Strikeforce Challengers: Betting Odds and Picks
Duane Ludwig has been around the fight game for quite some time and will definitely have the experience advantage in this fight. He has fought some very good fighters like BJ Penn, Tyson Griffen, and Jens Pulver. He has also done some work in the past with American Top Team and has really improved in his takedown defense. Duane will most certainly have the standup advantage in this fight.
I see good value in Ludwig. Villasenor’s line seems to be so high due to his record, but I think Ludwig will be able to pull this out either through a TKO or decision.
Final Prediction: Duane Ludwig for .5 units to win .8 units.
Conor Heun (-105, Bodog) vs Jorge Gurgel (-115, Sportsbook)
Jorge Gurgel has had a bumpy career lately. He has some very highly touted jujitsu skills; the only problem is that he never uses them. He’s lost his last 3 out of 4 and went 3-4 in his UFC career, which led to his subsequent cut from the organization. He has tried to put on exciting fights lately for the fans by focusing on his standup, which has not worked out so well for his record. There is also the problem of his focus. He has over a dozen gyms that he runs, which has to be cutting into his training and ability to focus exclusively on the fight game.
Conor Heun is an up and comer with a decent record of 8-2, most via submission. The question is whether his ground game is better than Gurgels. With all of the unknowns, it makes sense that this fight is essentially at pick-em odds. Who knows what Gurgel has been working on or which Gurgel will show up to fight. If he has been focusing on his ground game, he could submit Conor. However, if he has been focusing on his striking again and gets taken down in this fight, he may be in trouble.
Final Prediciton: Gurgel should be able to take this fight, but he has burned me in the past. His game plan is just too unpredictable and I stay away from fighters that are not 100% focused on their fight careers. However, if you want a little excitement in your life, throw a .5 unit bet down on Gurgel to win .425.
Nick Thompson (+115, 5Dimes) vs Tim Kennedy (-130, Sportsbook)
Nick Thompson normally fights at welterweight, but is moving up to middleweight due to the lack of competition at Strikeforce. He has won 14 of his last 15 fights and has won the large majority of is fights through submission. His only major loss as of late was to Jake Shields, but there is really no shame in that. He also has fairly good standup skills.
Tim Kennedy is a good all around fighter whose only two losses came via Jason Miller and Scott Smith. He was able to outwrestle Miller in the first round of their last fight and did a good job working submissions until a nasty elbow opened a cut on his nose. He really lost all momentum after that and suffered a unanimous decision loss. His last fight was in December of 2007 where he KOed Elias Rivera. Tim serves in the military as well with a Special Forces and Ranger background. He has currently been working out a deal with the National Guard to allow him to continue to serve while pursuing a professional MMA career.
I am not exactly sure why Tim Kennedy is the favorite in this fight. Nick Thompson is considered a top ten welterweight (by some), and a big welterweight at that. So he is obviously no pushover and probably will not give up to much weight to Kennedy. In fact, Thompson is 2” taller than Kennedy, so size shouldn’t be an issue. There is also the question of ring rust for Tim. He has been out for about 18 months, and I think he should have taken a tune-up fight instead of such a game opponent as Thompson.
I see Kennedy being able to get this to the ground, but a reversal from Thompson will allow him to sink in a submission or get the GnP. Either that or Thompson will grind out a decision. Either way, there is value in Thompson as the underdog.
Final Prediction: Bet 1 unit on Thompson at +115 to win 1.15.
Sarah Kaufman (-200, Bodog) vs Shayna Baszler (+170, 5Dimes)
Sarah Kaufman is a heavy handed striker with a perfect 9-0 record. She has excellent standup with a straight forward, rapid-fire style that tends to overwhelm her opponents.
Shayna Baszler is a well rounded fighter with more of Muy Thai standup style and middle of the road ground game. Her most recent loss was to Crisiane Santos via TKO and this fight will most likely end in similar fashion.
I think the lines are accurate on this fight as well. You have less KO’s in women’s MMA, so there is less of a “punchers chance” in this fight, so that gets rid some of the volatility and uncertainty. Kaufman should be able to dominate the standup and get the TKO in the first or second round.
Final Prediction: Sarah Kaufman via TKO. May be worth a small bet of 1 unit to win .5 units
Cory Devela (-110, Bodog) vs Luke Rockhold (EV, 5Dimes)
This fight pits Cory Devela, a fighter who is 9-2 with his only losses coming from Terry Martin and Ed Herman, against a relatively green Luke Rockhold that is 4-1 and just fought two months ago. Luke is a good ground guy with all his wins coming via submission within the first round. However, Devela is no slouch on the ground, with 6 of his wins coming via submission. Devela also has much more experience in the cage and has gone the distance twice. Rockhold, on the other hand, has never been out of the first round.
Final Prediction: At pick-em odds, I have to favor Cory Devela, he is a more experienced, better-rounded fighter and I would take him at .55 units to win .5 units.
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