Now that the full odds have been released for UFC on Fox 8, which goes down this Saturday, July 27 from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington, we are here with our picks. Unfortunately, what initially looked like and awesome card has become somewhat watered down with the injuries to Brendan Schaub (bout with Matt Mirtione rescheduled for UFC 165), Tarec Saffiedine, Spencer Fisher and others. As the card was set initially we would have been able to predict 7 fights, but as a result of the injuries, we can now only predict 5. As we are well aware however, its the quality of picks that counts rather than the quantity. Without further adieu, on to the picks!
First off, in the main event of the night, Demetrious Johnson takes on John Moraga. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how this fight will finish. In the 9 UFC fights they have combined (Johnson accounts for 7 of those), a total of 2 have not gone to the judges, actually those two fights make up Moraga’s full UFC experience. Unfortunately, because Moraga only has 2 fights recorded statistically, he does not meet our model’s criteria and we can’t predict this fight mathematically. We do believe that Johnson will be able to school the 3 years older Moraga using his speed and experience against better opponents to take the decision victory.
In the co-main event, in a fight that has possible title implications in the UFC’s welterweight division(especially if MacDonald wins and changes his tune on fighting GSP), Rory MacDonald takes on Jake Ellenberger. Both men enter the fight on winning streaks, Ellenberger sits at 2 and MacDonald is at an impressive 4. The stat line has MacDonald with a 2 inch reach advantage and 3.5 inch reach advantage. In addition, he lands 4.39 strikes per minute to Ellenberger’s 2.67. Both guys land 58% of their takedowns, while also defending the vast majority agains them (89% for MacDonald, 93% for Ellenberger). In takedowns too, though MacDonald is the busier man with 3.71 per fight to Ellenberger’s 2.97. We see Ellenberger’s path to victory as using his NCAA wrestling credentials to take down and stay on top of MacDonald. MacDonald on the other hand will likely look to keep the fight standing, although being a training partner of GSP, he’s no slouch in the wrestling department. Our model has MacDonald taking the victory here, and the possiblity of a TKO/KO or submission is relatively low. At 1.44 to 1 though, the risk is not worth the reward in betting on MacDonald.
In our first bet of the night, we have Melvin Guillard defeating Mac Danzig. One of the few fights untouched by injury at this card, Danzig and Guillard are middle-of-the-road UFC lightweights with the loser of this fight likely very close to the chopping block. Guillard is 1-4 in his last 5 and Danzig has not fared much better at 2-3. One of those losses for each was via split decision. Our model has Guillard as the favourite in this one and a knockout as a strong possibility. At 1.89 to 1, there is still significant value in betting on Guillard. We placed a 1.5 unit bet on Guillard at 1.89 to 1.
For our second bet of the night, we look to the second fight of the FX prelims with Trevor “Hot Sauce” Smith defeating Ed Herman. Both guys enter the fight off a loss to high level competition at the Strikeforce finale. Smith to Tim Kennedy and Herman (who moved over to Strikeforce for one fight only) to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Both guys have finished the vast majority of their career victories. Smith with 10 of 10 and Herman with 18 of 20. One strike against Herman though, is that he has already lost 9 times in his career to Smith’s 3 career losses. Sure, he has been fighting a higher level of competition, but we can’t disregard the fact that he has lost a third of his career fights. At 3.35 to 1, we feel there is tons of value in Smith so we placed a 1.5 unit bet.
We agree with the oddsmakers that Castillo will defeat late replacement Tim Means. At just under 1.5 to 1, the return for placing a bet on Castillo is not worth the risk. We see Castillo winning that one via decision. Yves Edwards vs Daron Cruickshank is incredibly close in our model. If the odds on either guy move considerably up, there would be value in placing a bet, but at the current line which is pretty close to even money on each, the expected value from placing a bet is likely close to 0 or even negative. Edwards is the slight favourite and we see the most likely method of victory as a decision.
Guillard over Danzig. 1.5 units at 1.89 to 1
Smith over Herman. 1.5 units at 3.35 to 1
MacDonald over Ellenberger
Castillo over Means
Edwards over Cruickshank
Here are the best odds for UFC on Fox 8: