UFC 143 Odds and Betting Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 2/3/2012
When UFC 143 ends on Saturday night we will have witnessed, at least for the time being, the end of an era. Georges St. Pierre absolutely dominated the welterweight division. While no fighter could beat him, injuries have got the best of him. He’ll still have his day when he is healthy, but on Saturday an interim titleholder will be named.
That’s the main event on the annual Super Bowl eve card, but not the only interesting fight that is offered on a fairly interesting lineup. Here’s a look at how the main card breaks down (all UFC 143 odds are from Bovada):
Interim welterweight championship - Nick Diaz (-225) vs. Carlos Condit (+175)
Condit hasn’t fought since July, but that’s not his fault. He has repeatedly been the victim of circumstances after it seemed like he was headed to a big fight. Now he gets his chance,, though in a very tough spot for him. Diaz was supposed to fight GSP here, so he has to be relieved that he has a comparably easier fight. The last time Diaz was in the ring he forced B.J. Penn out of the sport by laying a serious beating on him.
Watching Diaz is like watching a windmill in a hurricane. His arms are constantly moving, and he is constantly throwing — and landing — punches. That ridiculous volume was way too much for Penn to handle, and it will be a huge challenge for Condit as well. What makes him so dangerous, though, is that he is so good with his jiu-jitsu that standing up and trading shots is probably more attractive for opponents than heading to the ground.
For Condit to beat Diaz he is going to knock him off his game. That isn’t easy to do at this point, but Condit has as good of a chance as anyone thanks to his very strong kickboxing. If he can establish his kicks early then Diaz will be forced to give him space and Condit will be able to dictate the pace. From there he needs to get inside fast, lock up, and exert his other advantage — he is lethal in the ground-and-pound.
I’ll say up front that this is too tough of a fight for me to put any real money on. I’ll wait for softer spots. I have a lot of respect for Condit, though, and I think he can pull it off if he head is in the right place. At this price he’s worth a gamble.
Pick: Carlos Condit
Fabricio Werdum (-150) vs. Roy Nelson (+120)
Werdum returns to the UFC after a too-long absence, and faces the least-toned fighter there is in this heavyweight tilt. Nelson has slimmed down somewhat, but he’s still too big and I can’t find a way to get too excited about him. He’s coming off a win, but it was against a totally washed up Cro Cop, so that’s not impressive. Before that he had two losses, and his vulnerabilities have been on display.
Werdum lost a fight he should have won against Alistair Overeem last time out, so he’ll be looking for revenge. The UFC wouldn’t have bothered to bring him back if he didn’t have something left in the tank. If Nelson is going to win he’ll have to end it fairly quickly, but Werdum can take a punch. He’s also a master of submissions, and Nelson won’t have the answers for that. This will end in a submission in favor of Werdum.
Pick: Fabricio Werdum
Josh Koscheck (-265) vs. Mike Pierce (+205)
Koscheck can’t be happy about his fate. He was supposed to be fighting Condit on this card, but thanks to the GSP injury Condit gets a shot at the big time and Koscheck doesn’t. Kos is a competitive guy, so I expect him to use the frustration as a serious motivating factor. Koscheck also has to be seeing an opportunity here — he knows he can’t beat GSP after two failed attempts, but if he wins here and GSP stays hurt then he could get a much more winnable title shot.
Pierce is a tough, solid fighter. He’s very vulnerable to good wrestling, though, and Koscheck is a former NCAA wrestling champion who has built on those skills as a pro. That’s too much for Pierce to overcome.
Pick: Josh Koscheck
Renan Pegado (-225) vs. Scott Jorgensen (+175)
Pegado fought 26 times before joining the UFC and lost only once. Now he has won twice in the big leagues, and he is quickly establishing himself as a serious contender in the bantamweights — a group that really needs someone to measure up to Dominick Cruz and make things interesting.
Jorgensen is a good fighter with some nice talent, but the powers that be have clearly picked this spot for Pegado to shine. I expect that he will.
Pick: Renan Pegado
Ed Herman (-300) vs. Clifford Starks (+230)
Herman is still looking to prove himself to be back in form after a knee injury kept him out of action for two years. This spot won’t be conclusive proof, but it will be a good start. Starks is undefeated in eight career fights, including one in the UFC. As the odds suggest, though, Starks is taking a massive step up in class in this one. It would take a big leap of faith to assume he is ready for that leap, and I’m not buying it.
Pick: Ed Herman
On each card I bet $500 mythical dollars. This week I’m going to take a shot at a very nicely priced prop bet and a parlay:
$250 that Fabricio Werdum wins in less than three full rounds — +280 — potential profit of $700.
$250 parlay on Werdum, Koscheck, Pegado and Herman — potential profit of $855.29.
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