London came and went, it wasn’t great lets be honest. Good start to the betting column with Riddle defying ridiculous odds to take the win against Che Mills. It was looking good when Jimmo landed on Te Huna and pretty much all fell apart from there. It wasn’t just a poor card from a betting point of view, but also from an entertainment point of view. I would like to say that this week is going to really turn this around but we have a main event that I simply cannot get excited about, and only two fights that have a reason for being there. A few decent betting opportunities around, take a look with me and we will see if we can find some holes in the bookies ground game.

Koscheck v Lawler:

There seems to have been a fair degree of excitement over the return of Robbie Lawler, but not from me. A mediocre record in the UFC was followed by a very good record in local promotions. Unfortunately for Lawler this was finished with a poor record in Strikeforce. His homecoming opponent is Josh Koscheck, one of the very first Ultimate Fighters and one of the most Marmite fighters still in the Octagon. His love me or hate me attitude rubs a few up the wrong way, and has now found himself in the position of gatekeeper for the company. The division is too stacked for Kos to make a realistic run at the title, but he is nowhere near the cut list yet. Koshcheck has favoured wins by decision in four of his last five, and this that is a reasonable shout here. For me this is a one time gig for Lawler, similar to the likes of Jorge Santiago, and will probably be cut again after a one sided defeat. My money goes on Koscheck over the three rounds; it wont be pretty but it will be effective.

Recommendation: Method of Victory: Josh Koscheck by Decision – 8/11 @ Ladbrokes

McGee v Neer:

I am not quite sure how this fight became main card. There is at least one better and more meaningful fight on the undercard than this. With both fighters riding a two fight losing streak, the objective here is to not be issued with a pink slip. In a week where the UFC have announced that they intend to cut over 100 fighters in 2013 it is not inconceivable that this ends up being the last fight for both. Court McGee is the winner of TUF 11 and makes his Welterweight debut against UFC veteran Josh Neer. Neer is trying to rebound from defeats to Mike Pyle and Justin Edwards and will be hoping that his opponents weight cut gives him the edge. Despite a relative lack of experience I am favouring McGee to take this comfortably. Neer appears susceptible to the submission and decision loss, both of which are where McGee has taken the majority of his victories. Therefore, I am going to take a small bet on McGee by Submission.

Recommendation: Method of Victory: Court McGee by Submission – 4/1 @ Ladbrokes

Faber v Menjivar:

This is a fight I like the look of. In a division that is in relative limbo after Dominic Cruz’s injury hiatus we have two fighters who are looking to propel themselves into contention. Urijah Faber may end up being one of the best fighters never to hold the gold. When you look at his losses, they have come against the best in the business and there is no shame in being second or third best in two divisions. He isn’t getting any younger and this would feasibly be his last run at the Bantamweight crown he craves so badly. Ivan Menjivar is as tough as they come and will be looking to test Faber’s mental strength and submission defence. On their previous encounter back in 2006 Menjivar was disqualified following an illegal kick to a downed opponent. Menjivar retired from MMA shortly after that fight, coming back four years later to fight in W-1 and WEC. Comparing the record of both it feels unlikely that the judges are called into action here. From a combined 66 fights just ten have gone the scorecards. In contrast, 24 have ended by submission with 16 ending via KO. Playing the percentages I am taking Faber to finish this by submission. On paper he is the superior fighter and has the motivation to install himself as the mandatory challenger after Barao and Cruz finally meet. The analysis of that fight is for another day, but this clearly feels weighted towards The California Kid.

Recommendation: Method of Victory: Urijah Faber by Submission– 5/1 @ Ladbrokes

Machida v Henderson:

This is a very tough fight to call. Lyoto Machida is a fighter that many believe gave Jon Jones his toughest test, with many more believing that he will go on to ask questions of the champion that he may struggle to answer. He has been around for a while and faced off against some of the best in the business with huge levels of success. If you are mentioning the words “being around for a while” and “best in the business” then at some stage someone is going to mention Dan Henderson. Hendo is a beast, with a left hand that has literally taken out legends. Henderson has been sidelined with injury for eight months, and at 42 is no spring chicken. At that age you have to ask yourself how many more rounds do you have left in you. His last two fights have seen him defy the critics and the odds makers with stunning victories over Shogun Rua, and an improbable win against the most feared Heavyweight on the planet at the time, Fedor Emelianenko. The injury hiatus caused the merry go round that led to UFC 151 being cancelled, as the fight was also declined by Machida. Machida went on to beat Ryan Bader to set up this number one contenders match.

Looking at recent history for both fighters, Machida has four of his last five wins coming by KO, showing that he possesses incredible power. He left Bader cold, took out Randy Couture like no other fighter has and became the first and last man to KO Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva. Henderson has a similar record with four of his last five wins coming by KO or TKO, putting Bisping, Cavalcante and Emelianenko on the floor. I don’t see this going the full three rounds and I am not in favour of a submission. As a fight it could easily go to the fighter who lands the first legitimate haymaker. On those grounds, I am picking either fighter to win by KO/TKO as it is priced too high for me and offers a very likely outcome.

Recommendation: How The Fight Will End: KO/TKO – 12/5 @ Paddy Power

Rousey v Carmouche:

With every main event, especially a history making one such as this, there should be a plethora of subjects to write about, facts & figures, statistics, history to name but a few. The most interesting thing about this fight is that my spellchecker wanted to change Rousey to Mousey, which she is anything but. As this is a betting column, these snippets of information should be there to help us with our pick and the search for value. Let me get one thing out of the way, this fight has no value! It is as one sided and predicable as it comes. Like the worst game of Cluedo in history; I suspect Miss Rousey with the Arm bar in the first round. You know it, I know it and most importantly the bookies know it. Rousey finds herself a best priced 1/12 to win the fight, 1/6 to win by submission and 2/5 to win in the first round. Really nothing intelligent here to be betting on, but if you must bet then you may as well pick an outsider since your returns on every realistic outcome make that bet unattractive. With that, I’ll give Carmouche the chance to escape the inevitable until the second round but I don’t expect a return from this and won’t be putting any of my own money down.

Recommendation: Round Betting: Ronda Rousey in Round Two – 6/1 @ Ladbrokes