UFC 117 Odds Picks and Betting Predictions for MMA
by Trevor Whenham - 8/6/2010
It seems like forever since we have had a UFC pay-per-view. It’s actually been just over a month - UFC 116 was July 3 - but we had so many events so close together a while back that this seems like an eternity. Luckily, the wait will have been worth it because this is a very solid card that will be on display on Saturday, Aug. 7 from Oracle Arena in Oakland. Although I don’t think it was necessarily intentional, all five main-card matches feature an American fighter up against a Brazilian. Here’s a look at how the main card breaks down along with UFC odds and my picks and predictions for MMA betting:
Anderson Silva (-525) vs. Chael Sonnen (+350) - The champ is on notice for this one - Dana White says he’ll cut him if this fight is as lackluster and pathetic as his last win was. Of course, White also said Randy Couture would never fight again, so his word means little. Regardless, it would certainly be nice to see Silva fight up to the stunning potential that he has. If the match was decided by pre-fight talk then Sonnen would be the hands down winner. He has talked ridiculous amounts of trash - even if not all of it has made sense. He says he’s ready to catch the champion off guard.
The problem, though, is that Sonnen has a massive problem with style against Silva. Silva is as good as anyone with his fists, and he can knock out anyone who gets close. Sonnen is no match on that front, so he will have to try to secure the takedown to come out on top. Unfortunately, Silva defends the takedown brilliantly. What makes him so effective is his patience - he just stands back and makes the opponent come to him, and then his fists form a brutal welcoming party.
If Sonnen can get Silva down then things could get interesting, but every time he tries he’ll get a serious beating from Silva with a low likelihood of success. That could make for a long fight - or a short one if Silva connects. The Spider has a big edge here - sadly big enough that you can’t justify backing Sonnen even at this fat price.
Pick: Anderson Silva
Jon Fitch (-125) vs. Thiago Alves (-105) - This is a de facto elimination match on the road to a welterweight title fight for the winner at some point soon-ish. These fighters have met once before with Fitch coming out on top, but that was in June of 2006 so it’s dangerous to draw too many conclusions from that. This is the third time that this rematch has been set - at UFC 111 it was delayed because of brain scan concerns with Alves, and was then set for UFC 115 before getting pushed until now.
Fitch is a very interesting fighter because he may be behind all but the big heavyweights when it comes to style. He doesn’t look pretty, but he’s just a relentless bulldog who does what needs to be done. He gets a hold on an opponent and doesn’t relent until the task is complete. Alves is a more stylish fighter, and one who is very good at keeping his distance until he picks the best time to get close.
I like Fitch, but he’s going to be hard pressed to finish Alves, and Alves is going to do a much better job of staying sharp if and when the fight goes deep.
Pick: Thiago Alves
Clay Guida (-125) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (-105) - Guida needs a win here to prove that he can beat a legitimate fighter and that he is still a threat in the lightweight division. The Brazilian, dos Anjos, needs to keep adding wins if he wants a title shot down the line. In other words, the fighters are small but the stakes are big.
This fight should be fun to watch, and since Guida seems to bleed every time he steps near the ring it should be good for the blood-lust as well. Guida will be looking to ground and pound, but dos Anjos is more than adequately capable of combating that approach.
This one will go back and forth with both guys not afraid to take risks to try to make something happen, but in the end I think that dos Anjos just brings a bit more to the table, and I look for him to win by submission.
Pick: Rafael dos Anjos
Ricardo Almeida (-165) vs. Matt Hughes (+135) - Hughes used to be great - he’s a two-time welterweight champion. His last fight against Renzo Gracie at UFC 112 was a total mess, though - he won it but it was a long, long way from pretty. Gracie wasn’t in shape or particularly interested in fighting - he just wasn’t a good opponent. Hughes still didn’t overwhelm him. Almeida is a much better fighter than Gracie. Much, much better. This one shouldn’t be close.
Pick: Ricardo Almeida
Junior dos Santos (-325) vs. Roy Nelson (+250) - The winner of this one gets a title shot at the winner of the upcoming Lesnar, Velasquez fight. Oddsmakers seem to think that the Brazilian outclasses the “Ultimate Fighter” winner. I agree.
Nelson has two nice knockout wins in a row under his belt, but he hasn’t seen a fighter like dos Santos yet. The Brazilian is a better boxer than Nelson by a longshot. Nelson needs to get to the ground to have a chance, and those fists will make it difficult to do so. Dos Santos also has a major edge in stamina, and he’ll look to exploit that.
This one should contain some fireworks, but they are ultimately going to explode in the face of the American.
Pick: Junior dos Santos
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