The story of Ultimate Fight Night 15, for me, was one of missed opportunities. Despite strong hunches that Belcher and Massenzio were live underdogs, I did not take the risk on them, and missed out on what could have been an overall profit. Betting on 4 underdogs, I went 1-3, losing half a unit, bringing me to 3-6 and -1.966u over my (brief) public career and further dropping my public prediction average. Where did I go wrong (aside from not playing with confidence)?
Nate Diaz vs. Josh Neer
I was pretty accurate in predicting this fight, but I did not anticipate Neer would try to fight on the ground right off the bat, nor that he would barely even try to win in the third round. I’ve heard that Neer had trouble with his weight cut, which would explain his fading in the late rounds, especially since the fight was so active. Neer looked sharp and was able to muscle Diaz around easily. Diaz’s total lack of physical strength will eventually hurt him, since even at lightweight there are a lot of very big strong guys. Diaz did a better job in this fight of avoiding damage and not just getting beat up while looking for submissions. While I lost, I think this was still a smart bet at +180.
Mac Danzig vs. Clay Guida
This fight came down to razor-thin margins—two judges had the fight even going into the third round. Danzig won the standup in the fight, looking very sharp, and if he’d been able to avoid the takedown until later in the round, he controlled and defended well enough off his back that he’d have likely been the winner. I underestimated Guida’s takedown game, which had only seemed above-average, and aggressive prior to this fight. Other than that I cannot see any major errors in my thinking about this fight when I bet on it.
Houston Alexander vs. Eric Schafer
This fight went about as expected, although I underestimated Schafer’s ability to take a shot. I accurately expected Schafer to eat a few heavy shots on the feet, but I incorrectly expected them to finish him off. As I thought, Alexander simply tried to power out of any takedown attempt or dominant position, with predictably poor results. Betting on Schafer was a good bet, although if I’d waited around, the odds on him improved quite a bit beyond +185, which surprised me, since Houston had lost the respect of so many hardcore fans due to his pathetic performances prior to this fight. Perhaps hardcore fans have very little to do with determining MMA betting lines, something to remember in the future.
Alan Belcher vs. Ed Herman
This fight went exactly as predicted. Herman has a seriously good chin, and he showed that the hard way in this fight. Belcher is very talented but needs to tighten up his game and fight with more discipline. He nearly threw away the decision in the third round, fooling around and showing off. With the very good odds on Belcher, especially given the fact that I thought he should have been an outright favorite, I was foolish not to bet. I was spooked by so many other pundits picking against Belcher and the odds being so uneven, which made me think I had done my analysis poorly.
Kyle Bradley vs. Joe Lauzon
Lauzon looked good in this fight. His standup seemed improved, although Bradley is by no means top-class opposition. The small flier I put on Bradley at +500 seems to have been justified by Bradley working the jab and hurting Lauzon briefly.
Wilson Gouveia vs. Ryan Jensen
I have not been able to watch this fight yet. Apparently Gouveia got beat up in the first round, so that’s something to remember going forward, and a good reason to avoid betting on or against Gouveia.
Drew McFedries vs. Mike Massenzio
I have not been able to watch this fight yet. While I did a good job of recognizing Massenzio’s ability to take down and control McFedries, I underestimated his submissions (or overestimated McFedries ground skills when I thought them competent). Since Massenzio was available at better than +200 at some points, the style matchup should have led me to bet with confidence.
Alessio Sakara vs. Joe Vedepo
Maybe Sakara isn’t a total lost cause. His defensive wrestling and (obviously) his kicks looked good in this fight, although he did get knocked around a little, although that works to his benefit, in my opinion, because it shows he won’t always wilt in the face of adversity. Vedepo was never given strong enough odds to merit a play, and Sakara has too much variability to be worth the risk when he’s the favorite.
The Road Ahead
Moving forward, I see a lot of opportunities just over the horizon. I currently have two open bets, both of which I will break down further prior to their respective events.
1u on Rob McCullough to defeat Donald Cerrone at even odds. I just think Rob is much more experienced and a good style matchup with his counter-wrestling and knockout power. This bet was placed prior to the moving of the WEC event, but remains open for the rescheduled event.
1u on Jacare to defeat Zelg Galesic at -345. The odds here are not particularly favorable, but I feel that Zelg is simply out of luck in this fight and almost no threat to Jacare.