UFC Fight Night 116 went according to plans for Cage Prophet. As you can see we tacked on a few last minute reads on Anthony Smith and parlayed Smith with Mike Perry. Rather than just have a 5 unit max play tied up on Perry straight up, I decided to tie him into parlays. My only losing bet of the night was Aubin-Mercier/Martin Under 2.5 rounds. It was a great fight, however, and we stood on the winning side as OAB came out on top with a decision victory.
UFC 215 is in the books, and another profitable night for Cage Prophet despite a lot of surprises. With heavy favorites like Ashlee Evans-Smith, Gavin Tucker, and Adriano Martins all falling to their opponents the outcome of the night came down to my two favorite picks. Ilir Latifi and Jeremy Stephens delivered in a big way as we hoped. As the lines continued to shift in their opponents favors I decided to wait to parlay them until the day of the event when they were at maximum value. Latifi came in at +125 and Stephens tipped into dog territory at +105.
My most confident pick was Stephens, as you can see I played 3 units on him. As I outlined in my podcast Melendez hasn’t won since 2013 and dropping weight classes late in your career is usually a fighters last gasp. Stephens is still fresh and pushes pace and Melendez has a history of being lured into firefights. I liked Stephens a lot here and it cashed for me.
But why Latifi?
A lot of people were overly hyped on Tyson Pedro. I think Pedro is a very promising fighter and has a great career ahead of him but in my tape study I saw a few things that concerned me in this matchup against Latifi. Tyson tends to fight straight up, if you go back and watch his fight against Rountree you can’t miss when he got dropped. It was very close to a KO/TKO stoppage. My initial reaction to it was if he leaves his chin high in a striking exchange like that against Latifi’s power it will be lights out. Against Paul Craig (who’s an accomplished grappler) Tyson fought to keep the fight standing, which worked in his favor against Craig but Latifi is a high level wrestler. Being much shorter than Tyson is actually an advantage for Latifi as a wrestler, if he could punch his way into the pocket the takedown would be available once Tyson is concentrating on protecting his head. Overall, this stylistic matchup led me to place the bet on Latifi.
As for the losses: shit happens, and as you can see I kept the other parlays all at .5 units or below. I only wager 1 or more units on confident parlays. BIGGEST SURPRISE of the card was BY FAR Rick Glenn. in his past two fights it looked like his toughness was almost his biggest weakness, he endured a lot of punishment without really dishing much out. In Tucker’s UFC debut he displayed crisp combinations and a lot of movement putting him in great position to take creative angles on Sicilia. He had flashes of the gritty style of Cody Garbrandt and I thought he could put that same game plan on Glenn, boy was I wrong. Glenn is now training with Team Alpha Male and his game has elevated. The striking totals were ungodly and Tucker should have been saved by the ref. I took an L on Tucker but as they say, “Anything can happen in a fight.”
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Fight Night 115 was an exciting night of fights and a reminder of just how much I missed the UFC in August. The absence of UFC events in order to focus on the Mayweather vs. McGregor promotion left MMA fans salivating for a big MMA card. Fight Night 115 accomplished easing us back into UFC mode with a night of heavy favorites winning. I took a few chances on some dogs I thought would be able to pull the upset off. Most notably: Desmond Green lost by decision to what some called home cooking. Green really didn’t do enough to definitively get the nod, but on my score card it could have gone either way. Other than that my dog picks didn’t really come close, and that’s ok. I stacked some heavy favorites into parlays and had a profitable night.
The results are in and Cage Prophet scores another perfect 100% on bets for Bellator 182. Overall, Bellator 182 was a very exciting event with a few surprises along the way. Bruna Ellen pulled off a slight underdog upset (+135) over Veta Arteaga, and AJ Mckee went the distance with Blair Tugman. McKee vs. Tugman was a betting favorite to finish under 1.5 rounds.
Friend of the Cage Prophet Podcast: Fernando Gonzalez, finished Brennan Ward by submission in the third round. We bet this fight to go over 1.5 rounds at +100 because Fernando gets stronger as the fight goes on while Brennan will fade. Typically Brennan’s fights don’t make it past the first round, but didn’t think this fight would follow that pattern. Cage Prophet suspected that Fernando, being the seasoned vet that he is, would drag Brennan out of his comfort zone into the later rounds where he would look to finish the fight on a gassed out Ward. The sharp play paid, and Fernando won by third round submission.
In the main event Andrey Koreshkov defeated Chidi Njokuani by first round TKO. Koreshkov may have been the safest and best value bet on the card at -285 but I tend to get scared off by heavy favorites, I’m personally not a big fan of risking a lot to make a little when anything can happen in a fist fight (Looking at you Luke Rockhold). But still I laid a little cabbage and got the return. What was your favorite fight on the card?
After hard fought battles in front of the boss man, Joby Sanchez and Benito Lopez both earned their UFC contracts last night in the seventh installment of the Contender Series. The addition of Joby will add to the talent pool jockeying for position under Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, while Team Alpha Male member Benito Lopez joins the ranks of the UFC Bantamweight division ruled by his teammate Cody “No Love” Garbrandt.
As we all know I love the contender series. I think this is the most pure form of competition that allows fighters an option to compete to enter the UFC without having to endure the bullshit drama of a Big Brother reality TV show experience. I think that it’s amazing that this opportunity revolves solely around a contestant’s ability to fight. With that being said some of the fights turn out to be stinkers. Anton Berzin vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu was a stinker. After showing an inability to capitalize on dominate positions in the first round Berzin faded quickly. By round three, Berzin was completely unable to competently defend himself or even work any form of an offensive game plan. He leaned against the fence, shot for a lazy take downs, and even needed to be told by the ref to stand after taking a seat out of exhaustion. It was bad. So, how did Kennedy Nzechukwu capitalize on the situation? He didn’t. He resulted to peppering combos at Berzin with no real intent on putting the fight away. In my opinion this was a fight where both fighters deserved to lose, but the one with more volume thrown won. Berzin being a -310 favorite in this fight was way off and I bought into the hype, bad bet on my part but we live to see another day.
Another entertaining night of fights is in the books for the Contender Series. Dana White wrapped up his sixth episode by awarding 2 more UFC contracts. This week Charles Byrd (Middleweight) and Grant Dawson (Featherweight) both earned their way into the UFC by way of rear naked choke victories. Charles Byrd’s victory also sets a record of its own, being the first and only fighter to win twice on the contender series.
As for the bets: Cage Prophet went 100% on the night. However, it was a light betting card. It’s tough with the limited tape available to make good reads on who to bet in these fights on the Contender Series. I mostly watch to get a feel for the new blood coming down the pipe, but I saw a few things I liked on this card. Alvarez is a versatile fighter with the ability to finish fights standing or grappling, he has a solid chin too. When I was looking at his opponent Martin Day, I think Day has a lot of potential and will grow, but is still green. He has gone to decision a fair bit and only has one KO win on his record, I saw Alvarez as a solid bet and it panned out for me. And for the first female fight on the Contender Series, a quick glance at these ladies’ records on paper sent me straight to the over 1.5 rounds line. Colleen takes fights into deep water, she has multiple 5 round fights, Tiffany is green and while she finishes early, her level of competition has been low. Both women performed well but as we expected well over 1.5 rounds.
I also saw a few things I didn’t like. Karl Reed at 2-0 as a professional and -310 favorite over a seasoned 8-3 pro in Cameron Olson. That’s a pass for me. Sorry to those who lost coin on betting Reed, but in the future don’t buy the hype on unproven fighters. Olson +255 was… Disrespect.
Another successful episode of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series is in the books and this week we welcome two new fighters to the UFC. Geoff Neal and Karl Roberson both earned their way into the UFC with first round KOs. Dana White likes emphatic finishes and these two men got it done with quick powerful strikes.
Much like Week 2 there were still crowd pleasers left on the outside looking in at the end of the night. Both Dan Ige and Kyle Stewart looked to have done enough to earn a contract. Both Ige and Stewart came in as underdogs, Ige completely dominated his opponent until securing a submission in round 3. Stewart weathered an early storm of Jason Jackson and came back to secure a victory by TKO in round 2. Alas, their performances were overshadowed by the two quick KOs.
There is hope for the guys who did not earn a contract tonight however. White stated, “There’s some guys that I’m not going to pick right now that I like a lot. All they need to do is keep fighting and building their records and we will pick them up.”
Full results are listed below:
- Karl Roberson def. Ryan Spann via knockout (strikes) at :15 of round 1
- Kyle Stewart def. Jason Jackson via TKO (leg injury) at :21 of round 2
- Geoff Neal def. Chase Waldon via knockout (punches) at 1:56 of round 1
- Alonzo Menifield def. Daniel Jolly via TKO (doctor’s stoppage – eye injury) at 5:00 of round 1
- Dan Ige def. Luis Gomez via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:23 of round 3
I’m hooked on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. DWTCS is everything TUF isn’t and I love it. No drama, no bullshit, just fighting. Well, fighting and Snoop Dog ripping blunts whilst sipping on gin and juice. After years of The Ultimate Fighter playing up dramatic school yard verbal battles it’s so refreshing to finally just see athletes compete for a chance to achieve their dream. They don’t have to be held hostage in a house with no contact to the outside world, they just have to show up and fight. This is how it should be and for that I applaud the UFC for creating this new format for fans to see the UFC newcomers fight for a chance at a contract. If you missed week two I suggest going back and checking it out. At the very least you have to see Sean O’Malley dismantle Alfred Khashakyan earning himself the lone contract of the evening.
That’s right, only one contract was awarded last night. This came as a shock to many fans who believed that Thanh Le deserved a UFC contract for his second round KO victory over American Top Team prospect Lazar Stojadinovic. Le displayed great technique, composure, and Octagon control. Overall, Le was in my opinion the most technically sound and well rounded fighter. I thought he displayed more than enough to get a shot in the UFC. With that being said, Sean O’Malley brought the flash and showmanship that Dana was looking for and was the only fighter to walk away with a contract. Something tells me this won’t be the last we see of Le, only time will tell though. Listed below are the full results.
Casey Kenney def. Cee Jay Hamilton via Unanimous Decision
Sidney Outlaw def. Michael Cora via Unanimous Decision
Thanh Le def. Lazar Stojadinovic via Round 2 KO
Sean O’Malley def. Alfred Khashakyan via Round 1 KO
Dan Spohn def. Angel DeAnda via Round 1 Submission (Arm Triangle)
UFC 213 is in the books, listed below are the winners and method of victory
- Robert Whittaker defeated Yoel Romero by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
- Alistair Overeem defeated Fabricio Werdum by majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Curtis Blaydes defeated Daniel Omielanczuk by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Anthony Pettis defeated Jim Miller by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Rob Font defeated Douglas Silva de Andrade by submission (guillotine choke)
- Oleksiy Oliynyk Defeated Travis Browne by submission (Neck crank/modified Choke)
- Chad Laprise defeated Brian Camozzi via round 3 TKO
- Thiago Santos defeated Gerald Meerschaert via round 2 TKO (Hammer Fists)
- Belal Muhammed defeated Jordan Mein by unanimous decision
- Trevin Giles defeated James Bochnovic by way of KO in round 2
- Cody Stamann defeats Terrion Ware via unanimous decision
UFC Fight Night 110 ended with a bang in Auckland, New Zealand. The card was headlined by heavyweight titans Mark Hunt and Derrick Lewis in what was billed to be the slugfest of the year. To the shock of most fans, and Vegas oddsmakers, the fight lasted into the forth round until referee Mark Goddard called the fight for Mark Hunt by TKO stoppage. It was the correct decision, Lewis had curled up and wasn’t even trying to defend himself. But the result left the fans of Derrick Lewis questioning why the big man gave up.
Lewis, a seemingly perpetual underdog, has shown so much heart and resilience in his career that to see him break under the pressure of Hunt was somewhat shocking. Who could forget when Travis Browne had broken Lewis ribs with teep kicks to the body and Lewis unleashed a hellish tornado of punches that put Browne away. Or when Roy Nelson kept taking him down and Lewismanaged to get back to the feet over and over. But in the forth round he buckled under the constant pressure of Hunt.
Hunt, the Vegas underdog at +143, displayed more technical and patient striking than Lewis. Lewis threw a high volume of leg kicks and short bursts of punches trying to catch Hunt with power shots early in the fight. For his efforts Lewis only resulted in tiring himself out in the first two rounds, in the third round we began to see Lewis even dropping his hands completely or posing with his hands on his hips to catch his breath. The main issue is cardio, yes, but Lewis also claimed to have a back injury that contributed to this. Which makes sense, seeing him stand with his hands on his hips in front of Hunt looked like insanity until I heard this. I fractured two lumbar vertebrae ten years ago and even after corrective surgery, I still have weakness in my lower back that causes me to stand the same way during workouts and between rounds of jiu jitsu. It feels like your chest is too heavy and your lower back is carrying too much strain, in an attempt to alleviate the pain the most natural posture is to arch your shoulders back and posture your hands on hips to help brace the weight loaded on your spine. To the average viewer Lewis’ behavior looked like exhaustion, which there was plenty of, but to someone who’s endured significant lower back injuries the writing was on the wall that he was in serious trouble for more reasons than just an expended gas tank.
If I could say anything to Lewis right now it would be this: “You don’t need to retire you need a break.” since coming to the UFC in 2014 Lewis’ longest break between fights has been 5 months. He’s fought ten times in 3 years. He even asked for time off after the Travis Browne victory but instead signed a bout agreement for Mark Hunt within two weeks of his fight. The man is burnt out and maybe even a little emotional after the old war horse put an end to his six fight win streak. I’d like to see Lewis take the rest of 2017 off to heal his mind and body, and return with a new fire in 2018. While significant back injuries tend to stay with you forever, it’s possible with rest and proper rehab Lewis could get back into the cage healthy next year. Until we hear more from Lewis, I’ll have my fingers crossed.