Just like the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX this past weekend the streak has ended. His was arguably more impressive than mine as mine was a losing streak, snapped by some very sharp (if I say so myself) calls on a card that was littered with upsets.
Despite it being a horrible stoppage I was grateful that the night opened with a nice win for Jason landing my Under 2.5 Rounds in the process, while taking the outright wins on Maldonado and Dollaway paid handsomely. I feel a tinge of irritation as a very poor call by the referee robbed Norman Parke of a win to improve profits even more but we got our money back so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. With a Return on Investment of 41% I snapped a losing streak and got back to winning ways.
After a near three week break my research will be stretched to the max as we go to eight cards in seven weeks. Luckily they are mostly uncompetitive Fight Night cards so there is still some money to be made. This week I am feeling very confident about the method of victory markets so take a walk with me through the main card as we try to keep the run going.
Nijem v Dariush:
Although impressive in his debut it is very difficult to judge how good Beneil Dariush actually is. Submitting Charlie Brenneman inside two minutes was impressive but Brenneman had only recently returned to the UFC as a last minute stand in and got caught cold. Presently unbeaten, that record will be tested severely this weekend.
As the Ultimate Fighter Season 13 runner up, Ramsey Nijem has gone on to fight seven times inside the octagon. Despite losing the finale he went on a three fight streak which put him up against Myles Jury. Unfortunately for Nijem the ever improving Jury knocked him out early in the second round. A successive defeat followed before getting back into the win column earlier this year.
Of his four career losses two of them have come by submission for Nijem which ties in nicely with his opponent. Of the seven career victories for Dariush four have come by submission so I have a natural lean immediately. Dariush hasn’t demonstrated devastating power too often and not at this level so it would be a major shock if he won by knockout. I’ll be taking Dariush to get the tap early in the first round to get the Abu Dhabi crowd going.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Beneil Dariush by Submission – 4/1 (+300) @ Unibet
Howard v LaFlare:
I am really not sure whether I am impressed by the start that Ryan LaFlare has made to his MMA career or just bored. At 10-0 it’s arguably been impressive but three consecutive unanimous decisions haven’t exactly thrilled the audience. In Ring of Combat he mixed this up with submissions and knockouts but this is a different league and those highlight reel finishes are much harder to achieve.
John Howard has seen his return to the UFC end in similar fashion taking decision wins over Uriah Hall and Siyar Bahadurzada. Cut from the UFC after three consecutive losses in 2011 he rebounded on the regional scene with a 6-1 record to earn a recall.
On paper this is a step down for Howard. I rate Bahadurzada as a more dangerous opponent than LaFlare but Howard took care of business. By contrast this should be a step up for LaFlare as Howard is the most experienced opponent he has faced to date and a win here could elevate him to a much higher level. I am not expecting any performance bonuses here and will be going with the form book. LaFlare will grind out a result and go 11-0 with a solid decision win.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Ryan LaFlare by Decision – 4/5 (-125) @ BetVictor
Guida v Kawajiri:
This is probably the toughest fight on the card to call and is as close to pick’em as you’ll ever see. With both men into their 30’s they have participated in a combined 86 fights in their careers, dividing this number almost equally. If you were a reader back in January then you will remember that I tipped up Kawajiri to win by submission. At the time you could get crazy odds of 11/2 simply because the odds makers knew little to nothing about him. As impressive as he was, please do not forget that his opponent was a high inexperienced debutant and should be taken with a pinch of salt.
It has not been a good time lately for Clay Guida. A decision win over Hatsu Hioki being the only highlight sandwiched between losses to Mendes, Maynard and Henderson. Taking another look at those last three names gives an indication to the durability of Guida that the former Lightweight Champion and two solid challengers are his recent conquerors. Add to that fact that he is one of only two men to beat the current Lightweight Champion and the task for Kawajiri becomes clear.
It is often said that when a fighter loses a first fight by knockout then the concussive effect lingers long. While he was never actually out, he took some very heavy punishment from Mendes. If Kawajiri is smart then he will look to stun and slip on one of the submissions that have served him so well throughout his career. If Guida were to win this fight then he would arguably be the worst man to beat Kawajiri since Vitor Ribeiro back in 2002. The 11/2 is available once again and represents amazing value.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Tatsuya Kawajiri by Submission – 11/2 (+550) @ BetVictor
Nelson v Nogueira:
My issue with a lot of these fight night cards if that they have main events that simply do not make sense. Recently announced fights include Nate Marquardt v James Te Huna, which makes sense only for the fact it has an Antipodean fighting in New Zealand. Sadly this fight has the same thought process to it because although they are both arguably top 15 fighters, neither are going anywhere. Still, it has the potential to be explosive and after the last UFC main event in Abu Dhabi it will need to be.
Antonio ‘Big Nog’ Nogueira is still one of the most recognisable figures in MMA even if his best days were left back in Pride. The Brazilian is now 37 years old and surely at the tail end of his career, in fact I’d go so far as to say that a loss here may see the legend call time in the middle of the octagon. He creaks when he walks, he alternates wins and losses but damn, if you leave an arm out and he latches onto it then you can forget it.
Roy Nelson is the antithesis of what MMA portrays itself as. Overweight and out of shape he has defied the odds to take home a TUF title while going 6-5 in the UFC. His losses have come against high level opponents while his wins have come over middle of the road fighters. The ones who beat him will go on to better but the ones he beat will shortly fade into obscurity. Having said that, Roy Nelson is very predictable in an odd way; all of his wins in the octagon have come by KO whereas all of his losses have come by decision. As this is a five rounder, a first for both fighters, you would have to argue against either going the distance. In a sad night for Big Nog it’ll be all over when the fat man sings his final tune, and it will be a smash hit for sure.
Recommendation: Method of Victory: Roy Nelson by KO, TKO or Disqualification – 11/10 (+110) @ Skybet