Quick Hits for WEC 38

By Nicholas Bailey (nbailey@mmaratings.net)

Tucked away in between a truly remarkable couple of weeks of MMA is yet another exciting WEC card featuring stellar lighter fighters. In a sign of progress for the WEC, only one of the televised fights doesn’t feature world-class fighters. While hardcore fans will likely be sleeping off the Affliction card in preparation for UFC 94 when this is aired live, it’s loaded with matches of extreme divisional importance, so I expect it to be burning up Tivos across the country for the following week.

Champ Jamie Varner (-155) vs. Donald Cerrone (+135) (for WEC lightweight title)

Varner is a good champ for the WEC, with a very solid wrestling game, the level of conditioning required to dominate for five rounds, and very powerful, accurate hands. When he hits his opponent, they feel it, and he has the accuracy to make sure he lands right on the button. Even during the adrenaline dump that usually occurs when an opponent is dropped and on the way out, Varner is landing accurate punches right to the chin on a downed or wobbling opponent.

Cerrone has fantastic ability on the feet and on the ground, a wild kickboxer that knows everyone wants to take him down, so he’s developed a very aggressive and active ground game, which utilizes his very lanky frame. Cerrone has a good, very powerful jab, and a good aresnal of strikes to follow it up with. His weakness is defensive, in that he prefers to ‘trade’ and ‘get after it’ instead of picking apart his opponent using his reach. Against Razor Rob, this nearly spelled his doom, as he dropped his right hand continuously and ate a ton of very hard shots. Cerrone is a young, undefeated fighter, and has the cockiness that so often comes with that, but one day he’s going to learn the hard way that nobody’s chin is invincible.

This fight would be a total coin flip if Cerrone were to choose to strike at distance, keep his hands up, and just accumulate damage. Training with Greg Jackson, there is no doubt that a very thorough and insightful gameplan has been wored out for Cerrone. However, the guy has a pathological need to exchange blows and I think he’ll be giving up his greatest advantages in doing so. In a recent interview the man specifically said that he will likely ignore Greg Jackson’s coaching after the first exchange. If that hand drops down, whether just from sloppy defense or Varner punishing the body, then I expect Varner to come with big punches and put Cowboy down. Varner has a good top game and far better wrestling than Cerrone, so he will choose where this fight takes place. If he can force some infighting and close the distance, then this fight certainly will not be Cowboy’s rodeo. Jamie Varner TKO round 2.

I think that -155 is handicapping Cerrone as his ability rather than his expected performance, so it is a solid line to bet on Varner.

Urijah Faber (-550) vs. Jens Pulver (+425)

This is a sad fight. First of all, there are so many enticing featherweight matchups that have never been made that this rematch is wholly unnecessary. The real tragedy, however, is that, while Jens might have a shot if he was able to put together the best training camp he’s had and perform at the peak of his abilities at this point, that is not the case. Jens doesn’t want this fight. He’s going through some very serious personal problems and was strong armed into fighting Faber again when he knows he’s not ready. Unless Jens can land a perfect punch or Faber tards out again and lands a perfect face into Pulver’s fist, this fight will be ugly and short.

Faber is a world-class talent that can outwrestle, outbox, and outgrapple Pulver. It’s just a question of how the fight develops whether Faber throws him down and submits him or knocks him down and beats him up. Urijah Faber round 1 submission.

This line is set as if Pulver comes in the same as the first fight. I think Pulver will perform far worse than that fight, so I think there’s money to be made taking the long odds on Faber.

Mike Campbell (+125) vs. Danilo Villefort (-130)

Campbell has a very short record over very weak competition. He has KO power, which is enough to get past the caliber of fighters that he’s been facing, but he really doesn’t have a very developed or varied game. Villefort doesn’t like getting pounded on, but he has a very slick ground game and I expect he’ll have the chops to drag down a simple brawler like Campbell and work on top of him, provided he doesn’t stand there and eat a giant bomb to the face. I think Campbell will gas horribly if he doesn’t get submitted in the first round. Danilo Villefort submission round 1.

I think there’s good value in Villefort here, since Campbell is overrated because of his undefeated record (over scrubs) full of knockouts (always a fan favorite).

Jose Aldo (-800) vs. Rolando Perez (+600)

When you have a supremely talented fighter that you’ve foolishly relegated to the undercard for a long time, so he has no name recognition despite being poised to fight for the title, what do you do? You put him in a showcase fight that will let him show off his abilities and look unbeatable on TV. If you haven’t seen Aldo fight, you’ve really been missing out, so enjoy this one, and then go youtube some of his ridiculous beatdowns from back in the day. Jose Aldo by KO round 1.

My Plays:

Villefort 1u to win .65u
Faber 2u to win .36u
Varner 2u to win 1.29u

What Do You Think of This Fight/Event?