Main card picks:
Forrest Griffin -120 (Bet $240 win $200) Bodog
Anthony Johnson -120 (Bet $60 win $50) BetUS
Amir Sadollah -185 Sportsbook
Jacob Volkmann +200 (Bet $100 win $200) BetUS
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira -150 5 Dimes

Undercard Picks:
Ben Saunders +190 (Bet $100 win $190) Bodog
Jake Rosholt -180 5 Dimes
Brock Larson -500 BetUs
Fabricio Camoes +200 (Bet $100 win $200) BetUS
George Sotiropoulos -500 BetUs

Forrest Griffin (-120 Bodog) vs. Tito Ortiz (+128 5 Dimes)

Forrest Griffin (16-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) a 6-foot-3 monster walking around at 240 pounds, is a true machine in the Octagon. Best known for his early brawls awakening only after getting roughed up a bit. Griffin now shows a much more technical striking game as well as strongly developed ground game, which was best seen against Rua. Facing Tito as a former opponent he will be able to bring a greater level of confidence in how he matches up...and as Liddell said in the past “Tito is a guy you never want to lose to, he’ll never shut his mouth”.

Tito Ortiz (15-6-1 MMA) made his debut at UFC 13 and captured the light-heavyweight title at UFC 25 against Wanderlei Silva. He defended his belt 5 times before handing it to Couture at UFC 44. There’s no denying his experience or the effectiveness of his least back in the 90’s. His game has not seen any real evolution since 2001 and his physical prowess has met a similar down turn in the last 5 years.

I’m not going to cover all of the past fights of Tito and Forrest, suffice it to say they are on different tracks; Forrest is much closer to his peak and Tito is on the long slope down. Tito will look to use use his great new striking game...get worked over in round one and then he’ll revert to his wrestling /G’n P game, only to find that he forgot how big and talented Griffin is. Slowly Tito will fade under Forrest’s conditioning, power and grit. Griffin via decision plain and simple.

This fight originally opened with Forrest a slight dog and many of us jumped on the line, which eventually flipped getting as high as –170. Now it’s back to having some solid value so I’m placing 2 full bets.

Prediction: Griffin via decision, Bet 2.7 units to win 2

Anthony Johnson (-120 BetUS) vs. Josh Koscheck (+105 5 Dimes)
Anthony "Rumble" Johnson (8-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is a former collegiate wrestler with extraordinarily fast and powerful standup. He’s been a complete tear in the last two years displaying his power with some frightening KO’s. This fight is seen a his first real test to determine if he belongs in the top tier or the welterweight division.

Josh Koscheck (12-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) originally hailed for his wrestling pedigree has since added a powerful striking game of his own, demonstrated with recent TKO’s of Hazellett, Yoshida, and Trigg. I’d note though none of the fighters he cracked were strikers; In fact they were all ground specialist lacking the wrestling to get the fight to their realm. Kos did experience a bit of his own medicine against GSP, being put on his back and controlled repeatedly. 

Now I’m in no way saying Johnson is going to look to control Kos on the ground. I believe both these fighters want a KO. I simply think that Josh’s haymaker style will not find it’s mark against the more technical and powerful standup of Johnson. The question is how long will Koscheck wait to change his game plan. My guess is he won’t have a chance. This will likely be the best fight of the night but the actual honor given will be knockout of the night handed to Johnson in the second round.

Prediction: Johnson via KO, Bet .6 units to win .5

Paulo Thiago (-225 Bodog) vs. Jacob Volkmann (+200 BetUS)

Thanks to Karo Parisyan’s absence from 105, this fight has been promoted to the main card. It also brings to light a nice underdog betting opportunity.

Paulo Thiago (11-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is a jiu-jitsu black belt, ground specialist, with only one win in the UFC via Josh Koscheck smashing his face into Paulo’s uppercut. It’s Thiago’s only win via strikes and likely his last. In his next fight he was easily controlled by Jon Fitch, exposing that his real game is only seen against fighters lacking grappling skills. For some reason many people are ranking him in the top 10 of the division, I find that to be a total load of shit. No one dimensional fighter will ever be top dog in the UFC (Demian Maia for example).

UFC newcomer Jacob Volkmann sports a 9-0 MMA trains at Minnesota Martial Arts Academy alongside Brock Lesnar,  Sean Sherk,  Brock Larson and  Nick Lentz. He’s a a three-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler for the University of Minnesota and, oh yea, won last year's World Grappling Championship in the no-gi division at 80kg. His dominant wrestling easily neutralize Thiago's ground game just as Fitch did.

Originally this line opened at an awesome 5-1 opportunity, it has now come down to 2-1 level, but still offers a great deal of value. Look for Jacob to control in impressive fashion, most likely taking the decision but possibly scoring a TKO against the pin-headed Thiago

Prediction: Jacob Volkam via decision, Bet 1 unit to win 2 

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (-135 5 Dimes) vs. Luis Cane (+135 Sportsbook)

Luiz "Banha" Cane (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is a Brazilian fighter with a background in Muay Thai and a brown belt in BJJ.  He trains at American Top Team and his one loss was a disqualification against James Irvin at UFC 79. His power and ability to absorb punishment are is greatest assets. However, he’s nothing that “Little Nog” hasn’t seen before.

Antonio Rogerio "Minotoro" Nogueira, twin brother of UFC heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, makes his UFC debut with a 17-3 MMA record. A veteran of PRIDE, Nogueira his impressive wins over beaten Dan Henderson and Alistair Overeem. He was also MMA's largest ever upset when he was knocked out in only 23 seconds by 20-to-1 underdog Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou at PRIDE 33. You know the adage “anything can happen”.

Cane, the brawler, will have an advantage in strength, but Nogueira is excellent at taking advantage of any weakness in an opponents game, likely looking toward submissions.  This should be an epic brawl and one that I find too close to call for a bet. My gut goes with Lil’ Nogs well rounded game, but any fighter with Cane’s chin and grit can change a fight in seconds.

Prediction: Nogueira via submission, Bet none.

Amir Sadollah (-185 SportsBook) vs. Phil Baroni (+200 5 Dimes)

I’m not offering too many details for this match up. Baroni is a brawler with almost zero cardio and even worse ground skills. He’s best known for his antics and fowl mouth (both of which I find very entertaining) however, he is not know for being a winning fighter. Sadollah is relatively new to MMA but in route to winning season 7 of the ultimate fighter he showed that he can put together a strong game plan and is in excellent condition. An unfortunate injury and staff infection has kept him out of the Octagon for over a year, but he still should have no problem toasting this marshmallow.

The line was much tighter when it opened, but even at –185 Amir offers value. I’m putting my money into other bets, but if you’re a Sadollah fan it’s worth a little coin.

Prediction: Sadollah via submission, Bet none.

Marcus Davis (-205 5 Dimes) vs. Ben Saunders (+200 5 Dimes)
Ben Saunders (7-1-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) trains with American Top Team, loves his Jeet Kune Do, and holds a purple belt in jiu-jitsu. Since his stint on the Ultimate fighter he’s looked great...until he faced Mike Swick at UFC 99 and losing by second-round TKO. Saunders weapon of choice in this fight will be strikes and kicks from  the outside. At 6’3” he will tower over lil’ Marcus. Saunder’s should also be much more comfortable making the 170 mark and potentially giving him a strength advantage as well.

Marcus Davis (16-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC) started with a boxing background, and has since developed a respectable ground game. Several of his fights including his last loss to Dan Hardy have demonstrated that he’s prone to getting caught from the outside. This usually happens against taller fighters, Saunders will be the tallest yet. Strictly speaking Marcus will be more technical on the feet, but at 5’8” (actually more like 5’6”) it’s damn hard to hit what you can’t reach. Look to his loss to Swick and you’ll see what a problem reach presents.

Look for lots of blood after Killa’ Bee lands a few kicks and elbows. Marcus will hit overdrive once he’s hurt and his over aggression will put him in a bad spot. Some nice value for a small bet on a tall dog.

Prediction: Saunders via bloody decision, Bet 1 unit to win 2

Brock Larson (-500 BetUS) vs. Brian Foster (+400 Bodog)

Larson has been very dominant in this division, however he did drop his last fight via decision and Foster put on an impressive fight (loss) in his UFC debut sharing the “Fight of the Night” honors with Rick Story. I’m looking for a great fight but Brock’s skills should eventually overwhelm Foster. The odds offer no reasonable opportunity for Larson, in fact at 4-1 it’s worth thinking about a poke at Foster. I’m leaving it alone in favor of better opportunities.

Prediction: Larson via submission, Bet none

Jake Rosholt (-185 Bodog) vs. Kendall Grove (+160 BetUS)

A dominant wrestler takes on a towering, skinny, Muy-Thai / submission fighter. Typically I lean toward the more well rounded fighter to find a way to finish. Grove does'n’t always have his shit together though and his poor takedown defense points toward another win for Rosholt for pure ground domination. Groves best shot at a win starts with his knees and eventually ends with a guillotine.

Prediction: Rosholt via decision, Bet none

Caol Uno (-190 Bodog) vs. Fabricio Camoes (+200 BetUS)

Well many of us know the 13 year MMA veteran, Uno as a grappling specialist with excellent speed and technique topped off with fairly polished standup. On the down side he’s dropped 3 of his last 4 fights yet stands as a 2-1 favorite.

What most of us don’t know is the story of Fabricio Camoes. “Marongo” holds a second-degree black belt in BJJ, is on a 7 fight win streak with 6 submissions. So is he just another Paulo Thiago or does he have game. Well early in his career in Brazil he entered a vale-tudo fight in the 176-pound division, coming in at only 161-pounds. He won his first fight in the tournament, and then went on to face Anderson “The Spider” Silva, lasting for 27 minutes until falling to exhaustion.

Any time an unknown makes his UFC debut against a long-time veteran faltering in his career, you have the making for an upset. Uno, knows very little of Camoes who will be determined to push the action immediately. It’s an interesting betting opportunity and worth a serious look. Age, conditioning, and skill set regardless of experience point to Camoes having the edge in this fight.

Prediction: Fabricio Camoes via decision, Bet 1 unit to win 2

George Sotiropoulos (-485 5 Dimes) vs. Jason Dent (+350 BetUS)

Dent is experienced and tough but he’s stepping back in against real UFC level talent and has never come out on top there. No different in this fight, he’s out classed in every facet. The odds aren’t great and I’m dropping bets elsewhere.

Prediction: Sotiropoulos via submission, Bet none

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!

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