TOKYO – All fighters but one have won their first battle of UFC Japan by beating the scale. Mizuto Hirota came in four pounds over the 146 pound featherweight limit at 150 lbs. Other than Hirota all fighters seemed to make weight without any notable health consequences. Full weigh in results listed below:
- Yushin Okami (203.5) vs. Ovince Saint Preux (206)
- Jessica Andrade (116) vs. Claudia Gadelha (115)
- Takanori Gomi (156) vs. “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim (156)
- Henrique da Silva (206) vs. Gokhan Saki (205)
- Rolando Dy (145) vs. Teruto Ishihara (145)
- Mizuto Hirota (150)*MISSED WEIGHT* vs. Charles Rosa (145.5)
- Alex Morono (170) vs. Keita Nakamura (170)
- Jussier Formiga (126) vs. Ulka Sasaki (125.5)
- Chan-Mi Jeon (116) vs. Syrui Kondo (116)
- Shinsho Anzai (171) vs. Luke Jumeau (170)
- Daichi Abe (171) vs. Hyun Gyu Lim (170.5)
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 Fight Night 116 is upon us. Here are my best bets on the card. I really like Aubin-Mercier to get the job done tonight over Tony Martin. I think Martin has shown some toughens in his UFC career but toughness-Mercier is an absolute nightmare to deal with on the ground and a fairly accurate and calculated striker on the feet. While Mercier isn’t a dynamic striker he takes accurate pot-shots and eventually finds a way to the ground where he inevitably takes his opponent’s back and finishes by rear naked choke. I like Aubin-Mercier to get the job done late round two or early round three.
Unfortunately, Thiago Alves pulled out of his fight against Mike Perry. So we are losing a lot of value on Perry as he has dropped from a -150 bet to -460 against Alex Reyes. -460 is a very thick line but I like pairing it up with Aubin-Mercier for +123.
As for Lombard vs. Smith. I think Smith will get the job done. However, this fight has sloppy written all over it and could be a three round war. I like over 1.5 rounds at -130. I think this fight could go the distance.
UFC Fight Night 116 early weigh ins have concluded and all 20 fighters taking part in Saturday’s fights successfully made weight. Results listed below.
- 185 lbs.: Luke Rockhold (185.5) vs. David Branch (186)
- 170 lbs.: Mike Perry (170.5) vs. Alex Reyes (167.5)
- 185 lbs.: Hector Lombard (186) vs. Anthony Smith (186)
- 155 lbs.: Gregor Gillespie (155.5) vs. Jason Gonzalez (156)
- 170 lbs.: Sergio Moraes (171) vs. Kamaru Usman (169.75)
- 265 lbs.: Justin Ledet (244.5) vs. Zu Anyanwu (263.5)
- 155 lbs.: Tony Martin (156) vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier (155)
- 265 lbs.: Anthony Hamilton (255.75) vs. Daniel Spitz (244)
- 185 lbs.: Uriah Hall (186) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (185)
- 155 lbs.: Gilbert Burns (156) vs. Jason Saggo (156)
Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee are officially set to headline UFC 216 for the Lightweight Interim Belt. The event will take place at the T-Mobile Arena on October 7, 2017.
Ferguson (23-3) has been inactive (not by choice) since November 2016 when he beat Rafael Dos Anjos by decision. Since Khabib notoriously didn’t make weight for UFC 209, Ferguson has been very vocal about wanting another Interim title shot. With Khabib allegedly not healthy enough to fight the UFC looked to fill the fight with another option.
Lee (16-2) made a lot of waves when he defeated Michael Chiesa in June. This came in the wake of a press conference that resulted in punches being thrown leading up to the fight. Aside from his talents inside the cage, Lee gained a lot of fans with his brash behavior and trash talking. In the current state of the UFC it seems the loudest mouth gets fed, in this case it led Kevin Lee straight to an interim bout with Tony Ferguson.
Ferguson has opened as a -260 favorite. Lee comes in at +180. Line movement is currently trending in Ferguson’s favor and Cage Prophet agrees with the trend. We’ll probably see the sharp money continue to fall on Ferguson but hope to see casual interest tighten the line as the fight approaches.
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.”
If you like my analysis follow @CageProphet on Twitter. Let’s talk fights.
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.
After UFC 214 a lot of questions arose about what would be next for the most recent Welterweight title challenger Damian Maia. Today those questions are answered. Combate reported today that Damian Maia will be fighting Colby Covington at UFN 119 in Sao Paolo, Brazil on October 28.
Covington has been making headlines recently for being outspoken about current champion Tyron Woodley calling him a “boring” fighter and claiming to be on the road to a title shot. For the most part, these claims have been met with eye rolls and disparaging twitter replies. But with the signing of a bout agreement to Maia, Covington could be on the road to a title shot with a victory over the Jiu Jitsu king.
Cage Prophet Prediction: Covington uses a grinding wrestling style to maintain top position and uses ground and pound to keep the fight down and secure rounds. Covington’s entire game plan revolves around going to the ground, except in this instance he will be going to the ground against one of the best Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the world. It’s a bad idea and if he wants to win the fight he will have to adopt the exact game plan he criticized Tyron Woodley for. I think he’ll stick to his strengths which will be proven inferior to Maia’s legendary ground game. I’m hoping to see Maia come in as a slight favorite in the -150 range, if so I will be betting Maia heavily.
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.
What does UFC 217 have in store for us? A LOT. The UFC looks to impress as it returns to Madison Square Garden in New York City to conduct it’s second card in the world’s most famous arena. This card is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated of the year very quickly.
UFC 217 will be headlined by Michael Bisping’s UFC middleweight title defense against returning former welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre
Cody Garbrandt will be defending his Bantamweight Title against former champion, teammate and current nemesis TJ Dillashaw.
Stephen Thompson will meet Jorge Masvidal in a matchup of welterweight contenders. Thompson is coming off of two consecutive title shots where he failed to secure the strap while Masvidal is coming off of a loss to the most recent title challenger Damien Maia. Both men are looking to get back in the win column and as a result the winner should be in a good position to earn a shot at the Title.
These three fights alone could headline and sell a card by themselves, as more bout agreements continue to be signed this card can only get better.