UFC 158 is a risky card to wager your money on. The main card is not as stacked as past cards we’ve seen and a few names have proven to be shaky in their last few performances. While I’m not insulting their skillset, there are simply a couple of names that I would not feel comfortable putting my money on. The odds of the card are as followed:
Bet $100 On Ricci to win $38.46 or $100 on Fletcher to win $200
Bet $100 on Ring to win $96.72 or $100 on Camozzi to win $100
Jake Ellenberger (-165) vs. Nate Marquardt (+135)
Bet $100 on Ellenberger to win $60.61 or $100 on Marquardt to win $135
Johny Hendricks (-140) vs. Carlos Condit (+110)
Bet $100 on Hendricks to win $71.43 or $100 on Condit to win $110
Georges St. Pierre -475 vs. Nick Diaz +375
Bet $100 on St. Pierre to win $21.05 or $100 on Nick Diaz to win $375
Out of the fighters listed above, there are only a few names I’d be willing to talk to the bookie about. Right off the bat, Ricci, Fletcher, Ring and Camozzi are off my list of safe names to bet on. While I’m sure their fights could be exciting, I’m not confident with financially investing on any of those names.
The first bout that caught my eye as having the potential to be somewhat lucrative is Ellenberger and Marquardt’s fight. Jake Ellenberger boasts an impressive record within the UFC, suffering losses only against Martin Kampmann and Carlos Condit. With seventeen knockout victories throughout his career, saying Ellenberger packs a powerful punch is an understatement. On the downside, his performances against Diego Sanchez and Martin Kampmann were not as impressive as his earlier victories. This leaves some space for Nate Marquardt to catch everybody off guard and press the action against his opponent this Saturday. Marquardt’s recent losses came by the likes of Chael Sonnen and Yushin Okami; fighters who can take down their opponents at will and grind out a victory. As long as Nate Marquardt keeps the fight standing and throws heavy punches, he can pull off an upset victory.
Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit is one of the more interesting fights on the card. In one corner, you have Hendricks who is on the streak of his life and has been (understandably) campaigning for a title fight against Georges St. Pierre. In the other corner, you have Carlos Condit; a former UFC Welterweight Interim Champion whose game is so versatile and diverse, it’s hard to label him as an underdog. However, the bookies have done just that. Let’s take advantage of it.
While Condit’s gameplans lately haven’t contained the ingredients for the attention of the blood hungry knockout fans, it has contained the ingredients to victory. He rarely ever gets hurt in fights (with the exception of the GSP bout) and has a high kick that can knock anybody silly. He uses his distance and strategic punching to set up the high kick, which knocked Georges St. Pierre on his bum and it also sent Nick Diaz back a bit. Hendricks is a dangerous man, but he has been relying too much on his punching power lately. And hey, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. However, the more tape that there is of Hendricks using only his hands the more holes his opponents can find in his game. Hendricks’ power is evil, but there are some holes in his game that if he doesn’t cover them up with his wrestling he will be susceptible to a loss by the hands of a team with a great strategy, and Jackson’s MMA manufactures them out like nobody’s business. Like I said, Hendricks has some of the most explosive hands in the division and it’s going to be hard to bet against him, but labeling Condit as an underdog when he has such solid all-around talent is ridiculous.
With the co-main event out of the way, let’s move on to the main event of the evening.
When it comes to gambling in sports, there are certain teams and people you just do not bet against. You don’t want to bet against the Chicago Blackhawks in hockey. In football, you’ll want to avoid betting on teams like the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos. Right now in basketball it’s the Miami Heat. When it comes to mixed martial arts, based on how destructive they have been no matter what the circumstances are, you don’t bet against Jon Jones, Anderson Silva or Georges St. Pierre. No matter what kind of evidence the UFC hype train has supplied to make the viewers think their opponent actually has a chance (and they may), you don’t want to rely on hype when it comes to money. That is dangerous and unintelligent.
Nick Diaz has all the potential in the world to be the best welterweight mixed martial artist the world has seen, and definitely is the most interesting one. He demolished all of his opponents in Strikeforce, absolutely destroyed BJ Penn and came up short in an exciting performance against Carlos Condit in about that many fans thought Diaz actually won. Diaz is a great fighter, but he does have some weaknesses. His takedown defense is not the best in the world, and some may think that shouldn’t be an issue because he is so good off his back. It just so happens that one of Georges St. Pierre’s biggest advantages is his amazing ability to pass any guard. Yes, Diaz can out strike almost anybody in the UFC, including GSP, but I don’t think St. Pierre is going to let that happen. It’s a title fight in Montreal and the champion, although emotional, will still let nothing get in his way of cementing himself as the greatest champion to ever fight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Expect the champion to go for takedowns and try to finish the fight on the ground.
This column does not contain predictions on who we think is going to win, but rather which underdog has the best chance of winning and making a bettor money. Gambling is not a way to make ends meet; it should be a way for people who can afford to gamble to have fun. If you or anybody you know has a gambling problem, please call 1-800-522-4700.