Jake O Brien (+310, 5Dimes) vs Jon Jones (-370, 5Dimes)
Jon Jones has been touted as the next big thing in the UFC light heavyweight division with high quality wins over Andre Gusmao and Stephan Bonnar. He has a lot of unorthodox striking that utilizes spinning back kicks and spinning elbows. His background in Greco-Roman wrestling, combined with his explosiveness has proven to be an entertaining combination with a lot of exciting throws from the clinch. Jones threw Bonnar around at will, but it remains to be seen if he can do the same with a freestyle wrestler like O’Brien.
Jake O’Brien came into the UFC as a heavyweight back in 2006 and quickly racked up 3 good quality wins. His most famous was the decision victory over Heath Herring. He then hit a wall in the form of Andrei Arlovski and Cain Velasquez, which prompted him to drop down to light heavyweight. At his first fight at 205, he got a split decision victory over Christian Wellisch.
His wrestling is good, but he has had problems when he is put on his back. Arlovski looked like he was losing the fight until he got a reversal at the end of the second round and GnPed Jake. Cain just got on top to begin with, locked in the crucifix position and rained down right hands for the TKO. On the standup front, he has shown improved boxing skills over his last few fights and looks much faster at 205lbs. This is probably due to his twin brother being a professional boxer and training with him.
One big note on want to make about this fight is the huge reach advantage Jon Jones will have in this fight, 8” to be exact. When you couple that with his crazy unorthodox style, I think he may be able to dominate the standup in this fight. The most likely scenario is that the wrestling aspect of the fight will be neutralized by each other’s wrestling skills. So this fight should stay on the feet. However, if Jones can get O’Brien down, he could get the TKO. Since we don’t know how Jones looks on his back, we can’t be sure how to factor that in. I have a nagging feeling that his explosiveness would allow him to get back to his feet, but we can’t be sure.
Final Prediction: The current lines are pretty accurate. A small play on O’Brien might be worthwhile for the less risk averse, but only due to the unknown factor of Jones on his back. There is also the possibility that with Jake’s wrestling skills; Jones won’t be throwing such crazy strikes for fear of being taken down. That may give Jake the edge he needs on the feet, if he can get around the reach advantage. So for the gambler, Jake O’Brien at +310 risking .4 units to win 1.24 units.
Jon Fitch (-400, SBG) vs Paulo Thiago (+400, Bodog)
I understand that his fight is on the main card and not the Bonnar/Coleman fight, but this is such a mismatch that it doesn’t require much of an analysis.
Jon Fitch is a dominant wrestler that has only been defeated in the UFC by the current welterweight champ GSP (he had 2 others very early in his career to Wilson Gouveia and Mike Pyle). He grinds out decisions with a lay and prey strategy, but also has a number of TKO and submission victories. He will have no problem taking Paulo down, or if he doesn’t want to deal with Paulo’s BJJ, he can keep it on the feet.
Paulo Thiago is a purely BJJ fighter that had a very shocking KO of Koscheck in his UFC debut. Even though his standup looked absolutely dreadful, he somehow got that lucky punch in. I can’t imagine that that would happen for a second time, especially against the #1 contender in the division behind Thiago Alves. Lightning will not strike twice in this case.
The line should be much higher for this fight. Fitch will dominate Paulo to either get a TKO or UD. This line originally came out in the mid -200’s, and if you were lucky enough to get in on it, congratulations. However there is still value here below -500. This is the only fight that I might make an exception to my -400 favorite rule, if I hadn’t of grabbed him at –250.
Final Prediction: To those who follow the rules: no action. For the rebels out there: Jon Fitch at -400 risking 2 to win .5.
Jim Miller (-195, 5Dimes) vs Mac Danzig (+168, 5Dimes)
Mac Danzig has been less than impressive since his winning of season 6 of TUF. He is 2-2 thus far, beating Tommy Spear and Mark Bocek by submission, and losing to Clay Guida and Josh Neer. Jim Miller on the other hand has only loss to Gray Maynard and Frank Edgar, two very highly ranked fighters in the current UFC lightweight division.
Jim Miller should have the edge in this fight with his wrestling. Danzig’s biggest weapon is his submission skills, so if he can avoid those, I see him winning via UD. The lines seem pretty accurate on this fight, but if I was a betting man, I would go with Miller.
Final Prediction: No action at the current lines. For the gamblers: Miller at -195 risking .3 units to win .15 units.
CB Dollaway (-250, SportsInt.) vs Tom Lawlor (+215, BetCRIS)
A lot has been said about CB Dollaway, 99% of it negative. For some strange reason, a lot of fans hate this guy. Even Tom Lawlor commented on the number of people that have come out of the wood work to support him in this fight. Such emotion could be skewing the lines in this fight. So when the emotion is high, it’s to buy.
Dollaway lost the TUF season 7 to Amir Sadollah via armbar. This was almost an exact replay from their previous fight on the show. Since then, he has gone on to beat Jesse Taylor with an awesome Peruvian necktie and Mike Massenzio via TKO. He trains out of Arizona Combat sports with Ryan Bader, the guy that KOed Lawlor on TUF season 8.
Tom Lawlor competed on TUF season 8 (as a 205lber), as mention above, and came back to the Finale to beat Kyle Kingsbury via decision. He is also primarily a wrestler, but does not have quite the pedigree of Dollaway.
Both of these guys are pretty young and green in the sport. Dollaway definitely deserves the edge due to his better wrestling, submission skills, and better record. He may have met his match in the form of Amir Sadollah, but I don’t think Lawlor has the skills to beat him. With all the hatred for Dollaway, I think the lines may be a bit skewed, so a small bet on Dollaway is worthwhile.
Final Prediction: CB Dollaway at -250 risking .5 units to win .2 units.
Matt Grice (+115, 5Dimes) vs Shannon Gugerty (-135, 5Dimes)
This match is the traditional wrestler vs grappler matchup. 8 of 11 of Shannon’s victories have come via submission. He choked out the then undefeated Dale Hartt in his UFC debut. His most recent loss was to Spencer Fisher, a very game and often overlooked opponent in the lightweight division.
Grice on the other hand is currently 1-2 in the UFC with losses to Terry Etim via submission and Matt Veach via TKO. He does have a split decision victory over Jason Black. Matt has a decorated high school wrestling background, but was unable to do much in college due to an auto accident and subsequent surgery.
From a pure records and style stand point, Gugerty should be able to take this one, probably even more than -135 is showing. I would go as high as -165 since his BJJ is great and fits in very well to Grice’s wrestling style.
Final Prediction: Shannon Gugerty at -135 risking .4 units to win .3 units.
Dong Hyun Kim (-240, BetCRIS) vs T.J. Grant (+205, Bodog)
Don Hyun Kim has had an interesting run so far in the UFC. His first fight against Jason Tan was complete domination. He then won a controversial split decision over Matt Brown. His last fight was also surrounded by controversy as he lost a close split decision to Karo Parisyan that was later overturned to a no-contest due to illegal substance use by Parisyan. So, he is currently 2-0-1 in the UFC but should probably be considered 2-1 from a handicapping perspective. He has a strong Judo background and has trained with the likes of Yushin Okami in Japan due to his size. 6 of his 11 victories have come via knockout, so he can definitely strike, which is why they call him “The Stun Gun”. He can be a bit crazy in his fights as well, willing to jump on his opponents back from the clinch.
T.J. Grant is a Canadian fighter that is primarily a BJJ fighter. 12 of his 14 wins have been via submission, so I would expect that he will want to take this fight to the ground. He also has a background in wrestling that may become a factor in this fight. His greatest claim to fame thus far was a split decision victory over Ryo Chonan in his UFC debut.
Don Hyun Kim is being heavily supported by the UFC due to their designs on moving into the Korean market. Along with Denis Kang, they are slowly building a stable of Korean (or of Korean ancestry) fighters like they have done now for the UK, at least in my opinion. That leads me to believe that they are confident in Kim’s ability to win this fight. His Judo skills should allow him to keep this fight on the feet and win with his size and striking, at least that is what the lines are showing.
That being said, T.J. Grant looked very good against Ryo Chonan. He was active on the feet with good combinations, some great takedowns, and very active from the bottom with submission attempts and sweeps. His BJJ looked top-notch in that fight. He will be the smaller fighter this time out, but the lines may be a little skewed due to Kim having more coverage in the past and an upset is possible. I would even expect Grant to be quite a bit better than in the Chonan fight since he won’t have the first time UFC jitters to contend with.
Final Prediction: Although Kim should take this fight, a small underdog bet makes sense. T.J. Grant just looked very good in his last fight and I think he has a better chance than the current lines are giving him. T.J. Grant at +205 risking .5 units to win 1.1 units.