UFC 174: Johnson vs Bagautinov goes down this Saturday night, June 14, 2014 from the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada and despite some people saying otherwise, we think it’s an awesome card. The close main card fights means more value if you can correctly pick winners and with our model around 66% accurate, we definitely think we can find some value in these close fights. Realistically, if this card were capped off with a bigger weight class title fight, it would have to be considered one of the best fight cards of the year. We’ll be looking for our fourth straight profit (if you ignore the late Twitter play we gave out last week on Ross Pearson where we were absolutely robbed!). You can check out our full history in our Track Record. If you haven’t got your copy of Fightnomics yet, you’re missing out as it breaks down most of the important statistics around MMA outcomes.
The main event of this card features Demetrious Johnson defending his flyweight title against Ali Bagautinov. Our model, like most other things used to predict fights, has Johnson as a big favourite to retain the flyweight gold. Johnson currently sits around 1.20 (-500) and there is likely some value there, but not a huge amount. We will consider adding him to a parlay later on depending how the lines move. As long as Johnson doesn’t come out completely flat, he should have the advantage pretty much wherever this fight takes place against Bagautinov. We’re not saying Bagautinov has no chance here, any fighter on an 11 fight win streak including 3 straight in the UFC obviously has some skill, we just think it would be pretty rare that he would be able to defeat Demetrious Johnson. With the over/under set at 4.5 rounds and the over paying 1.54 (-185) there’s likely not much value in placing a bet there.
The co-main event at UFC 174 features two guys who are 1 (or maybe 2 depending how this one ends) wins away from a UFC welterweight title shot. We are very much anticipating fireworks in the Tyron Woodley vs Rory MacDonald fight. Woodley is likely our most bet guy as we have bet on him in every single one of his UFC appearances. Over those 4 fights, he is 3-1 with the one loss being a controversial split decision loss to the boring and now cut Jake Shields. Overall, Woodley is 13-2 with 9 of his 13 wins coming inside the distance. His opponent, Rory MacDonald was heralded as the next great welterweight a few years ago, but that talk has died off a bit with a mediocore decision win over Jake Ellenberger and a split decision loss to Robbie Lawler. His overall record is impressive at 16-2, as is his UFC record which sits at 7-2; both amazing numbers considering he is only 24 years of age and has significant time to continue to improve. This is one of those close fights we mentioned in the intro with MacDonald as the slight dog paying just over even money and Woodley as the slight favourite paying just under even money. Like Woodley’s last 4 fights, our model has him to come through with a victory. We placed a 3 unit bet on Woodley at 1.76 (-132) at Sportbet.com. The over/under on this fight currently sits at 2.5 rounds and the under pays 2.70. While this seems very attractive at first, we just can’t bet it with MacDonald’s cautious style that has been on display as of late. Classify it as a lean.
In the middle of the main card, light heavyweights Ryan Bader and Rafael Cavalcante will throw down. Ryan Bader seems to have found his niche as a mid-upper tier light heavyweight as he beats most of the mid-lower tier guys, but can never win big fights to step up to the next level. He is ranked in the top 10 light heavyweights at number 9, but can’t really move any higher until he beats other guys in the top 10. Cavalcante comes in at #12 overall in the UFC rankings which is kind of surprising considering he was knocked out by Thiago Silva in Silva’s last UFC appearance and his only UFC win so far was over Igor Pokrajac who is nowhere near the top 15 light heavyweights in the UFC. He did manage to beat Yoel Romero and King Mo in Strikeforce, knocking both out which is pretty impressive, but Romero has improved dramatically since then and the win over King Mo was 4 years ago and MMA tends to be a very “what have you done for me lately?” kind of sport. Anyway, our model has Bader as a pretty big favourite to take home the win Saturday night. We bet 3 units on Ryan Bader at 1.75 (-133) at BetOnline. In addition, since both guys have shown both knockout power and chin issues in the past, we bet 2 units on under 1.5 rounds at 2.20 (+120) at Pinnacle.
In the second fight of the Pay-Per-View portion of the card, recently re-signed and former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski takes on Brendan Schaub. The close odds on this fight are probably about right. This is the only main card bout where we don’t have a strong lean. Consider the stats, Arlovski is 6’3″ with a reach of 77″ while Schaub stands 6’4″ with a reach of 78″. Arlovski lands 3.17 strikes per minute at an accuracy of 39%. Schaub lands 3.32 strikes per minute at an accuracy of 38%. Both men absorb 2.34 strikes per minute with Arlovski defending 63% and Schaub defending 56%. Schaub is far ahead in the grappling though, landing 2.60 takedowns per fight to Arlovski’s 0.44, but Arlovski doesn’t go down easily, defending 86% of takedowns he faces. Our model agrees with the odds, giving Schaub a slightly higher chance of victory, but the edge is pretty small. Realistically, this fight can go one of two ways. Either Arlovski keeps it standing and eventually TKOs Schaub, or Schaub is able to land the takedowns and he stays on top and gets a sub or lays his way to a decision. We don’t see the value in betting on either possibility, but if either guy happens to reach 2.50 (+150) or higher, that is likely the side that will be worth betting on. The under/over is siting at 1.5 rounds and is also pretty close to even which probably is about right.
Opening the Pay-Per-View will be another close fight between Ovince St Preux and Ryan Jimmo. Ryan Jimmo seems to have a lot more hype than he deserves, as we were surprised he was almost even with St Preux in terms of the odds. He entered the UFC with a 7 second knockout against Anthony Perosh, but since then he hasn’t looked particularly impressive. He beat Sean O’Connell in his last outing, but was not nearly as dominant as most people expected he would be against his debuting opponent. While St Preux hasn’t always looked amazing in his UFC performances, we have to give him credit for being 3-0 so far including 2 inside the distance wins. Across Strikeforce and the UFC, he is an impressive 9-1. Our model favours St Preux, and with the close line, there’s value in placing a bet. We bet 3 units on St Preux at 1.75 (-133) at Pinnacle. In addition, we think either man has the power to knock the other out so we don’t expect this fight to be a long one. We bet 1.5 units on Under 2.5 rounds at 2.50 (+150) at 5Dimes.
That’s it for our bets on this solid main card. The fights go down this Saturday, June 14 and all of these bets will take place on the Pay-Per-View portion of the card beginning at 10pm ET. Good luck with all your bets!
Woodley over MacDonald. 3 units at 1.76 (-132) at Sportbet.com
Bader over Cavalcante. 3 units at 1.75 (-133) at BetOnline
Under 1.5 rounds – Bader/Cavalcante. 2 units at 2.20 (+120) at Pinnacle
St Preux over Jimmo. 3 units at 1.75 (-133) at Pinnacle
Under 2.5 rounds – St Preux/Jimmo. 1.5 units at 2.50 at 5Dimes