UFC 114 Odds, Picks and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 5/27/2010
UFC 114, which takes place on Saturday, May 29 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, features a movie star coming home. Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson has been off in Hollywood doing a bad imitation of Mr. T for the new A-Team movie, but he's back and fighting Rashad Evans, with the winner earning the right to fight Mauricio Rua for the title. This fight is the culmination of the two fighters' time on the latest season of “The Ultimate Fighter” as coaches. Those two headline a five-fight main card that can only generously be called interesting. Here's a look at how it plays out (odds are from Bodog):
Rashad Evans (-125) vs. Quinton Jackson (-105) - This fight doesn't suffer for a lack of trash talk. These guys have been trading verbal jabs for months, and it's getting a little ridiculous. The real issue for this fight, though, is how prepared Jackson will be. He hasn't exactly been the model of mental soundness over the last few years, and since he's been off playing actor it's far from certain that he's going to be prepared and fit for this fight.
Jackson is bigger, stronger, and more strategically sound, so he'd have an edge if he were ready, but that's a big ‘if’. Jackson will be trying to make this one look like a boxing match. That would give him a big edge.
Evans probably can't hurt Jackson with his fists alone, so he would have to rely on his speed and his kicks to get it done. Jackson also has a clear edge as a wrestler due to that size and strategy that we keep talking about.
I'm not a big fan of Evans, and there is just one way I can really see him winning this fight - if Jackson isn't mentally there or physically ready. Given the difference in price I'd rather gamble on Jackson's presence than Evans' intelligence.
Pick: Quinton Jackson
Michael Bisping (-170) vs. Dan Miller (+140) - Both these guys badly need a win if they are going to prove their worth and their potential relevance to the title picture. Bisping has lost two of his last three fights, and Miller has dropped two straight decisions. This match isn't going to end quickly because neither of these guys has shown a lot of knockout power recently.
Bisping's best approach is probably to keep the fight on the feet. He's a much better striker than Miller, and will be able to pile on the points with the fists. Bisping has solid takedown defense, so he will do a decent job of avoiding the ground. If he gets there, though, he's at a slight disadvantage. He can probably avoid serious problems, but he can't really do any damage himself. The winner of this one, then, is the one who can set the tone and control the style.
Pick: Michael Bisping
Todd Duffee (-325) vs. Mike Russow (+250) - Nothing sells tickets like a heavyweight, and Duffee has given early indications that he could be a good one. Not only has he not lost yet in six fights - just one in the UFC - but he has only had to fight more than one round once. He's a big, strong knockout machine.
Russow doesn't seem to be hyped as a big guy with a big future like Duffee is, but he's no slouch, either - he's 12-1.
This is a serious clash of styles, and it certainly doesn't work in Russow's favor. He's not a fast guy, but he is effective once he gets guys to the ground. The problem is that in order to get the takedown he stands a high chance of running into Duffee's fists, and that's never a good thing. It's not like Russow will win if he can get it down on the ground, either - Duffee can hold his own as a wrestler, and has done a very good job of patiently waiting for opportunities to end a fight once it's on the ground.
Pick: Todd Duffee
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (-675) vs. Jason Brilz (+475) - This fight is a total joke. Nogueira was supposed to fight Forrest Griffin, but an injury last month forced Brilz to step up and fill in. It's a gigantic step up for Brilz, and I am not at all convinced he is ready for it. Actually, I'm totally convinced he's not. Nogueira is an elite talent in his prime. Brilz s a journeyman who pays the bills as an assistant coach of wrestling at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Nogueira has confounded and frustrated better fighters than this.
Pick: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Diego Sanchez (-200) vs. John Hathaway (+160) - Sanchez is a very talented fighter just trying to figure out where he belongs. He enjoyed some success as a welterweight, but then dropped down to lightweight to chase a title. He got his shot against B.J. Penn in December, but it didn't go well for him at all. Now he's back in welterweight. Hathaway is very young - just 22 - and his polish has yet to match his skill and potential. Sanchez is a better fighter than he has faced before, and it's not a good matchup for him. Sanchez is more polished in nearly every phase of the game, and has a clear edge in this one.
Pick: Diego Sanchez
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