No surprises from the last event, disappointed to see that the bookies favourites justified their positions. Nice to see Alex Gustafsson repay my faith with his decision win over Shogun Rua though. A 6/5 winner is a winner nonetheless.
A small, and temporary change to the format this week. As there are two cards within 24 hours of each other, I will be picking the most interesting fights across both cards and providing you with my analysis. Lets take a look and see what’s available starting with UFC on FX, live on Friday from the Gold Coast in Australia:
Parke v Fletcher
I haven’t been able to stay up to date with The Smashes, which is a shame because I hear really good things about Colin Fletcher. The fighter, known as ‘Freakshow’ on account of his scary clown outfits, appears to have carved a niche for himself in the show and battled his way to the final. Fletcher and ‘Stormin’ Norman Parke are relatively unknown quantities on the International stage, but have appeared frequently for a series of local promotions with a good degree of success. I don’t like to oppose the Brits, and a win for Fletcher could see him fight in London at the newly organised Wembley event, and the thought of that homecoming should see him through.
Recommendation: Winner: Colin Fletcher @ 4/5 @ Various
Lombard v Palhares
A clash of two Middleweights who, at first glance, look like they should probably be Light Heavyweights. Rousimar Palhares is a devastating submission specialist who will go for the Heel Hook at every opportunity. Unfortunately for him Alan Belcher saw it coming and countered it with his striking. It is in the striking where Lombard will look to impose his game plan After making the leap from Bellator, big things were expected of Lombard and against Tim Boetsch he failed to deliver. Boetsch kept it standing but Lombard just couldn’t find that knock-out punch – welcome to the big show Hector! This will go one of two ways, either Lombard by KO or Palhares by Submission. I think that Palhares will play smarter this time out, take his time and expose the gap between Bellator and the UFC.
Recommendation: Winner: Rousimar Palhares 2/1 @ Betfred
Sotiropoulos v Pearson
Its probably fair to say that this both of these fighters, as coaches, haven’t really set the world alight. I like the idea of The Smashes, but by weight class there wasn’t really enough to excite me. George Sotiropoulos, the older and heavier man and one that is coming into this fight looking to avoid three defeats in a row. Ross Pearson, the affable Geordie who, of late, seems to have a hard time stringing wins together. Both graduates from the TUF series, I am leaning towards a Pearson win. I don’t see this going five rounds, despite both fighters habitually being taken the distance. With that in mind, I am leaning towards a cheeky value bet of Pearson in the third round.
Recommendation: Round Betting: Pearson in Round Three – 22/1 @ Paddy Power
Moving on to Saturday night and the finale of TUF 16 from Las Vegas.
Guillard v Varner
I met a guy in Las Vegas who was sat in front of me at UFC 146, where Jamie Varner shocked the MMA world by stopping Edson Barboza. Just prior to the fight he told me that he was heading to the nearest Sportsbook to put his balance on Varner. I laughed. Around 10 minutes later he returned with a pocketful of cash. He laughed back, I have no intention of letting that happen again. Despite not impressing in his last outing, Varner takes this one for me. Guillard is a tough guy and an Octagon veteran, he also has a suspect chin. If Varner comes out of the blocks early, I see him stopping this in the very first round.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Jamie Varner by KO/TKO Evens @ Betfair
Barry v Del Rosario
Pat Barry is a genuinely nice guy but is very limited technically. He likes to stand and bang, and that tactical/technical naivety seems to get in the way, and it has led him to a 1-3 record in the UFC from his last four fights. Shane Del Rosario recently came over from Strikeforce where he held an 11-0 record before walking into the right hand of Stipe Miocic. Within 9 minutes that perfect record, turned into 11-1. Prior to being knocked out Del Rosario showed a lot of promise, and the fight could really have gone either way. Del Rosario has only ever been out of the first round twice, he won’t need to go past the five minute mark here either. Either by Submission or KO, this only ends one way and Del Rosario moves to 12-1.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Del Rosario by KO/TKO Evens @ Betfair
Nelson v Mitrione
I’ll open up and be honest, I wanted to see Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson take on Shane Carwin. I wanted to see whether Carwin could knock out Nelson – since nobody else seems to be capable of doing it. When Carwin blew his knee we watched and waited for a fight to save the card, up stepped Matt Mitrione. Mitrione is a strange character who polarized opinion during his stint on TUF and most recently [allegedly] turned down a Strikeforce title fight against Daniel Cormier. Apparently he felt he didn’t have the tools to beat Cormier. In defence of that, he doesn’t have the tools to beat Nelson either. Despite his physique Nelson is a quick mover, has knock-out power and excellent Jiu-Jitsu. He made quick work of Dave Herman, and will make quick work of Mitrione. I see Mitrione being stopped, and no later than the second round, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see this over within the first five minutes.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Nelson by TKO/KO 4/5 @ Skybet