The weekend must be nearly upon us, because it’s time again for another UFC event on cable TV. They sort of sneak up on you, don’t they? The good news is, if you know how to pick him you can take the money you’re saving on pay-per-views and turn it into more money...which you will probably end up spending on more pay-per-views. It’s a vicious cycle, but at least it’s a fun one.
So how are the odds shaping up for Friday night’s UFC on FX 3 fight card? Check them out below, along with some (sort of) helpful analysis.
Demetrious Johnson (-140) vs. Ian McCall (+130)
Here we go again. After the Australian commission torpedoed the UFC’s best-laid plans the last time out, Johnson and McCall will now, as the philosopher Don Frye says, ‘Do it again, brother.’ But now that we’ve already seen three rounds of action between these two, what do we know about how the rematch is likely to go down? For starters, we know it will probably be a fun, fast-paced affair. We also know it probably won’t end inside the distance. In fact, oddsmakers are offering a prop bet with -380 odds that this one will be decided by the judges. Think they’re wrong? You can get a nearly 3-1 return on your money by betting on a finish. In a fight like this, a lot could depend on who’s stronger in the later rounds. Last time it was McCall. Johnson says he’s fixed those problems with a better diet this time around, but we (and, I would argue, Johnson himself) won’t know for sure until we get there. For my money, McCall has the fire and the cardio to win the end of the fight. He also has the memory of what it felt like to hear the other guy’s name announced as the winner (albeit mistakenly) to motivate him right out of the gates.
My pick: McCall. If anyone has a decent chance to finish this fight, it’s him. As a slight underdog, he’s worth small action.
Erick Silva (-175) vs. Charlie Brenneman (+165)
Just thinking about the dubious disqualification that handed Silva a loss in his last bout still gets me upset. He was owning Carlo Prater in that fight, and we all know it. If anything, he owned him too thoroughly, and in so doing accidentally owned him on the back of the head ever so slightly. Still, the ownage came through loud and clear, which explains why he’s a favorite over Brenneman. What you have to wonder, however, is whether the Brazilian has the wrestling chops to avoid becoming ground-and-pound fodder here. Since this is his first fight outside of Brazil, it’s hard to know for sure. If you come up through the Jungle Fights ranks, you simply don’t see the quality or quantity of takedown attempts as you will in the UFC, where there are many more guys who spent their formative years in wrestling singlets. Silva has looked like a beast in recent fights, and you can’t say he’s not a finisher. You also can’t say for sure that he won’t have to fight off his back at some point in this bout.
My pick: Silva, though not by much. If you can get Brenneman at close to or above 2-1 odds, he’s worth the risk.
Mike Pyle (-200) vs. Josh Neer (+160)
Tell me one thing that Neer consistently does better than Pyle. G’head. Do it. I’ll just be here preemptively shaking my head. If you tell me you think Neer has better striking, I’ll tell you: only when he can turn the fight into a brawl without having to worry about being taken down, which is not the case here. If you tell me you think he has a better ground game, I’ll tell you that you may have lost your damn mind. If you tell me that he is just generally scrappier and meaner, I’ll tell you to go ask the guys down at Xtreme Couture about Pyle’s mean streak. They will tell you some awesome stories, then threaten to do Pyle-esque things to you if you repeat those stories. My point is, Pyle is just an all-around better fighter than Neer, who has gotten by on toughness and opportunism for much longer than I would have expected. Neer finds ways to win, that much is true. But Pyle already has so many advantages in this match-up that all he has to do is not give it away.
My pick: Pyle. At these odds, Brenneman is a better underdog pick than Neer.
Eddie Wineland (+180) vs. Scott Jorgensen (-220)
Wineland’s coming off two straight losses, but they were losses against a couple of the best fighters south of featherweight in Urijah Faber and Joe Benavidez. Still, those defeats signal some weaknesses that Jorgensen is very capable of exploiting. Jorgensen is at his best when he can swarm opponents early and use his wrestling to keep them playing defense. Wineland’s a good enough athlete and an experienced enough fighter to slow that process down, but can he stop it entirely?
My pick: Jorgensen. I expect Wineland to make a fight of it, but it’s hard for me to envision him winning.
- Leonard Garcia (-155) over Matt Grice (+135). Garcia has fallen on hard times against a couple solid opponents, but he’s still got the style and experience to win this one.
- Sean Pierson (+140) over Jake Hecht (-160). Losses to Dong Hyun Kim and Jake Ellenberger are nothing to be ashamed of, but Pierson needs this one and he knows it.
Crazy Internet Prop Bet That Could Make You Rich: McCall wins in round three (+2775). Think about how close it came to happening last time, then think about a return of $2,775 on a $100 investment. I'll take my ten percent cut of your winnings up front, thank you very much.
For Entertainment Purposes Only Parlay: McCall + Pyle + Jorgensen + Garcia.