This Saturday night, the UFC presents UFC 154: St. Pierre vs. Condit, one of the first big events in 2012 not completely ravaged by injuries. The main event will unify the welterweight titles, and the co-main event between Martin Kampmann and Johny Hendricks will likely decide the next challenger for the belt.
This is not your basic prediction post, or even your basic gambling post. I am not going to pick every fight, and I’m not going to give you the obvious wins that won’t return much money on your investment. Instead, I am going to go through the card with a fine-toothed comb to find you the bets where the potential reward is more than worth the calculated risk.
With that in mind, here is the usual disclaimer. If you are in a place where gambling on sports is illegal, or if you have some kind of uncontrollable reckless gambling addiction, please stop reading this page and enjoy some of the other fine content on Doc Octagon. I don’t want the money you would likely make on these bets fueling an illegal addiction or keeping you from buying Christmas presents for your wife/girlfriend/mom.
Carlos Condit by KO/TKO: +410.
Although it seems to be an unpopular opinion, I think Carlos Condit is going to beat Georges St. Pierre on Saturday night. In my opinion, GSP will be tentative following the time off, and Condit will aggressively look for the kill from the start. Although Condit’s take-down defense will be tested, I think he is good enough in that area to stay on his feet long enough to rock GSP. As Condit did against Dong Hyun Kim, I think he will attack GSP before he has the chance to turn things into a wrestling match.
Here is the perfect example of why I like to use prop bets to add to the potential reward without adding much risk. Merely taking Condit to win currently carries a line of +280. But let’s face it, if this thing goes to a decision, it will probably be because GSP out-wrestled Condit for five rounds. And I don’t envision any scenario where Condit submits GSP. That leaves my pick as Condit rocking St. Pierre and getting the TKO finish. Taking Condit to win in this manner ups the line to +410, without adding much risk for someone (like me) who thinks Condit will come out on top.
Johny Hendricks to Win: -145.
The match-up of the guy missing an “n” versus the guy with an extra “n.” I think Kampmann is a tough fighter and do not want to take anything away from him. That being said, he should have lost his last two fights. Thiago Alves completely battered him and was cruising to a decisive decision win until he inexplicably dove into a guillotine choke with under a minute left in the fight. Jake Ellenberger rocked him in the first round but just couldn’t get the finish. I don’t see Hendricks making the same mistake or giving Kampmann any additional changes.
I could see Kampmann trying to keep the distance and pick away at Hendricks on their feet, but I think Johny’s wrestling and clinch game should be enough to keep this from happening for three rounds. Additionally, I wouldn’t be shocked if Hendricks was able to get a finish after landing a big punch, as he did against the normally granite-chinned Jon Fitch. I am leaning towards it being the former, a decision win, but the possibility of the KO is enough where I would take the straight bet as opposed to a prop.
Mark Hominick Wins Inside Distance: +106.
This is another one where I like the prop bet as a good reward-adding play. Hominick to win straight up is a heavy -320 favorite, so a prop is the only way to make money off a Hominick win unless it’s included in a parlay. I just don’t think Pablo Garza is that good, having lost two in a row and previously to Tiequan Zhang. He has never been knocked out, but I think Hominick can do it. I also don’t think the height discrepancy will be an issue, as Hominick was able to finish the much taller George Roop without problem.
Bonus Pick: Nick Ring to Win: +220.
Take this one with a grain of salt. Just call it a hunch and the fact that Costa Philippou bored me at UFC 133 in Philadelphia in his fight against Jorge Rivera. I don’t care that he’s been very good since or that he took the 133 fight on short notice.