We’re just a couple days away from the TUF China Finale which features John Hathaway and Dong Hyun Kim in the main event. We have a few bets to give out which will add to the couple bets we gave out for Bellator 110 and Titan FC 27 yesterday. To be honest, we didn’t watch any of TUF China; in fact, it’s not even available on Fight Pass so the video of the fights aren’t particularly easy to find. Surprisingly, for a TUF Finale card in a foreign country with many unknown fighters, our model was still able to predict 4 fights. The fights start bright and early Saturday morning, with the Fight Pass prelims at 5:45 AM ET, and the main Fight Pass card (not sure why they even both with a distinction between the two…maybe its for foreign TV channels?) at 8am 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.
As we said, the main event features welterweights John Hathaway and Dong Hyun Kim. Hathaway sports an impressive 8-1 record in the UFC, but has had several injuries that have kept him out of fights. He only has 2 fights in the last 2 years and his most recent fight was almost a year and a half ago; a decision win over John Maguire. At 26 years old, Hathaway likely has a bright future in the UFC assuming he can stay healthy. His opponent, the 32 year old Dong Hyun Kim sports a 9-2-1 record in UFC competition with one of those losses being a quick injury loss to Demian Maia. In terms of the stats, Hathaway tends to land more strikes, but at a much lower accuracy. Kim lands and defends takedowns better which is likely aided significantly by his 4th degree black belt in judo. Like most cappers, we see Kim as the favourite to take the victory on Saturday. Unfortunately, the odds on him sit at 1.29 to 1 and while we anticipate Hathaway’s long layoff will hurt him, but being younger will aid him, we just can’t lay 1.29 on Kim. The over under is at 4.5 rounds and the line on the over may hold some value at 1.61 to 1, but it’s not a place we want to put our money.
In the middle of the main card is a heavyweight battle between TUF 10 alum Matt Mitrione and former football standout Shawn Jordan. Our model has Jordan as a decently heavy favourite to take the victory and it’s not too hard to see why. While both land a heavy number of strikes, 3.65 per minute for Mitrione and 3.14 per minute for Jordan, in terms of grappling, Jordan definitely has the edge. Jordan lands 1.54 takedowns per fight while Mitrione has never landed a takedown. Jordan has also managed to defend 77% of takedowns attempted against while Mitrione defends just 54%. We expect Jordan to come in well prepared to avoid the power strikes of Mitrione and to pick his opportunity to land a big takedown. On the ground, he should be able to beat up Mitrione and get a stoppage by TKO or submission. We placed a 3 unit bet on Jordan at 1.84 to 1. In addition, as a sort of hedge against Mitrione getting a quick finish, we placed a 2 unit bet on under 1.5 rounds at 1.69 to 1. There’s a good chance Jordan wins early as well, but we see Mitrione’s best chance of winning as a quick KO so having this smaller bet on the under gives us a hedge against Mitrione getting a quick knockout.
Next up in our picks, but previously in terms of card order, a bantamweight contest between Vaughn Lee and Nam Phan. This is a tough fight to pick because neither fighter has looked particularly good in the Octagon. Phan is just 2-5 in the UFC and 18-12 overall while Lee sits at 2-3 under the UFC banner and 13-9-1 overall. Lee has had a pretty up and down career in general. He began his career with 3 straight losses (2 by submission and 1 by TKO) before rattling off 6 straight wins (5 of 6 came inside the distance). In the UFC as well, he has yet to put together two straight wins, but has also avoided 2 straight losses. While Phan’s overall record of 18-12 looks somewhat bad for a UFC fighter, his record since December, 2006 is 6-10 which is downright bad. In terms of the stats, Phan is a pressure fighter, and it shows. He lands 4.81 significant strikes per minute to Lee’s 1.94. Unfortunately, landing that many strikes comes at a cost as he absorbs 6.16 significant strikes per minute while Lee absorbs just 2.21. The grappling stats favour Lee as he lands 1.37 takedowns per fight at a rate of 36%. Phan lands 0.2 takedowns per fight at 33% accuracy. Our model has Lee as a massive favourite to take the victory, but a big part of that is the sheer volume of strikes absorbed by Phan. Still though, at 2.35 to 1, we think its a significantly positive place to throw down some money. We placed a 3 unit bet on Lee at 2.35 to 1.
Our final model pick of the night is Hatsu Hioki to defeat Ivan Menjivar. In this situation, Hioki is a huge favourite for our model, but at 1.26 to 1, the value isn’t great in placing a straight bet. Instead we are adding Hioki to a parlay. The second member of that parlay is Zak Cummings. It’s tough to believe Cummings is 1.63 to 1 against a guy who has only fought once since Aug 2011. We expect Cummings to wrestle Mina down and either get a submission or stay on top for 3 rounds to earn an easy decision. We placed a 2 unit bet on Hioki and Cummings in a parlay at 1.99 to 1.
That’s it for our TUF China Finale predictions and bets. Next up, another Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 37: Gustafsson vs Manuwa which we will hopefully have our full predictions and bets out for early next week (depending on when the odds are released).
Jordan over Mitrione. 3 units at 1.84 to 1
Under 1.5 rounds Jordan/Mitrione. 2 units at 1.69 to 1
Lee over Phan. 3 units at 2.35 to 1
Hioki/Cummings over Menjivar/Mina. 2 units at 1.99 to 1