UFC 161 is live this Saturday from the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. As always, the pay-per-view card begins at 10pm ET with the FX prelims beginning at 8pm ET and the Facebook prelims starting at 7pm ET. Unfortunately for this event, the original main event between Renan Barao and Eddie Wineland for the UFC bantamweight championship was called off when Barao injured his knee. In addition, an announced bout between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira fell through when Nogueira withdrew from the fight citing a back injury. While there are still some good fights on the card, those withdrawals took some of the shine off what was going to be a huge card. Nevertheless, we are here with our final picks for the event based on our mathematical MMA model. Our early picks have already been posted.
Firstly, we have reconsidered our position in the Woodley vs Shields fight and decided to place a 1 unit bet on Woodley at 1.58 to 1. The primary reason for this lies in the fact that Shields has shown he has a limited ability to strike. Woodley on the other hand is an excellent striker, who also has an impressive 88% takedown defense in his Strikeforce/UFC career which is tied with Georges St Pierre for 4th best overall in UFC history. (per FightMetric records) We see Shields attempting and failing to takedown Woodley and Woodley eventually finishing Shields via strikes.
Next up, in the bantamweight division, we have Dustin Pague defeating Yves Jabouin. Neither fighter has had an overly impressive UFC stint. Jabouin sits at 3-2 and Pague is currently at 1-3 (including a close split-decision loss to Ken Stone at UFC on FX: Maynard vs Guida). The main advantages for Pague are his 3 inch height and 6.5 inch
reach advantages which he will have to take advantage of to keep Jabouin back. We bet 1.5 units on Pague to at 3.65 to 1.
Again in the bantamweight division, Roland Delorme will be taking on Edwin Figueroa. As one of the most predictable divisions according to our model, we are excited to be able to bet on another underdog here in Figueroa. He is a significant favourite to take this one with our model predicting he wins around 80% of the time. Delorme sits at 2-0-1 in his UFC career and is coming off an overturned KO loss to Francisco Rivera. Figueroa is also coming off a TKO loss to the aformentioned Rivera. One big factor at play is the fact that Delorme tends to leave himself open to attacks, absorbing 5.59 significant strikes per minute vs 3.50 for Figueroa. Weighted much less heavily in the model is the fact that Figueroa has landed all of his takedowns while Delorme has landed just 27%. Because Figueroa is heavily favoured by our model, we placed a 2 unit bet on Figueroa at 2.46 to 1.
Our final pick of the night is Sean Pierson to defeat Kenny Robertson. Robertson replaced TJ Waldburger in this one a few weeks ago when Waldburger was pulled from the event. Because our model tends to be less accurate in the welterweight division than others and because we only have Pierson as a very slight favourite, we have decided to hold off placing a bet on him at the current odds of 1.67 to 1.
Henderson over Evans. 1 unit at 2.04 to 1
Barry over Jordan. 1.5 units at 1.87 to 1
Nelson over Miocic. 1 unit at 1.44 to 1
Woodley over Shields. 1 unit at 1.58 to 1
Pague over Jabouin. 1.5 units at 3.65 to 1
Figueroa over Delorme. 2 units at 2.46 to 1
Pierson over Robertson