UFC 81 Betting Odds and Fight Picks

By Paul Wednesday, January 30, 2008
NOTE: Desert Dog's favorite book is BetUS.com (FREE $75 play with a deposit of $200 or a FREE $175 play with a deposit of $500). However, I always shop for odds and Bodog.com, Sportsbook.com, and Bookmaker.com are my other top sites for comparing odds.

Desert Dog's UFC 81 Bets and Picks:

Main Card:
Frank Mir (+120) Bet $100 win $120 BetUS
Tim Sylvia (+160) Bet $100 win $160 BetUS
Ricardo Almeida (NO Odds) ***Belcher replaced by Yundt***

Nate Marquardt (-220) Bet $100 win $45.45
Tyson Griffin (-325) No Action Sportsbook

Under Card:
Kyle Bradley(+500) Bet $100 win $500 BetUS
Rob Emerson(+220) No Action BetUS

David Heath (-220) No Action Bookmaker
Terry Martin(-215) No Action Sportsbook

Well looking back over my picks I see I'm planning a four dog night with bets on three of those dogs. The Nod for Emerson is a gut feeling that I'm not willing to back up with any cash. The best bet and value of the night is taking the ridiculous odds on Kyle Bradley. In fact if I only made one bet on the night that would be it. The rest of the main card has some very hard to pick fights causing a lot of us to scratch our heads.

Whatever your bets are for UFC 81 make sure you look at the realistic outcomes and use solid bets to cover your bigger risk bets. You don't have to bet on them all, just stick to the fighters you know and matchups that give that best probabilty on a return.

Fight Break Downs:

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (-180 Bodog) vs. Tim Sylvia (+160 BetUS)
As much as I like to crack on Timmay, his chances in this fight have to be respected. Tim's biggest weakness is his ground game and he's in against the true heavyweight submission master, which is why he's the dog in this fight. The weakness in his ground game however is really a lack of ground offense. His submission defense is very respectable and his take down defense is really good. Of course the big lug has strikes that can take out anyone in the division and when he wisely puts his sprawl and brawl game plan into full effect it's a very dangerous combo.

Nogueira is one of the best heavyweights of all time and has only lost to Fedor (twice), Henderson, and Barnett and he avenged his losses to Hendo and Barnett. His submissions are a level above anyone else and he's constantly working for the finish. What's surprising is that his take downs are not that impressive. Typically he gets to the ground by pushing opponents into the ropes and working into the clinch. On his feet he has respectable hands but will be at a serious disadvantage in this fight due to reach and speed (no, Tim's not fast, but his hands are). It should be noted that "Big Nog" has never been finished, although he was out in his last fight with Herring.

I think overall, Tim has the right style and physical advantage to keep Nog standing and pick him apart. I don't see this being a very exciting fight, but it could be a good finish. Randy Couture also thinks Sylvia is going to finish this one and if there's one lesson to remember never bet against Couture.

Prediction: Sylvia via TKO

Brock Lesnar (-140 Bodog) vs. Frank Mir (+120 BetUS)
In the beginning of January Lesnar was coming in as a fairly heavy favorite (-200) and I suggested that due to experience and the match up of skills Mir should not be the underdog in this fight and the time was ripe for a bet on Mir at +160 . Now that some time has past and bettors with more MMA experience have started bringing in their money, the lines have evened up a fair bit.

Frank Mir, former Heavyweight Champ, has been slowly working his way back into top form since his accident in 2004. Just as he was looking most confident and fit, he was quickly stopped by Brandon Vera at UFC 65. Nine months later he returned to face another very strong striker in Antonio Hardonk and finished him with a kimura in just over a minute.

Mir has been in the cage with many larger and stronger opponents, but what we've never seen is how Mir deals with a great wrestler. Most of his opponents have not been trying to take him down pass his guard and pound him out. Ideally this style will feed into his BJJ game, where Mir is fantastic at taking advantage of any mistake. On the other hand, perhaps Brock will fit the mold of Matt Hughes or Randy Couture who used great wrestling and athleticism to overwhelm fighters of many styles.

Brock Lesnar as an MMA fighter is pretty much a complete unknown. His debut fight did not provide a ton of insight. He did show he can still wrestle and is extremely strong, but his competition was quite weak and provided no test of any kind. A few fighters he trained with (Tim Sylvia) say he doesn't deal well with strikes or kicks and predicted an easy win for Mir. Of course from Tim's perspective he's remembering the Mir of old and his broken arm. Lesnar's best shot at a win is simple game plan... take down, control, pound, control, pound.

Lesnar will likely bring the heat early and Mir will look to stay outside weather the storm and search for errors and openings. Eventually Brock will get Mir on his back and then the show will be on. Brock will have a very hard time passing the guard of Frank and while he is working for that control his arms, legs, and neck will all be in danger. Mir will likely take some significant damage on his back, but during one of the many scrambles, Lesnar will likely offer up a limb for the taking and Frank will capitalize.In short, Frank should be the favorite in this fight due to experience alone, but in terms of a match up he has slight advantage with the combination of his stand up and BJJ, meaning he's a good value at any odds that have him as a dog.

Prediction: Mir via Submission

Nathan Marquardt (-220 Sportsbook) vs Jeremy Horn (+215 Bookmaker)
Jeremy "I'm Gumby Dammit" Horn is more experienced than Jenna Jameson and probably just as good on the ground. Although, Jeremy hasn't been seen in the UFC since 2006 he has kept busy fighting in the IFL, UAFC, and training fighters in Utah. Horn is definitely an all or nothing fighter if he wins he finishes and if he losses he's finished...although only one of a hundred fighters has stopped him via TKO! Also of interest, Jeremy has come down from 205. He's not the prototypical looking fighter but his conditioning is never in question and the move down in weight will put him on better footing in terms of strength against most fighters.

Nate is a true athlete and also very experienced. His real advantage in this fight will primarily speed and to some extent strength. Technically on the ground and on the feet this fight is pretty even. Nates best chances here are to work takedowns and grind out a decision. There is a chance that early on Nate might be able to pull off a submission but most likely we'll just see a lot of working for position and scrambling. Another big advantage for Nate is coaches like Mark Jackson and VanArsdale and training partners like Jardine, GSP, Evens, and so on. That kind of competition in training is invaluable.

Prediction: Marquardt via decision

Rob Yundt (No Odds) vs. Ricardo Almeida (No Odds)
***Update*** Belcher out due to bronchitis. He's being replaced by (6-0) Rob Yundt out of Alaska. Yundt is a very solid wrestler with an aggressive ground and pound. Yundt trains with Doug Evans and the rest of the Wolfpack. You can check out Yundt's video highlights to get a feel for his style. Win or not Rob will very happy to be in the UFC and have a shot at stepping up his career.

Ricardo Almeida is an extremely good BJJ fighter, with big wins over guys like Marquardt and Chonan in Pancrase and Pride, however that was in 2003-04. If you look back six and half years to his UFC days he went 1-2. UFC losses aside the majority of his wins have come by way of decision and in a fight against an aggressive fighter he won't want the judges involved.

I don't usually like a fighters chances when they've been out for 3 years, but considering his experience and a new opponent who's coming in on less than a weeks notice, I have to think Ricardo will handle Yundt. With Yundt's aggression it could be an exciting fight though.

No odds are available but unless they're really good I won't be betting with this much uncertainty.

Prediction: Almeida via submission

Tyson Griffin (-325 Sportsbook) vs. Gleison Tibau (+370 Bookmaker)
Tyson has propeled himself into to the upper ranks with his recent wins over Guida and Tavares. In fact if he did't have the one loss against Frankie edgar he'd be second in line for a title shot. One other note on his record, he's the only guy to beat Urijha faber (2005). Griffin laid the match up out pretty well saying Gleison is very similar in style and strengths to his last opponent Taveres. It takes sharp striking and very slick wrestling to have any shot at controling Griffin and it chances are very low for pulling out any submission on him.

Gleison was welcomed to the UFC by being TKO'd by Diaz. Since then he's had some easier competition and built a solid record. Training with American Top Team he's develop a very well rounded game that is centered around his BJJ. Now he has to put that game to the test against his best competition to date. His weakness in past fight has been leaving himself open to strikes down the pipe. In addition, he'll have defend agaist the wrestling skills of Tyson as well as his inside striking and GnP.

Both fighters are very dynamic and this should be a very exciting fight. Tyson holds the advantage in wrestling and ground control, Gleison holds a slight advantage in the stand up, but either fighter could finish with their hands. If Gleison can top control he could score some important points but even with strong BJJ I don't see him finishing the fight on the ground. By the end of three rounds I think Griffon will have outworked Tibau, missing the TKO he wants but secure another important win on his road to a title shot.

Unfortunately, the odds don't show how close this match up is and there's no real value in a bet.

Prediction: Griffin via Decision

Preliminary Bouts:

Chris Lytle (-600 Bodog) vs. Kyle Bradley (+500 BetUS)
No need to look at fight styles for this one, lets go straight to the numbers. Overall Chris Lytle has only won 54% of his fights and in the UFC he's only won 30%! His opponent Kyle Bradley has won 76% of his fights and of those wins 92% were finishes. No need to get the abacus out, the odds just don't add up. Lytle should never be a 6 to 1 favorite against anyone in the UFC...period.
The odds the books are offering are purely a bi-product of name recognition, this is a betting opportunity everyone should think about.

Prediction: Bradley via TKO.

Terry Martin (-215 Sportsbook) vs. Marvin Eastman (+190 BetUS)
I'm Glad to see Eastman giving it a shot in a new weight class, but I'd be even happier to see him working on his ground game. Although Marvin is a very confident fighter, his game is still limited to his standup and in this match up I think Martin holds the advantage there due to his power. On the ground Martin has an even bigger advantage.

Terry is much smoother and technically sound in all aspects of the game and should eventually find his opening. I'm avoiding betting on this one only because I see more value in the Lytle fight and most of the main card bouts.

Prediction: Martin via KO

Keita Nakamura (-245 Bookmaker) vs. Rob Emerson (+220 BetUS)
K-Taro was an unbeaten fighter (14-0) before he arrived in the UFC welterweight division. He quickly dropped two decisions to Fickett and Brock Larson, before realizing....Hmmm....I need to cut cut weight to be competative in the UFC. Now in his first lightweight fight he gets the mildly skilled unconfident Rob Emerson. Most of Nakamuras wins have come by way of submission and oddly every last one of those (8) were rear naked chokes.

So Emerson, have you been practicicing your RNC defense? Rob says he's changed everything about his training, diet, and life in general. He says he's running over the guys at the gym and ready to show everyone the real fighter he's always known he was. OK, lets see it! He's got heart and pretty solid stand up. Rob's problem was always mental.

I'm not putting any money on Rob, but I will give him the chance to prove himself. Based on past preformances Nakamura is an easy call but something tells me to give Rob the nod here.

Prediction: Emerson via decision

David Heath (-220 Bookmaker) vs. Tim Boetsch (+210 BetUS)
I'm tired of writing and David Heath bores me. Boetsch is a wrestler and appearently an aggressive fighter. I don't know anything about him, but I hope he lights a fire under Heath's ass. Heath dropped two fights to very solid opponents. Now it's do or die for his UFC career. As much as I'd like to say die, Heath has all the skills need to control a wrestler and grind out a snoozefest decision. My vote is...Least likely to make it to PPV.

Prediction: Heath via decsion

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!

2 comments to ''UFC 81 Betting Odds and Fight Picks"

  1. Patrick7:21 PM

    Great analysis, i agree with all your picks except that im torn on the mir/lesnar fight. I told myself that if mir came out as an underdog i would bet heavily but then when the lines came out, i thought twice about it. You're going to make some money one this one.

  2. I bummed about Belcher pulling out. I think that was another bet with alot of potential.

    At least his replacement is an aggressive guy, but I doubt I'll bet on the fight now.

    As for Mir vs Lesnar...at least I got a good line, but I'm nervous. I hope it's a great show and Mir pulls out a big win but Lesnar still comes through looking good.

    Having Lesnar as a real threat in the division is just good for business.