UFC on Fox 10 will be live this weekend from The United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The main event features a lightweight tilt between former lightweight champ, Benson Henderson and the number 4 ranked UFC lightweight Josh Thomson. With the card under a week away, we’re here to bring you our picks and betting tips for the main event bouts! As for timing, the Fight Pass prelims get under way at 4:30 pm ET with the Fox Sports 1 prelims at 5:00 pm ET and the main card in prime time at 8:00 pm ET on Fox. Compared to some of the other Fox cards we’ve seen in the past, this one appears a little weak, but a lower quality fight card doesn’t necessarily effect the value of the betting lines so without further adue, let’s get on to the picks!
As mentioned, the main event will feature a fight between Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson. Henderson is a big time favourite, both in terms of the betting odds and our mathematical model. At present, the odds on Henderson are 1.37 to 1 while the odds on Thomson are 3.60 to 1. Henderson is justifiably the big favourite. The former lightweight champion managed to defend the lightweight strap 3 times and has only lost 3 times in his career. Once back in 2007 and the other two to current lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis. Thomson enters this fight going just 2-2 in his last 4 outings although the losses came to pretty good competition in Gilbert Melendez (split decision) and Tatsuya Kawajiri (unanimous decision). He did manage an impressive outing in his last fight, earning the TKO win over Nate Diaz with a head kick. The stats overall are pretty one sided for Henderson, which is even more impressive considering several of his fights have been title fights. Henderson lands more strikes, 2.89 per minute to Thomson’s 2.50, absorbs fewer strikes, 1.57 per minute to Thomson’s 1.83 as well as lands more takedowns, 2.77 per fight to Thomson’s 1.70 and defends takedowns better, 65% to 55%. While we won’t place a bet on Henderson at current lines, he is one guy we will be keeping an eye on should the right parlay pop up.
The co-main event will be a heavyweight battle between up and comer Stipe Miocic and long time UFC vet Gabriel Gonzaga. While Gonzaga has been around for a while, he seems to be having some sort of resurgence, winning his last two fights by knockout and being 4-1 since rejoining the UFC after fighting outside the organization for one fight. Surprisingly, even though he has been fighting in the Octagon since 2005, Gonzaga is still just 34 years of age. For a guy still considered a prospect, Miocic is on the older side at 31 years old, but for some reason that seems to be the pattern for UFC heavyweights. He is 4-1 in his UFC career with his lone loss coming to Stefan Struve in a close battle at the end of September, 2012. Impressively, Miocic was able to defeat to 10 heavyweight by avoiding Nelson’s big right hand for 15 minutes. The thing we found most impressive when watching Miocic’s tape was his ability to avoid damage and to stick to his game plan. For Gonzaga, his power is impressive, but he strikes with reckless abandon at times, leaving openings enabling his opponents to knock him out. Our model has Gonzaga as a decently heavy favourite to take the victory. As this is a heavyweight fight, and we only need a Gonzaga win 33% of the time, we placed a 1.5 unit bet on Gonzaga at 3.00 to 1. In addition, since the majority of heavyweight fights finish early and both these guys have shown a capacity to finish quickly, we 2 unit bet on both Gonzaga/Miocic to be under 1.5 rounds and glass jawed Mir/Overeem to be under 1.5 rounds at 2.25 to 1.
In our final model pick of the main card, we have Darren Elkins as a decently high favourite to defeat Jeremy Stephens. Stephens looked impressive in his last outing, getting the TKO victory over Rony Jason via head kick just 40 seconds into their fight. Prior to that though, he was 1-3 and likely close to being cut from the UFC. Elkins, on the other hand is 6-1 in his last 7, with his lone loss coming to the ever dominant Chad Mendes. To be honest, it doesn’t make sense on these stats alone that Stephens is favoured. Add to that the fact that our model has Elkins as the favourite and we see no reason not to place a bet. We placed a 3 unit bet on Elkins at 2.16 to 1.
Gonzaga over Miocic. 1.5 units at 3.00 to 1
Glass Jaw Parlay (Mir/Overeem and Gonzaga/Miocic under 1.5 rounds). 2 units at 2.25 to 1
Elkins over Stephens. 3 units at 2.16 to 1