UFC 133 Predictions and Betting Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 8/4/2011
If you believe in such things, then you would be certain that UFC 133 is cursed. Jon Jones was supposed to defend his light heavyweight title against Rashad Evans, but he got hurt and had to back out. Phil Davis took his place, but injured himself in mid-July and had to be replaced on short notice by Tito Ortiz. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira was supposed to face Rich Franklin, but the Brazilian was hurt and the fight was scrapped. Jose Aldo was rumored to be on the card, but he got hurt as well. Alessio Sakara tore his ACL so he was unable to fight Jorge Rivera, and Constantinos Philippou was moved up from the undercard to be his replacement.
All is all it’s just a mess, and it has led to a card that is a long way from being the most inspiring or interesting one that the UFC has offered us recently. Still, there are fights to bet on, so it’s not all bad. Here’s a look at how the main card shapes up with some UFC 133 predictions (all odds are from 5Dimes):
Rashad Evans (-440) vs. Tito Ortiz (+350)
These too have fought once before, but UFC 73 was a long time ago. That was an entertaining fight that wound up as a draw. Evans has built a solid career — including a brief reign as champ — since then. Ortiz looked like he was totally done as a relevant fighter, and though his shocking submission win last time out was impressive I’m not at all convinced that it really means anything has changed in the long term. If both fighters are at their best then I think Evans wins easily — as the price suggests. There are just two factors that make me uneasy.
First, Evans is in a lousy situation here and has to be frustrated. He was about to have a title shot before Jones was injured. It seems like Jones was out for a long time, so Evans stayed on this card. It turned out the champ didn’t need surgery as anticipated, though, so now he is fighting in October against Rampage Jackson — a guy Evans soundly beat not long ago. Evans has nothing to gain here with a win, so he could be at less than full intensity if he pouts about his fate.
Second, Ortiz has absolutely nothing to lose, and he can take any risk he wants. His best-case scenario is that he pulls off another improbable win and suddenly finds himself in the title picture. With a loss he is mostly irrelevant, but he is used to that by now. A fighter with nothing to lose against one who might not care could be a recipe for an upset.
Still, I don’t trust Ortiz nearly enough to back him — even at this fat price. Evans is much younger, much more talented at this point, and he has far less wear on his tires.
Pick: Rashad Evans.
Vitor Belfort (-300) vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama (+250)
Belfort is a tough guy to trust. When he is at his best he is as good as any fighter in the sport. When he isn’t on his game, though, then he loses ugly and fast.
Luckily for him he has a matchup here that is very beneficial for him. He is by far the better fighter, and his strengths and weaknesses match up very well with those of his opponent. The only way Belfort loses this one is if he beats himself.
Pick: Vitor Belfort.
Dennis Hallman (-125) vs. Brian Ebersole (+105)
I’m going to be brief with this one. These guys are both the definition of a journeyman. They have each fought at least 60 times, and have done little to stand above the crowd in that time. They are tough and skilled, but far from outstanding.
They are also fairly well matched. I like Hallman, I guess, but I certainly wouldn’t bet on this fight — there just isn’t enough to separate the two fighters, so it’s little better than a guess, and there is no money in guessing.
Pick: Dennis Hallman.
Jorge Rivera (-135) vs. Constantinos Philippou (+115)
I can’t stand picking all favorites. Thankfully we have an underdog here that is worthy of support. Rivera is getting old, and he didn’t look great last time out when Michael Bisping beat up on him. He’s vulnerable, and despite being a late addition Philippou is positioned to exploit him.
The underdog is younger, faster, and more deceptive. He made his UFC debut last time out, so he should be far more comfortable this time. He has never been stopped in a fight, but he has stopped others. He has a good chance of doing the same here.
Pick: Constantinos Philippou.
Rory MacDonald (-280) vs. Mike Pyle (+240)
MacDonald is a Canadian on the rise. He’s young, but the welterweight could earn a title shot with a few more decisive wins, and this is a good place for him to start. This is a good chance for him to really prove himself.
Pyle isn’t as skilled as he is, but he is a wily veteran who is tough and dangerous. If MacDonald is at his game then it will end in a win for him, but if he makes any missteps it could end badly for him.
Pick: Rory MacDonald.
I recommend a $500 bet for each UFC event. This time around I will put all my eggs in one basket — a big parlay.
$500 parlay — Evans, Belfort, and MacDonald. Potential profit of $610.39.
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