In UFC’s third iteration of Fight For The Troops, Rafael Natal replaced Lyoto Machida in the main event to take on seasoned military man Tim Kennedy. The fights will air live on Fox Sports 1 from Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Our model can predict a total of 5 fights on the card so let’s get to it!
In the main event, Rafael Natal will face Tim Kennedy in the UFC’s middleweight division. Without Lyoto Machida, this main event becomes pretty lacklustre. Kennedy comes into the fight after defeating Roger Gracie in unspectacular fashion, while Natal comes into the fight riding a 3 fight win streak over very weak competition. We expect this fight to be slow paced and we expect Tim Kennedy to control most of the action. While a submission is possible, the much more likely method of victory is a decision. By our math, Kennedy wins this fight around 70% of the time. The current line on Kennedy of 1.29 is way too low, but we still wouldn’t bet on Natal at 4.19. There may be some value in the Kennedy by decision line which currently sits at 2.35. Unless there is some major line movement as the fight nears though, we will be staying away from this one.
The co-main event will feature the women as Liz Carmouche and Alexis Davis go toe to toe. In similar fashion to the main event, our math model has the favourite, Carmouche winning about 60% of the time. At around 1.5 to 1, there is just no value in placing a straight bet on Carmouche. Carmouche is a dangerous striker who actually seemed to outstrike current champ, Ronda Rousey before getting caught in the trademarked Rondabar. Davis comes into the fight on a 3 fight winning streak which extends from her stay in Invicta FC where she went 2-0. While we don’t like a straight bet in this fight, we do like the under 2.5 rounds which currently sits at 2.45 to 1. Both women finish the majority of the time (8 of 9 wins for Carmouche, 9 of 14 wins for Davis), and the under 2.5 rounds will capture the majority of finished fights (only 2:30 from a decision). We placed a 1.5 unit bet on under 2.5 rounds at 2.45 to 1.
Our second bet of the night will be in the bantamweight division as George Roop takes on Francisco Rivera. Roop comes into the fight on a 2 fight win streak with his latest win being a huge TKO victory over long time top bantamweight Brian Bowles (which we made big money on with our prediction). Notably, his last 2 wins have been at bantamweight after fighting in the featherweight division for a few years. Rivera enters this contest with 3 straight UFC wins in his second stint with the promotion after being cut back in 2011. The oddsmakers have this fight as a pick’em contest with both guys sitting pretty close to even. Our model has Roop as the winner almost 70% of the time. We placed a 3 unit bet on Roop at 2.07 to 1.
The remaining 2 model picks we have for this event do not lead to bets. Firstly, we have Steven Siler to defeat Dennis Bermudez. While Siler does sit at 2.5 to 1, a closer look at the fighters stats make it seem unlikely he will be able to pull off the victory. Statistically, Bermudez is the much stronger grappler and we expect him to gain and maintain control enough to pull off a decision win. The final model pick has Lorenz Larkin to defeat Chris Camozzi 67% of the time. We absolutely agree with the model that Larkin is the more likely man to come out victorious. What we don’t agree with is the current line on Larkin. He sits below 1.33 to 1, which is absolutely insane. We expect Larkin to take a closely contested decision victory in this one.
In our final bet of the night, we have Jorge “Game Bred” Masvidal to defeat Rhustam Khabilov. Masvidal has a top lightweight competitor for a few years now and we expect his superior experience to come through and allow him to pull off the big victory. We placed a 1.5 unit bet on Masvidal at 2.45 to 1.
Carmouche vs Davis Under 2.5 rounds. 1.5 units at 2.45 to 1
Roop over Rivera. 2 units at 2.07 to 1
Masvidal over Khabilov. 1.5 units at 2.45 to 1
Kennedy over Natal
Carmouche over Davis
Siler over Bermudez
Larkin over Camozzi
Here are the best oddds for UFC Fight Night 31: