UFC 137 Predictions and Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 10/28/2011
UFC 137 takes place this Saturday at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. To be honest, after all of the drama and the changes on this card I find it really hard to care too much about it. What once shaped up as a great card has slowly gotten worse and worse, and now it is far from intriguing.
Still, there are fights to watch and bets to make, so let’s take a look at how the main card breaks down (all UFC 137 odds are from Bodog):
B.J. Penn (-130) vs. Nick Diaz (even)
It’s been a long road to get to this main event. Diaz, making his first appearance in the UFC since 2006, was originally supposed to be fighting Georges St. Pierre for the Canadians’ title. Diaz was a no-show for promotional responsibilities, though, so Dana White dumped him from that fight and elevated Carlos Condit in his place.
Condit was supposed to fight Penn, so Diaz was dropped into his place. But then GSP was injured, Condit was the odd man out, and now this battle of the also-rans is the main event. Not exactly a fairy tale story.
Penn is back fighting at middleweight after his title run in lightweight. It seems like he was done messing with Frankie Edgar, but GSP certainly provides no easier alternative. Penn seems to be a more aggressive fighter when he is heavier, and he will need to be to avoid the same fate he suffered in his two lackluster losses to Edgar.
Penn has all the skills he needs and a decided edge in jiu-jitsu in this one. It all comes down to how badly he wants it. If he is back to fighting at his best then few are better. If he sleepwalks through this one then it will end ugly. Diaz is an exceptional boxer, and will want to keep it on the feet despite Penn’s preference not to.
Motivation is a big factor in handicapping this one. I know what Diaz has to prove — after years outside of the UFC he wants to prove that he is the real deal, and a win over a fighter with the reputation of Penn would prove that.
I have a harder time figuring out what Penn is looking for at this point. A win would move him closer to a title shot I guess, but it will be a while before he gets another shot at GSP — if it ever happens at all.
Penn seems like a guy wandering around looking for his place, and I’m not convinced he’ll find it here. Being anything less than totally focused is a terrible idea against a guy as dangerous as Diaz.
Pick: Nick Diaz
Matt Mitrione (-150) vs Cheick Kongo (+120)
Mitrione, a former defensive tackle at Purdue and briefly in the NFL, is undefeated in five fights and he has the look of a guy who might be a factor in the UFC. This fight against Kongo is a perfect chance for us to see what kind of potential he has.
Kongo is the quintessential journeyman. He has fought a lot of top guys, and win or lose (and he has done his share of both) he always gives them a good fight.
If Mitrione really wants to be a top of the card factor in this organization he needs to win fights like this one.
On their feet Mitrione is well matched despite Kongo’s skill with kickboxing. Kongo will have the clear edge in takedowns, but neither guy is particularly suited to doing any damage on the ground.
What will be tested most is Mitrione’s ability to adjust and adapt during a fight against an often times tricky opponent. I have faith in him.
Pick: Matt Mitrione
Roy Nelson (-240) vs. Mirko Filipovic (+190)
If I were to make a list of fights I really don’t need to see this would be near the top of it. Nelson is physically a disgrace to his sport. He is, plain and simple, fat.
Filipovic was a once great fighter who is a ghost of himself. Someone badly needs to tell him to pack it in before it’s too late.
Together they make up a fight that is more circus sideshow than main card greatness. Nelson will wear Cro Cop down and end this one before the final bell. Mercifully.
Pick: Roy Nelson
Hatsu Hioki (-400) vs. George Roop (+300)
Hioki is making his debut in the UFC, but as a featherweight his opportunities have been limited until recently, so that’s not as much of a concern as it would normally be.
He has beaten some solid fighters in Japan, and looks to be too much for Roop, who is 2-3 in the UFC, to handle.
Pick: Hatsu Hioki
Scott Jorgenson (-450) vs. Jeff Curran (+325)
Curran fought in the UFC as a lightweight back in 2004, but he returns now as a bantamweight — one with 33 wins in 47 career fights. What we will learn in this one is if he has enough left in the tank after all those battles to take on a much less worn down Jorgenson — winner of 12 of 16 fights.
Jorgenson is a very strong wrestler, and that should mean he’ll be able to control the fight and score more points than Curran can counter. Don’t look to this one for real fireworks.
Pick: Scott Jorgenson
As always I’ll make a mythical $500 bet. As is usually the case it will consist of a parlay:
$500 parlay — Take Jorgenson, Hioki, Nelson and Mitrione. Potential profit of $1303.63.
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