Gabriel Gonzaga vs Randy Couture Betting Odds

By Paul Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The lines are moving further in the direction of Gabriel "Napao" Gonzaga (video) being a slight favorite over the current Heavyweight Champion, Randy "The Natural" Couture (video). The best odds on Gonzaga are currently -125 at Sportsbook.com and +110 at Bookmaker.com for Couture. It's not often the reigning champion is considered the dog by all of the books and in this case I think it's exactly where Randy wants to be.

Gabriel Gonzaga (8-1) moved quietly through his early MMA and UFC fights, until the big bang with Cro Cop. The moment he dropped Mirko with an ironic head kick, he became the most dangerous Heavyweight alive.....At least in the minds of some.

His first real test in an MMA ring occurred in 2003 when he fought Fabricio Werdum. Gonzaga was able to control that fight on the ground during the first half, unfortunately by the third round he was gassed and was pounded out by Werdum. Werdum has only to wins by TKO and it's hard to imagine him knocking anyone out throwing so many open handed slaps but, in this particular fight Gonzaga was so exhausted he was easy pickings.

The next fight that stands out in my mind was his 2005 fight with Kevin Jordan, where he was able to control much of the fight on the ground, but again looked very slow and tired by the end of the first round. He surprised everyone as the two lumbered around and Napao suddenly threw a superman punch which Jordan kindly rammed his face into. Gonzaga got his first taste of KO'ing an opponent and apparently he liked it since 3 of his last four wins fall in that category.

Since his fight with Jordan, Gabriel has not gone much past the 5 minute mark in any of his fights, which still leaves his ability to go 5 rounds in serious question. Although he has found that he has heavy hands, his ability to control fights on the ground is what still gets the job done for him. His standup is dangerous but not very active or fast. His best chance to win this fight is to get Couture to the ground and control him there, working out a submission or possibly G'nP.

So, when was the last time you saw anyone control Randy Couture on the ground? Maybe Josh Barnett or Ricco Rodriguez, both had a significant size advantage (and one tested positive after the fight). His other weakness in the last 5 years has been....well Chuck Liddell's hands.

Trying to give a brief history of "The Natural's" accomplishments would take more space than I have, but lets just say he's accomplished a lot. His KO power standing or on the ground can not be questioned, TKO'ing the likes of Rizzo, Liddell, Randleman, Belfort, and nearly Timmay the Tree Silvia. On the ground he is a world class greco-roman wrestler with a wide array of take downs and a great defensive game. He proved this again during his retirement, going to a draw with Jacare at the Xmission Grappling competition (Video). Top it all off with his amazing conditioning (shown again in his five rounder with Silvia) and you have a man who knows how to get in shape, put together a fight plan, and execute it.

Randy's best chance to win this one is to use a similar plan to the Silvia fight. Stay outside using a very active/technical standup until Gonzaga slows down and then take it to the ground for some classic Natural G'nP. with this game plan Randy could get a late round TKO or take it by decision.

This is a very tough fight for Couture, with some interesting obstacles on the ground (Randy's words). Gonzaga could TKO or submit Randy in the first few rounds of this fight, but I'll take Couture's conditioning, experience, and excellent game planning to remain the underdog Champion. Couture via TKO (late).

You wanna make a bet....
Desert Dog

I have followed the UFC for over 10 years, written as a handicapper, and spent my spare time as an online poker grinder. Unfortunately, I ran out of legal wagering options...Thank god for Daily Fantasy Sports and the much needed addition of MMA drafts. I offer my insight into MMA fight handicapping and fight analysis for the purpose of making some dough at DFS!

10 comments to ''Gabriel Gonzaga vs Randy Couture Betting Odds"

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  1. Patrick7:37 PM

    I think i've officially lost all faith in you desert dog... There is no way couture is taking this fight. I give him a 35% chance and the only way this is happening is if Gonzaga gasses

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  2. We shall see....I think you're giving Napao too much credit.

    He's a very dangerous fighter, but I don't see him getting a TKO or sub unless he can control on the ground.

    If it goes past 2 rounds, Gonzaga will gas and Randy will dominate.

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  3. Anonymous12:54 PM

    Long Rant: Gonzaga is a sleeper in the heavyweight division. His win over crocop was no fluke, take out the headkick and he was still dominating that fight. Gonzaga has the size, skills, and strength to give randy real problems since he's always struggled with bigger fighters. Besides all that, i think randy is overrated *hell freezes over*. Ok so he beat tim sylvia on his bad night, you have to agree tim did not look like his self that night even though i hate the guy. I respect randy for what he's done but i dont think he's the fighter everyone makes him out to be, you can't deny his record (15-8). I do agree with you on the cardio issue though but i see it as randy's only way to win this fight. Anyway to sum it all up, i think this is a bad matchup for randy and i think he will be outclassed in almost every aspect of the game. Gonzaga via TKO 3rd round

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  4. Patrick12:56 PM

    Oh yeah, and that was me that just posted the comment above. Forgot to sign my name. And lets keep this going, i like to hear opinions on this

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  5. You're right Tim was not his full self, partly because he was rocked in the first 10 sec. After that he seemed stiffer and slower than usual, but he said himself that Couture kept him off balance the whole fight.

    If Gonzaga is in his best condition ever, this WILL be the biggest test for Randy, maybe ever.

    Watch the Jordan, Marrero, and Scherner fights again. Gonzzzaga shows good early pressure, but fades quickly in the standup. He used an excellent game plan agianst CroCop, but he has not faced a grappler of this caliber yet, and I really think ground control will be the final decider.

    It may be that Gonzaga's size is too much for Randy if the fight is on the ground for several rounds. But I think Randy is smart enough to keep the action in his favor.

    Randy's quote on the UFC 74 site..."since 2000 all of my fights except for one (Van Arsdale) have been for a belt...." Says a hell of a lot.

    Gonzaga has the tools but I don't think Randy's going give him a chance to open the shed door.

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  6. Hey Dog,

    LOL @ Kevin "not-to-be-confused-with-Michael" Jordan "kindly" ramming his face into GG's punch.

    I've been following your analysis for a long time. I discovered you through UFCMania. Although there are a few picks I disagree with from time to time, I think you've a very seasoned analyst and I love discussing bets with someone of your caliber. That said, I normally don't post here, but I noticed you actually responded, which might be a Desert Dog first, but I think it should become standard like Performify from UFCJunkie. He actually interacts and justifies his bets with the respondents.

    Moving on, I agree with your pick... although I'm a shameless Couture nuthugger LOL.

    I think Couture's gonna pick Gonzaga apart in the first two rounds. He'll attempt a takedown perhaps midway into the fight, when GG's huffing and puffing and both fighters are glimmering with perspiration.

    Gonzaga's gas tank is suspect. He claims he's improved since Werdum, and his performance against Jordan was excused by a recent death in the family.

    On the flipside, Couture's sub defense is suspect. True, he drew with Jacare, but Jacare's a natural middleweight. Add 60 pounds, and it makes a world of difference. Honestly, I haven't seen the video myself, but from what I hear, Jacare should've won merely from scoring points. BTW the video you posted, is defective. I was hunting for the video a while back and stumbled upon the exact same creepy version you have... I wish someone would post the authentic video.

    PS: It doesn't matter what shape Tim comes in. The guy's as conservative as Bush. Most guys who lose to him, are so intimidated by his KO power and reach that they ultimately fall prey to his game. But if you bring the fight to Tim, he gets overwhelmed with confusion and desperation.

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  7. Infamoushamster...Thanks for your contribution

    I try to respond and interact as much as possible but the summer/fall is a very busy time for me work wise. I'm usually gone a 6-9 days at a time and I get a bit overwhelmed.

    But, I really appreciate it when people discuss the ups and downs of my analysis. Obviously I'm fallible, and in some fights I just can’t get away from my heart. Certain fighters evoke a gut reaction that makes them invincible in my mind. But, what would the fun be if you or I weren’t passionate about the sport.

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  8. One thing that worries me however, is that GG took down Marrero with ease. Marrero's 220, slightly less than Randy, who weighed around 225 in the last fight. Marrero's a D1 All-American as well, but he just got overpowered from beginning to end.

    Granted, Marrero's could probably cut to MW if he wanted. He looks very soft. Couture always looks ripped, although he's slightly fluffier since he doesn't concern with cutting.

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  9. This is going to be a tough fight for Randy. But you're right, if he applies the same tactic as he did with Tim Sylvia, he should be able to pull this one off. I just can't forget that CC Knock Out!

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