Looking for the smart money? Keep looking. But at least we’ve got the cojones to tell you who we’re putting OUR money on this weekend. Place your bets!
Eddy Kleid, FIGHT! president
Pick: Anderson Silva, -224 (SportBet.com)
Anderson Silva WILL eventually lose another fight…just not this one. As a general rule, I’ll take Silva -250 or better versus anyone.
Jim Casey, FIGHT! managing editor
Pick: Dave Herman, +199 (SportBet.com)
Herman knows his UFC livelihood is on the line against Gabriel Gonzaga. A loss would mean his fourth in a row, and the axe from the UFC. As Peter Gibbons said in Office Space, “My only real motivation is not to be hassled, that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.” I expect Herman to work just hard enough to squeak out a decision victory and save his job. Then Herman can celebrate his first win since 2011…hopefully in weed-less fashion.
Chuck Mindenhall, FIGHT! features writer
Pick: Dennis Siver, +205 (PinnacleSports.com)
The most obvious reason Siver should come through against a surging fighter like Cub Swanson is that Swanson was a May cover subject for FIGHT! Mag. The old jinx, I’m afraid, will have a say here. Of course, all of that’s for superstitious people who walk around rubbing their purple rabbit’s feet, not professional men with amazing Macbooks. The real reason is: Siver is a damn good fighter who has won six of seven. As a 2-to-1 dog, he has great value. Vegas is sleeping on a live dog.
Duane Finley, FIGHT! alright guy
Pick: Chris Leben, +129 (SportBet.com)
MMA may have been rolling along a decade prior, but in the modern day Zuffa era, The Ultimate Fighter is akin to the Oregon Trail. That makes the original cast a pioneering bunch, and, of that group, Chris Leben a hard-charging, loose-cannon homesteader. While different aspects of Leben’s demeanor have changed throughout his 10 years under the UFC banner, the aspects of his fight game that made him a star still ring true. When the cage door closes and the face punching starts, Leben will hit zombie mode and look for the kill, because that is what he’s done for years and all he knows. And it is that wealth of experience that will make the difference against Andrew Craig at UFC 162. Certainly, the Houston-native may put Leben on his back, but finishing “The Crippler” is an entirely different story.
Steven Marrocco, #1 FIGHT! awesome staff writer
Pick: Cub Swanson, -215 (BetDSI.com)
Sure, sure, the UFC gods often feel compelled to deny a surging fighter that breakthrough bout that makes an airtight case for a title shot. With four impressive wins on his recent ledger, Swanson is poised for No. 1 contender status–or a slice of humble pie. But the 29 year-old fighter is just the kind of guy to buck that trend, and after all the injuries and setbacks he’s seen, it’s hard not to root for him. Siver is no pushover, and his arsenal of spinning shit is going to keep Swanson on his toes. Provided the German fireplug doesn’t do a stuff-and-smother, Swanson’s fluid striking is going to win the day.
T.R. Foley, FIGHT! wrestling apologist
Pick: Chris Weidman, +220 (SportsInteraction.com)
Until 2011, wrestling-heads who liked to gamble enjoyed a significant edge in understanding which mat stars were actually competent and which were paper tigers with decent marketing (See: Tito Ortiz). They made money, which they then spent on spandex and posters of Dan Gable. For many, life was good. Suddenly, the gambling world and MMA fans began to recognize that even novice fighters like Johny Hendricks and Daniel Cormier could essentially get off their couch in Oklahoma and destroy half the UFC roster. Spandex sales plummeted. The wrestler-based betting advantage is back. What makes the Chris Weidman line super-extra sexy is that Anderson Silva has shown active disinterest in bettering his takedown defense. Sure he stuffed some of Chael Sonnen’s shots, but Weidman is 483x the wrestler of Sonnen and arguably one of the best sport jiu-jitsu fighters in the UFC (he lost a narrow decision to Andre Galvao at the 2009 ADCCs). The Spider is being propped up by nostalgia. Weidman is almost 2-1, which means you get an extraordinary value on a fighter that most prognosticators see as the heavy favorite.
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