MMA Blog

February 1, 2013

UFC 156 Betting Tips

Filed under: MMA Opinions, MMA Betting News — MrRiddum @ 4:48 pm

UFC 156
Featherweight Championship Bout
Jose Aldo vs Frankie Edgar

Jose Aldo is going in as the favourite in the fight against Frankie Edgar. I wouldn’t be the one to place money on Aldo. Aldo as much as he is a great all round fighter has always has questions about his cardio against someone like Edgar that could be a huge issue. Edgar is notorious for being able to take big damage and keep on going at the same lightning pace at the start of the fight. Edgars wrestling is also a factor in the fight. Aldo has great takedown defence but Edgar is very hard to predict and has taken down a lot bigger men than Aldo in the past. Edgars only real flaw against Aldo is the fact that Aldo can throw heat in his leg kicks that could really effect his speed and bounce. I would still say that Ben Henderson hits just as hard as Aldo with kicks and they didn’t really effect Frankie. That is not to say Aldo can’t beat Edgar but if you wanted value for money it would be Edgar i would be betting on. He is going off at 9/5 on some betting sites which is a steal considering the two very close fights he fought against Ben Henderson. Pretty good value for money if you put him on an accumulator.

Heavyweight Bout
Antonio Silva v Alistair Overeem

This fight here is one that i do believe the odds reflect the fight correctly for those interested in MMA Betting. Overeem destroyed Brock in his first fight in the UFC. He is a K-1 level striker with a good ground game and able to stop the takedown. Silva has a real problem on his hands here. After being brutally beaten down by now UFC Champion Cain Velasquez his last fight was less than convincing to most people. Silva is most known for his win over Fedor but that was quite a while ago now and since then he lost against Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez who are both at the top of the food chain as is Overeem so i would expect this to be one sided and ended inside of a round. As this is a heavyweight fight i would be betting on the KO finish and Overeem to be the one landing the shot to end it. Overeem ending it in the first round is going off at around Evens so that would be the bet i would take.

Light Heavyweight Bout
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira v Rashad Evans

Both fighters in this fight are coming off a long lay off from the octagon. Evans is coming off a loss to Jon Jones and Nogueria is coming off a win against Tito Ortiz. Evans in my book is the more accomplished fighter with the better skills and this reflects in his odds. He is a huge favourite against Nogueria and to be honest i can see why. Nogueira is a tough durable fighter but i feel his best years are behind him. He has the boxing and a great ground game when it comes to submissions but i really do believe his lack of speed is really going to hurt him against Evans. They could be a shock on the cards but i really do not believe this will be that shock. I have no idea if Nogueria can take the damage that Evans can dish out with his knockout power. I think Nogueria will survive Evans but lose a lopsided decision which is going off at 1/2 on most major betting websites.

Welterweight Bout
Demian Maia v Jon Fitch

Now this is a real pick’em fight. The best submissions in the UFC against the best submission defence in the UFC. Maia is 2-0 at welterweight and is looking to make a run for the title. He looked very impressive in his 2 fights. Maia has been really successful in his takedowns and the fight finishes not long after that. Fitch though has great submission defence to the point that trying to choke him out is just a waste of energy. Maia is at a completely different level when it comes to the ground game that Fitch has fought but it will be a test. This one could go either way between the two of them and Fitch is the favourite. If Maia is to win this fight i would say he would need an early submission which he has the skills to do. He is going off at 8/5 to win the fight and 4/1 to win via submission. Where as Fitch is going off at 2/3 for a decision victory. Its a pick’em and if you are really wanting to bet on it i would leave it off any accumulator you do but go for a 4/1 submission victory for Maia.

If i was to bet on it i would have a bet on Frankie Edgar to win, Overeem to win via KO, Evans to win, Joseph Benavidez to win and Jacob Volkmann to win.

Betting advice provided by dinoo at MMA Tycoon - The MMA Management Game

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Alternative view from Deadly Dirk

UFC 156 Preview

UFC 156 gets underway this Saturday live from the Mandalay Events Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC 146 is perhaps the biggest card to date since UFC 100 and has some of the most high profile names in the sport competing including Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, Alistair Overeem and Rashad Evans to name just a few. Let’s have a look through the fight card to see who might be puling out the wins tomorrow night.

Joseph Benavidez (16-3) vs Ian McCall (11-3-1) ? Flyweight 125lbs

Kicking off the main show we have an outsanding matchup featuring two guys right at the top of the flyweight division. Benavidez will be looking to use his outstanding boxing and wrestling to impose his will on McCall who comes into the fight as the favourite at -227 with the bookmakers. Coming from Team Alpha Male, Benavidez also possesses one of the most lethal guillotine chokes in the game and would like nothing better to sink it in on his opponent, Uncle Creepy. Make no mistake though, Ian McCall is no joke and took the current champion Demetrius Johnson to a draw less than a year ago, it may just be that Benavidez does everything that McCall does just a little bit better making him the underdog at +220. One things for sure though, this should be a hell of a way to kick off the main card.
Prediction: Benavidez via Decision.

Jon Fitch (24-4-1) vs Demian Maia (17-4) ? Welterweight 170lbs

Jon Fitch is one of the best wrestlers in the division who’s favourite way to win fights is to get on top of his opponent, break their will and grind out a victory. It may not be pretty at times but it’s hard to ignore the fact that it gets the job done. Maia however is not your normal grappler, he has some of the best Brazilian jui jitsu in the sport and has won numerous grappling tournaments around the world. He’s more than capable of cranking on an arm or finding a choke from the bottom position should Fitch apply his normal gameplan. Maia’s career stalled a little at the higher class of middlweight where he struggled against some of the larger wrestlers in the division, ever since dropping down to welterweight though he’s looked unbelievable, finishing both of his opponents quickly in the first round.

Often in these grappling matchups it can turn into a kickboxing bout with both guys very aware of their opponents ground game. If that is the case I would have to say that Maia has greatly improved his striking since joining the UFC and would most probably have the edge there. Maia definitely has the tools to win this bout but personally I have to go with Fitch who more times than not find a way to beat an opponent who at least on paper looks to have the edge in skill. Jon Fitch is currently the favourite in Vegas at -188 but you may well be tempted by the somewhat generous odds of +186 for Demian Maia.
Prediction: Fitch via Decision

Alistair Overeem (36-11) vs Antonio Silva (17-4) ? Heavyweight 265lbs

Make no mistake about it, Alistair Overeem has some of the best kickboxing in the sport, depending on who you speak to some would argue he has the very best, period. Overeem has been competing in mixed martial arts since the late 90’s winning numerous titles including the Dream and Strikeforce heavyweight MMA titles, not to mention his European ADCC grappling and K-1 kickboxing title. Originally starting his career as a light heavyweight, Overeem made a move full time to the heavyweight division back in June 2007. He’s 12-1 since then with the sole loss coming over 5 years ago and the wins including high profile names such as Brock Lesnar, Fabricio Werdum, Mark Hunt and Brett Rogers.

His opponent will be Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, a gargantuan heavyweight and a BJJ blackbelt who likes to use his grappling expertise to get the fight to the ground, work a good position and pound you out with the cement blocks that he calls fists, evident in his upset over Fedor Emilanenko a couple of years back and more recently against heavyweight up and comer Travis Browne.

Overeem will have a considerable advantage standing and should be able to pick Silva apart hoping to land that knockout blow that he’s done so many times in the past and comes into this bout as the -325 favourite. Overeem has greatly improved his takedown defence in recent years and should have the ability to keep the fight standing but you can be sure if Silva does manage to get on top of Overeem it’s going to cause him a lot of problems as one of the real questions remaining about Overeem is how will he handle adversity? Will he bounce back or will he perhaps crumble like he did earlier on in his career and make the odds of +325 for Silva look like an interesting bet?
Prediciton: Overeem via TKO (2nd Round)

Rashad Evans (17-2-1) vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20-5) ? Light Heavyweight 205lbs

The former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans returns to the octagon to take on Little Nog in what the bookmakers see as a lopsided affair with Evans the -445 favourite and Nogeuira the underdog at +415.

Evans is one of the fastest guys in the division and should have the edge in striking against the technically sound Nogueira. You’d also have to say he has the power advantage and certainly has a big advantage in wrestling which should allow him to take down Nogueira at will if he chooses to do so.

Being a Nogueira brother though, the one thing Rashad won’t have over the Brazilian is heart and determination. You can be sure that unless Rashad gets the finish or the final buzzer goes, Lil Nog will be in this fight and will not bow out easily. He possesses some fantastic grappling skills himself and while her perhaps will not have the wrestling to get the fight to the floor himself he will look to attack at any opportunity should Evans decide to take him down. It’s hard to argue that Evans is not an overwhelming favourite in this fight but I do think the odds are a a generous, still I’d find it hard to bet against Evans in this one.
Prediction: Evans via Decision

Jose Aldo (Champion ? 22-1) vs Frankie Edgar (15-3-1) Featherweight Title 145lbs

The main event features the Brazilian wonderkid Jose Aldo taking on New Jersey’s Frankie Edgar, a guy who never knows when to quit. Aldo has only lost once in his career and that was over 7 years ago at a small show in Brazil. Since making the move over to America and competing in the WEC and UFC he has been on a tear beating everyone in his path and often in spectacular fashion. At just 26 years of age the crazy thing is we probably haven’t even seen the best of Jose Aldo yet, a tenacious striker who probably has some of the best kicks in the world, something he puts down largely due to his soccer background. The only knock on Aldo in recent times has been a suggestion of poor cardio which was brought up after a win over Mark Hominick where Aldo crushed the challenger for 4 rounds only to take some big damage himself in the final round after the Brazilian tired. It was still a comfortable decision win for the champion though.

Frankie Edgar has recently dropped down to Featherweight, a more natural weight for his body size, after previously competing at Lightweight where he is a former champion. The main standouts from Edgar’s career up until now has been his impressive speed and cardio allowing him to get in and out on his opponents and really push the pace with his boxing and takedowns. The other thing that stands out is his ability to absorb punishment and somehow keep pushing forward and coming back even stronger, never more evident than his bouts with Gray Maynard.

This really should be an explosive affair and it’s one of those fights where anything could happen. Most would argue that the longer the fight goes it could favour Edgar with his cardio and heart but the biggest difference perhaps between Aldo and Frankie’s recent opponents is that Aldo is a finisher. If Frankie gets hurt like he has so many times before Aldo is not the sort of man to allow him to work his way back into the fight and will pounce at the earliest opportunity, combined with the deadly leg kicks that the Brazilian will be throwing Frankie may find it hard to show the same speed he has done so many times in the past. Frankie will give 100% as long as this fight continues but no matter how much he wants to come back against Jose Aldo, the champion may simply not allow him to do so. I’d find it very hard to bet against Frankie at the best of times but in this one I would have to go with the champion and favourite in Jose Aldo at -200. Those of you who love a good underdog story may want to side with Edgar at +190.
Prediction: Jose Aldo TKO (4th Round)

March 25, 2010

UFC 111 Betting Pick: Carwin vs Mir

Filed under: MMA Opinions, UFC Predictions — MrRiddum @ 10:40 pm

Since his brutal loss at UFC 100, Frank Mir has been borderline obsessed with beating UFC Heavyweight Champ Brock Lesnar.

But at UFC 111, Mir faces a man who he believes to be even more dangerous in Colorado, native and undefeated contender Shane Carwin in what could be the most explosive fight the UFC has seen in months.

The fight, which will take place on Saturday night at 10 pm in Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center, is scheduled for five rounds because it is for the Interim Heavyweight Title, but most MMA fans think it’s pretty much inevitable this time around that either Mir or Carwin is going down hard.

In his last bout Mir showed improved power and striking in a big win over feared striker Cheick Kongo by rear-naked choke.

Mir has also been power lifting harder than ever in an attempt to put himself in the same stratosphere as huge heavyweights like Carwin and Lesnar.

He’s done a great job of packing on muscle, and it shows. However, it doesn’t help sports betting fans’ confidence when they see Mir deadlifting the same weight that Carwin power cleaned in their UFC Primetime preview show.

Carwin (11-0 MMA record) has carried around more weight than Mir for much longer, and despite the likely close weigh-in numbers between the two, Carwin will have a definite strength and wrestling advantage.

Even so, Mir (13-4) is a decent favorite at -155 to +125 for Carwin, the underdog, going in to Saturday’s title fight.

That’s because Mir is more famous, talks a good game, and has the experience in big fights and jiu-jitsu that Carwin lacks.

Carwin should be able to power out of most submission attempts, however. He was able to get up after Gabriel Gonzaga cornered him on the ground at UFC 96 through sheer power before knocking Gonzaga out, and Gonzaga is as good or better on the mats as Mir according to many fans.

All it takes for Carwin to win is one well-placed shot from his freakishly large hands to put just about anyone in MMA down and/or out, and Carwin will look for the big shot all night against Mir.

Mir’s striking has definitely improved, but his quickness is not going to be an issue for Carwin, and Carwin has the power to come out on top in most exchanges.

Carwin may not be the UFC betting favorite going in, but with his power and his history of winning every single fight early in the first round in his career, his history is too strong to ignore in this one. Mir is improving every day, but the fact of the matter is that Carwin is a larger, more powerful fighter and those are never bad attributes to bet on.

UFC 111 Betting Pick: Shane Carwin (+125).

October 23, 2007

Why Fedor vs Randy would sell

Filed under: MMA Opinions, MMA News — MrRiddum @ 3:54 pm

As Randy Couture leaves the UFC to pursue a bout with Fedor Emelianenko, pundits and hardcore fans alike are left wondering whether the fight will be a financial success. Will this be the first bout in MMA history to draw casual fans away from the UFC in significant numbers? No event to date has managed it, so why should this matchup be any different?

Read the rest of the article here

April 19, 2007

MMA Betting Tipsters Panel - UFC 70

Filed under: MMA Opinions, UFC Predictions — MrRiddum @ 2:39 am

Welcome again to the Fantasy MMA Betting League tipsters panel!

Our regular duo make their picks as usual and we’re joined by William from Strictlymma.com… More than likely he’ll become a regular tipster, as long as he doesn’t show us up too much!
Our Panel

Regular tipsters
Mike (me) - of mmagame.com. Full time MMA fanatic and improving tipster.
Doug - proprietor of Zewkey.com. Top tipster and MMA betting expert.

Guest tipsters
William - of Strictlymma.com - The newcomer!

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The Odds
At the time of writing in this very changeable market, the odds provided by BetOnFighting were as follows.

-450 Mirko CroCop vs Gabriel Gonzaga +370
-110 Fabricio Werdum vs Andre Arlovski -120
+500 Elvis Sinosic vs Michael Bisping -700
+225 David Heath vs Ryoto Machida -285
-205 Assuerio Silva vs Cheick Kongo +165
+100 Matt Grice vs Terry Etim -130
-150 Junior Assuncao vs David Lee +120
+150 Victor Valimaki vs Alessio Sakara -180
-200 Dennis Siver vs Jess Liaudin +160

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Predictions
So on to the picks…

Doug’s picks
UFC 70 is a minefield for me.  There are several fighters getting heavy support from the MMA geeks, I’m not sure that any of them deserve it though.

I will start off with the main event.  I have been reading a lot about Gonzaga and his ground attack, how good he is, and if it goes to the ground he will dominate.  I’m not buying it.  CroCop wins this one easily.  CroCop is the kind of dependable favorite you look for, he dominates inferior opponents, ends fights effectively and rarely gets in trouble.  Mirko rolls and I’m going to make a small profit off him.

I’m not betting the Arlovski vs.Werdum match, but I think all the love for Werdum is a trap.  AA should be able to control this match standing, Werdum is going to have to inflict some damage standing before he can work his submission magic- Arlovski is not going to just lay down.  I don’t trust Arlovski, he has problems adjusting to the action, so I will pass.

I like Kongo to pull off the upset over Silva.  I think Kongo should be favored in this bout. I originally overlooked this fight, but one of our forum members started discussing it with me.  I value Kongo’s KO power more than Silva’s ground game.  Kongo will hold a significant fitness advantage that will allow him to escape Silva’s LnP in rounds 2 and 3.  Cheick has more weapons to end this fight than Silva.  He’s a solid underdog.

A lot of people have given up on or forgotten about Sakara after his loss to McFedries.  He’s a young guy, 26, that has good powerful striking and solid chin.  Sakara has had a rough time lately, but he’s been competitive against two good fighters and should show a big improvement Saturday.  Both these guys are looking for a quality win.  The Matrix will look to get the fight to the ground, but Sakara is good enough to hold his own on the mat.  Sakara holds a big advantage standing and that will be where this bout is decided.

Mike’s picks
Going in to this event, my picks were going to be Werdum, Kongo, Machida and maybe even a flutter on Gonzaga. However, as a proud member of the JT Warwagon I decided to watch a lot of DVDs last night and after doing so, I realised that my insticts were more than likely absolute crap.

CroCop vs Gonzaga
Now as I say I was thinking about having a little flutter on Gonzaga here. I’d been impressed when I watched him demolish Marrero in his last fight and that was a real pull. However, I went back and rewatched the fight and it was a good performance but there’s “impressive” and then there’s “impressive enough to beat the second best HW in the world”… It wasn’t the latter! With that in mind I think -500 is actually pretty decent odds. Gonzaga isn’t that big a HW and I see CroCop tossing him to one side if he even gets close enough to try a takedown.

Werdum vs Arlovski
Coming into this fight I was leaning towards Werdum. The forums were picking him and it made sense. He’d apparently faced better competition, he’d just owned Aleks and AA had shown below par takedown defense in his last fight with Pe De Pano. That all points towards a sub win for Werdum, so as I sat down to watch a selection of his fights I was expecting to convince myself of that fact. However after watching Werdum vs Overeem, Big Nog, Gonzaga and a couple of other fights, all I could think was that his standup just isn’t good enough. Don’t get me wrong, when he’s on the ground he has some SERIOUS SKILLS but this isn’t the ADCC, this MMA and Arlovski hits like a truck!
Werdum can’t hurt Arlovski on the feet. People say AA has a weak chin but that’s absolute crap. He’s been KO’d but they’ve been by absolute bombs, plus he’s been cracked right on the button by plenty of people from Sylvia to Zentsov and not gone down. At the same time, Werdum has only 1 KO on his record and watching his fights you can see why.
On the other side of the coin while Werdum’s chin is certainly OK, he’s no Mark Hunt. Big Nog may be a decent boxer but he has very few KOs on his record, and he dropped Werdum 3 times in their fight. With that said, AA can certainly hurt him standing and without having to worry about what’s coming back, I can see AA letting fly with some bombs. Werdum moves well on his feet though so I can certainly see it lasting a good distance into the fight and hey… I can totally see a Werdum sub if it goes to the ground. What I can also see is AA managing to stall long enough for them to be stood back up though and as the fight wears on I think Werdum is more and more likely to end up flat on his backside with a big hairy man pounding him in the face.

Machida vs Heath
I’d never seen Heath before but conventional wisdom says that the UFC will eventually want Machida to step up and become a challenger, given his impressive list of victims. What I always like to remember in this situation is that the UFC picks these matchups… If they wanted to hand out a first loss to Machida, it would certainly be to a more recognisable name than David Heath. Again though, after finding a video of David Heath to watch, I was actually impressed. He looks to have good, powerful and relaxed standup… however he is really, really open to front leg kicks. Machida is going to chop him down until he can barely walk and once that happens it doesn’t matter how relaxed his standup is, he’s going to take a beating.

The rest of the card….
I wanted to bet on Kongo because Silva has looked ropey in his short UFC career to date. The problem is the more I think about that fight the more stupid that bet sounds. Silva will win but I’m not sure enough to bet on it.
I think I may also chuck a few dollars on Terry Etim. I’ve never seen the guy fight but I’ve heard good things about him and when the lines opened there was clearly some action on him. When that’s the case on an undercard bout that virtually nobody knows about, it’s got to mean something.

William’s picks
UFC 70 is a pretty lop sided card (except for the Werdum - Arlovski fight) and also features some relatively unknown fighters on the undercard. The key to betting on this card is to find an underdog that you’re comfortable with and let it ride. If you personally are familiar with any of the undercard fighters, you have a chance to make some money at this event but I’m just going to stick to the main card.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic
Even with Serra’s surprising upset victory over Georges St. Pierre fresh in everyone’s memory, it seems no one wants to step up and pick Gonzaga in this fight. The odds makers have Gonzaga at +370, which makes him a sizeable underdog, however it’s not as overwhelming as some would have predicted. Gonzaga really only has one way to win this fight and that is by establishing dominant position on the ground and working strikes from the top. Even with Gonzaga being an expert in Jiu Jitsu, it’s really hard to see Cro Cop getting submitted from the top as he looks as athletic and strong as ever.

So, is there a good enough chance of Gonzaga being able to take Cro Cop down that you should risk your money and pick the underdog? In a word, “no.” Gonzaga’s weakest part of his game is his takedowns and he’s going up against a man who has quite possibly the best takedown defense in all of Mixed Martial Arts. Even though we are in the year of the upset, I fully expect Cro Cop to win this fight by knockout.

David Heath vs. Lyoto Machida
Machida was originally scheduled to face Forrest Griffin, who had to withdraw due to an injury. In my opinion, Machida is getting a tougher challenge in David Heath. With Griffin, Machida was pretty much guaranteed a stand up war that I believe he was very capable of winning. However, Heath’s strong point of his game is wrestling and we haven’t seen much Machida’s takedown defense or ground work in his young career. Heath comes in at +285 and may be an underdog that warrants serious consideration.

Elvis Sinosic vs. Michael Bisping
Poor, Elvis Sinosic. The guy just never gets an easy fight in the UFC. After beating Jeremy Horn in his UFC debut, he has lost to Tito Ortiz, Evan Tanner, Babalu, Forrest Griffin, and Alessio Sakara. This time he takes on hometown favorite Michael Bisping in another fight that he is seemingly supposed to lose. The odds makers have recognized this and put Sinosic at +500. This surprised me to some extent because Bisping really showed poor takedown defense in last fight with Eric Schafer. Although Bisping won that fight, I felt his exposed a area of his game that needed improving. It might not be such a bad idea to take a chance on Sinosic, especially since the odds are so good. If Elvis can get inside, he may be able to take Bisping down and hold him there. However, if we know Elvis, he’ll charge in with his chin up high and be in for a short night. (Shameless plug): Check out http://www.strictlymma.com/’s interview with Sinosic up now.

Fabricio Werdum vs. Andrei Arlovski
This is by far the most competitive fight of the card and the odds reflect it. Both fighters come in a -115, so you’re getting pretty close to even money regardless of which way you go. Personally, I will put my money on Arlovski. I think Andrei has a huge advantage in the striking department and submission defense has never been a problem for the Pitbull. All of Arlovski’s losses have come to fighters who were able to outstrike him, namely Tim Sylvia, Pedro Rizzo, and Ricco Rodriguez. Werdum’s main strength is his Jiu Jitsu, but I just can’t see him submitting Arlovski.

Cheick Kongo vs. Assuerio Silva
It seems like just yesterday the Cheick Kongo bandwagon was full of MMA fans confident that the French fighter would be the next Heavyweight champion. One disappointing decision loss later, and Kongo is put at +195 against journeyman Assuerio Silva and rightfully so. Unless Kongo has improved his ground game and takedown defense immensely, he should be in for a long night spent on his back. I use the word,. “should” because Assuerio Silva is notoriously known for having bad game plans. The only way I see Kongo winning this fight is if Assuerio tries to stand with him. However, if Silva chooses to implement his superior grappling game, he should be able to get a submission or decision win.
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Summary of picks
The following bets have been placed in our MMA Fantasy Betting League. All users start with a fantasy balance of $200. You can join for free here.

Doug from Zewkey.com
Current Balance $223.50
Current record MMA 8:3
Current record UFC 3:2

CroCop $12
Kongo $12
Sakara $12

Mike from MMAGame.com
Current Balance $429.44
Current record MMA 25:5
Current record UFC 9:2

$100 on Arlovski
$50 on CroCop
$50 Machida
$50 Etim
William from Strictlymma.com
Current balance $200
Current record 0:0

David Heath $40
Elvis Sinosic $10
Andre Arlovski $50
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Last tipster panel event - Ultimate Fight Night 9

Mike went 3/3 and Doug scored 2/3.

Mike: $69.75 profit off $150 of bets
Doug : $1.90 profit off $30 of bets - don’t spend it all at once!

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Bet for real!!!!
If you’re feeling confident and you want to bet for real, please use one of the following links.

BetOnFighting - where we take our odds from
Sportsbook
- massive online sportsbook
Bodog
- still accepts US residents for sports betting, poker and casino play.

April 11, 2007

What is considered “a great fight” in MMA?

Filed under: MMA Opinions — MrRiddum @ 8:35 pm

I never intended to use this blog as a place to mouth off but I’ve been baffled at the comments I’ve heard following both Leonard Garcia vs Roger Huerta and Diego Sanchez vs Josh Koscheck, so I decided to make an exception.

Apparently, according to some pretty knowledgeable people (like Joe Rogan, Dana White and Mike Sloan), Huerta vs Garcia was absolutely incredible. I just can’t agree.

Rogan said something along the lines of “one of the greatest UFC fights ever”.
Sloan in the linked article above stated “If the fight between Roger Huerta and Leonard Garcia will not wind up being the fight of the year, then I will probably rob an adult bookstore just to witness whatever fight will top this classic.”

Well, I can think of 2 fights this year already that I would consider far more exciting and technically superior - Gomi vs Diaz and Tyson Griffin vs Frankie Edgar.

Furthermore, on a totally unrelated note, apparently the fight between Diego Sanchez and Josh Koshcheck was absolutely dreadful. Paraphrasing a number of comments I have heard, “Kos was just his usual fucking boring self doing just enough to win” - a comment usually followed by something to do with hating Kos himself.

So whilst I don’t care to argue that Kos vs Sanchez was a better fight than Huerta vs Garcia, what exactly makes a great fight nowadays and what defines one that sucks?

Garcia vs Huerta - a “great” fight? fight of the year?

In my eyes it was a decent fight but it certainly wasn’t a great one. I respect both fighters and think they put on a good show but I just didn’t really find it that interesting. It was a scrap… A scrap artificially manufactured to build Huerta as a contender and a face for the UFC’s march into Latin America.

Garcia was picked as an opponent for a reason - he has a good chin (no KO losses) but without the power or polished striking ability to pull off an upset and spoil the UFC’s marketing plans (9 wins, 1 by KO). To me, the manufactured nature of the bout further diminishes it’s “greatness”. It was designed to be a scrappy war with Huerta winning in dominating fashion and that’s exactly what happened.

As far as I am concerned, for a fight to be great you have to have all or most of the following -

1. A close and competitive fight.
This was a 3 round domination by Huerta. When Bruce Buffer stepped up to the mic, it was 30-27 all day long. With just that one point made, how is this possibly the fight of the year?

2. A display of extraordinary skill.
There was no extraordinary skill displayed. As much as I respect the fighters, I actually laughed out loud at one point during round 3 because of one particular punch thrown by Garcia. Someone I was talking to at the time described it as two drunks fighting because they both looked so gassed…. Infact both fighters looked pretty gassed after the first round.

3. A display of extraordinary determination.
Garcia showed heart but not to an extraordinary level. If getting punched a lot and not quitting was extraordinary, the top 5 fights of all time would all involve either Mark Hunt or Cabbage.

Added to this point, many won’t have noticed but Garcia told his corner after round one “he has no power”. I’ve seen people comment that they were “throwing bombs” for the entire fight. Well those bombs appear to contain very little in the way of explosives.

4. Unpredictability
Did something happen that you weren’t expecting? Did anyone expect Diaz to Gogoplata Gomi? Did anyone expect an unknown in Frankie Edgar to dominate future UFC lightweight contender, Tyson Griffin? Did anyone expect Roger Huerta to dominate Leonard Garcia for 3 rounds? Spot the odd one out?

Diego Sanchez vs Josh Koshcheck - “Absolutely awful”?

I have two beefs with the reaction to this fight. First of all I don’t think it was an awful fight and more importantly, if you’re going to call it a boring fight, I don’t think that’s Josh Koscheck’s fault!

Sure it wasn’t a brawl but is that all we want nowadays? Do you have to adopt a reckless gameplan to be appreciated? Essentially it wasn’t a brawl because a fighter had developed good technical striking. What a crime!

Sure it wasn’t a heart thumper but I found it really interesting. It showed where these two guys are at, what progression they have both made and I for one learnt a lot about both guys from the fight. People might not like Kos but that was a perfect performance. He dictated the fight from start to finish, controlled the distance perfectly and gave Diego absolutely no chance to land either a decent punch or a takedown. THAT IS A PERFECT FIGHT and for that Kos should be praised not admonished.

If you don’t like the way the fight went, blame Diego. Someone I talked to criticised Kos for not staying in the pocket and exchanging blows. I find that utterly rediculous. Why should he? Go watch GSP vs Hughes 2. GSP won that fight by controlling the distance in exactly the same way - bouncing in and out of range and throwing combos whilst never giving Hughes a chance to find his range and shoot.

GSP does it and he’s a legend, Kos does it and he’s boring. Kos didn’t put away Diego and GSP did finish Hughes but maybe Diego just has a better chin. At the end of the day, it’s exactly the same gameplan.

So what do we actually want as MMA fans?

Josh Koscheck has improved beyond recognition, so much so that Javier Mendez (his coach at AKA) believes his striking is technically superior to that of noted striker Mike Swick. Apparently the average MMA fan would rather he was just came in to slug without a gameplan.

Having said all this, I believe group mentality has played a big part in the slating that Kos has received. I live in the UK and was at my girlfriend’s parents house during UFC69, meaning I had to watch in virtual silence at 5am, so I didn’t wake the rest of the house.

I didn’t have any buddies shouting “God damn it, Kos sucks, I hate that guy”, nor could I couldnt hear the crowd booing. Watching the fight I was thinking “why doesn’t Diego do anything different” but I certainly wasn’t thinking “Hey, Kos is really dominating this fight, if I were him I’d definitely change my gameplan… maybe I’d go stand in the pocket and trade bombs!”

So what am I trying to say? Well I guess primarily I’m a little disappointed, in an MMA snob kind of way.

  • I’m disappointed that Kos is getting a load of heat for putting in a perfect performance.
  • I’m disappointed that Dana White and Joe Silva said the Kos vs Diego fight sucked, playing into the BRAWLING PWNS mentality.
  • I’m disappointed that they’ve gone back on their promise of a title shot for the winner, instead fast tracking good ol’ Zuffa favourite Matt Hughes into another title fight. Hughes beat Chris Lytle whilst Kos beat Diego Sanchez… Which is more impressive?
  • I’m also a little baffled that anyone would even consider a manufactured and gassed out slugfest between Huerta vs Garcia as a “great” fight, let alone fight of the year.

I believe Kos would beat Hughes standing and on the ground. I believe Kos would also give GSP a run for his money too. The UFC have already had one nightmare run with a UFC champ the fans hated and I don’t think they want to risk Kos doing the same thing as Sylvia. However much Kos deserves a shot, I think the UFC will keep him away from it as long as possible. That utterly devalues the title for me and leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Pride took a lot of heat for protecting their champs with non title fights (and rightly so), but at least they were honest with the protection of their desired champions. UFC are being far more subtle about it but the whole process is no less contrived.

There is one irony here however. The longer the UFC keep Kos away from a title shot, the better he will get and the more likely he is to win the title and subsequently hold on to it for a long time.

Summary

People claim to want the sport to evolve. People claim to want to see the best athletes coming in and getting paid a small fortune for their services. Yet when an elite athlete enters the sport, learns the skills faster than anyone thought possible and puts in a flawless performance, he is slated for it not only by the fans but also his employers. Furthermore, on the same card, two fighters gas after a round, throw endless arm punches, nearly falling over in the process and it’s fight of the year - praised by all and hailed by the UFC management.

Where is this sport going? What deserves praise? Apparently it isn’t immense improvement, it isn’t elite level conditioning and it isn’t superior gameplanning. A slugfest is always going to be entertaining but let’s give the tacticians and the elite athletes a bit of credit too because as the paychecks increase, we’ll be seeing a lot more of them!

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