[sMMArt Money] UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera
STUDIO MMA, LOS ANGELES, CA – Here were are in Studio MMA’s backyard, reporting from the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. A tremendous card tonight, featuring Shogun, Lyoto, Bader, Vera, Lauzon, Varner, Phil Davis, and the return of Mike Swick. We expect for this set of fights to make up for the atrociously mind-numbing UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao. But the bad news is that we don’t see a lot of edge in the betting tonight. We don’t expect the odds to make rich men and women out of many UFC fans tonight. However, as always, for our detailed breakdown of some key fights, read on!!!
PHIL “MR. WONDERFUL” DAVIS [10-1-0 MMA] – 800
WAGNER “CALDEIRAO” PRADO [8-0-0 MMA] +500
These are the most lopsided odds we have ever seen in the history of our “sMMArt Money” column. And, frankly, the UFC is simply too unpredictable for any fighter to ever receive a -800 line. Yes, Phil Davis is a beast. Yes, he may be a top-five 205-pounder. And, yes, Wagner Prado is a newcomer, untested at the top levels. But the Brazilian is undefeated in eight fights with, count ‘em, 7 finishes via KO or TKO.
This is the fight to bet on. Place some money on Prado for a big return if he connects!!!
Studio MMA Prediciton: Phil Davis via Submission, Round 2.
COLE MILLER [18-6-0 MMA] -160
NAM PHAN [17-10-0 MMA] +130
Miller is a brawler and a submission artist with notable wins over Leonard Garcia and Ross Pearson. And, lanky and 6’1”, Miller is the kind of specimen that Phan does not fare well against.
Phan is a lovable character and a dynamic, multi-faceted gamer. Yet he has only won 2 of his last 7 outings and will be fighting for his job tonight. He was absolutely dismantled in his last fight against a super-impressive Jimy Hettes, losing the decision by the widest margin in memory: 30-25, 30-25, 30-26. Phan belongs at bantamweight if he can get there.
Studio MMA Prediction: Miller by Decision, Round 3.
MIKE “QUICK” SWICK [14-4-0 MMA] -225
DaMARQUES “DARKNESS” JOHNSON [16-10-0 MMA] +175
Swick faced some big names before taking a hiatus due to illness in 2011. The bad news is that he lost most of those fights: against Leben, Okami, Hardy, and Paulo Thiago. But, now at welterweight, he is going to be even tougher.
Johnson is an appropriate opponent for Swick’s return to action. He’s tough and experienced. But he’s coming off an armbar loss to John Maguire, and is 2-3 in his last 5 outings.
Swick, appropriately, is the favorite here. But -225 might be generous.
Studio MMA Prediction: Swick by Decision, Round 3.
JOE LAUZON [21-7-0 MMA] -115
JAMIE VARNER [20-6-1 2NC MMA] -115
J-Lau has finished each and every one of his 21 victories (17 by submission). He made Melvin Guillard look like an amateur. He has experience against Sots, Stout, Stephens, Florian, Pulver, Mike Brown. However, most of those guys finished the Massachusetts resident. He has not fared well at the highest of levels, and most recently was crumpled by an Anthony Pettis head kick.
Varner, to his credit, has 18 finishes in 20 wins, and stunned the world when he marched through Edson Barboza’s explosive striking in order to notch a memorable TKO at UFC 146. With wins over Drew Fickett and Cowboy Cerrone, Varner has shown some chops. If he musters up the toughness that he showed against Barboza, then Lauzon is in trouble.
Studio MMA Prediction: Lauzon via Submission, Round 1.
LYOTO MACHIDA [17-3-0 MMA] -335
RYAN BADER [16-2-0 MMA] +225
Bader outwrestled an under-prepared (and overweight) Rampage Jackson to a decision victory in his last outing. The Nevada-native is among the strongest specimens at 205 pounds. Yet he, even more so than Machida, was manhandled by champion Jon Jones. Chael Sonnen put it best in a recent interview when he pointed out that the contrast in styles can be summed up as follows: Machida is confounding and Bader is straight-forward. We second the oddsmakers on this fight. Machida can be almost untouchable. He handily won the first round of his loss against Bones, and he can end any fight in an instant. Do not expect Bader to do much, if any damage, against the Dragon.
Studio MMA Prediction: Machida by TKO, Round 2.
SHOGUN RUA [26-5-0 MMA] -400
BRANDON VERA [18-5-0 1NC MMA] +300
Brandon Vera is barely here. That is, in the history of the UFC, he is one of the most unaccomplished and unsuccessful fighters ever to find himself in a title-elimination contest. Verafied had his proboscis notably rearranged at the hands of a drug-code-violating Thiago Silva. Then, in his last fight, he won close a decision against non-contender Eliot Marshall. In his hey-day, Vera had some of the best Muay Thai in the promotion. But that skill has been almost completely stifled in the last 3 years.
Shogun, on the other hand, has knocked out a who’s-who of the biggest names in the history of the light heavyweight group: Machida, Rampage, Griffin, Liddell, Coleman, Overeem (twice), Arona. His last fight against Dan Henderson was a 25-minute slugfest that, in our opinion, is the greatest fight in the history of the sport. Though Shogun has not looked like a pound-for-pound champion in the last two years, we have no idea what Vera could possibly do to win this fight.
Studio MMA Prediction: Shogun by KO, Round 1.
Odds published by Bovada.lv.