UFC 79 Betting Odds and Picks

By Paul Sunday, December 23, 2007
Desert Dogs Smart Bets for UFC 79:

Georges St. Pierre (-200) (Bet $100 win $50.00)
Wanderlei Silva (-125) (Bet $100 win $80.00)
Rameau Sokoudjou (+100) (Bet $100 win $100)
Melvin Guillard (-260) No Action
Soa Palalei No Odds Yet

Other Bets Offered at BetUS:

Over / Unders:
St. Pierre vs Hughes: Over 1.5 (-180) Under (+140)
Liddell vs Silva: Over 1.5 (+100) Under (-140)
Machida vs Sokoudjou: Over 1.5 (-180) Under (+140)

St. Pierre, Silva, Sokoudjou: (+431) (Bet $100 win $431)
St. Pierre, Silva, Machida: (+370)
Hughes, Liddell, Sokoudjou (+1032)

As always — if you are going to bet — only play with what you are willing to lose.

The easiest pick for the night is St. Pierre, but in terms of value all three of the main card bouts look good for a straight bet. I also wanted to highlight a few other types of bets offered at BetUS that make some interesting options. First, the Over/under bets which are based on whether a fight will be over or under a certain number of rounds. These are usually only offered on main card fights. For UFC 79 the Hughes/St. Pierre O/U bet is very likely to over 1.5 rounds. Remember this is a five round fight and no matter who wins both guys tend not to be quick finishers.

The other option is a parlay bet. BetUS offers these on all open fights. A parlay consists of picking 2 or more winners for the night. The more fights you pick the greater the odds, but you must hit all of your picks to win. Obviously the payouts on these bets are quite high but of course that’s because the odds of even getting three fights right is relatively low.

With the main card fights all having relatively tight odds a three fight parlay will return very good payouts no matter what your pick. I included the odds for my three picks as well as the odds for the three favorites (+370) and the three underdogs (+1032). As you can see it’s a way for a single well placed bet to provide a healthy payoff.

For all of the main card matchup details click here

Main Card Bouts:

Georges St. Pierre (-200) vs. Matt Hughes (+190)
When was the last time Matt Hughes was a 2 to 1 underdog....never. The question is have the books picked this one right and are now just using odds to tempt the public money, or will the corn picker return to glory?

Matt Hughes is self admittedly nearing the end of his career and looking to this as his big redemption fight, which in his mind will lead to him retiring in a blaze of glory leaving only the bloody remains of GSP, Serra, and what the hell…Anderson Silva too… as evidence of his mighty reign.

In the real world, Matt’s nine months out from his last snoozefest with Chris Lytle and up until a month ago he thought he was training for Serra in what he viewed as an easily winnable fight.

Now he finds himself facing his Nemasis, the man who dealt him possibly the biggest loss of his career. No matter how mature Hughes is as a fighter that always plays a roll in the mental battle of this game. Hughes has stated what he sees as his advantages in this fight; the shortened training time for St. Pierre, his strength, and his dominance on the ground. Looking from the outside I only see Pierre's training time as a real factor.

Hughes' game plan will be straight forward, it has to be. His strengths are simple, relentless takedowns, tremendous strength, and the ability to take advantage of the smallest error when the fight is on the mat...especially if he has dominant position. So without a real standup game (yes...his jab is better, but he's still a stubby arm puncher) Matt will have to put himself in the pocket repeatedly to secure solid takedowns. The pocket is a dangerous place to be with GSP.

George is pushing into the prime of his career and knows that a loss here derails everything. With the knowledge that Hughes is coming to this fight with a more basic plan of attack he and his trainers have an interesting choice for the game plan. Without Hughes staying on the outside absorbing leg kicks and superman punches; he will be forced to concentrate on his grappling and ground game.

St. Pierre’s takedown defense is top notch and already proven to be tough for Hughes, but a great defense doesn't win fights. So, I'm interested to see if he deploys the same logic he did with Kosheck and try to beat Hughes to the punch by putting him where he's going to be least comfortable, on his back. Although Hughes thinks he is a BJJ black belt, his guard is no where near as dangerous as his mount. GSP has successfully used this tactic with BJ and Koscheck and I think he'd be well advised to follow suit here too.

Much like Jon Fitch and Randy Couture, I never bet against GSP and I'm not starting here. Bodog's odds of -200 are the best available right now and have enough value for me to lay down the cabbage. I'm betting GSP will attack Hughes, repeatedly putting him on his back. By the third round Matt's frustration will lead to him thinking he's a boxer again, which of course ends with Hughes waking up with that goofy dazed look we've all seen before. GSP via late TKO.

Chuck Liddell (+100) vs. Wanderlei Silva (-125)
Another fight fan dream match up is finally coming to fruition, a little late but I’ll take it. If this fight would have happened a year ago I think the outcome would have been very different, but winds have shifted and I think Chuck has lost his fire.

Wanderlei Silva helped make the Chute Box Academy what it is, and now that he’s moving back to the Octagon. He’s recently been training with Team Couture in Vegas and working with top level UFC fighters, Silva is making all the right moves to prepare for this fight. If the Wandi the Pride fans loved shows up on the 29th, one more superstar will be added to the 205 roster.

Silva is best know for his aggressive technical striking and vicious Muay Thai knees …just ask Rampage…but don’t forget he’s also a BJJ black belt. Wandi has faced every style and size of fighter in the world and found a way to beat most of them. The case could be made that one of Wandi’s recent losses was with a similar opponent in Cro cop. Similar in the sense that Mirko was probably the only one dimensional fighter to really give Silva problems...Yes, I think Liddell is one dimensional!

What Chuck had in the past was the ability to concentrate on that one dimension with unwavering confidence. He developed a very strong sprawl and scramble which left him ready to let his hands fly at will. That confidence has faded with time and two difficult losses. His last two fights didn’t necessarily put his chin in question; instead they put in question how he stacks up against technical strikers/kickboxers.

Chuck has done nothing to fortify his game or to change his training; he’s simply looking to knock someone out. Of course he’ll always be a dangerous striker, but in a match up like this it’s more likely he’ll just be outclassed and eventually caught looking for a shot. Silva via TKO.

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (+100) vs. Lyoto Machida (-130)
What a great fight this should be. Lyoto is a very experienced and balanced fighter standing on an unbeaten record. Charging like a bull across the ring will be Sokoudjou the “African Assassin”. Machida will have no choice but engage in a high paced battle.

Sokou has been quickly accepted by fight fans and analysts as a true top level contender in the Light Heavyweight ranks. In the internet world he’s ranked #5 at mmaweekly and #8 at sherdog; in both cases he’s sitting several notches above Machida. This may seem a surprise considering he has only five pro fights on his record. What has bolstered his ranking is that his last two wins were straight up KO’s of “Big Nog” and Ricardo Arona; topped off with a 2001 US open Judo Championship and a sprinkle of general badass.

Training with Henderson at Team Quest is also a huge bonus and anyone who has seen this guy in the gym walks away wide eyed ... He’s a beast. As far as weaknesses go it’s hard to say we haven’t seen him in the ring long enough to see all of his abilities tested.

Lyoto Machida is an excellent fighter out of Black House with the likes of Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. His unbeaten record tells quite a story as well with wins over Stephan Bonnar, Rich Franklin, Michael McDonald, B.J. Penn, Vernon White, Sam Hoger, David Heath and Kazuhiro Nakamura.

What has frustrated the UFC and the fans has been the pace of his victories and lack of finishes. Machida has the strange ability to dictate a slow methodical pace in a fight. Opponents seem lulled into overextending takedown attempts or reaching with their strikes; and Lyoto’s counter striking and unorthodox ground game give him the ability to attack and recoil for the next opportunity. It’s been a winning style so far but, the UFC promotes exciting fighters not just those with the best record. Machida must finish this fight convincingly or he will continue to find himself lurking in the background of the division.

Unfortunately for Machida, he’s not being fed a Houston Alexander. He’s facing an equally skilled fighter (not in all the same aspects) who’s much more explosive and aggressive. This should be a real battle that will likely not make it to the final bell. Meaning no decision, no judges, and most likely no win for Machida. There are a couple of options for a bet on this fight including an over/under but with a finisher fighting a point scorer you have better probabilities just making a straight bet. Sokoujou via TKO.

Melvin Guillard (-260) vs. Rich Clementi (+200)
Well I don’t have much to say about this fight. These two have nearly a hundred fights between the two of them and they’re both pretty set in their styles. I’ve never been to big of a Clementi fan; I think he’s competitive against B level fighters but against any well trained athlete he just gets out worked.

Guillard is by all standards, a much better and more effective fighter. His real downside in this or any fight has been his inconstancy. He’s prone to mental mistakes that have left us all shaking our heads. Expect him to come out with a vengeance in this fight. The striking contrast in speed and power will be very evident in this fight.

With that said I’m definitely picking Melvin to win but with his ability to screw up at any given minute I’m not willing to play with odds of -260. Guillard via TKO.

Eddie Sanchez (-) vs. Soa Palalei (+)
I remember the first time I saw Sanchez fight back in September 2006. He knocked out Mario Neto and said he’d knock out any Heavyweight in the world he could get his hands on. Unfortunately, he never quite got his hands on Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 67. In what looked like a child running from his father’s belt; Sanchez suffered his first loss as well as a real loss of confidence.

Now working to regain some steam, Sanchez worked has his way through a difficult fight with Colin Robinson and now finds himself facing a very similar opponent in Soa Palalei.

Palalei’s been very quiet for the last three years with only one pro fight in 2007. He has stepped up his training spending valuable time with Dan Henderson and his band of merry men at Team Quest. “The Hulk” has a comparable style to Sanchez with both of these fighters being very aggressive and naturally strong. His training partners claim he’s very well rounded but, I’d have to say his one big advantage in this fight is simply his training. Being in the ring day after day with Henderson, Soukodjou, and some ridiculously huge heavyweights is a luxury Sanchez is not afforded.

This is a tough fight to call due to Palalei’s recent inactivity but I’m going to pick him to win this one. As far as a bet goes there are too many unknowns for me so I’ll just sit back and enjoy the fight. Palaei via TKO.

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!

6 comments to ''UFC 79 Betting Odds and Picks"

  1. infamoushamster10:25 AM

    This may be your best analysis yet. Really enjoyed the technical rundown and juxtaposition of styles.

    Chuck/Wand is a coin toss, but I'm leaning on Chuck. I agree that his predictable style, lends a huge advantage to his opponents, because they don't have to train for anything but their striking, whereas Chuck is still dividing up his time to prepare for the worst. Still, I feel like Chuck is one of the better strikers in the LHW division. Considering the better value, I'm taking Chuck, who's handspeed is often underestimated. If Wand attempts any knees, he'll be greeting bombs.

    Lyoto/Sok, I'm utterly torn. I love Sok's style. With brutal leg kicks and ridiculous power behind his hands, he's a beast on the standup, not to mention his incredible TD defense. However, my better judgement says Lyoto's the smart pick. He's just too experienced and crafty. I don't see Lyoto taking Sok down, but if Glover Texiera KOed Sok, I doubt it takes much to knock him out. Besides, Lyoto's got the height advantage and we know he can go all day. Again, I'm torn but I'm gonna be ballsy for one last time this year and take Sok.

    As for Melvin and Clementi, would you happen to know who they're training with?

  2. Guillard moved to Houston to train full time with Saul Soliz.

    I think Clementi is still with team Voodoo, I think.

    Please don't remind me of Sok getting KO'd by Glover, I still like to think he just got caught, can happen to anyone...right.

    The main card is great, all the fights could go either way. We can talk all we want about how they compare, but the actual fights have to happen to prove it all out.

  3. infamoushamster6:30 AM

    Soko seemed terribly nervous at the press conference.

    That said, I'm also taking Jucao, Evans, Irvin and Sanchez.

    Sanchez is horrible, but I think the Octagon shock will aid him here. Similar ordeal with Irvin vs Cane. I understand Irvin TD and sub defense isn't all that, but how he's an underdog against a guy with merely 7 pro fights against C-tier guys, is certainly baffling.

    I'm gonna take this as the bookies not giving Irvin enough respect, as opposed to Cane getting a ton of respect.

  4. The Truth2:20 PM

    Where can I bet parlays on MMA?


  5. infamous5:16 PM

    5Dimes, BetUS and SportsInteraction.

  6. Desert Dog - I love you site. I was looking for some unique MMA blogs and I'm glad I cam across this one. I will be checking in frequestly!