UFC 170: Rousey vs McMann is just a few days away, but as a fan of the sport of MMA, the card is not bringing out a lot of excitement. As MMA handicappers though, this card looks awesome, with some very attractive spots to lay down some money. We already posted two picks not previously mentioned in our early predictions and bets post on our Twitter. The last UFC event, UFC Fight Night 36, saw us go 2-2 on our bets for a small loss of 1.36 units. Over our last 6 events (as recorded in our Track Record), we have profited 30.56 units for a return of over 60%. The scheduled for this card is pretty standard now for UFC pay-per-views. Fight Pass prelims at 7pm ET, Fox Sports 1/Sportsnet 360 prelims at 8pm ET and the main card on PPV at 10pm ET. If you haven’t checked out Reed Kuhn’s Fightnomics it is packed with ridiculous amounts of MMA stats and is just $10 or so if you buy the Kindle version on Amazon.
We’ll start off with a play we like that includes the main event. As we said in our early predictions and bets post, we don’t like a straight play on Rousey, but we did like the idea of including her in a parlay should a decent second leg arise. Well, we think we found that decent second leg in Alexis Davis. A parlay on the two currently pays 2.03 to 1. Why do we like Alexis Davis to defeat Jessica Eye? At the age of 29, Davis already holds wins over many of the big names in women’s MMA. Names like Liz Carmouche, Rosi Sexton, Shayna Baszler and Julie Kedzie. She is curently riding a 4 fight win streak, including taking victories in her first two UFC contests. Eye on the other hand, has not defeated the calibre of opposition of Davis. Her only UFC win did come against the then #2 ranked UFC women’s bantamweight, but it was obvious that she was undersized and the split decision victory was a pretty controversial one at the time (we have to note that the victory was subsequently changed to a no contest because Eye tested positive for marijuana). Prior to her first UFC fight, she had won 7 straight, but none of those fights were against particularly good competition. Another factor going against Eye in this fight is the big reach advantage possessed by Davis. Eye’s reach has been kind of hard to nail down, but it’s somewhere between 63.5″ and 67″ depending on your source. Davis’s reach is longer at 68″. With only 1 and 2 UFC fights under their belt, the Fightmetric statistics for this fight don’t give us very much insight, so we avoided using them in our analysis of this match-up. As a result of her experience, reach advantage, quality of opponents defeated and overall MMA game, we parlayed Rousey and Davis; 2 units at 2.03 to 1.
Our next bet is another fight on the main card as we have TJ Waldburger to defeat Mike Pyle. At the time we Tweeted out this play, the odds were at 2.92 to 1. It seems like we managed to hit this bet when the odds reached their peak as the odds have since fallen to 2.67 to 1. Our model favours Waldburger slightly to taste victory on Saturday night. In addition, the first few stats we tend to look at when deciding whether to bet on an underdog all lined up. Mike Pyle is getting pretty old for competing in MMA at 38 years old while Waldburger is entering the prime of his career at 25. In addition, Waldburger has a 1 inch reach advantage. Finally (and you would think of this had you read Fightnomics), Waldburger has had 2 months less of a layoff than Pyle, thus the effect of ring rust on Waldburger is likely slightly less. In addition to these three major factors, Pyle has lost 4 fights via TKO and 4 fights via submission. The beauty of this when betting on his opponent, is that he is fighting a guy who has 13 of his 16 victories by submission. The chances of Waldburger being able to lock up a submission at some point in their 15 minute battle are pretty good. It is likely that Waldburger holds the overall grappling advantage. The major threat to this bet is if Waldburger, who doesn’t have a very good chin (he’s been KO’d or TKO’d 6 times in 24 fights), gets knocked out in short order. While very possible, at 2.92 to 1, we feel there’s still a lot of value in the younger, longer fighter. As tweeted out, we placed a 2 unit bet on Waldburger at 2.92 to 1. (If you are just looking to bet this fight now, we still see a lot of value as long as the line stays above 2.50 to 1)
In another play we initially Tweeted out, we have Robert Whittaker to defeat Stephen Thompson. Like the previous fight, Whittaker is the much younger fighter at 23 years old, while Thompson is 31. As with most of our bets, Whittaker is favoured to win by our model. In both TUF: The Smashes which he won and his 2 UFC victories, Whittaker has looked very impressive overall. His lone UFC defeat came to Court McGee via split decision, in a fight that one judge scored 30-27 for Whittaker. For Thompson, Saturday night will mark his fifth appearance in the octagon and he sits at 4-1. Both fighters will be facing a step up in competition when they fight each other which always adds some uncertainty to the outcome. As tweeted, we placed a 3 unit bet on Whittaker at 2.11 to 1.
Our final play of the night will be a second parlay. Firstly, we think its kind of crazy that Raphael Assuncao only sits around 1.50 to 1 to defeat promotional newcomer Pedro Munhoz. Sure, Munhoz defeated Billy Daniels (who was 7-0 at the time) with a quick guillotine choke and he has defeated opponents who are a lot better opponents than most fighters on the regional scene have. Facing the #3 ranked UFC bantamweight in his UFC debut however, seems a little crazy and there is no way in our opinion that Assuncao should be close to 1.50 to 1. He should be somewhere around 1.25 to 1. Parlayed with Assuncao is Alijamin Sterling. Sterling opened close to 1.33 to 1, but has since climbed to 1.42 to 1. Alijamin’s latest win came against Joel Roberts [VIDEO]. The announcers incorrectly state Sterling was dropped, but in reality he slipped and was knocked over by Roberts. His athletic ability was on full display in that fight. In the video we have on Gibson, it looks like he had difficulty defending the takedowns against the 14-8 Chad George as well as being stuck in a close submission for a period of time [VIDEO]. In Gibson’s fight prior to that, he was impressive in defeating the 5-3 Darin Cooley [VIDEO]. We expect Sterling to be able to dispose of Gibson, using his athletic ability and divison 3 wrestling credentials to take down and submit Gibson. We placed a 2 unit parlay bet on Assuncao and Sterling at 2.09 to 1.
Finally, we’re throwing 1.5 units on the Cormier/Cummins fight to be under 1.5 rounds. We expect Cormier to absolutely outclass his much less experienced opponent and be able to finish him within 7 and a half minutes. We definitely see that happening better than 50% of the time which gives us significantly positive EV when we placed our 1.5 units on Cormier/Cummins to be under 1.5 rounds at 2.25 to 1.
That’s it for our bets for this event, we will be back next week to provide you our full predictions and bets for the TUF China Finale. If you haven’t picked up Fightnomics, it’s a must read for anyone planning to bet on MMA.
Under 1.5 Rounds Rousey/McMann. 1.5 units at 2.40 to 1
Under 1.5 Rounds Cormier/Cummins. 1.5 units at 2.25 to 1
Rousey, Davis Parlay. 2 units at 2.03 to 1
Waldburger over Pyle. 2 units at 2.92 to 1
Whittaker over Thompson. 3 units at 2.11 to 1
Assuncao, Sterling parlay. 2 units at 2.09 to 1