It feels like its been a long time coming, but now I get to shout “Finally, the UFC has come back to London” as I shamelessly paraphrase The Rock. Hopefully as we return to London, so we shall return to winning ways. Who saw the last set of results coming? Nobody in their right mind would have backed Little Nog against Rashad, and I guess I am as guilty of writing off Bigfoot as Overeem was. Huge apologies to Mr Silva. Benavidez did what Benavidez does, and Frankie proved that the 2/1 on offer was far too big as he took Aldo all five rounds and caused the champ more than a few problems. We move on to London this week. I will be at the event and trying to tweet up to date results, you can follow me @ufcmoneymaker so pop over and say hi if you want.
Mills v Riddle:
Matt Riddle hasn’t done a huge amount to endear himself to fight fans on these shores. He has made numerous comments about Dan Hardy, claimed that he was spat on, and make comments over the state of our teeth. Despite his improving reputation, his fight record doesn’t really stand out as a who’s who, with wins against a below par John Maguire and a now cut DaMarques Johnson being the highlights. In the other corner we have Che Mills, a man once described by Joe Rogan, somewhat emphatically, as a ‘killer’ during his fight with Rory MacDonald. For those who saw that fight he was anything but, with MacDonald pretty much having success in everything that he tried on the night. It still puzzles me how a 40 second win over Chris Cope can elevate a fighter to co-main status, but it happened. I don’t like to back against the Brits, but I think that Riddle can pull off the upset here. At 13/8 on the outright win I know where my money goes.
Recommendation: To Win The Fight: Matt Riddle – 13/8 @ Sportingbet
Jimmo v Te Huna:
Both these guys have something in common, they knocked out Anthony Perosh. The differentiator is that one of them tied a UFC record while doing it. At UFC 149 Ryan Jimmo managed a knockout in an incredible seven seconds to announce himself to the promotion. Both fighters reach this bout on a bit of a tear, Jimmo with 17 straight wins and Te Huna only losing to Alex Gustafsson during the past four years. Te Huna enters as clear favourite and is easy to see why, having been the distance with (and beaten) Beltran, while knocking out Rosa, Romero and Pokrajic to counter his aforementioned loss. For Jimmo, he has only really fought in local promotions, but has had a lot of decision wins under his belt. Winning is a good habit to get into, and its hard to judge him on just seven seconds of action at the UFC. I have a feeling about Jimmo though, and fancy him to take a close decision but will be playing it safe and backing him outright.
Recommendation: To Win The Fight: Ryan Jimmo – 7/4 @ Paddy Power
Nelson v Santiago:
If you saw the Nottingham card the chances are that there would have been one name on your lips, the previously unknown Gunnar Nelson. Opening the fight with a kick that could have ended the fight just as quickly, the ‘Man of No Words’ proceeded to dominate his opponent before submitting him comfortably. Originally scheduled to fight Justin Edwards in a match up he would have been expected to dominate, injury saw Jorge Santiago step in. Santiago is a veteran of the UFC and fought a series of dangerous opponents, with Maia, Leben and Bahardurzada to name a few. While those three resulted in losses only a fool would think that he didn’t come out of those fights having learned a lot more about life in the octagon. Nelson is a man who likes the theatrical, but not necessarily the limelight. Unbeaten, untroubled and unperturbed, I am taking Nelson to extend his submission run to six in a row, by being the first man to submit Santiago. You wont get a price on a Rear Naked Choke which is a shame, because that’s what I’d be backing.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Gunnar Nelson by Submission – 2/1 @ Paddy Power
Diabate v Manuwa:
After his ruthless dismantling of Kyle Kingsbury in Nottingham, Jimi Manuwa announced himself to the UFC community. It is very rare that you see a beating so one sided, without mercy, that each punch leaves you cringing a little more. This is exactly what Jimi set out to do, and with it put himself firmly on the Light Heavyweight map. I am not saying that he is a challenger, far from it, but a few more wins and you will be mentioning him in higher company. Cyrille Diabate is a true veteran of the Martial Arts. A kickboxer with extensive Octagon experience, he will be expected to provide a stern test for his opponent. Fighters Only columnist Gareth A. Davies once proudly proclaimed that Manuwa would “walk through” Diabate before this fight was even confirmed. I don’t think it will be that easy, but I think that it will be a case of lucky 13 for the Poster Boy. Some will have commented that although he dominated Kingsbury there were occasions where it looked he may gas out. Diabate has only been knocked out once, via stomp by Shogun Rua in Pride, and I fancy him to use his size advantage to keep Jimi far enough away to prevent the KO. I do, however, see Jimi taking a unanimous decision win here to keep his run going.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Jimi Manuwa by Decision – 4/1 @ Ladbrokes
Poirier v Swanson:
Prior to his loss in May against the Korean Zombie Dustin Poirier was considered a real contender for the Featherweight crown. That loss put him down the pecking order and into a fight with Jonathan Brookins who, with respect has no place in the same arena as Poirier. Cub Swanson is riding a three fight streak and was expected to face off with Dennis Siver in a number one contenders match. Siver pulled out through injury and Poirier stepped in, immediately making Swanson’s job harder. Swanson has gone on record over the past week or so to express his distaste at being further down the UFC rankings than both Poirier and Zombie. If you asked him, you would probably get the response that he sees himself as the number two or three in the division. Personally I am a big Poirier fan and think that Swanson has a huge job on his hands here. Both fighters favour the submission win, so I guess that makes up my mind on the method of victory. I can see this coming down to a win for Poirier, by what technique God only knows. Bookies favour Swanson whereas I favour Poirier very strongly. For the outright win, 11/10 on Poirier is just too big to ignore. I am liking the look of the submission win, and this is where my bet goes.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Dustin Poirier by Submission – 12/5 @ Ladbrokes
Barao v McDonald:
This is a tough fight to make a pick in. Michael McDonald is a kid that has devastating power, with 60% of his wins coming by knockout. This includes a demolition of the once great Miguel Torres, a fighter so feared in his WEC days and who still had a lot to offer. McDonald took him apart in less than a round to announce himself as the number one contender to the Interim title. Renan Barao has had 30 fights, lost the very first and has gone on a staggering 29 fight unbeaten streak. I don’t care what the promotion is, that run deserves respect. Since arriving in the UFC he has despatched Pickett, Jorgenson and Faber, none of those being an easy proposition. If you were looking to break it down you could argue that McDonald is relatively predicable, with all but one win coming by knockout or decision in the past 4 years. In the same vein, Barao has had all of his wins in the same period coming by submission or decision.
Taking an objective view it would appear to suggest that if McDonald wins then it will be by decision as Barao has never been knocked out or submitted. On the flip side if Barao is to win then the record states it would be by KO as McDonald has never lost on points or been submitted. Barao is a monster and that streak wont be ending any time soon. As Barao has not knocked anyone out in around four years I will be opting for the decision win, denying ‘Mayday’ the opportunity to become the youngest champion in UFC history.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Renan Barao by Decision – 5/4 @ Ladbrokes