Underground Blogger Case Hart breaks down the odds for UFC on Fuel 4.
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John Moraga +155
Ulysses Gomez -175
Ulysses Gome, a veteran of the Tachi Palace fight scene, makes his debut against fellow UFC newcomer John Moraga. Gomez has a record of nine wins and two losses. Moraga comes in with a solid wrestling base, while Gomez posts a heavy background in brazilian jiu-jitsu. Gomez has submitted all but four of his opponents only losing to Rambaa Somdet (if you have not heard of this guy look him up now), and Darrell Montague. He lost both fights by decision. Moraga posts only one loss and its by decision to none other than The Ultimate Fighter fourteen winner John Dodson.
Pick: Gomez. Both Gomez and Moraga have similar records with similar outcomes, but outside of Dodson very few of Moraaga's opponents have winning records. The only guys with positive records Moraga has beaten: Freddie Lux (five wins, one loss), John Dodson (13 wins, 5 losses), Travis Halverson (two wins, one loss). Only one opponent of Gomez has a negative record, that being Greg Mcdowell (one win, two losses). With all that said this fight is still very close. Do not bet heavy this is almost a pick'em fight. Finishing rates: Gomez sits high at 78%, while Moraga has a respectable 50%. Even though many think small guys do not finish, this is a good bet to stay under 2 and 1/2 rounds.
Manny Gamburyan -170
Michihiro Omigawa +150
Both featherweights have had problems hitting the win column as of late, but neither man has had an easy path lately. In Gamburyan's last four fights he went three wins, one loss: KO win over former champ Mike Brown; KO loss to current champ Jose Aldo; Decision (majority) loss to Tyson Griffin; and Unanimous Decision loss to Diego Nunes. Omigawa to has won only one of his last four: Unanimous Decision loss to Chad Mendes, Unanimous Decision Loss to Darren Elkins (many feel Omigawa was robbed), Unanimous Decision win over Jason Young, and a Unanimous Decision loss to Yuri Alacantara. Stylistically Manny is typically very hard to take down and has tons of power but is pretty wild. Omigawa has power of his own, keeps his hands low, and has a more varied and stronger ground game than Manny's.
Pick: Omigawa. Manny has all the tools to win, but Omigawa never seems phased by his opponents. It has been seven years since Omigawa has been finished, and it was at lightweight. Omigawa can gas or get outworked, but I think his technique and unpredictability will stump Gamburyan. This one is pretty close to a pick'em as well, but I feel Omigawa is being underrated. Finishing rates: Omigawa has a 46% finishing rate, while Gamburyan has a 73% finishing rate. But as of late neither man has been finishing anyone. I would pick this to see the judges score cards.
Cole Miller -130
Nam Phan +110
In one of the more underrated match ups of the evening, Cole Miller squares off against Nam Phan. Both men are among the scrappiest of their weight class. Phan has garnered a record of one win, three losses in his last four, while Miller has earned a record of two wins, and two losses in his last four. HIt should be acknowledged that Phan was clearly robbed in his first fight against Leonard Garcia. Either way, neither man has been super impressive as of late. Nam has a high volume technical boxing style. That is not to say he lacks power, but he tends to break his opponents with volume rather than power shots. Miller, while he has power and pretty technical boxing, seems to be the much slower man. Both men are high level grapplers, with Phan holding black belts in Judo, and BJJ, while Miller is a BJJ brown belt, with skills far beyond that of most browns.
Pick: Phan. Again another close fight, but with reports of Miller having a tough weight cut and naturally being the slower guy, it would seem Phan will have some serious advantages. Unless Phan gets caught or taken down, he will likely out box Miller. Finishing rates: Miller is sitting pretty at a 89% finishing rate, while Phan has a 71% finishing rate. This fight will likely not go all three rounds: both men are in the upper 30% of finishing. A great bet to end before 2 and 1/2 rounds.
Oli Thompson +170
Phil De Fries -200
Two of England's finest heavyweights step into the cage for UFC on FOX, putting Oli Thompson across the cage of Phil De Fries. Both men have earned records of four wins and one loss in their last four fights. De Fries has only lost once, a ko to up and comer Stipe Miocic (overall record: 8 wins, 1 loss). Oli Thompson has lost on three occasions: Shawn Jordan via TKO, Rob Broughton via Unanimous Decision, and Joe Vedepo via TKO. Unless Oli can get this to the ground it is likely De Fries will out strike him. Even if the fight hits the canvas De Fries is a purple belt, and has quite a list of submission wins.
Pick: De Fries. Even in De Fries loss to the beast that is Stipe Miocic he looked solid on the feet. While at heavyweight anyone can KO anyone, Thompson catching De Fries seems a bit of a stretch. Finishing rates: Thompson is sitting pretty at 78%, while De Fries edges him with 80%. Nothing in MMA is guaranteed, but this is a solid bet. This fight will is almost a lock to not go past 2 and 1/2 rounds.
Josh Grispi +160
Rani Yahya -140
Josh Grispi, after a year long lay off, makes his return to the Octagon against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu savant Rani Yayah. In their last four fights Yayah has gone on to earn one win, and three losses, while Grispi won two fights, and lost two. Both men lost to top guys and there is no shame in losing to any of them. Yayah's losses are to Chad Mendes, Takeya Mizugaki, and Joseph Benividez, while Grispi's are to Dustin Porier, and George Roop. While Grispi has a minor wrestling base, it is not his go to style. Almost all of Yayah's losses are to high-level wrestlers. While Grispi will have the advantage in the striking department, he will not likely have the wrestling or grappling advantage.
Pick: Yayah. Again another close match up. While Grispi is more well rounded, Yayah has a track record for taking guys down and completely dominating them. To back up that statement, Yayah won ADCC in 2007. I would not rule out a Grispi win, but with the long lay off and historically what styles beat, Yayah it is unlikely he is easily defeated. Finishing rates: Yayah is sitting high at 88%, while Grispi has a 93%. This fight is all but guaranteed to not go all three rounds.
Demarques Johnson +175
Mike Swick -210
Swick is on a two fight losing streak, and a two year long absence. Most recently Johnson was defeated by John Maguire via arm bar, and before that defeated Clay Harvison via KO. Neither man has been looking spectacular, but with Swick gone so long the fight seems far closer than odds makers or many fans are presenting it to be. With that stated, regardless of the long break, Swick still will be larger, more experienced fighter (he has been training this whole time), has faced a higher quality of opponents.
Pick: Swick. But this is a again a close fight. The odds have Swick far too high in my opinion, and should be closer to +100 Johnson, and -125 or so for Swick. Still Swick seems like a solid pick, but the odds make the payout for Swick not very appealing. Finishing rates: Johnson sits high at 88% finishing rate, while Swick has a 72% finishing rate. This again is another fight that will seemingly not go to the judges score cards. This is a solid bet to not go over 2 and 1/2 rounds.
Phil Davis -650
Wagner Prado +475
Phil Davis will welcome Brazilian rising star Wagner Prado in what will likely be an interesting affair. As exciting as Prado is, the quality of his opponents is sub par to say the least (not downing pros, just stating facts for UFC level guys). I would like to quote UG member ausgepicht -
"Anyone can look impressive fighting cabana boys. Here are the records of the cabana boys he fought:
5-9 (he fought him twice)
This will literally be only the SECOND person he has fought with a winning record. Let's not jump the gun on every Brazilian."
Prado is wildly exciting and could catch Davis with some of his violent strikes, but realistically, he will have a tough time dealing with a guy who has already fought many UFC top caliber guys.
Pick: Davis. His wrestling pedigree, and level experience with top level guys should put him head over shoulders against Prado. Finishing rate: Davis has a 56% finishing rate, while Prado has a 88% finishing rate. This fight would be a reasonabley solid choice to not go past 2 and 1/2 rounds, but do not bet the house on it.
I will state I am huge fan of Prado. Do not mistake this for disliking or not being a fan of Wagner Prado. I think this guy has tons of potential, and very well could catch Davis. Though in my opinion this was poor matchmaking from a star building point of view. Davis was a contender for the Light heavyweight belt one fight ago. This is Prado's first UFC fight. The UFC could be using the logic of if Davis wins he is back in the winners circle against a guy who in untested. On the other hand if Prado wins it catapults him in the light heavyweight rankings and creates a new star. Unusual matchmaking still in my opinion, but I am not paid the big bucks to make these decisions, and would hate to see Prado prematurely pumped out of the UFC, or Davis to get disregarded.
Jamie Varner -110
Joe Lauzon -110
This is going to be a barn burner. Varner made his grand entrance back into Zuffa's good graces with his dominating performance over Brazilian standout Edson Barboza. Lauzon is coming of a KO loss to UFC top contender Anthony Pettis. Varner comes into his third UFC bout (second current streak, lost to Hermes Franca at UFC 62, and went to the WEC) on a three fight win streak. If one does a little digging they will notice all Varner's losses are to guys who are pretty high up on the UFC food chain. For example: Shane Roller, Donald Cerrone, Ben Henderson. The others include the previously mentioned Hermes Franca six years ago, Dakota Cochrane last year, and Jesse Moreng in his second fight. Lauzon on the other hand has gone back and forth defeating top level guys in his long and illustrious UFC career. While Varner should have a slight wrestling advantage, and a striking advantage, Lauzon should have a solid grappling advantage.
Pick: neither. Avoid betting on this fight straight. It is a pick'em I am leaning towards Varner if it were to go all three rounds but even then its very minuscule bias. Finishing rates: Lauzon has a 100% finishing rate in twenty-one fights. While Varner has a 90% finishing rate. This fight is almost sure fire to end before the fight goes 2 and 1/2 rounds, grab it.
Lyoto Machida -345
Ryan Bader +285
Lyoto 'The Dragon' Machida takes on fellow light heavyweight contender and The Ultimate Fighter eight winner Ryan Bader. Machida is coming off a loss to the light heavyweight champ, while Bader is coming off a close decision win over Rampage Jackson. While Machida did weigh in lighter, and hinted at a move to middleweight, Bader will not have a decisive strength advantage. While Bader did beat Rampage, one could tell that Rampage was physically stronger than Bader picking him up for an epic slam at one point. Against Machida, Rampage could do nothing of the sort. The few times they tied up, Machida controlled Rampage. While this is not a way to justify Machida winning, it does discredit what many could consider Bader's biggest advantage - physicality and strength. Bader has a punchers chance, and a chance that is. He has very heavy hands, and possibly could decision Machida, it is unlikely. Machida's BJJ for all the hate he may get is top notch; Jones is a freak and can pull off chokes normal limbed men simply can not.
Pick: Machida. Machida should be able to stay on the outside picking Bader apart. If Bader does get close, Machida does have solid take down defense, and great grappling. We might even see Machida put Bader on his back. This is in no way discrediting Bader, he can win, but he has to turn it into a brawl. Machida is smart and knows this, and will look for the takedown when Bader looks wild. Finishing rates: Machida has a 47% finishing rate, while Bader has a 64% finishing rate. Both men pack tons of power, submission abilities, are big guys, although neither has a spectacular finishing record either. It is a pick'em as far as the spread is concerned.
Brandon Vera +300
Mauricio Rua -360
Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua will take on Brandon 'The Truth' Vera in UFC on FOX's Main event. Shogun is coming off a fight of the year performance against Dan Henderson, while 'The Truth' recently won a close decision against Elliot Marshall. Both men are predominantly strikers, but with respectable ground games. Shogun holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, while Vera has a base in Greco-Roman Wrestling, along with a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Lloyd Irvin. The real dividing factor here is quality current of opponents. Shogun's last four fights are Dan Henderson (loss), Forrest Griffin (win), Jon Jones (loss), and Lyoto Machida (win). Vera's are Elliot Marshall (win), Thiago Silva (NC, originally lost), Jon Jones (loss), and Randy Couture (loss). Thiago Silva though he was roiding dominated, and Elliot Marshall arguably won. Vera will have to turn this into a technical distance based striking match or hope his BJJ is better.
Pick: Shogun. Unless Rua is injured or game plans horribly he should have this in the bag. If Shogun comes forward and bullies Brandon around he should be able to KO him early on. Brandon still is not a poor challenger, he has a chance it just depends on his gameness and game plan. Finishing rates: Vera has acquired a 67% finishing rate, while Shogun has earned a 86% finishing rate. This is a solid choice to not go all five rounds. This will likely end before the limit of 3 and 1/2 rounds and 4 and 1/2 rounds depending on the bookie.