UFC on FX 7 Takeaways, Betting Review
Normally I write these things the day after the fights, but I don’t really want to spend any time on my Sunday thinking about what was really a lacklustre card, since it already occupied a good portion of my Saturday. In fact, this card carried my attention so poorly at some points that I flipped over to some of the opening night of the NHL. To put that in perspective, I haven’t watched and NHL game of my own volition since the 2003-04 season (prior to the last lockout). Essentially, I felt like I was watching the undercard to a UFC pay-per-view, and then time warped to the co-main event of said PPV event.
The main event provided one surprise in Vitor Belfort picking up the first win of his UFC career that DIDN’T happen in the first round. At this point in his career, if you thought he’d improve his cardio to the point that he’d be as dangerous in round two as he has always been in round one, I’d call the men in white coats on you. Of course, how much of that can be attributed to Belfort’s TRT use is a completely different matter. From a technical perspective, Belfort’s set up of the fight ending head kick was impressive. He landed the same kick late in round one, and then came out in round two and threw a couple of body kicks to lower Michael Bisping‘s hands to start round two. On the replay of the head kick, you can see Bisping’s right hand coming down to try to lessen the impact of another body kick, but instead he took it upside the head.
Looking over Vitor’s record, this is actually his best win that has come at 185, but he doesn’t have anywhere to go. Even in his post-fight interview, he conveniently side-stepped asking for a rematch with Anderson Silva and skipped right to Jon Jones. For Bisping, he’ll start the climb towards a Middleweight title shot that you have to think will never come at this point in his career. There are too many young fighters coming up a 185, and too many good fighters coming over from Strikeforce for Bisping to get to this point again, even with the UFC hoping he’ll get there (and helping him along the way, wherever possible).
The “co-main event” saw a decent fight between CB Dolloway and Daniel Sarafian, which was promoted to ‘Fight of the Night’ status because of the sorry state of the rest of the card. Although he came in with possibly the worst gameplan he could have had in the fight, Dolloway managed to win the fight based on the final 5:10 of the bout. Prior to that, he was being summarily worked over by an increasingly fading Sarafian. Dolloway is still going to be Dolloway following this fight. He’ll get submitted by good grapplers, outstruck by good strikers, but beat enough people to stick around in the UFC. As for Sarafian, he was supposed to be the class of TUF Brazil, which really proved one more time that good Brazilian fighters, like North American fighters, are already in the UFC, and aren’t going to be discovered through a reality show.
One of my more confident picks of the night was Ben Rothwell, even after hearing that he didn’t have a great camp. I expected his takedown defence (or at least his ability to stand back up) to keep the fight on the feet, where he would be the heavier hitter. Eventually he would either knock Gonzaga out, or make him so passive that winning a decision was easy, even if Rothwell himself faded. I was right about the wrestling, but Rothwell didn’t throw anything on the feet. didn’t move his head and got caught by right hand after right hand. Following one particular straight right, Gonzaga thought he had Rothwell hurt (it didn’t seem like he actually did), and shot in. Rothwell completely whiffed on his sprawl and put himself in a position to be standing guillotined, which Gonzaga eventually pulled guard on, coaxing the tap. Both guys are still middling Heavyweights, and my disdain for the division is well documented.
In the opening bout of the main card, Khabib Nurmagomedov extended his undefeated record to 19-0, by blitzing Thiago Tavares with a big uppercut and what seemed like a hundred elbows to his prone foe. Nurmagomedov still has a long way to go from a technical standpoint, but he obviously has power, he’s shown impressive takedown defence, and he’s aggressive. With the polish that he’s sure to gain training at AKA, he should continue his rise up the ranks at 155. I still worry about what happens to him when he faces a wrestler who has good striking (of which there are many at Lightweight), but it seems as though the UFC isn’t rushing his progression at this point.
On the undercard, there wasn’t much of note. As such, here is a quick rundown:
- Milton Vieira got screwed out of a decision against Godofredo Pepey. This one hurt a bit extra because Vieira was the 2nd leg of a +360 parlay I had, and a win likely would have salvaged a profitable night for me as I wouldn’t have taken a stab at some bets later on.
- Ronny Markes won two rounds, then got tired as he is ought to do. Andrew Craig lost rounds early and tried to make it up with wild offence as he is ought to do. Markes ended up holding on for the decision due to some questionable fight IQ from Craig, as he didn’t bring the fight back to the feet despite the obvious weariness of his opponent.
- Nik Lentz had the most impressive performance of the undercard, as he utterly dismantled top 10 Featherweight Diego Nunes over the course of 15 minutes. A guy who relies primarily on kicking offence isn’t going to have much success against a smothering fighter like Lentz. Nik will still struggle with anyone who can stay at range and put hands on him, but there are very few fighters capable of keeping Lentz at range.
- Edson Barboza threw more hands, finally. A fighter who has consistently shown flashes of punching power, but never really put it to good use, had it coaxed out of him by an ultra-aggressive Lucas Martins. The problem for Martins is that his defence left gaping holes for Barboza to expose as he came forward. All of that added up to a quick night, and Barboza’s hype train getting back on the rails a little bit.
- Although it was officially ruled a ‘No Contest’, everyone who watched the fight knows that Iuri Alcantara completely dominated Pedro Nobre. The finish was a shame, but the point was proven that Alcantara is going to be at least as dangerous at 135 as he was at 145.
- lldemar Alcantara (Iuri’s older brother) was less impressive in victory, but ended up picking up a ‘Submission of the Night’ bonus, due primarily to Wagner Prado’s completely inept submission defence. Alcantara should be moving down to 185 for his next UFC bout, but unless the organization can continue to find fighters who have as little to offer on the ground as Prado, I don’t see his tenure being too successful in the Octagon.
- A Brazilian with higher hopes is Francisco Trinaldo who dispatched of the soon to be ‘former UFC fighter’ CJ Keith with relative ease. Trinaldo dominated Keith on the ground, and wrapped up an arm-triangle choke from inside the half guard which forced the tap. A big, strong Lightweight who is really too old to make an impact on the division, Massaranduba will at least provide entertaining fights for the foreseeable future.
Not a good night for me on the books. Overall, a small loss of 0.875U on the night. I made the cardinal sin of getting impatient after a bad decision cost me a bet, and that resulted in me making some ill-advised plays later in the card which luckily didn’t cost me even more money.
My biggest play of the night was on Ben Rothwell, and unfortunately I had made the play prior to weigh-ins and the news coming out about his poor camp and possible injuries. The learning there is to wait until weigh-ins to make bets (although I won’t follow this all the time, as some of the best valued lines will move too much from opening to weigh-in to retain their value).
Second biggest play (heading into the night) was Nik Lentz, a fight which went exactly as I had hoped. Nunes’ kicking offence is really his only offence, and that doesn’t work so well against wrestler like Lentz who will get a hold of you and not let go until the bell. He was value as a straight bet or playing the decision prop. I played the straight line since I feared it would move too much prior to the fight (it didn’t), but still a tidy profit.
The impatience I was referring to earlier manifested in the main event, as I ended up making small plays on Bisping to win in Rounds 3, 4 and 5 at very large plus numbers (0.75U in total), and a 1U play on Belfort @ -105 to hedge. I ended up +0.25U on these plays, but they were still ill-advised.
My smaller bets were a mixed bag resulting in a small loss (0.475U)
- 0.5U on CB Dolloway to win a decision hit @ +255
- 0.5U on Thiago Tavares lost
- 0.5U on 3-team (Prado, Iuri ITD, Trinaldo ITD) lost
- 0.5U on 2-team (Vieira Decision, Markes Decision) should have won, but didn’t.
- 0.25U on Ben Rothwell to win a decision also lost.
For a bad night, it wasn’t such a bad night, especially since there appear to be some more hospitable betting cards coming up in the near future.