Just in time for the day after Valentines Day, the UFC will hold its first event on Fuel TV featuring a welterweight tilt between Jake Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez. And, with a new clash of athletes comes a new opportunity to make back money blown on a holiday by using math.
Below is a bettor’s analysis of the main card of UFC on Fuel TV 1, evaluating the risks and rewards of the individual fights as well recommendations for spreading wagers over the card as a whole. All money lines referenced are aggregate numbers and may vary slightly between books.
Diego Sanchez (+250) versus Jake Ellenberger (-350)- As far as any analysis is concerned, Ellenberger has this one. He has shown himself to be better at striking, very difficult to take down, and practically made of iron. Sanchez is also as tough as they come, but, with this match of skills, The Dream’s toughness will only serve to allow him to take a valiant beating. Still, at -350, Ellenberger is not as profitable an anchor bet as others on this card. Place 20% of the total on Ellenberger, just for the smug satisfaction of knowing that he is going to win, and save the rest of your money for better bets lower on the card.
Stefan Struve (+115) versus Dave Herman (-145)- With relatively close odds on this bout, Struve versus Herman is a difficult one to crack from a numbers standpoint. Struve has been a highly inconsistent fighter who has had troubles with anyone able to reach his face, which is an admittedly small number of people at his height.
While Herman would seem to be the kind of guy with sufficient reach, chin, and accuracy to disrupt Struve’s game, PeeWee has had a much lower quality of competition than Struve in the last two years. This places Herman firmly into the category of “not enough information” to reasonably figure on the odds. So, while my gut points to Herman, guts tend to lose money. Place no bet on this bout.
Ronny Markes (+100) versus Aaron Simpson (-130)- Viewing this fight in a timeless vacuum, the nearly immaculate Brazilian prospect Ronny Markes is a sacrifice angel being thrown in front of the A-Train. Simpson has had higher quality of competition and has been the most dreaded gatekeeper in the middleweight division, plowing through the last three up-and-comers to face him like a very apt nickname.
The only reason why the odds are so close is because Simpson is hitting that age where each fight could easily be the end of his once fabled athleticism, whereas the 23 year old Markes has nowhere to go but up. Trust the numbers and Simpson’s longevity for one last ride into a unanimous decision victory. Markes will be a future contender but Wednesday is not his night.
40% of total money bet should go on Simpson.
Walel Watson (+220) versus TJ Dillashaw (-300)- This bout is likely to be very close no matter who wins, but the odds are largely skewed by the “what have you done for me lately” view of mixed martial arts. While both men are coming off of a loss, Dillashaw’s recent defeat to John Dodson was preceded by a series of dominant upset wins in The Ultimate Fighter TV series.
While Dillashaw has many advantages over Watson, they are not enough to justify a -300 favorite status. Take a gamble of 20% of total bet on Watson. His chances of victory are only moderate but still well worth the risk for a more than double reward.
Philip De Fries (+275) versus Stipe Miocic (-375)- In a battle of undefeated heavyweight prospects with similar credentials, Stipe Miocic is coming in as a huge favorite, largely due to the fact that his last bout was more visible against a more well known, but not necessarily better, opponent.
Stylistically, Miocic has the advantage in this one. He should be considerably better on the outside and is a more successful defensive wrestler than anyone De Fries has faced before. However, as with Watson, De Fries has a better shot than is being indicated by the odds.
Watson and De Fries fighting on the same card provides a great chance for field play on Wednesday night. While neither Watson nor De Fries are the most likely winner of their individual matches, their multiplied chances for defeat also fall into the minority.
What that means is that, while it is likely that one of them will lose, it’s unlikely that both of them will lose. And they both pay out more than double the risk. Placing an equal amount, 20%, on De Fries will make the combined bets on De Fries and Watson equal to risking 40% on a slight underdog who will win more than half the time, which is a no-brainer.