UFC Fight Night 38: Shogun vs Henderson II is just a few days away now and we’re here with our full predictions and bets for the event! We’ll be looking to improve our overall record with profit in 2 straight events and 5 of the last 6. Over the last 12 events, beginning with UFC 168, we have gone 34-19 on our bets for a total profit of 45.31 units. Had you started with $1000, you would now have almost $2000. Not a bad run if you ask us. We are laying down more money on Sunday than any card in recent memory. The fights start at 4pm ET on Sunday with the Fight Pass prelims, followed by the Fox Sports 1 prelims at 5pm ET with the main card airing live on Fox Sports 1 at 7pm ET. By the way, just finished listening to Warren Buffet’s Management Secrets and it’s an awesome listen. A bit off topic here, but the overlap between people betting on MMA and putting money in the stock market is likely more than we think.
The main event will feature top UFC light heavyweights Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Dan Henderson. The fight will be a rematch of their 2011 fight of the year in which Henderson took a unanimous decision victory. At 3.09, a Henderson bet is a no-brainer right? Many people will argue that it isn’t, but we think it is. The big knock on Henderson is that he’s 43 years old. Big deal, he was 42 years old when he fought the #3 light heavyweight, Rashad Evans to a split decision and 42 years old when he fought the #3 middleweight, Lyoto Machida to a split decision. He was 41 years old in the previous fight against Rua and he managed to take a victory in that one. Sure, Vitor Belfort became the first man to TKO Henderson, but he also TKO’d Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping for only the second time in their respective careers.
For Rua, this Sunday’s fight will be the 31st of his career. Many of which have been wars. He is 11 years younger than Henderson at 32 years of age, but the wear on his body from his fight career is probably not much less. Since the first Henderson fight, he is just 2-2. His wins came over 11-5 (and likely on his way out of the UFC) Brandon Vera and the 16-6 James Te-Huna who was also smashed by Glover Teixeira. Rua looked atrocious in his loss to Chael Sonnen, landing little offense before getting submitted, he did look ok in his fight with Alexander Gustafsson, but was still thoroughly beaten by the number one light heavyweight contender. In terms of the stats, Rua lands more strikes, but only slightly. Rua also takes less strikes, but again only slightly. Also keep in mind that these stats are an average over all their statistically recorded fights, so they may not be too meaningful as these men approach the end of their careers. Henderson is more effective with his takedowns, and has better takedown defense, but like Rua’s edge in the striking it’s only slight. We wouldn’t necessarily try to argue that Henderson is winning this fight. We do however, see it as being very close. With the odds on Hendo at 3.09, there is definitely value in that play. We placed a 1.5 unit bet on Henderson at 3.09.
In the co-main event, CB Dolloway and Cezar Ferreira will do battle in the middleweight division. In Dolloway’s previous fight against Tim Boetsch, we placed a decent sized bet on him as a large underdog and got burned by terrible judging when Boetsch was awarded the split decision. In Sunday’s fight, we will not be in the same position as our model has Ferreira as a decent sized favourite to take the victory. With the line on Dolloway approaching 3.00 though, we probably wouldn’t fault those who decide to lay down their money. The bet on this fight is definitely dog or pass, but we are unwilling to bet against our model in this spot.
In the middle of the main card, Leonardo Santos and Norman Parke will do battle in the lightweight division. Santos will be making his second UFC appearance after taking the crown on TUF: Brazil 2. His win on the show does come with an asterisk though, as he actually lost to Santiago Ponzinibbio via split decision in the semi-finals, but replaced Ponzinibbio in the finals because of a hand injury. In addition to the loss to Ponzinibbio, Santos lost the first round of his TUF Finale victory over William Macario. He was able to come back and take a submission victory in the second round however, showing some level of resilience. Unfortunately for Santos, we don’t see him being able to take a victory on Sunday. His opponent, Norman Parke is 3-0 in UFC competition including being crowned TUF Smashes lightweight champion. We see little reason to believe Santos will be able to handle the massive step up in competition that Parke presents. With Parke at under 1.50, we decided to parlay him with 2 decently heavy favourites for a parlay that we think has tons of value.
Firstly, Diego Brandao will be taking on Will Chope. Chope was TKO’d in round 2 of his debut fight with Max Holloway and we expect the outcome of his fight with Diego Brandao to be even worse. Brandao is likely a step up from Holloway and Chope proved he wasn’t even ready for Holloway. At just over 1.25, Brandao will be the second leg of this parlay. While we do think Brandao takes an easy win, we do expect the fight to go to a decision. We placed a 2 unit bet on Chope/Brandao to be over 1.5 rounds at 1.95 as Tweeted last night.
The final leg will be another Brazilian in Ronny Markes to defeat Thiago Santos. Santos lost in just 47 seconds to Cezar Ferreira in his UFC debut at UFC 163. Markes had won 4 straight in the UFC before losing via KO to Yoel Romero. We have little reason to believe he won’t get back to his winning ways in this one. We placed a 3 unit parlay bet on Parke, Brandao and Markes at 2.09 to 1. In addition, Markes was a guy who only won 2 of his 11 fights outside the UFC via decision. We expect him to be able to get back to his devastating ways in Sunday’s tilt. So we placed a 2 unit bet on Markes/Santos to be under 1.5 rounds at 2.55 as Tweeted last night.
Our second parlay bet of the night will have a better payoff than the first, but is also more risky (obviously). Firstly, we have Mairbek Taisumov to defeat Michael Prazeres. For Taisumov, the fight will mark his second UFC appearance. The first being a dominant unanimous decision victory over Tae Hyun Bang. We expect he will use his superior skill set to dispatch of Prazeres, possibly by TKO. The second leg of this parlay will be Kenny Robertson to defeat Thiago Perpetuo. Perpetuo showed a complete lack of technique (technique, not power) in his UFC debut loss to Omari Akhmedov. Akhmedov displayed last week that he is not great competition as he lost to Gunnar Nelson via first round submission. Perpetuo left tons of openings when fighting Akhmedov and even though he rocked Akhmedov several times, Perpetuo was the one sleeping at the end of the fight. We expect Robertson, being a UFC vet and with several big fights behind him to be able to control Perpetuo and either win a decision or eventually find a hole in Perpetuo’s defense that he is able to capitalize on. We placed a 3 unit parlay bet on Taisumov and Robertson at 2.53 to 1.
In the first bout of the event, Francimar Barroso and Hans Stringer will collide in a light heavyweight tilt. The bout will be Barroso’s (16-3) second UFC appearance with his first being a decision win over Ednaldo Oliveira back at UFC 163. Stringer (21-5-3) will be making his UFC debut after one fight in WSOF where he drew with Francisco France. We give the edge in this fight to Barroso, but its a tough one to call with limited information on both fighters. Where we do see money though is in the under. We placed a 3 unit bet on the under 1.5 rounds at 2.80 which we Tweeted out last night. The line has since fallen to 2.50 to 1, but we still think there is significant value. Realistically, with just 12/48 of their combined professional fights going to the judges, the under 1.5 rounds is very likely to hit.
Our remaining model picks that we decided not to lay any money on are Gian Villante over Fabio Maldonado and Rony Jason over Stephen Siler. Finally, we have Jussier Formiga with a tiny edge over Scott Jorgensen. The edge is so slight though, that we won’t place a bet on Formiga even though he currently sits at 2.80 to 1. After UFC Fight Night 38, the UFC takes a break for a few weeks, returning on April 11 for UFC Fight Night 39: Nelson vs Nogueira from Abu Dhabi. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all our latest picks, predictions and bets.
Henderson over Rua. 1.5 units at 3.00
Parke/Brandao/Markes. 3 units at 2.09 to 1
Over 1.5 rounds Chope/Brandao. 2 units at 1.95 to 1
Under 1.5 rounds Markes/Santos. 2 units at 2.55 to 1
Taisumov/Robertson. 3 units at 2.53 to 1
Under 1.5 rounds Barroso/Stringer. 3 units at 2.80 to 1