UFC Fight Night 42: Henderson vs Khabilov goes down this Saturday, June 7 from Albuquerque, New Mexico and is a decently solid UFC Fight Night card with more seasoned fighters that we can plug into our math model than the last couple events. We’ll be looking to build a new winning streak after having a 6 straight profitable event snapped at UFC 173 and then losing again at UFC Fight Night 41, but making a profit at the second event of that day, the TUF Brazil 3 Finale. One of the metrics we commonly use which is especially good at predicting favourites, was around 80% accurate heading into UFC 173 over around 100 observations (the 80% isn’t as impressive as it sounds as the vast majority of guys picked are between 1.20 (-400) and 1.50 (-200)). At UFC 173 and UFC Fight Night 41, it was just 7/16 or under 50% accurate. This trend of most underdogs winning may or may not continue, but we don’t have enough reason yet to change our strategy so we will keep grinding and hopefully make all of our losses up in a couple event. Regardless, we still have an ROI of around 20% since UFC 168 and you can see the full details of our results in the Track Record. We also started a second betting tips site, The MLB Predictor around mid-May and so far we have been making a bit of money so definitely check that out!
The main event of this card features perennial lightweight title contender Benson Henderson taking on Rustam Khabilov. One thing we find interesting about this fight is the fact that the UFC would even decide to match the up and comer, Khabilov, who has a total of 3 UFC fights with the very successful (8-1), seasoned vet, Benson Henderson. Henderson has won both the WEC and UFC lightweight titles in his career, both times eventually losing them to Anthony Pettis. Other than Pettis though, only Rocky Johnson has been able to solve Henderson and that was in his third pro fight way back in 2007. While Khabilov has looked pretty good in the UFC so far, notching 3 straight wins including a unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal, we don’t think he has the required skill level to defeat Benson Henderson. Even at 1.41 (-245), we think there’s value on Henderson so we decided to add him to a parlay. As for the over/under line, it’s already at 4.5 rounds and the over is at 1.57 (-175). We usually avoid playing unders unless they’re at even money or better, but on this card you could basically make the case for parlaying any main card overs together. We won’t recommend it as a play, but we do have a strong lean to the over in every fight on the main card.
The co-main event at this card also features lightweights at Diego Sanchez and Ross Pearson will do battle. This should be an awesome fight assuming both guys chins hold up. Sanchez, who fight in the 2013 fight of the year with Gilbert Melendez and has won an amazing 7 fight of the night bonuses, is 2-3 in his last 5 and may be slowing down from all the wars he puts himself through. He is also 32 years old which tends to be when most fighters begin to decline. Pearson has 2 fight of the night bonus wins in his UFC career and is a few years younger at 29. He is 3-1-1 (although we can basically count the Guillard fight as a loss instead of a no contest) in his last 5. We expect this one to be a stand up war and give an edge to Pearson both based on our film analysis and our model’s pick, but with Sanchez’s war like performances, we are not willing to bet Pearson at 1.57 (-175). Additionaly, the under is actually somewhat tempting in this fight just based on the fact that it is set at 2.5 rounds and pays 2.80 (+180). We would need a lot of luck for that to cash though as the vast majority of both these guys fights go to decision. Therefore we will sit back and thoroughly enjoy the war that likely ensues, but we will not be risking any money.
In a battle between former UFC flyweight title contenders, John Dodson and John Moraga fight in the middle of the main card. According to the bookies, Dodson is a big time favourite and we definitely agree with that. That’s why we decided to make Dodson the second leg of our parlay with Benson Henderson. The match-up at fight night 42 will actually be the second between the two as Dodson took a win over Moraga before entering the Ultimate Fighter house back in December, 2010. Both guys have only lost to current champ, Demtrious Johnson so far in their UFC careers, but we expect that to change for Moraga. The general level of competition for Johnson has been higher, including winning over newly crowned bantamweight champ, TJ Dillashaw to win the Ultimate Fighter. Our bet will be a 3 unit parlay on John Dodson and Benson Henderson at 1.73 (-137) at 5Dimes.
In our lone underdog pick of the main card, our model has Jason High to defeat Rafael Dos Anjos. This is not a bet we’d place in a pick ’em position, but with High now up at 3.70 (+270), we think it’s worth a 2 unit play. What we’re relying on is High’s grappling to come through against Dos Anjos. While we wouldn’t contend that High’s grappling is anywhere near the level of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Nurmagomedov laid a blue print for beating Dos Anjos which involves securing takedowns and maintaining top control. The obvious question is can High match that blue print. Anyway, as we said, we think there’s value in a bet on High so we placed a 2 unit bet on High at 3.70 (+270) at Bookmaker.
Our final bet of the main card will be another fight predicted by our model. We see Erik Perez defeating Bryan Caraway. Besides split decision losses to Takeya Mizugaki, both guys are perfect in the UFC with Perez going 4-0 and Caraway going 3-0. Outside of the UFC though, Caraway is 2-1 in EliteXC/Strikeforce and 0-2 in WEC competition while Perez’s only decently big fights came in BAMMA where he was 2-0. Perez is the higher ranked of the two at #12 in the UFC while Caraway sits at #14. Our bet on Perez is 3 units at 1.95 (-105) at Sportsbook.ag.
That’s it for the main card predictions and bets, stay tuned for our full predictions and bets which will be out later this week! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be updated with all the latest. You can also add your email to the subscribe list at the right to be emailed with new content! Lastly, if you’re looking for a cool book on MMA stats, pick up a copy of Fightnomics by Reed Kuhn.