UFC Notebook (w/ FREE Play)
It's going to be a very busy upcoming five-week period for UFC (isn't it always?) with four events taking place during that time, including each of the next three Saturdays. Two of the events are pay per views while two are on free tv. During this time, we will get a look at one of the best fighters in the world, Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, who steps back into the Octagon for only the second time in two years.
A word first on my back to back losses with UFC selections (though the free play I gave out in my last UFC article won easily on Glover Texiera!). No one was more upset than me. After starting out here on CoversExperts a perfect 10-0, the losses definitely hit me hard. I will be back, most likely in March, with my next big UFC release. In the meantime, enjoy another complimentary selection at the end of this article.
The first of four fight cards I'll be discussing here takes place this Saturday on FUEL TV from London, England. This is a definitely a card short on big names, but the interim bantamweight title will be defended as Renato Barao faces off against Michael McDonald. The idea here is that the winner, either champion Barao or challenger McDonald will eventually faced injured titlist Dominick Cruz, who has not fought since October 2011 when he beat Demetrious Johnson (now the Champ at Flyweight). Sound complicated? It's really not. I bet on Barao to win at UFC 149 against Uriajh Faber, which he did, and he comes in as better than a 3:1 favorite at some sportsbooks. I actually feel he's a better fighter than Cruz.
The only other real fight of substance on this show is a battle of Top 10 Featherweights (145 lbs) as Cub Swanson meets Dustin Poirier. Swanson is a slight favorite here in what should be a good fight. The winner puts himself in contention for a title shot at Jose Aldo, Jr, who just fended off Frankie Edgar in a very close fight at UFC 156 and whose next opponent is surprisingly Anthony Pettis, who drops down from 155 lbs. That fight is tentatively set for sometime in August.
The next time the UFC will be on pay per view is the final Saturday of February and the story here is the debut of women in the Octagon as Ronda Rousey will do battle with Liz Carmouche. This is not the first time there has been women's MMA, but rather the first time it has been sanctioned in UFC. As I mentioned in my previous article, Rousey, who is likely to attract attention (for a multitude of reasons) is a gigantic (essentially "un-bet-able") favorite.
Elsewhere on the card, there should be some decent fights. Lyoto Machida faces Dan Henderson. Having not fought in 15 months, Henderson is due for a title shot at Jon Jones if he were to win. Urijah Faber and Josh Koscheck can't afford a loss in fights they are significantly favored to win.
The UFC's first show in March will be on free television, also on FUEL, this time coming from Japan. Of the four upcoming shows, this one is most likely to generate the least interest. The only battle of Top 10 contenders -Yushin Okami vs. Hector Lombard at Middleweight - isn't even likely to be shown on the broadcast. But that doesn't mean there won't be some decent action. Once upon a time, Takanori Gomi vs. Diego Sanchez would have been a huge fight. Brian Stann, off a loss to Michael Bisping at UFC 152, probably stands to gain the most - that's if he can defeat Wanderlai Silva in the night's main event.
Finally, we close with the most anticipated of the four shows I'm covering here, that being UFC 158, which will take place in Montreal and be headlined by a Welterweight Title Match between Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz. This fight was orginally set to take place some time ago before Diaz's erratic behavior caused him tp lose his opportunity. St Pierre instead defeated Carlos Condit, his fifth consecutive win by decision. Diaz, who lost to Condit in his most recent fight, over a year ago is as controversial and dangerous as any fighter in the sport. Johny Hendricks is probably more deserving of the opportunity to face St. Pierre, but the champ personally asked to fight Diaz because of the bad blood that exists between the two. Hendricks will instead fight Jake Ellenberger that same night and presuming St. Pierre beats Diaz (he's a 5:1 favorite at some books), will get the next title shot.
Just a few final notes from UFC. Rashad Evans can kiss any kind of title shot good bye following his lethargic performance against Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera. Evans star is definitely no longer shining. Two big heavyweight bouts were signed this week. New Champion Cain Velasquez makes his first title defense against Antonio Silva. The two men each beat in their respective last fights will also be squaring off as Junior Dos Santos meets Allistair Overeem. Both fights will take place at UFC 160 in May.
For my Free UFC Pick, I'll take Renan Barao to defeat Michael McDonald this Saturday and retain the UFC interim Bantamweight Title
- O (WIN at ANA)
- Larry Ness
- April 18, 2015 - 10:30 PM
- Offered at:
- allyoubet @ Over 5 -140
These two teams have now played FIVE of their last six games over the total when playing in Anaheim...
My free play is on Anaheim/Tampa Bay Over at 10:35 ET.
Anaheim rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the third period to defeat Winnipeg 4-2 in the opening game of this series. The Ducks' top-line of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf got rolling in that final period, as Perry scored twice while assisting on Getzlaf's goal that ended the game. It is hard not to conclude from that onslaught that Anaheim's superstars are a level above and beyond the capable but unspectacular set of defensemen that the Jets have to offer. The dilemma for the Jets’ head coach Paul Maurice is that if he focuses too much of his players and energies on that dynamic duo of Perry and Getzlaf, that will open up opportunities for Ryan Kesler who anchors a very powerful second line for the Ducks. The over is now 12-4-6 in Anaheim's last 22 games in the Western Conference quarterfinals after Game 1 of this series finished over the toatl of five. The over is also 5-1-1 in the Ducks' last seven home games against teams with a losing record on the road. Goalie Frederik Andersen was up to the task in the opening game by stopping 25 of the 27 shots Winnipeg peppered him. However, Andersen remains a question mark between the pipes given that he had a mediocre 2.56 goals against average and .906 save percentage after the All-Star break prior to Thursday's game. If it were not for John Gibson's upper body injury, Andersen may not have been head coach Bruce Boudreau's choice to be in net to begin this series. Gibson will be ready to go sometime during this series which means Andersen will be looking over his shoulder. He can blow up at any time in this series.
Winnipeg will likely play this game fast-and-loose after blowing that 2-1 lead on Thursday. Stealing Game 2 of this series remains a luxury rather than a necessity for this team, which should remain confident that it can win this series despite being an 8-seed. The Jets have now played NINE of their last 13 road games over the number against teams with a winning percentage over .600 on their home ice. However, the concern this team has but will not dare mention out loud is that goalie Ondrej Pavelec has lost his magic after an incredible second half of the season, where he culminated his 1.98 goals against average and .932 save percentage with three straight shutouts on the road. While Pavelec's play definitely put his team in a position to win the opening game of this series, the fact remains he gave up four goals on just 33 shots. His Game 1 numbers are reminiscent of his unspectacular 2.86 goals against average and .908 save percentage career numbers that he began this series with rather than the lightning in the bottle numbers he put up in the second half of the season after winning his job back from backup Michael Hutchinson. These two teams have now played FIVE of their last six games over the total when playing in Anaheim. Expect another game to finish over the number in Game 2 of this series. Take the over.
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