We’re still about a month away from UFC 172: Jones vs Texieira, but with limited UFC action until 4 events in 15 days from April 11 to 26, the odds for the main card have already been released. Well we did the math and we’re here with our predictions and bets for the main card! By the way, if you haven’t checked out Reed Kuhn’s Fightnomics it is a must read for any UFC fan, or anyone interested in betting on UFC fights.
The main event features Jon “Bones” Jones defending his light heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira. We won’t beat around the bush, we see Jon Jones as the far superior fighter and we expect him to win the vast majority of the time. Prior to Jones’ fight with Alexander Gustafsson, he had looked completely unstoppable and everyone expected he would be the light heavyweight champ for the entire prime of his career (if he chooses not to move up to heavyweight). The fight with Gustafsson sort of brought that back down to earth, as he won, but not as decisively as he had in most of his past fights, just eeking out a close decision. Across the cage from Jones at UFC 172 will be Glover Teixeira, a man who hasn’t lost in over 9 years (although he does have many cans on his resume) and a man who is 5-0 in UFC competition. Our model has Jones as the heavy, heavy favourite to retain his title on April 26, 2014. The main reason we would stay away from Jones are question marks about how he is going to come back from a fight as devastating as his war with Alexander Gustafsson. That’s why we decided to put our money on the under 3.5 rounds which currently sits at 1.65. If there is a finish (which we expect with Teixeira’s suspect defense), it will likely come before the 2:30 mark of the fourth round. We bet 2 units on the under 3.5 rounds at 1.65.
In the co-main event, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson will be making his return to the UFC’s light heavyweight division when he takes on Phil Davis. Johnson was cut from the UFC after missing weight for a bout with Vitor Belfort in January 2012. In that fight, he was submitted in the first round. Since that fight, he has rattled off 6 straight wins as a light heavyweight or heavyweight with 4 of 6 coming by TKO. Davis is 8-1-1 in UFC competition, but tends to play it safe in his fights, with 5 of his 8 wins taking the full 15 minutes. If Davis wins this fight, he will likely be next in line to fight for the light heavyweight title. If Johnson manages to earn a victory, he will likely get a title shot with one more win. Our model has Davis as a decently big favourite to take the victory. With the current line close to 1.50, the value in betting Davis is not where we’d like it. Obviously if the line is to climb significantly, or if we find a good parlay partner for him we may still put some action on Davis. In terms of the over/under, we lean the over 2.5 rounds, but like the line on Davis, the value just isn’t where we want it to be to place a bet.
We also have Luke Rockhold as a significant favourite to beat Tim Boetsch in the middleweight division, but the line on him has become way too crazy to place a bet at 1.06. Instead, since Rockhold wins the vast majority of his fights very quickly (9 of 11 in the first round), we decided to pseudo bet on Rockhold by betting the under 1.5 rounds line. We placed a 2 unit bet on the under 1.5 rounds at 2.30.
In the main event of the prelims, Tarec Saffiedine will be taking on Jake Ellenberger. In a bet we Tweeted, we bet 3 units of Saffiedine at 2.10 to 1. Unfortunately, since tweeting it out, the line on Saffiedine has fallen quickly to 1.65 to 1. The value at those odds is more debatable, but for what its worth, he is a decently heavy favourite in our model so the value is likely still there. Saffiedine has won 5 straight fights via decision and looked awesome in taking a unanimous decision victory over Hyun Gyu Lim in his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 34. Ellenberger has been up and down as of late, smashing Nate Marquardt at UFC 158 by KO, but was ineffective in fighting to a unanimous decision loss against Rory MacDonald at UFC on Fox 8. In this fight we also lean the over 2.5 rounds which is at just over 1.50, but not enough to justify a bet.
In our final early pick for UFC 172, we have Joseph Benavidez to defeat Tim Elliott in the flyweight divsion. Our model has Benavidez as the heavy favourite to win the fight, but at under 1.25, the value just isn’t there to place a bet. Benavidez is 7-2 in his last 9 fights with his only losses coming to current champ Demetrious Johnson. Elliott enters the fight off a decision loss to Ali Bagautinov at UFC 167 and to be honest, its kind of confusing that he is fighting someone the caliber of Benavidez. We fully expect Benavidez to take care of business and take a decision (or possibly TKO) victory.
That’s it for our early UFC 172: Jones vs Teixeira picks. We will be back as the event approaches with more picks, predictions and leans. It will be a busy couple weeks at UFC Fight Night 39 goes down April 11, TUF Nations Finale gooes down April 16, UFC on Fox 11 goes down April 19 and UFC 172 goes down April 26. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest. A cool book to take a look at if you want to be serious about your sports betting is Changing the Game by William Hall III. It’s just $9 on Kindle and well worth the price with a wealth of strategies for earning money betting on sports.