There’s still almost a week to go until UFC 173: Barao vs Dillashaw, but we’re here with our full predictions and bets for this pretty decent PPV offering from Zuffa. It’s been a busy week for The Fight Predictor which started with a decent profit at Bellator 120: Rampage vs King Mo and also saw us start a new website, MLB Predictor. The MLB Predictor website will use a similar mathematical method for making MLB predictions as The Fight Predictor does for UFC and Bellator predictions. If we can even achieve a third of the impressive 30% ROI we have managed in our MMA bets in our MLB bets, it will be a resounding success. Speaking of success, we’re currently on a 6 straight profitable event streak and we have no plans of ending that with UFC 173 next weekend. Our detailed track record gives a full breakdown of our 30% ROI on 60% of bets won. By the way, EA Sports UFC will be coming out next month and based on what we’ve seen of the game so far, it is definitely in every MMA fans best interest to pre-order this game!
Our main card predictions and bets were posted early last week, so be sure to check those out as well.
In the main event of the prelims, we have lightweights Michael Chiesa and Francisco Trinaldo doing battle. While we Tweeted out our play shortly after odds were released and the line on Chiesa had climbed slightly, even at the current line, which is 1.76 (-131) there is still value there. Trinaldo enters the fight with a career record of 14-3 and a UFC record of 4-2. Chiesa has a better record in both categories, going 10-1 overall and 3-1 under the UFC banner (and 4 wins on the Ultimate Fighter which aren’t included in that). Two immediate factors that jump out about this fight are the fact that Trinaldo is 35 years old, while Chiesa is just 26 and that Chiesa has a 5.5 inch reach advantage at 76″ to Trinaldo’s 70.5″. Both these factors have been proven in the past to be important when predicting fight winners. We expect Chiesa to use his advantage in the clinch to get this fight to the ground where he can lock up a submission. This should become easier and easier as time wears on and Trinaldo begins to tire. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to bet 3 units on Chiesa at 1.95 at 5Dimes. As long as Chiesa stays above 1.67 (-150), there is probably some value there.
In the co-main event of the prelims, lightweights Tony Ferguson and Katsunori Kikuno will duke it out. When the UFC 173 betting lines were initially released, we Tweeted that there was a play we liked, but we wanted to hold off since it was an underdog and the public has seemed parlay happy lately which has been driving underdogs to astronomical odds. In this case, it paid to wait to place our bet on Kikuno as he opened at 2.85 (+185), but we didn’t Tweet the pick until he had reached 3.39 (+239). If Kikuno can pull off the upset, that will make for an extra 1.50 units of profit on Saturday night. In terms of how we see this playing out, we think the striking is relatively even, but Kikuno’s unorthdox karate-based style could be tough for Ferguson to handle. Both guys have historically shown pretty good takedown defense so we don’t really expect this fight to hit the mat. Since we only need Kikuno to pull off the victory 29.5% of the time, placing a bet on him was a no-brainer. We bet 3 units on Kikuno at 3.39 (+239) at Pinnacle.
Now to go over the variety of parlay plays that we have decided to add for this card. Like UFC 172, we expect to see a lot of favourites with their hands raised come Saturday night. As we stated in our main card predictions and bets, Jamie Varner is a guy we think holds a lot of value at the current line and a great add to a parlay. In Anthony Njokuani, we think we found a great addition to make a 2 team parlay. Njokuani takes on AAA Employee Vinc Pichel in the “main event” of the Fight Pass prelims (is there such a thing?). Njokuani is a seasoned vet at the age of 34 with 13 total fights in the UFC and WEC and has found himself in the position of a gate keeper, losing to the top lightweights, but beating guys on the lower rungs of the division (with the lone exception of his loss to Maciej Jewtuszko in 2010). Pichel will be looking to establish himself after a debut loss to Rustam Khabilov and a decision win over Garrett Whiteley. We don’t really see much chance of that as we see Njokuani keeping this one standing and earning a decision victory. We bet 3 units on the Varner/Njokuani parlay at 2.24 (+114) at 5Dimes.
Our second parlay has Al Iaquinta and Sam Sicilia defeating their respective opponents. Iaquinta takes on Mitch Clarke in the opening of the Fox Sports 1 prelims and we see little chance of Clarke being able to defeat him. Firstly, Clarke is 10-2 overall, but a relatively weak 1-2 in UFC competition, including losses to Anton Kuivanen (now cut) and John Cholish who is now retired after losing 2 straight. His lone UFC win was over John Maguire, who was subsequently cut by the promotion as well. Now he faces Al Iaquinta, a guy who is 3-1 in UFC competition as well as 4-0 on the Ultimate Fighter Live. Just based on that alone, we see Iaquinta as the huge favourite, but add to that the fact that he is probably better in just about every area and it’s easy to make the argument that he should be a parlay leg. The second leg of the parlay is Sam Sicilia to defeat the debuting Aaron Phillips in the featherweight division. Sicilia is just 1-3 in his last 4 so the fact that we’re adding him to a parlay speaks to how bad we feel his opponent is. Phillips sports a record of just 5-0, which is usually a little light on fights to be debuting in the UFC. In addition, he only has 1 win over anyone currently sporting a winning record and that was his last opponent who is only 6-2. While we could only find 2 videos featuring Phillips, what we saw gave us little reason to think he can pull off the upset in his debut (where he likely looks even worse due to UFC jitters). We bet 3 units on Iaquinta and Sicilia at 2.13 (+113) at 5Dimes.
Our final bet of the night will be another two team parlay as we have Renan Barao (who we also indicated we’d like to add to a parlay) and David Michaud to win their respective fights. We broke down Barao vs Dillashaw in our main card predictions and bets, and as stated there, Barao is a guy we’d be looking to add to a parlay as an odds booster. In Michaud, we think we found the right addition. Neither Michaud or his opponent, Jingliang Li have fought very good competition, so there’s 2 unknowns right off the bat, “how will they perform in their UFC debuts?” and “how do they each handle the step up in competition?” One good thing about these questions is that they have to be asked about each fighter so they are even at this point. Then we can look at historical records. Michaud sports a 7-0 record with 6 of those fights ending inside the distance. Li sports a record of 8-2 against, but has only finished 6 of his 8 opponents. Michaud is a wrestler who is very active from the bottom so we expect he’ll be able to tak Li down and control the action either getting a submission or taking a unanimous decision win. We bet 2 units on Barao and Michaud at 1.88 (-113) at 5Dimes.
That’s it for this weeks picks, it will be a busy end of May for us as there are 2 UFC fight cards on May 31, the first time the UFC has done that, but not the last as it will happen at least 2 more times over the summer. 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.
Under 2.5 rounds Lawler/Ellenberger. 2 units at 2.00 (+100) at 5Dimes
Lawler/Mizugaki Parlay. 3 units at 2.11 (+111) at 5Dimes
Chiesa over Trinaldo. 3 units at 1.95 (-105) at 5Dimes
Kikuno over Ferguson. 3 units at 3.39 (+239) at Pinnacle
Varner/Njokuani Parlay. 3 units at 2.24 (+114) at 5Dimes
Iaquinta/Sicilia Parlay. 3 units at 2.13 (+113) at 5Dimes
Michaud/Barao Parlay. 2 units at 1.88 (-113) at 5Dimes