Fenichel’s Fantasy Freak Out :: Free MMA/UFC Betting Predictions
Welcome to the first edition of “Fenichel’s Fantasy Freak Out”. The way this column will work is simple. For every UFC card, I will give you my two best bets, two fights that you should stay away from, and a 3-4 Fight Parlay that looks promising. We will be using Bovada’s odds for all of the fights. Without further ado, here we go:
UFC on FX 3
The first card up is UFC on FX 3, taking place tomorrow night. I should start by pointing out from a betting stand point, there just aren’t a lot of attractive options on this card. For the most part, this card is filled with extremely closely contested battles between fighters that probably will not contend anytime soon. However, there are still a couple plays that appear to be of decent value here.
Bet this: Charlie Brennamen (+150) over Erick Silva (-185)
Thoughts: Sure, Erick Silva has looked like an absolute beast in his 2 UFC fights thus far, and Brennenman is coming off of a devastating TKO loss. However, it is very important to look a little more closely at these two fights before jumping to conclusions. Silva absolutely destroyed Luis Ramos in his debut and did the same to Carlo Prater before a controversial disqualification robbed him of his second win. These two fights lasted a combined one minute and nine seconds, and what did we learn about Silva from this? He hits hard, and is a good finisher.
What we haven’t seen yet from Silva is how he fares trying to stop the takedowns from an elite level wrestler. This is the challenge that is placed in front of him in Brenneman. Brenneman is extremely one dimensional. All he wants to do is take you down, and hold you there for three rounds. When he can execute his game plan, he wins. When he can’t, he gets knocked out. However, the only two guys in the UFC that have been able to keep the fight standing, are a national champion wrestler in Johnny Hendricks, and a guy who can’t make middleweight anymore in Anthony Johnson. On the flip side, he was able to dominate a big time prospect in Rick Story.
What it comes down to is this. Erick Silva hasn’t shown that he can stop a takedown, and Brenneman isn’t going to waste his time trying to stand with him. He’s been able to execute his game plan against guys much more proven than Silva, and I see no reason why he can’t do the same here. At +150, he looks like the best play on the card. This fight should be a lot closer to even money, if not slightly slanted in Brenneman’s favor. It looks like a good bet all around.
Bet this: Sean Pierson (+130) over Jake Hecht (-160)
Thoughts: This fight is a no brainer bet for the underdog. Jake Hecht is primarily a wrestler with poor standup, and poor jiu jitsu. As you will soon learn, I don’t take much stock into how a guy performs before arriving at the big show. So far, Hecht is 1-1 in the Octagon. His win was via a vicious elbow knockout of Rich Antonito in a fight that he was getting thoroughly outclassed, and his loss was against TJ Waldburger, getting submitted via arm bar in less than one minute. I think Hecht is being vastly overrated as a result of his knockout of Antonito, as he was being outclassed the entire fight. I tend to view his knockout as a bit fluky catching Antonito coming in as opposed to a sign of any kind of standup prowess.
Sean Pierson on the other hand, is a very solid fighter despite his limited success in the Octagon. He holds a solid victory over Matt Riddle. His two losses were to Jake Ellenberger and Doug Hyun Kim, both incredibly solid fighters in their own right. Furthermore, Pierson showed very good takedown defense against Kim, being able to keep the fight standing and having his moments against a very good fighter.
Even though Hecht is a one dimensional wrestler, he doesn’t have the takedown abilities that Kim has. If Pierson was able to stuff Kim’s takedowns, it would appear that he’ll be able to do the same to Hecht. Pierson should have a sizeable edge in the standup, and catch Hecht with something nasty pretty early on. I believe that Pierson wins this fight 7 times out of 10, making him a great bet at the current odds.
Don’t bet this: Demetrius Johnson (-155) v Ian McCall (+125)
Thoughts: I know that it’s exciting to want to bet on the main event of every card, but here’s one that you should stay away from. These two fought a very entertaining incredibly close fight the last time around, and I don’t see much changing here. I agree with the judges scoring the fight a draw. I had Johnson winning a close first two rounds with his overall better standup skills and scrambling ability, and McCall winning the 3rd 10-8 using his wrestling to gain a dominant position and almost finish the fight.
The problem with this fight is that there are too many unknown variables. DJ may have been overlooking McCall the first time around, and there have been rumors about dietary issues before that fight. Some feel that DJ will be much stronger going into this fight as a result. On the other hand, there’s a growing viewpoint that McCall might have figured him out towards the end of their first fight. I tend to lean towards the former, but I’m not so confident in the outcome to justify a play on Johnson at -155. If that line drops closer to -110 or -120 it might be worth a look, but I don’t see that happening.
Don’t bet this: Mike Pierce (-225) v Carlos Eduardo Rocha (+175)
Thoughts: Don’t get me wrong, Mike Pierce can and should win this fight. He’s lost split decisions against excellent competition in Johnny Hendricks and Josh Koscheck. He has very underrated hands, good power, and solid wrestling. With all that being said, Rocha is an absolute monster on the ground. He lost a split decision to Jake Ellenberger, during which he thoroughly outclassed him on the ground. If Pierce chooses to use his wrestling to keep the fight standing, he’ll be in good shape. However, he tends to like to take people down and maintain top control, which would be a disaster against a guy with the jiu jitsu chops of Rocha. Because of this, Pierce just isn’t worth the play at -225.
4 Fight Parlay:
Mike Pyle + Scott Jorgensen + Henry Martinez + Jared Papazian
- Pyle (-190) over Josh Neer – Everything Neer does, Pyle does better. I fully expect Pyle to batter Neer on the feet, either ending the fight by late TKO, or by submission after hurting him with a big shot.
- Scott Jorgensen (-220) over Eddie Wineland – Wineland hasn’t shown the grappling chops to stop Jorgensen’s takedowns or to keep Jorgensen out of controlling him from the top position. This will be fine by Jorgensen, leading to a relatively uneventful unanimous decision.
- Henry Martinez (-230) over Bernardo Magalhaes – Martinez looked phenomenal against Matt Riddle when he was fighting two weight classes above where he should be fighting. Magalhaes has THE WORST standup in the entire division, and doesn’t have the wrestling to get the fight where he wants it to go. Martinez will batter him and win convincingly.
- Jared Papazian (-165) over Dustin Pague – Papazian showed great footwork, solid takedown defense, and excellent kickboxing against Mike Easton. Dustin Pague is not on Easton’s level, and Papazian should be able to pick his spots pretty easily en route to a unanimous decision victory.
That’s it for the first installment of Fenichel’s Fantasy Freak Out. Enjoy the fights guys.
(David Fenichel is the CEO of Fenichel’s Fantasy Fight League. The new season starts July 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)