a significant takedown advantage and will likely try to take Head down. Head does have 70% takedown defense so the battle for most of this one will likely be Catone attempting and Head trying to avoid a takedown. Our model has Catone as a significant favourite, so at 2.4 to 1, we didn’t hesitate to place a bet.
Finally, in a loser leaves town match, and also on the Facebook prelims, in the featherweight division, we have 4 straight loser, Leonard Garcia, losing once again to Cody McKenzie. To be honest, it’s surprising that Garcia has survived the recent UFC cuts, but it is likely because he has 6 fight of the night bonuses going back to his time in the WEC. McKenzie has also not been having the greatest run lately. He lost to Edwards and Rocha, before winning against Marcus Levesseur and then losing again to Chad Mendes. For fighting in general, but especially for featherweights, these two guys tend to finish a lot. Garcia has finished 12 of his 15 victories, while McKenzie has finished all 13 of his victories. It will likely be an exciting fight when these two guys lock up in a few days from now. We placed a 2 unit bet on McKenzie at 2.55 to 1 as our model is extremely confident he will win.
Jones to finish Sonnen. 1 unit at 1.25 to 1
Kongo over Nelson. 1.5 units at 2.95 to 1
Davis over Magalhaes. No bet
Miller and St Preux over Healy and Villante. 1 unit at 2.08 to 1
Catone over Head. 1 unit at 2.4 to 1
McKenzie over Garcia. 2 units at 2.55 to 1
Best fight odds for UFC 159: