UFC 125 Picks and Betting Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 12/30/2010
The UFC is wasting no time putting their stamp on the New Year -- their first event of the year takes place on New Year’s Day. UFC 125 takes place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Jan. 1, 2011. The event is notable mostly because of how light the average weight of the fighters is -- there are no heavyweights on the whole card, the only title fight features lightweights, and the preliminary card features the first two featherweight fights held under the UFC banner. Here’s how the main card stacks up with UFC 125 picks and betting predictions (all odds are from Bodog). We offer a recommended $500 wager at the end of this article.
Lightweight Championship - Gray Maynard (-145) vs. Frankie Edgar (+115)
It’s not often that a champion goes into a title defense as an underdog. In fact, the last time it happened was Edgar’s last fight against B.J. Penn.
He’s a legitimate underdog here, though, because Maynard dismantled him the last time they met. That loss by Edgar was the only loss in his career and Maynard has one loss as well, so this is an impressive matchup according to the records.
Because Maynard was so decisively superior the first time they met, Edgar is going to have to make a significant adjustment to come out on top here.
Maynard is bigger and stronger, and he is an absolutely outstanding wrestler. If the same Edgar that lost to Maynard tried to fight him again here then the results would be the same as before.
What makes this one interesting, though, is that this clearly isn’t the same Edgar. He was brilliant -- surprisingly so -- in two fights against B.J. Penn, and showed a strong new ability to change approaches on the fly and keep his opponent guessing. That’s what he’ll have to do here to overcome Maynard’s advantages.
It seems likely that this fight will go the distance because neither fighter tends to end matches early. That obviously means that we are headed to a decision, and I like Maynard much more in a decision. His style won’t be pretty, but he’s much more likely to be able to control the pace of the fight.
Pick: Gray Maynard
Chris Leben (-170) vs. Brian Stann (+140)
Stann is a former WEC light heavyweight champion that dropped down to middleweight in his last fight. His Achilles’ heel is that he is ridiculously vulnerable to takedowns.
It’s good news, then, that aggressive takedowns aren’t typically a part of Leben’s style. That being said, Leben is the better fighter, and he possesses a left hand that is thoroughly frightening when it lands.
I expect this fight to go long, and I expect it to be quite an entertaining war. I lean towards the favorite, but the margin is reasonably close, and a gamble on the underdog could be justified without much argument from me.
Pick: Chris Leben
Thiago Silva (-145) vs. Brandon Vera (+115)
The light heavyweight division is very deep right now, and both of these fighters risk sinking into irrelevance if they lose this one. I expect Silva to jump out of the gates early and get nasty to try and knock Vera off his game.
Silva is at his best when he makes his opponents fear for their lives -- legitimately -- early on in fights. Vera isn’t always the most mentally tough and focused fighter, so it will be very important for him to stay on task to weather this initial challenge. If he can do that then I expect him to build his momentum throughout the fight, and I expect Vera to win by knockout before the fight ends.
Pick: Brandon Vera
Clay Guida (-150) vs. Takanori Gomi (+120)
If both of these fighters decide to show up then this should be a great fight. It could easily be the best fight of all of them.
Gomi can be disappointing, but when he is at his best he is a machine. He punches equally well with either hand, and any given punch can be the last he needs to throw.
Guida’s biggest strength is his almost super-human stamina. If he can avoid Gomi’s knockout attempts then he’ll try to tie Gomi up and suck the energy out of him. That means that he’ll have more left in the tank late in the fight than Gomi will.
The longer the fight goes, the better Guida’s chances.
Pick: Clay Guida
Dong Hyun Kim (-130) vs. Nate Diaz (even)
This fight simply has the makings of a long fight. Kim is a superior wrestler that will look to get the fight into a position where he can control it. He is not a home run hitter, and he doesn’t need to be here.
Diaz will be looking for a submission, and he is pretty competent at scoring them.
I ultimately don’t find this fight very interesting. I do think that it is pretty close, though. It’s pretty much a coin flip, so I’ll always take the better price in a coin flip.
Pick: Nate Diaz
Recommended Bets ($500 Bankroll)
$250 on Brandon Vera
$250 on Gray Maynard
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