UFC Fight Night 41: Munoz vs Mousasi will go down in the early afternoon, this Saturday, May 31, 2014 from the O2 World Arena in Berlin, Germany. The Fight Predictor will be looking to rebound from our first loss in 6 events at UFC 173 and what better time to rebound than with the first 2 event day in UFC history. This Saturday will feature a total of 22 UFC fights which beats the previous maximum by 8 or 9 fights and gives us a total of 11 hours worth of UFC programming combined over UFC Fight Pass and Fox Sports 1. The post will specifically be looking at the UFC Fight Night 41 betting options while we’ll have a second blog post after the full lines come out for the TUF Brazil 3 Finale to look at the best bets for that card. Regardless, our ROI is an impressive 25% overall and we don’t plan on slowing down. If you know of someone who tracks there UFC bets who is anywhere near 25%, we’d be very interested in looking at their site. Speaking of other sites, we’ve been giving out baseball tips for the last couple weeks or so at our sister site, mlbpredictor.com. So far, we’ve had mixed success, but we feel like we are getting better at selecting where to lay down our money so we are beginning to accelerate, betting on more games and outcomes!
In the main event, Gegard Mousasi and Mark Munoz will do battle. These middleweights both make the cut on the media voted top 15 provided by the UFC, but surprisingly, the 11th ranked Mousasi is a big 1.37 (-270) favourite over the number 7 ranked Mark Munoz who sits at 3.57 (+257). We strongly feel that while our model has Mousasi to win and our initial inclination is definitely that Mousasi should take the victory, that the smart money would actually fall on Munoz in this case. The former Oklahome State wrestler, Munoz, will have the wrestling advantage here and may be able to use it to stifle the offense of Mousasi who will lose the advantage he has on the feet should he be planted on his back. Even on the feet though, Mousasi’s advantage is likely not as huge as people make it out to be. Mousasi’s has a couple big names he’s defeated in Hector Lombard and Jacare Souza, but over the last 5 years his biggest win was likely against Ovince St Preux and he had a ton of trouble dealing with the speed of Lyoto Machida in his last outing (not that Munoz fared much better vs Machida). Our lean is Munoz, but it is not strong enough to justify placing a bet. In terms of the over/under, we feel the over 2.5 rounds is the more likely outcome, but at 1.65 (-155), we aren’t going to put down our money there either.
The co-main event features CB Dollaway and Francis Carmont doing battle. Carmont is ranked 9th best middleweight in the UFC while Dollaway has yet to be ranked. The line on this fight seems to be one where the betting public is looking at a guy coming off a quick KO more favourably than they should be. Dollaway is a long time UFC vet, with a career record of 14-5 and a UFC record of 8-5. Carmont, on the other hand, is 22-8 overall and 6-1 in the UFC. Carmont has the ability to go out and smother his opponents with his grappling and we feel he’ll have little trouble doing that against Dollaway on Saturday. Dollaway was only able to earn a split decision victory over Daniel Sarafian who was debuting with the promotion at the time and hasn’t been able to do much since. Our confidence with Carmont is enough that we’ll add him to a parlay at 1.625 (-160).
We find the perfect parlay leg to go with Francis Carmont in the fight immediately prior, the third middleweight fight of the main card featuring Luke Barnatt and Sean Strickland. Both guys are undefeated, Barnatt at 8-0 while Strickland sits at 14-0. Since participating on The Ultimate Fighter, Barnatt has improved dramatically, using his reach impressively well and finishing both Mat Nilsson and Andrew Craig. The big knock on Barnatt previously was that he didn’t use the reach advantage his 6’6″ frame provided him, but that argument has been mostly muted with the striking he has shown in his last 2 fights. Strickland is no slouch himself, but does leave himself open to strikes on the feet, choosing to keep his hands low in striking exchanges. We feel Barnatt will be able to capitalize on that and utilize his reach advantage to either finish the fight or win a lopsided decision. We bet 3 units on Carmont and Barnatt at 2.40 (+140) at 5Dimes. The under 1.5 rounds line on this fight may hold value as well assuming you think Barnatt can get a finish, it is currently at 2.45 (+145) at Pinnacle, but we will stick with just betting the outcome here.
The main card opener features two Europeans fighters as Finnish featherweight Tom Niinimaki takes on Swedish featherweight Niklas Backstrom will do battle. For Niinimaki, the debuting Backstrom will likely be a slight step down in competition after defeating UFC vet Rani Yahya via split decision in his debut. In that fight, Niinimaki showed a solid ability to control his opponent, and the win brought his current win streak to 12. The debuting Backstrom has some impressive finishes on his resume, but hasn’t faced very many high calibre opponents. In addition, the UFC debut could always lead to nerves which negatively impact his performance. Because of the additional uncertainty, we are putting Niinimaki in a parlay, but keeping it a bit smaller at 2 units.
Parlayed with Niinimaaki will be the debuting, 10-0 Pawel Pawlak. Pawlak has finished 9 of his 10 wins and has actually faced a far higher number of above 500 fighters than many of his debuting counterparts. His opponent, Peter Sobotta, actually fought in the UFC back in 2010, and fared very poorly, losing 3 straight fights to other guys who also didn’t fare well in the UFC. Sobotta has since won 5 straight, but the level of compeition has been downright terrible. We see the 25 year old Pawlak getting his debut win the vast majority of the time unless he faces some major UFC jitters so we placed a 2 unit parlay bet on Pawlak and Niinimaki at 2.15 (+115) at 5Dimes.
Our third and final bet of the night will be an underdog play. In the featherweight division, and as the second fight of the night, Maximo Blanco and Andy Ogle will do battle. Blanco is a guy who fights with poor IQ and has never looked particularly good to us. Combine that with the fact that Ogle has a decent all around game and we think it’s worth making a play. Our model has Ogle as a decent size favourite in the fight as well. We placed a 2 unit bet on Ogle at 2.80 (+180) at Pinnacle.
Stay tuned to our Twitter and Facebook to see if we add any other plays before fight night. 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!