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It’s now been three weeks since GSP retained his title and the decision was contentious at best. Firstly, it highlighted potential scoring issues in MMA but secondly, and most importantly, it cost me money. It wasn’t a huge amount, Tyron Woodley kept me on the right side of even but it could have been so much better.

The rest was a betting washout but it was a decent night of fights so I can’t complain. It was actually good to see Rashad get his groove back, looking the best he has done since he held the belt in the process.

We enter the last four weeks of the year which means there are still a few opportunities to make some extra Christmas money. Profitability went up to £33.08 so we’ll still be having Turkey for dinner but the wife wants a nice bottle of wine to go with it so I’ll need to pick some winners this week.

Although I am really not a fan of TUF cards I was hoping to get some picks posted last week but the final card not being completed until Thursday morning meant that most of the bookies didn’t get anything priced up until it was too late. While on the subject of being too late, don’t forget that this card airs on Friday night so make sure that you get any bets on 24 hours earlier than normal.

Kedzie v Correia:

With the loss of Caceres and Gagnon from the main card we will now open up with another match from the ever popular Women’s division.

Julie Kedzie enters the octagon for possibly the final time. Her last three outings have all ended in defeat, with the first two in Strikeforce. There is no shame in losing to Miesha Tate and Alexis Davis but she would have been backing herself to beat Germaine de Randamie. Had just one judge seen it slightly differently, she may have. The Women’s division isn’t so stacked that named fighters will be cut easily, but four in a row would be probable cause.

Bethe Correia is a Brazilian grinding machine. Not to be taken out of context, she is a point fighter who almost never finishes fights. Unbeaten in six so far she has only fought on the regional scene so little will be known about her aptitude for this level but respect should be given where it is due.

This fight is almost certain to go to a decision and I am leaning towards Kedzie. Fighting out of Jacksons she is with the best game planner in the business and the mandate will be simple; do not lose. This is a step up for Correia and she is against an opponent literally fighting for her livelihood.

Recommendation: To Win The Fight: Julie Kedzie – 4/9 (-225) @ Paddy Power

Andrews v Hester:

For a TUF matchup I actually see this one as pretty competitive. It’s not that often that TUF bouts are made featuring fighters from the same season but Antipodean fighters are thin on the ground so needs must.

While neither really made any significant dent in the TUF series, Hester losing in the prelims and Andrews in the Semi-Finals, both have made promising starts to their lives in the UFC. Hester took a win over Bristol Marunde at the finale with Andrews beating Jimmy Quinlan at the same event and going one further by taking out veteran Papy Abedi in August.

As the more active and experienced man then you simply have to go with Andrews. His experience is only marginally in his favour but he has fought at a higher level for longer than this opponent.

I foresee Andrews taking a unanimous decision, and possibly the only ‘home-town’ victory of the night.

Recommendation: Method of Victory: Dylan Andrews by Decision – 11/5 (+220) @ Ladbrokes

Barry v Palelei:

I’ll open with my thoughts here and say that I am not expecting a classic by any stretch of the imagination.

A documented fear of flying has prevented Pat Barry from ever really fighting outside of the US, and he will have left early to give himself plenty of time to adapt.

Soa Palelei gets a third UFC bout although in my opinion his last outing against Nikita Krylov should have been enough to put this horse to grass. So bad was that fight that neither should have been given a return option. It is very rare to watch two fighters gas after less than half a round and both prove that they are not up to this level, not by a long shot.

Barry gets the nod for me though. He is younger, fitter and been fighting at a higher level for longer. His gas tank is also much better although I don’t see this going on much beyond a round. Barring a two fight skid against Struve and Kongo (the latter of which he had won) he has alternated wins and losses since entering the UFC. His last fight resulted in a loss and I’ll be backing that sequence to continue here.

Recommendation: Method of Victory: Pat Barry by KO, TKO or Disqualification – 20/21 (-105) @ Ladbrokes

Bader v Perosh:

This has the potential to be a mismatch of epic proportions and other than putting an Aussie in the octagon, I see no legitimate reason for this match to be made.

At 41 Anthony Perosh is at the back end of his career and this could legitimately be called as his final match. The recipient of the joint fastest knockout in UFC history against Ryan Jimmo, he managed to stay in the cage for twice as long last time out beating Vinny Magalhaes by knockout.

Ryan Bader comes into town off the back of a loss, but with absolutely no shame. Given little to no chance against the heir-apparent, Glover Teixeira, he rocked the Brazilian with some devastating shots and at one point looked set to upset the odds-makers and claim a shock win.

Teixeira stayed on his feet and reversed the pattern of play and booked himself a shot against Jon Jones, but it was certainly no walkover.

As the winner of TUF 8 Bader has given himself plenty of opportunities and without dropping a shock defeat to Ortiz could have found himself back in the mix long before now. This fight won’t do anything for his rankings but it certainly will boost his confidence. Bader takes a comfortable knockout victory.

Recommendation: Method of Victory: Ryan Bader by KO, TKO or Disqualification – 6/5 (+120) @ Ladbrokes

Rua v Te Huna:

This is my pick for Fight of the Night. Picking who the winner is, well that’s a little harder.

Shogun Rua enters the octagon fresh from a devastating loss to Chael Sonnen where he was submitted for the first time in six years, taking with him the first two-fight skid of his entire career.

His opponent is the durable and highly-rated Australian James Te Huna. Te Huna is also coming off a loss and looking to rebound back up the rankings and potentially towards title contention.

Taking a step back you can see some similarities between them. Both are 6’2”, 32 year old knockout artists with a 72% win rate. That is where the similarities end though. On the side of Te Huna we have someone who can be described as Very Good, whereas with Rua we have someone who can be described as Elite. When Luke Rockhold fought Vitor Belfort this year we saw what happened when Elite met Very Good.

The issue I have is whether 2013 Shogun can be described as Elite. His record his elite and he has fought at a level which is in a different galaxy to Te Huna. He also doesn’t lose against Very Good. Sonnen is Elite at wrestling whereas Gustafsson, Henderson, Jones and Machida are simply Elite. Te Huna by contrast has really only fought Teixeira and Gustafsson in the same class and lost both.

Shogun is near impossible to stop, especially over three rounds and this clearly goes the distance. Who wins? You choose because I am struggling so I’ll opt for the Fight of the Night special instead.

Recommendation: Fight of the Night – 5/2 (+250) @ Paddy Power

Hunt v Silva:

Although he is a Kiwi by birth for all intents and purposes Mark Hunt will have the whole of Australia behind him going into this fight. Hunt has made comments that New Zealanders do not recognise his achievements and its left a sour taste in the Samoans mouth.

His opponent on Friday is the freakishly large looking, yet ‘only’ 6’4” Brazilian, Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva. Silva is looking to get back into the win column following a second defeat by Cain Velasquez, this time in pursuit of the title. In both outings Silva has been completely outclassed and dominated to the extent that no sequence of victories could conceivably see him given a third opportunity.

Silva finds himself in the unique position of favourite for this fight which is something he hasn’t been for any of his last six. In three of those he massively upset the odds beating Browne, Overeem and of course, Fedor in the process. The other three have gone as expected and he has been picked up off the floor.

Neither Hunt nor Silva are guys that you can honestly look to go the distance in any fight. Hunt last troubled the judges in 2011, and prior to that it was 2005. For Silva it has been 2010.

This fight ends in a stoppage, either by submission or knockout. It takes a big strong man to stop Mark Hunt and this is a guy who has had a good degree of success in the UFC against big strong men and if Silva loses then it’s usually by knockout as he has never been submitted.

I very much lean towards Hunt for the victory here. He will love nothing more than to put on a win in Australia and to do it in style.

Recommendation: Method of Victory: Mark Hunt by KO, TKO or Disqualification – 7/5 (+140) @ Boylesports

 

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