Things have changed since the last time UFC visited Brazil. At “UFC: Ultimate Brazil” in 1998, the company was relying on emerging fighters who have yet to see their full potential like Wanderlei Silva, Pedro Rizzo and Vitor Belfort to sell tickets. This time around, things are a lot different. UFC solidified itself as a mainstream sport and now their fighters are getting mainstream attention. Guys like Anderson Silva and Shogun Rua can’t walk down the street in America OR Brazil without getting mobbed by fans.
Unfortunately what that also means is that the bookies (people who decide sports odds) have been paying more attention to mixed martial arts and it’s a lot harder to find a good bet. Join Jon Kirschner as he walks you through the fights that will get you the most bang for your buck in this month’s “Bettor Breakdown”!
Quick Pick: Dan Miller (+225 Underdog) vs. Rousimar Palhares (-285 Favorite)
Bet on Dan Miller defeating Rousimar Palhares (Bet $10 to win $22.50)
This is the first bout on the Spike TV prelims and there’s nothing more that can get your blood pumping than a little betting early on in the night. Dan Miller as a bottom dog against Rousimar Palhares should catch your eye because while Palhares is a submission specialist, Miller has never been submitted in his career. If there’s anyone who can cancel out a jiu-jitsu ace like Palhares, it’s a fighter with a good wrestling base and a healthy knowledge of jiu-jitsu like Dan Miller. Start off the night with a small bet like $5 or $10; you don’t want to cry because you lost a lot of money before the PPV even starts.
Question: Why bet on underdogs?
Answer: One may notice that I tend to favor betting on underdogs when it comes to mixed martial arts. The risk in dropping big money on a “sure-thing” favorite just to win a fraction of what you bet just doesn’t seem worth it to me. I wouldn’t even do it in a sport where there’s a franchise team. Just the other day, my friend bet $100 to win $50 on the Yankees and C.C. Sabathia to defeat the Oakland Athletics. In a game where he should have received $150 back, he walked away with nothing. If it’s not a smart decision to bet on franchise teams in baseball, why would you bet on a heavy favorite when it comes to a sport where literally anybody has a puncher’s chance? Heavens forbid we have a repeat of UFC 69.
Co-Main Event: Forrest Griffin (+190 Underdog) vs. Shogun Rua (-240 Favorite)
Bet on Forrest Griffin defeating Shogun Rua (Bet $20 to win $38)
It is borderline ridiculous to call Forrest Griffin a dark-horse in this situation. Forrest Griffin was labeled as an underdog in his bouts against Rich Franklin, Rampage Jackson and Shogun Rua. Griffin possessed a very specific strategy for each opponent and stuck to it throughout the whole fight. In his fight with Rampage, he let his leg kicks do the talking. He caught Rua off guard when he out-grappled the grappler, ultimately submitting using BJJ. With Rich Franklin, he came out on top with striking flurries and dominating top control. Every strategy was unique in its own way and caught the opponents off guard; when Griffin’s back is against the wall, he’s game.
Even though Forrest Griffin holds an impressive underdog record of 3 wins and 1 loss (loss was against Anderson Silva), that’s not why it’s smart to bet on him. A win-loss record isn’t the most important thing to look at when pondering whether or not you should place a bet on the fight. What will help Griffin come out on top at UFC 134 is his ability to implement whatever game-plan he has on any fighter he wants to and look impressive doing it. We see a different, smarter side of Forrest Griffin every single time he walks into the octagon. He caught Rampage off-guard with leg kicks. Tito Ortiz was taken back every time Griffin threw a flurry of strikes. Rua wasn’t ready for Griffin to out-grapple him at UFC 76, and I don’t think he’ll be ready at UFC 134 either.
Expect Griffin to tire out his opponent early on in the fight with slow, plodding takedowns and by pressing Rua against the cage. A submission victory isn’t too far out of the question for Forrest, but I think he’s going to play it safe in enemy territory and eek out a decision victory.
Main Event: Anderson Silva (-600 Favorite) vs. Yushin Okami (+400 Underdog)
Bet on Youshin Okami defeating Anderson Silva (Bet $10 to win $40)
Let’s make this clear: In my opinion, Anderson Silva is just too good for Yushin Okami and he will come out on top here. The point I am making with this bet is simply that the odds are very uneven they’re too good to pass up on. I made similar bets with Werdum over Fedor and Lesnar defeating Carwin by submission and walked away with big paydays. By throwing a little money on this fight, say $10, it’ll emotionally invest you in the fight more but if Okami defies the odds and wins, you’ll get a nice payday. Otherwise you’ll only lose $10, which is a small fraction of what you paid to watch the pay per view in the first place.
If you wanted to break it down, we’ve seen that Anderson Silva has a weakness when it comes to wrestling. He lost the first round against Dan Henderson and lost four rounds in a row against Chael Sonnen… it’s not a secret that Okami will try to outwrestle the guy and keep him on his back. Okami’s top control is among the best and he knows how to distribute his weight to tire out Silva. He learned through Chael’s mistakes and won’t leave himself exposed for a submission. Stylistically speaking, if the fight stays on the feet “The Spider” has the advantage. If “Thunder” can take the fight to the ground and keep control, it’s his.
Disclaimer: The betting advice in this column is only a suggestion. If you or anyone you know has a gambling problem, please visit www.ncpgambling.org. Remember, play with patience and intelligence or don’t play at all.
Tags: Brazil, dan miller, forrest griffin, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Mixed Martial Arts, Rousimar Palhares, UFC, Yushin Okami