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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A warning to readers: this article contains colorful language courtesy of Al Iaquinta. If you are not a fan of naughty words, proceed with caution.
In the wake of the UFC fighter’s retreat in Las Vegas, Al Iaquinta has resurfaced as the most disgruntled fighter on the roster yet again. As you may recall, Al has been very vocal about his discontent with the UFC and their subjective awarding of performance bonuses following his first round knock out victory over Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night Nashville.
Iaquinta is currently on a five fight win streak and 13-3-1 overall. He has been extremely outspoken about his current ban from receiving UFC performance bonuses. Who could argue against him when taking into account the nature of his wins? Of his last five fights he has won 4 by way of KO/TKO yet he remains banned from receiving performance bonuses due to an Instagram post. The post included a picture of him at the beach instead of attending a fighter summit. As a result Iaquinta received a 3 fight ban from performance bonuses which is still in effect. Even with the loss of up to $150,000, his distaste for his employer runs much deeper than performance bonuses. Al holds a much deeper grudge that stems from injuries sustained in the octagon.
Iaquinta stated on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, “I fought three times in two weeks, who’s done that? Three times in two weeks. I fucking ruined my knee forever. Done… and you’re not going to pay for my shit. Fuck you.” This statement is in reference to a knee injury that sidelined Iaquinta’s career for two years. Previous to his fight with Diego Sanchez on April 22 of 2017, Iaquinta had not stepped foot in the octagon since he defeated Jorge Masvidal by split decision on April 4th of 2015.
While attending the Fighter’s retreat the UFC announced that they would be partnering with Hopsital Special Surgery, the treatment facility that Iaquinta paid out of his pocket for his knee reconstruction when the UFC said it was too expensive to foot the bill. Iaquinta researched his options and decided to use Hospital Special Surgery even when the UFC encouraged him to use a Cheaper option that they would pay for. It would seem that logic would side with Iaquinta that when it comes to saving a star athlete’s career, a promotion should provide top quality care. Unfortunately, this didn’t appear to be the case with how the UFC handled Iaquinta’s medical care. As a result Iaquinta went with the facility he deemed to provide the best services. After proving Hospital Special Surgery to be a career saving facility the UFC re-evaluated their thoughts. So much in fact that they have officially partnered with the medical center for future athlete care. Without paying for Al’s medical bills first.
“I was the one that put them in touch with the UFC they didn’t want to pay for my shit and they’re best friends now…I don’t think it’s working It’s not going to work. That’s it fuck them.” It’s apparent that Iaquinta feels wronged but he also feels insulted. The UFC officially partnered with the same medical facility they refused to pay for. Meanwhile, the UFC continues to pay for unnecessary entertainment items like hiring Snoop Dog for a private concert at the Athlete Summit. “Fucking snoop dog was there. fucking pay me. I’m hurt, pay me!” Iaquinta yelled during his interview with Ariel Helwani.
Whether you like Al Iaquinta or not, you have to admit he raises real concerns with how the UFC handles the medical well being of fighters on their roster. Cage Prophet hopes that Iaquinta and the UFC brass can find a way to sort out their differences. It would be a true shame to see Iaquinta walk away from the promotion at the height of such a promising career. While he doesn’t always present himself eloquently nor speak his mind poetically, the man is an artist in the octagon. Regardless of behavior this writer believes the UFC has an obligation to tend to the medical welfare of their athletes. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below or @CageProphet on Twitter.
UFC 211 is in the books, and what a night to remember. UFC 211 marked the most successful night of Cage Prophet Predictions with a profit of 40+ units for our personal bets. If you followed Cage Prophet’s free four line parlay suggestion your bet cashed at +800. Gambling aside, the caliber of fights witnessed was second to none. UFC 211, easily the biggest card of 2017, matched right up with any other card in recent memory. To the casual fans this card may have been glossed over, but to the real fight fans it doesn’t get much better.
Cage Prophet was in attendance in Dallas for UFC 211, live coverage was conducted on twitter. Be sure to follow @cageprophet for future live coverage of events as well as live night of bet picks as lines continue to shift right up until the cage door locks. Be on the lookout for this weeks podcast where Kevin will discuss the entire event and break down his favorite fights individually.
Stipe Miocic def. Junior dos Santos via first-round TKO
Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Jessica Andrade via unanimous decision
Demian Maia def. Jorge Masvidal via split decision
Frankie Edgar def. Yair Rodriguez via second-round TKO (doctor’s stoppage)
David Branch def. Krzysztof Jotko via split decision
Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier declared a no-contest (accidental foul)
Jason Knight def. Chas Skelly via third-round TKO
Chase Sherman def. Rashad Coulter via second-round TKO
James Vick def. Marco Polo Reyes via first-round TKO
Cortney Casey def. Jessica Aguilar via unanimous decision
Enrique Barzola def. Gabriel Benitez via unanimous decision
Gadzhimurad Antigulov def. Joachim Christensen via submission (rear-naked choke) R1