UFC 156 Preview

Frankie Edgar (Photo/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Event: UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar
Venue: Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas)
Date: Feb. 2, 2013

After resolving a mild contract dispute with senior management at InterMat, the UFC Monster is back at it again in Las Vegas for the much-anticipated featherweight championship fight between champion Jose "Scarface" Aldo and former lightweight champion Frankie "The Answer" Edgar. This is one of many very intriguing matches for this annual Super Bowl card. It doesn't get much better than this!

So, let's take a look at the action and see where we can beat the oddsmakers' betting line to make a handsome profit on mixed martial arts fights. This is what I do, and I do it pretty well. Previous results can be found in the InterMat archives.

The main event casts challenger Edgar (15-3-1) dropping down to 145 pounds after two close losses to Benson Henderson. Aldo (21-1) reigns supreme in this weight class though, and hasn't lost a fight in seven years! His quickness and striking power, especially his devastating kicks, have left many opponents crumpled on the mat or in hospital beds with puffed up, battered, swollen elephant legs.

Does Edgar have a chance here? Sure he does. He was champion of a bigger weight class and his unbelievable cardio and wrestling skills could wear Aldo down. Frankie's allusiveness will be necessary to avoid much punishment and to frustrate the champ. Edgar is an excellent boxer as well. I like the price offered on Edgar, now +210 at the Flamingo, and I am calling for the upset here. Edgar grinds out a close decision, and yet another Edgar rematch will soon be scheduled.

Former Michigan State wrestler, light heavyweight (205 pounds) Rashad Evans (17-2-1), is considering dropping down to middleweight (185 pounds) in order to fight Anderson Silva. But first there is unfinished business to tend to, and that is to defeat Brazilan "Little Nog" Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20-5), one of the famous Nogueira twins. Little Nog had a remarkable career in Pride Fighting, including beating Alistair Overeem twice! But, he is over the hill now and the linesmakers have made Rashad a prohibitive favorite at -500. Wow. Seriously?

While I see Rashad winning by KO or outscoring him for a clear and decisive decision, I will have splinters in my butt, and sit on the bench here. The price is too steep for me to get involved. So, I'll pass.

Heavyweight Alistair Overeem (36-11) is a beast. He destroyed Brock Lesnar with a liver kick before being suspended for a failed drug test. (Overeem had a 14-to-1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio, over the allowed ratio rate of 6-to-1.) No surprise there. He wants and will get a title shot against Cain Velasquez with a win here against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (17-4). I believe Overeem will be too fast and powerful for the suspect chin of Bigfoot. Cain handled Bigfoot with ease, using takedowns and a polished ground-and-pound attack for a first-round stoppage. Overeem won't bother with takedowns, he will just kick the daylights out of the slower Brazilian before smashing him with elbows and fists to end it. Lay the -360 on the Demolition Man, who wins by first-round KO. Bring on Cain!

Welterweight (170 pounds) Jon Fitch (24-4-1) is one of the UFC's best, but most unpopular fighters because the former Purdue wrestler grinds out body control victories with very few finishes. His opponent is Brazilian Demian Maia (17-4), who is 2-0 (with both first-round finishes) since dropping down to welterweight. The bookies have made Fitch the decided favorite here, but taking Maia to the mat is suicide in my world. Maia is considered one of the finest world class jiu-jitsu fighters anywhere, and I will call the upset here as Maia gets a chokehold submission to cash at odds of +160. This should put him in the mix of many waiting in line for a shot at GSP (Georges St. Pierre).

The final main event fight has flyweights (125 pounds) Ian "Uncle Creepy" McCall (11-3-1) going after Joseph Benavidez' (16-3). Both have lost to Dominick Cruz and Demetrius "Mighty Mouse" Johnson. McCall is game and determined, but Benavidez has more power and is the better technical striker. I'll go with the favorite here and take Benavidez -225 to win a unanimous decision.

Now let's take a quick look at the undercard …

There was a time when Evan Dunham (13-3) was undefeated at 10-0 and ranked in the top 10 lightweights in the world. Those days are over, but his submission skills give him the ability to defeat muscular UFC veteran Gleison Tibau (26-8). This could be a candidate for fight of the night. Take Dunham -115 to win by decision.

Welterweight Tyron Woodley (10-1) is making his UFC debut after suffering his first loss to Nate Marquardt in Strikeforce. The former Missouri wrestler will have his hands full with Jay Hieron (23-6) who once fought GSP at UFC 48, many moons ago. Woodley at a modest -135 squeeks out a split decision victory.

Lightweight dinosaur Ives Edwards (42-18-1) has more losses than his opponent Isaac Vallie-Flagg (13-3-1) has fights, Edwards has been fighting for 16 years (can you imagine?)! Vallie-Flagg makes his UFC debut from Strikeforce. Edwards is a finisher. He wins by submission in the second round. Lay the wood, Edwards -275 schools his opponent and wins by second-round submission.

Former lightweight Minnesota wrestler Jacob Volkmann (15-3) has had a successful UFC career outwrestling his opponents. Unfortunately, that style doesn't win many fans or main card battles. Another Strikeforce refugee on a 10-fight winning streak, Bobby Green (19-5), learns the hard way. Volkmann -370 wins by submission in the second round. Steep price, so either pass or wager with caution.

Francisco Rivera (8-2) -300 wins by second-round KO over Edwin Figuero (9-1). Again, steep price, wager with caution.

No play on Camus-Kimura. I don't know the fighters and I don't want to lose money throwing a dart!

So, let's see how we can make money with our fictitious $1000 bankroll.

Let's lay $100 to win $210 on Edgar to win the Featherweight belt.
Let's lay $180 to win $50 on Overeem to crush Bigfoot.
Let's lay $100 to win $160 on Brazilian Maia to beat Jon Fitch.
Let's lay $135 to win $60 on Benavidez to beat Uncle Creepy.
Let's lay $69 to win $60 on Dunham to beat Tibau.
Let's lay $135 to win $100 on Woodley to outwrestle Hieron.
Let's lay $110 to win $40 on Ives Edwards to school Vallie-Flagg.
Let's lay $111 to win $30 on former Gopher "Christmas" Volkmann.
Let's lay $60 to win $20 on Francisco Rivera.
Let's PASS on Evans-Little Nog and Camus/Kimura.

In total we are risking $1000 to win $730.

The cardinal rule of gambling: Please don't bet with money that you cannot afford to lose!!!


Enjoy the fights. I know I will.


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