Desert Dogs Smart Bets for UFC 80:

Main Card:
BJ Penn(-280) (Bet $100 win $37.71) Bodog
Gabriel Gonzaga (-225) (Bet $100 win $41.66) Bookmaker
Marcus Davis (-320) (Bet $100 win $31.25) BetUS

Jorge Rivera (+275) (Bet $100 win $275) Sportsbook
Wilson Gouveai (-145) (Bet $100 win $68.96) BetUS


Under Card:
Sam Stout (-315) No Action
Antoni Hardonk (-340) No Action
Paul Taylor (-220) No Action
James Lee (+150) (Bet $100 win $150) BetUS


Parlays:
Penn, Davis, Gonzaga: (+431) (Bet $100 win $431) BetUS

Most fights on this card are featuring heavy favorites and I have to agree with the betting lines on all of the fights except for two, Jorge Rivera and James Lee. Rivera is running as the underdog due to inactivity and not being a name that sells. Lee is also an underdog because he is not well known. Out of theses two dogs James Lee has the best chance of winning and is my straight pick in this match up.

I have to mention that my Gouveai pick is partly an emotional call. Honestly, I despise "sausage tits" Lambert and always bet against him, so don't let any of my personal views sway you.

The other top three fights should go right down the line and actually make a very nice parlay option with Penn(-280) Gonzaga(-260) Davis(-350) providing parlay odds of (+141).

On to the Main Card:

Joe Stevenson +240 vs BJ Penn -280
This should be a great fight but not a huge betting opportunity...Unless you believe Stevenson is going to catch BJ in a guillotine.

Not to take too much away from Joe "Daddy" but, he's yet to face a top 10 Lightweight, his best move is a guillotine, and his stand up is one step above Matt Hughes.In Joe's last fight with Pelligrino it was easy to see the holes in his game. Kurt opened up the fight picking Joe apart from the outside as he continually moved straight forward. Next, Kurt took Joe down repeatedly to control the first half of the fight. Of course during that first half Joe attempted 6 guillotines.

In the second half, Kurt seemed to gas and Joe was able to turn the tide and applied some nice GnP. However, even with Kurt gassed Daddy was unable to get close to finishing the fight and on several occasions left himself wide open for some sloppy sub attempts by Pelligrino. Every fight is new, but Joe has been very very predictable in all of his past UFC fights.

BJ holds the advantage in all aspects of this match up except strength. Typically when two fighters with good ground skills are matched up we'll look to their stand up as a possible decider. Ignoring the standup for now, "The Prodigy" is very dangerous from any position if the fight hits the ground. Joe's predictability will really lead into BJ's chances to counter and put Joe into some very bad situations.

Now on to the stand up, with BJ's reach advantage and surprisingly heavy hands, Joe could take some serious damage while trying to figure out how to get Gumby Penn on his back. Penn's GnP is very good as well although he prefers to use it to soften opponents up for subs, he can pour it on for a finish as well. BJ's record and the faces of many of his opponents are testament enough to his striking abilities.

The best chance Stevenson has for a win is a decision gained by getting Penn down and controlling him for the last three rounds. Of course there's always the 2% chance of being the first fighter to ever knock BJ out. A bet at -280 on Penn win net you a profit of 37.71%, not that exciting but it's better than investing in the stock market.

Prediction: BJ Penn via Submission (of the night).

Gabriel Gonzaga -225vs Fabricio Werdum +250
It's always interesting to see rematches when almost every variable has changed. A little over 4 years ago these two met in Jungle Fight 1. The fight took place in a ring, outside, in very high heat and humidity, and Gonzaga was 20 lbs smaller than Werdum. They both put on a good transition clinic for about a round and a half. After that it was a fight of attrition. These guys were toast....soggy toast. I would expect the rematch to look nothing like this....Gonzaga vs Werdum 1 Fight at Ultimate MMA Videos.

With four years of experience, Cro Cops head on a platter and a shot at the title under his belt, Gonzaga has gained a lot of respect and his odds are showing it. Gonzaga has shown some serious gains in striking ability and power and if it does stay on the feet for more than one round Werdum is done. Of course we can't forget Ganzaga is also a BJJ flack belt and these two will put on a clinic if the fight hits the ground.

As for Fabricio, his last outing against Arlovski really didn't help his image. Fabricio's greatest strength is his sub game but he too often relies on others taking him down to get the fight to the ground. His wrestling is surprisingly weak and if his opponent wants to keep a fight standing it's not too hard to do.

Gonzaga's current betting odds are -225, I would prefer a bet at -200 and this might happen with prefight hype and the reminder that Werdum won the first time around. I'll give it until Friday an if the odds don't improve I'll take the bet at -225.
Prediction: Gonzaga via TKO

Marcus Davis -320 vs Jess Liaudin +285
Jess Liaudin has been training with Pancrase folks in England as well as Henderson's Team Quest. Jess has a very well rounded game which is founded in Karate and Kickboxing. His explosiveness and aggressive style have put him on a six fight win streak. He's also used some interesting techniques to finish his fights including some heel hooks and a spinning back fist. His biggest weakness in this match up will be strength and he will also have a slight disadvantage in striking. Liaudin definitely has the skill set and power to finish any fight, I just think he's going to have a very hard time controlling Davis in any position.

Marcus Davis, who trains with the Miletich camp, is often thought of a dangerous striker...especially after seeing his KO of Jason Tan. Ironically six of his last ten wins were via submission and no they weren't all rearnaked chokes set up by ground and pound. Everyone who saw his last fight with Paul Taylor where he got nailed with a head kick, looked to be done, and then quickly transitioned into a beautiful arm bar saw the ground skills davis has worked so hard on. I believe Marcus' strength will be the deciding factor in this fight. He should be able to use it to gain the advantage where ever the fight goes.

Although both fighters like a fast pace Jess seems to be more interested in the quick TKO finish and he may run the risk of gassing early. Davis is a machine and he's willing to grind for 3 rounds, a trait that goes a long way in tough fights. The only thing I don't like about this fight is the odds. Marcus has all of the name recognition with bettors, which has translated into some inflated odds. I would prefer a bet in the -250 range but I'm still putting my bet in on friday no matter where the odds are. Davis is one of my favorite fighters in this division and should showcase his abilities well this Saturday.

Prediction: Marcus Davis via TKO

Wilson Gouveai -145 vs Jason Lambert +155
Gouveia is yet another excellent American Top Team fighter who's been crusing quietly below the radar. He owns the distinction of being only one of two people to beat Jon Fitch, a large feather in anyones cap. Style wise, he's a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with very heavy hands and vicious kicks. Some might look at this match up and say the last BJJ specialist didn't do too well with Lambert and your right, but Wilson's style and abilty on his feet is much better than Sobral's. His one UFC loss to Keith Jardine, showed his abilty to take some serious punishment as well as dishing it out.

Jason "sausage tits" Lambert...ah what can I say, the guy just bugs the shit out of me, so I guess take what I say with a grain of salt. With only one fight in 2007 Lamabert wants to get back in the cage and try to make his move toward a contender spot. That huge knockout over Sobral should have put him much closer to the front of the line, but apperently he bugs the shit out of Joe Silva as well. Lambert's squat frame holds a lot of power and is the base of his ground and pound game. It's also his downfall when he's faced with a skilled striker. Jason is going to look to close the distance and put Gouveai in the sausage grinder.

Gouveai will likely catch Lambert with a head kick while he's moving inside. I'll finish my beer and smile. The odds are actually spot on, this really is a tough fight with Wilson having the overall advantage but Jason can finish any fight he's in. For Wilson it's just a matter of not making any mistakes and being patient. It's an easy pick for me and the price works too.

Prediction: Wilson Gouveai via TKO

Kendall Grove -325 vs Jorge Rivera +275
It's another TUF alumni fight with both fighters have similar skill sets. Kendall is a little stronger on the ground and Rivera is a little stronger in the stand up. Both fighters have just come off losses and both have lost to Patrick Cote.

Kendall fell out of his game plan with Patrick Cote and got knocked out for it. He faces a similar threat in Jorge Rivera with the addition of Jorge also having a very solid ground game. Kendall's game plan should focus on using his reach in the standup and those great knees when it moves to the clinch. Kendall's best shot at finishing this fight is probably with a submission, although in in seven years of MMA Rivera has only been submitted twice.

Rivera is a talented Muay Thai fighter with wins over Travis Lutter, David Loiseau and Dennis Hallman. Nine of Rivera's 14 wins have come by knockout or TKO. Obviously he will want to keep this fight standing and his take down defense is good enough to let him do that for most of the fight. When the fight goes to the mat, Rivera will have two jobs, avoid the chokes and get back to his feet as quick as possible.

Rivera has the advantage in experiece, strength and striking in this fight, while Kendall's advantage is in the ground game and overall agression. Although I really like Kendall and believe he has a lot of potential ,this is a very tough fight. The odds, however, are the result of popularity not ability. This should be a -110 +125 fight with Kendall being a slight favorite, but with Rivera being a nearly 3 to 1 underdog I have to bet on his side.

Prediction: Rivera via Decision

Under Card:

Sam Stout -315 Per Eklund +260
Sam's elite level striking, iron chin, and agression should carry him pretty easily through this fight. Eklund has a decnt record, but most of his recent wins have come by way of decsion. He's got home court advantage but it's a very tough introduction to the UFC. In terms of betting the odds are'nt too enticing for another chalk bet so I'll let this one go.

Prediction: Sam Stout via TKO

Antoni Hardonk -340 vs Colin Robinson +280
Hardonk's a very skilled kickboxer with some wicked kicks. His ground game is definitely his weakest area especially in terms of wrestling skills. Watching McCully lay on him against the fence for three rounds was the most painful thing I've seen in a long time. On the flip side Colin is a solid boxer with very heavy hands but his gas tank and overall skill set are holding him back. Hardonk has all the tools and power to win this fight. I'm also avoiding a bet here due to fairly heavy odds.

Prediction: Hardonk via decision

Paul Kelly +180 vs Paul Taylor -220
Taylor looked very good against Crocota, relentlessly pushing the pace and finally finishing with the TKO in the 3rd round. He also looked great against Marcus Davis in his last fight...right up until he lost. Taylor is a very well round fighter and needs another solid win to secure more fights in the UFC. Paul Kelly is unbeaten in his six prfessional fights, but beyond his record I don't know much about him. I like Ttaylor as the favorite in this fight but without any knowlege of his opponent I can't make any bet reccomendations.

Prediction Paul Taylor via TKO

Alessio Sakara -150 vs James Lee +140
So we have Alessio Sakara highly touted striker has lost 3 of his last 5 fights via TKO or submission. Alessio has also state this is his last fight at 205 lbs. and will be moving to middle weight. It's not the picture of a confident fighter going in for a great battle.

This is the first UFC fight for James Lee but his overall record of 11-2 is full of impressive submission victories primarily in the King of the Cage (KOTC) promotion. Lee has never gone to decision, never been TKO'd, and has had a loss since 2003.

This just looks like a very bad match up for Sakara and a great betting opportunity for us. These are the quiet little match ups I love to find. This is definitely a step up in competition for Lee but he has all the skills to win this fight.

Prediction: James Lee via submission

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!

1 comment to ''UFC 80 Betting Odds: Fight Picks Down the Line"

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  1. infamous12:01 AM

    Stellar analysis as always, Dog.

    However, I thought you of everyone would pimp Stevenson as a +230 underdog. Yes, Penn is a phenom, but he also gasses into the second round, especially if you press him like Daddy does.

    I'm surprised by your critical evaluation of the lines set on Grove/Rivera, as opposed to what seems to me like quite possibly one of the biggest opportunities to score a nice upset on Stevenson.

    I believe the line should resemble something closer to Penn -160/Stevenson +130. No way should Penn be a -300 favorite.

    Gonzaga is a lock at -220. Penn's tendency to gas, makes him an iffy bet.

    Granted, Penn can finish Stevenson anyway he wants - although I'm most concerned for Stevenson on the standup - but Penn is way overvalued here.

    As for Rivera/Grove, I completely disagree with your take on it. I think Rivera's done, and it's time for him to hang it up. This is a gimme for Grove, if even that.

    I also don't understand why you're so confident about Gouveia. I see that fight as a tossup.

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