UFC Fight Night 29 is less than a week away and will be live from Brazil (in crazy UFC global expansion news, they hope to hold 13 cards in Brazil in 2014). The main event has been called a dream matchup by the one and only Joe Rogan. We already gave you our first 2 picks for the card, in addition to our first bet of the card, which was actually a parlay including 2 fights from UFC 166. We are back now with our picks for the remainder of our picks and bets for the event. The main card begins at 7pm ET with the undercard beginning at 5pm ET (both on Fox Sports 1 and Rogers Sportsnet). The lone Facebook prelim match-up will begin at 4:30 pm ET.
In our third prediction of the night, like most other people, we have Thiago Silva to defeat Matt Hammill. Hammill has had a long and relatively successful career in the UFC. Unfortunately, at the age of 36 and with just 1 fight in the last 2 years, he will not be able to defeat Thiago Silva (who is 30 years old and has 3 fights in the last 2 years). In terms of the stats, Silva stands 1 inch taller at 6’2″, but has 2 inches less reach. Silva lands slightly more strikes historically at 3.60 per minute to Hamill’s 3.58, but he absorbs far fewer strikes at 2.27 per minute to Hamill’s 3.53. In addition, he has more success with takedowns (47% to 36%), but does not defend as well as Hamill (69% to 92%). We believe this fight will stay standing, and Silva will likely get a finish at some point. Our model has Silva winning almost 90% of the time, but with the current odds sitting around 1.29, there is not a lot of value in placing a bet. Instead, we will be placing a 1 unit bet on the fight being under 1.5 rounds at 2.45 to 1.
Our fourth prediction of the night is another light heavyweight contest. This one is between Fabio Maldonado and Joey Beltran. Like most people, we see Maldonado taking the victory in this one. At 1.69 to 1, and with limited success inside the octagon, we don’t feel confident placing a bet. Our model only has Maldonado as a slight favourite. We believe it will take a decision for Maldonado to taste victory, but the over 2.5 line sits at 1.41 to 1 which is well below where we’d be willing to place a bet.
In the welterweight division, Rousimar Palhares takes on Mike Pierce. Pierce comes into the fight riding an impressive 4 fight win streak, albeit against middle of the pack UFC competitors, while Palhares has lost 2 in a row, both via TKO. Palhares possesses a very dangerous submission game with 10 of his 14 career wins coming by way of submission. Pierce has never lost via submission, and has taken 8 of his 17 career wins by TKO. Both men stand stocky at 170 at 5’8″ tall and both have a 71″ reach. Interestingly, Palhares has never defended a takedown attempted against him. A big factor in that, however is his confidence in his ground game. He manages to land 46% of takedowns attempted, while Pierce lands 43% and defends 69%. Palhares lands a very high 3.96 takedowns per fight on average, compared to 3.28 for Pierce. On the feet, Pierce lands slightly more strikes, but also absorbs slightly more. Neither number is particularly relevant, especially when you consider that this fight likely ends up on the ground quickly. Our model has Palhares winning around 60-70% of the time in this fight. At 3.52 to 1, placing a 2 unit bet on Palhares is a no brainer.
In our final prediction of the night, we have Dillashaw to defeat Assuncao in the bantamweight division. In this fight, our model seems fairly certain Dillashaw will win, but at under 1.5 to 1, it is a bet we will pass on. The over 2.5 rounds is more likely in our opinion, but at 2.1 to 1, we will pass on this fight as well.
Silva vs Hammill under 1.5 rounds. 1 unit at 2.45 to 1
Palhares over Pierce. 2 units at 3.52 to 1
Maia over Shields (see pick in UFC 166 Predictions)
Silva over Hyun Kim
Silva over Hammill
Maldonado over Beltran
Dillashaw over Assuncao