After the mass hysteria created by UFC 187 last weekend the promotion keeps gathering momentum with a return to Brazil.
With a line-up that couldn’t possibly match the star studded event from Memorial Day Weekend there are still a few golden opportunities nonetheless. Let’s see what the oddsmakers at 5Dimes make of it as I pick out the best of the main card.
Noons v Oliveira:
Don’t tell Cerrone but the Lightweight division has a new Cowboy in Alex Oliveira. Oliveira dropped his debut against highly rated and much lauded prospect Gilbert Burns but survived for long enough to be given another shot at the big time. Only a late submission prevented him from being the second fighter to take Burns the distance, but he gave as good as he got in the bout winning many friends along the way.
Strikeforce vet, KJ Noons, has been one of those fighters who haven’t really hit the mark since that promotion folded back in 2013. Sure he remains unbeaten in his last three, the last a No Contest courtesy of an eye poke but a 1-5 run prior to that probably tells you more about where he sits in the overall picture. Those losses were to top quality opposition, his wins were not.
Noons is a highly durable fighter, in 20 fights he has been stopped twice, once by submission and once by KO. In the latter part of his career he nearly always seems to be fighting for the full round allocation. Oliveira has a completely contrasting record, rarely going the distance and finishing things early. I see little value in backing anything other than an Oliveira win here, as all other betting avenues are priced out of interest.
Recommendation: Alex Oliveira – 2 units at -130 (4/5) @ 5Dimes
Lentz v Oliveira:
Nick Lentz returns from a year out to once again face off with Charles Oliveira. Their first fight from back in 2011 was stopped early and declared a No Contest due to an illegal knee thrown by Oliveira. Since that fight their careers have moved in similar directions, although they have been kept apart until now. Lentz went through a wobble against Mark Bocek and Evan Dunham before putting a three fight winning streak together to earn the right to face Chad Mendes in the biggest fight of his career.
Much like his opponent, Oliveira went a little off the rails with losses to Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson but since rebounded with three in a row to once again start climbing the rankings. A closer look at his losses show that they came to Edgar, Swanson, Cerrone and Jim Miller, this is not a guy who is here to merely make up the numbers, his wins have come over the disappointing pair of Hatsu Hioki and Andy Ogle, with the latest over a resurgent Jeremy Stephens.
Picking the winner of this fight is very tough, but picking a bet isn’t. I have no idea who wins in honesty, both are durable and have finishes in their lockers and both can be stopped. My decision is based on two fights alone; Lentz v Mendes and Oliveira v Edgar. Against Mendes, Lentz came in with a fighter who had literally punched a hole in his previous four opponents, but he couldn’t stop him. Against Edgar, Oliveira took on an Edgar who has punched Gray Maynard and BJ Penn into defeat, as well as submitting Cub Swanson. If Mendes couldn’t stop Lentz, and Edgar couldn’t stop Oliveira, what chance to they have of stopping each other? For me, it goes the distance.
Recommendation: Lentz/Oliveira goes 3 round distance – 1 unit at -105 (20/21) @ 5Dimes
Condit v Alves:
With over a full year out of action due to a torn ACL, Carlos Condit claims that he needed the rest, in fact, almost welcoming the break. At the point where he picked up his injury he was being dominated by a surging Tyron Woodley and it never looked like it was going to be his night. Although in a year the names have changed and the faces look different Condit is still one of the very best at 170lbs and the number four ranked Welterweight has some very interesting avenues ahead of him. Despite being 1-3 in his last four those figures are masked somewhat by the quality of opposition.
In a similar manner to Condit, no stranger to time on the shelf is Thiago Alves. The man affectionately known as the Pitbull spent more than two years out of competition due to injury, returning with wins over Seth Baczynski and Jordan Mein in an upset. Currently standing at number 12 in the weight class he knows that a win over Condit will see him once again break the top 10, where a further win could equal another tilt at the belt.
The key to this fight will be recovery and conditioning. Fourteen months is a long time to be out, especially in a division that has evolved since GSP took a leave of absence. Alves was given a much softer re-introduction against the overmatched Baczynski and Mein but Condit has no such luxury, testament perhaps to how the UFC view the former Interim champion? I see a submission as the most likely path to victory for either fighter, although the insane cardio for Condit gives him another edge. He has gone five rounds more often than his opponent, and against better opposition. That being said, I’ll hedge on the overs and hope that this doesn’t end too early.
Recommendation: Over 3.5 Rounds – 1 unit at -115 (9/10) @ 5Dimes
For this week’s parlay bet I am going to dip into the prelims for some action. Former Cage Warriors fighters Nicolas Dalby (-370) and Tom Breese (-175) make their debuts, adding in Rony Jason (-190) to round out the treble at odds of +205 (2/1) for a single unit.
If you are in the mood I just picked my 5 fighters @Kountermove fantasy MMA. I challenge anyone to beat me! Pick 5 fighters to accept: http://www.kountermove.com/r/ufc-fight-night-67-condit-vs-alves/716837/