Ladies, gentlemen, and everything in between – welcome to another edition of Fenichel’s Fantasy Freakout. After a brief hiatus, we’re back in action for what promises to be a great card for betting. UFC 153 is this Saturday, and unlike the last several cards it appears to have PLENTY to offer in the way of solid bets. In fact, this card has so many solid bets that we’re going to switch up the format. Instead of the usual 2 good/2 bad format, I’m going to hit you with five fights that are worth some action. Without further ado – here we go!
Fenichel’s Fab Five:
Wagner Prado (+325) over Phil Davis (-400)
Thoughts: This line is a bit shocking to me considering their last fight. On the UFC on Fox 4, Davis tried to implement an absolutely horrific game plan against Prado. Davis enjoys an enormous advantage in the wrestling and ground games here. Prado’s only real chance is if Davis tried to stand and exchange with him. That’s EXACTLY what Davis chose to do. Before the eye poke, things were not going well for Davis in this fight. I believe that had the eye poke not happened, Prado would have knocked him out. It is very possible that Phil Davis will fight a smarter fight this time around, take it to the ground, and win handily. The odds makers are clearly banking on this to happen. However, Phil Davis has shown a low fight IQ in the past. It would not surprise me in the slightest to see him repeat his past mistakes, and get KO’d. At +325, Wagner Prado is a definitely worth a play here.
Diego Brandao (-180) over Joey Gambino (+158)
Thoughts: I love Brandao in this fight. On The Ultimate Fighter, he looked like an absolute monster, running through everyone in his past, including Steven Siler and Joey Bermudez, two very respectable and credible fighters. He’s got explosive standup, and a very solid ground game. On the other hand, Joey Gambino came into the UFC with a ton of hype, then proceeded to get absolutely destroyed in his first fight. Who did that first fight happen to be with? Steven Siler! The same Steven Siler that Diego absolutely ran through. Now I know that “MMA Math” does not always add up. However, it’s hard ignore one fighter completely outclassing Siler while the other looked like he didn’t belong in the same cage as him. With all this said, Diego’s big Achilles heel lies in his cardio, or lack thereof. However, I don’t see cardio coming into play here. Diego simply has too much firepower here. He will land some bombs early, and finish the fight in somewhat brutal fashion. Bet this all day long.
Reza Madadi (-185) over Cristiano Marcello (+160)
Thoughts: This is just a horrendous style matchup for Marcello. Marcello is an all world Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. However, his wrestling is so unbelievably bad. It’s so bad that he’d have to be facing an opponent with incredibly terrible takedown defense to get the fight where he wants it to be. Reza Madadi does not fall into this category. He is an Iranian wrestling specialist, with a very good ground game himself. While he isn’t the best striker in the UFC, his striking his light years better than Marcello’s. I see no reason why he won’t use his wrestling to keep the fight standing, and batter Marcello on the feet. Madadi will win a very comfortable decision here, bet this.
Sergio Moraes (-220) over Renee Forte (+180)
Thoughts: Sergio Moraes, even at -220, is incredibly undervalued here. He’s a top level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blackbelt with a limited standup game. There is no doubt in my mind that he will struggle with the division’s better strikers. However, Renee Forte is not one of them. In fact, Forte is tailor made for Moraes here. Forte is also a one dimensional fighter. The only problem is that the one dimension is his ground game, and it’s extremely inferior to Moraes. He lacks the wrestling to keep the fight standings, and lacks the striking to hurt Sergio even if he did. I see no other way for this fight to end than by Moraes dragging him to the ground, and choking him out. I expect a quick finish from Moraes here, and will be betting this hard.
Sam Sicilia (+245) over Rony Mariano Bezerra (-290)
Thoughts: Rony may have won the inaugural season of the Ultimate Fighter in Brazil, but there is plenty of cause for concern here. First off, he’s very small for the featherweight division. He’d be much better suited at bantamweight, and has expressed interest in making the drop in the past. Second, he got rocked by Dileno Lopes in the preliminary round to get into the house. Dileno Lopes is a flyweight. This does not bode well for Bezerra’s chin. On the flip side, Sicilia is making the drop down to featherweight for the first time, and he’s going to have a HUGE size advantage. He had big power at 155, and should have tremendous power at 145 as well. Bezerra’s got a great ground game, but lacks the wrestling to get it there. Additionally, while Sicilia telegraphs his punches, Bezerra doesn’t exactly have the best standup defense himself. This should be a relatively entertaining brawl. However, Sicilia will eventually catch him with something big and put him away. A great underdog bet here for sure.
Fenichel’s Four Fight Parlay:
Anderson Silva + Glover Teixeira + Antonio Nogueira + Sergio Moraes
- Anderson Silva over Stephan Bonnar – This matchup speaks for itself. Silva is the best fighter to ever live, and Bonnar is a middle of the road light heavyweight at best. It will be a moral victory for Bonnar to make it to the final bell here.
- Glover Teixeira over Fabio Maldonado – Glover is the next big thing in the light heavyweight division. He’s better than Maldonado everywhere here, and should completely outclass him.
- Antonio Nogueira over Dave Herman – Sure, big Nog is coming off a huge layoff and a major injury. However, Dave Herman is a flat out terrible fighter. Nog has the power to hurt him standing, and is light years ahead of Herman on the ground. Expect a quick Nog win here to get him back on track.
- Sergio Moraes over Renee Forte – I could have justified a parlay play for several of the above mentioned “bets”. I chose Moraes because I think it’s the safest play. As previously mentioned, he’s far better in the one area Forte excels, and should win this fight going away.
(David Fenichel is the CEO of Fenichel’s Fantasy Fight League. The new season starts October 1st, with the winner getting two tickets to the UFC, including hotel and airfare. You can sign up for the new season at FantasyMMAworld.com)