Following another two decent priced winners in the last event we find ourselves in a healthy position once more. After lurking in the depths of single digit profitability, we are now up to £17.73 on the year to date. This was assisted nicely by backing the submission as method of victory in the Healy v Miller fight, and Roy Nelson to do what Roy Nelson does in finishing up Cheick Kongo’s UFC career. I will freely admit to having written down Miller as the winner by submission in the opener, but lost a little nerve and played safe. My lessons were learned from Benson Henderson on the preceding card. It wasn’t a classic event, not by any stretch and will be remembered more for ‘toe-gate’ than anything else. It demonstrates the unpredictability of MMA, given that Chael Sonnen was effectively only 27 seconds away from being crowned the new champion, despite being soundly battered for most of the round.
We go back to Brazil for the latest FX card. The main card is relatively small at only four fights but should provide some interesting opportunities. The bookies are conspiring against me this week by only pricing up the three top fights on the card. Just as a heads up, this will be my last column until we return to Brazil on June 8th as I’ll be sunning myself on holiday. Can’t see the wife being too happy with me writing up my tips while she will be shopping in Miami! Hope you all enjoy UFC 160 without me, and feel free to post your tips for that event in the comments below and I’ll read them when I return.
Dos Anjos v Dunham:
I am a big fan of Rafael Dos Anjos; the guy is a beast, especially for a Lightweight. Although he is only 28 it feels like he has been around for a while and he certainly seems to be making up for lost time. He finds himself riding a three fight streak with notable victories over Mark Bocek and Anthony Njokuani and will face off against Evan Dunham full of confidence. Dunham, on the other hand, takes three wins and three losses from his last six and will be looking to edge himself towards the top ten rankings. A bright start to his UFC career was stunted with back to back losses to Sean Sherk and Melvin Guillard and he hasn’t really been able to put a run of note together since.
Dos Anjos finds himself sitting at number ten in the official rankings knowing that a loss drops him down a few fair places in probably the most competitive division. He will also be aware that a win could take him up to around seven or eight and a fight against a top five fighter. As the division is very deep right now momentum will be a key factor. Considering both fighters have shared four decisions from their last four combined fights then I am comfortable in this going the distance. This could very well end up a long night for Dunham as I fancy Dos Anjos to take a comfortable decision.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Rafael Dos Anjos by Decision – 8/15 @ Betfair
Souza v Camozzi:
When Costa Philippou was forced to withdraw from his fight against Ronaldo Souza, you could have been forgiven for thinking that this would have forced ‘Jacare’ off the card. At just over two weeks’ notice up steps Chris Camozzi to take the challenge. Camozzi enters the octagon on Saturday putting a four fight winning streak up for grabs against a highly decorated and very dangerous opponent. Souza makes his UFC debut as a former Strikeforce Middleweight champion looking to establish himself as a legitimate contender in the UFC’s division. The old adage of styles making fights will certainly come into play as conflicting skills are on display. Camozzi is a Muay Thai fighter who would almost certainly want to keep the fight standing, although he does have submissions in the locker. Souza is a submission machine, taking 13 of his 17 wins by forcing his opponent to tap and will definitely want to keep this on the ground.
Truth is there is no value in backing Souza at odds of around 1/6. He will almost certainly win the fight, and probably relatively quickly. The value here is that you can get around 8/11 on a fighter who carries a 76% submission win ratio. That price will be enough for me to put a few holiday dollars aside.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Ronaldo Souza by Submission – 8/11 @ Ladbrokes
Belfort v Rockhold:
Entering the UFC as the reigning Strikeforce Middleweight champion, you could not blame Luke Rockhold for either looking, or calling for a title shot immediately. Given that most of the potential contenders have conspired to eliminate each other then it feels that this may have been a missed opportunity. It is probably fair to say that Rockhold would be considered as a low-key champion; certainly not befitting the plaudits earned by the likes of a Gil Melendez for example, carrying little of the star quality or showmanship of some of the other champions He makes his UFC debut against ‘The Phenom’ Vitor Belfort. Fresh from a solid win over Michael Bisping, Belfort is looking to climb back up the tree for a rematch with Anderson Silva. Although both fighters would be classified as relatively high level opponents, a win here would still see both at least another win away from seeing the champ inside the octagon.
For me this fight opens up a few possibilities for the remainder of the year. Assuming that Silva beats Weidman and opts not to push for a super fight, who next? Belfort has just seen off Bisping so a win for him leaves the UFC looking for a viable opponent, perhaps in an elimination match? Rockhold has the more interesting future though. A win for him doesn’t necessarily a title shot with Anderson Silva, but it would open the door for a potential elimination match with Bisping should the rumoured Manchester card take place.
Vitor typically only loses against the very best, and while it is hard to justify Rockhold at the same level, a nine fight winning streak is hard to ignore and winning mentality is a hard habit to break.
Ordinarily I’d be looking for Rockhold to take a unanimous decision, but that would be predicated on Belfort having the gas in the tank to go five rounds. As Vitor hasn’t been the distance in almost six years then I’ll take Rockhold to take him out through the third round.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Luke Rockhold by KO/TKO – 15/8 @ Paddy Power