UFC 112 Odds and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 4/9/2010
UFC 112 may be the best card that we have seen in a long while, and it is certainly the most unique. It's taking place in Abu Dhabi - the first time time the UFC has headed to the Persian Gulf - and it's the first-ever outdoor event. It's also going to challenge fans who are used to the typical schedule - due to time zone issues the PPV will be shown at 1 pm EST. It will be shown again at 10 pm EST, so you can win some money off your stupid friends by betting on that one. Here's a look at how the main card shapes up, with odds from Bodog:
Middleweight Championship - Anderson Silva (-875) vs. Demian Maia (+575) - The oddsmakers would suggest that this one isn't going to be much of a contest. The oddsmakers are right. Maia is in this spot because of some real bad luck by fighters before him. Vitor Belfort was originally supposed to fight Silva, but he was injured. Chael Sonnen stepped in as the replacement, but he was also hurt. Maia is the beneficiary of this curse, but it won't go well for him.
Silva is perhaps the best striker in the world, and there is just no way that Maia can measure up to that. Silva is also very good at defending himself when guys try to get close ad score a takedown, so Maia will struggle to get it to the ground - the only place where he stands a chance if he can get a submission. Even if it does go to the ground the result is far from guaranteed - Silva is almost as lethal with the punches on the ground as he is on his feet. Maia would need absolutely everything to go perfectly if he was going to win, and that's just not going to happen against Silva - quite likely the best fighter on the planet right now.
Pick: Anderson Silva.
Lightweight Championship - B.J. Penn (-1100) vs. Frankie Edgar (+600) - Edgar is one of the more talented fighters in his weight class, and would be even better in featherweight if the UFC went that light. Unfortunately, he's against a far superior fighter here. If Penn takes Edgar down then it will get ugly - Penn is among the best there is on the ground. If they stay on their feet then Penn has the edge as well. Penn can punch and counterpunch better than Edgar, too. In short, Penn is just plain better than Edgar, and he's going to come out on top. I hate taking prices like this but here I have no choice.
Pick: B.J. Penn.
Matt Hughes (-360) vs. Renzo Gracie (+280) - This is an interesting fight, but it would have been a heck of a lot more interesting 10 years ago when these guys were both a bit younger. There is one factor that defines this fight - Hughes is a well-rounded fighter while Gracie is particularly one-dimensional. Gracie, like all Gracies, is a very good grappler, but there isn't much else there. Hughes defends the takedown well, is significantly better on his feet, is very hard to submit, is the better striker, and is masterful at top-control. Gracie is dangerous if he finds his situation, but Hughes has far more favorable situations in this one, so he has a deserved edge.
Pick: Matt Hughes.
Terry Etim (-165) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (+135) - The three fights we looked at before this one have fighters with bigger names, but this one would be my bet to be the best of the bunch. Both guys reliably deliver excellent fights full of intensity and punishment. Etim is a very strong striker, and has a clear edge there. Despite that, this price gives him far too much credit. That’s because dos Anjos is a deceptively good wrestler, and Etim isn't as good at defending the takedown as he should be, so dos Anjos is going to get the fight to the ground as he wants to, and he's going to be able to do some damage when they get there. I'm certainly not suggesting that Etim can't win this fight. I'm just saying that dos Anjos has just as much chance of winning as Etim does, so there is real value on the underdog.
Pick: Rafael dos Anjos.
Mark Munoz (-185) vs. Kendall Grove (+155) - I am looking forward to this matchup. Both guys are talented and fairly exciting, and both have the habit of making costly mistakes from time to time. To simplify, then, whoever can avoid making a mistake longer is going to win. I don't really understand this price, though I suspect that it largely reflects the fact that Munoz is a good puncher and Grove's chin is made of glass. Beyond that, though, Grove is a far superior submission fighter, and he's a decent striker in his own right. I like Grove the best of these two fighters, so I am thrilled with this price.
Pick: Kendall Grove.
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