We’re just two days away from UFC on Fox 11: Werdum vs Browne so we’re here with our early picks and bets. Today’s post will just be a couple straight bets, but we’ll be back tomorrow with a full slate of bets and parlays. The fights get under way at 3:30 pm Saturday, with the Fight Pass prelims leading into the televised prelims at 5:00 pm and the main card at 8:00 pm. It is a relatively big card (especially when compared with Fight Night Abu Dhabi which had just 8 fights), with 13 total fights and plenty of good opportunities to lay down your money. We’re coming off a huge night Wednesday where we laid down 5, 3 unit bets, all of which cashed for a total profit of almost 15 units. Realistically, we aren’t likely to have two perfect events in a row, but we’ll still be hoping to get a nice little profit for our followers Saturday night! Remember, you can always check our detailed track record to see how we’ve been doing here.
For the third UFC event in a row, we are picking an upset in the main event. It worked out great with Tim Kennedy at the TUF Nations Finale, but not so great with Nogueira at UFC Fight Night 39, we’re hoping it works out well again with Fabricio Werdum. Werdum will collide with the powerful Travis Browne in an attempt to be the number one contender for the UFC Heavyweight World Title, currently held by Cain Velasquez. Werdum’s only 2 losses in the last 6 years have come to Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos, two guys most people would consider elite strikers, and the fight with Overeem wasn’t even a blow out on the feet. He holds wins over several top UFC heavyweights including Overeem (in their first fight), Roy Nelson and Antonio Silva. He also holds the distinction of ending Fedor’s 26 fight winning streak in the Strikeforce Grand Prix in 2010. Browne also holds some huge wins in his career, taking TKO victories over Josh Barnett, Overeem, Gabriel Gonzaga and Stefan Struve. In the win over Overeem though, Browne was seconds from going out, in fact some refs could have stopped that fight. Browne was lucky Overeem wore himself out trying to finish and gave Browne an opporunity to land the front kick that eventually ended the fight. His other two recent TKO’s have been elbows to the side of the head when his opponents attempt takedowns. You can bet Fabricio Werdum will have game planned against that and will avoid attempting takedowns against the cage in such a way that his head is exposed to Browne’s downward elbows. The big question mark with Browne is his ground game as he hasn’t really seen the ground in most of his fights. Our prediction for this fight is that Werdum hangs in there on the feet. He likely won’t be able to TKO Browne, but he should be able to get close to a 50/50 fight. If Werdum is able to get the fight to the ground though, we expect him to capitalize and get the submission. That’s why we Tweeted out a bet when odds were released of 3 units on Werdum at 2.40. Since then, the line on Werdum has climbed to 2.80 and we think it’s a no brainer to place a bet at that price.
Our next pick is for the second fight of the main card in the lightweight division between Donald Cerrone and Edson Barboza. Cerrone is one of the better strikers in the lightweight division, but has also recently shown some great fight IQ in keeping fights safe by getting them on the ground when fighting guys where his best advantage is on the ground. For example, vs former high level karate competitor KJ Noons, Cerrone was able to land 4 takedowns and take a unanimous decision victory. In Cerrone’s last 14 fights, he has just 3 losses, and they were all to very high level fighters in Nate Diaz, Anthony Pettis and Rafael Dos Anjos. His opponent, Edson Barboza is primarily a striker, earning TKO’s in 3 of his 8 UFC fights. The main concern with Barboza is his chin. His striking defense at times leaves something to be desired and both Jamie Varner and Danny Castillo were able to capitalize. We contend that Cerrone is a better striker than both those guys and should be able to find a home for a power strike that puts Barboza’s lights out at some point during their 15 minute fight. Our model agrees, heavily favouring Cerrone in this match-up. We placed a 3 unit bet on Cerrone at 2.00.
Our final bet for this post goes against a guy we’ve faded before in Yoel Romero. We have Brad Tavares as the first leg in a parlay mainly because we see Romero as a hugely overrated fighter. Sure, he has plenty of wins by TKO, but they aren’t as clear cut as many people think. Derek Brunson, who was 2-2 (and not against great competition) in his last 4 when fighting Romero had a dominant first and second round, using his wrestling to take down and control the action. Unfortunately for Brunson, Romero found his second wind in the third round, as he also did against Ronny Markes and was able to put Brunson away. We fully expect the decision machine, Tavares, to be able to avoid the power strikes of Romero in order to earn a unanimous decision victory. Tavares, at the young age of 26 appears to be improving in each outing while the 35 year old Romero brings the same powerful striking and questionable cardio to every fight.
Parlayed with Tavares will be Caiao Magalhaes. Magalhaes will be welcoming new UFC middleweight Luke Zachrich to the octagon and we don’t really expect it to be a close fight. Magalhaes took a surprising win over Nick Ring in late 2013 at UFC Fight Night Australia and Zachrich should be a significant step down. Zachrich holds an impressive career record of 13-2, but when you look closer, his record against opponents with above 500 averages is just 4-2. 4-2 against guys outside of the UFC with over 500 win percentages, that’s not necessarily a particularly skilled crowd and definitely not a UFC calibre crowd. Magalhaes should cruise to victory Saturday night just based on records, but the film on Zachrich confirms Magalhaes should have an easy night. We placed a 3 unit bet on the Magalhaes/Tavares parlay at 2.34. 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.
Following UFC on Fox 11 will be UFC 172: Jones vs Teixeira which goes down Saturday, April 26. Don’t buy into the Joe Rogan hype though, Jones is going to kill Teixeira. On the small chance that Teixeira gets a fluke knockout, our early predictions and bets have you covered as the lone bet we placed on that fight was for it to be under 3.5 rounds long. Stay tuned to our Twitter and Facebook for all our latest picks, bets and predictions.
Werdum over Browne. 3 units at 2.40
Cerrone over Barboza. 3 units at 2.00
Tavares/Magalhaes Parlay. 3 units at 2.34