Gambling Spotlight: UFC 112

I've taken some important steps to ensure my UFC 112 viewing party has a more authentic feel to it.  For starters, I've spritzed gasoline all over my living room furniture to remind us of why this event is happening.  Mandatory prayers will be instituted in between each bout.  And a strict dress code will be enforced for all women in attendance.  All who complain will be sent to the Cultural Relativists Office.

Important note!  Get your bets in early!  This is happening live in Abu Dhabi time!

And again, the percentage after the best line is the breakeven rate for those odds.


Anderson Silva

#1 Middleweight
UFC MW Champ


Demian Maia

#6 Middleweight

-765 (BOOK) 88% Best Line +575 (DOG/5D) 15%
34 Age 32
6'2" Height 6'1"
25 - 4 - 0 Record 12 - 1 - 0
15 / 4 TKO / SUB 2 / 8
Black House Camp Wand Fight Team
W - Griffin (KO)
W - Leites (UD)
W - Cote (TKO)
Last Three W - Miller (UD)
L - Marquardt (KO)
W - Sonnen (SUB)

Unlike the other headline title fight on the card, the heavy favorite in the main event doesn't have the advantage in every facet of the fight.  Demian Maia is one of the few men Joe Rogan can safely stamp the "world class" moniker on.  The problem for Maia is getting Silva to the floor to work his BJJ game.

The other problem for Maia is Anderson Silva himself.  The gap between Silva and Maia on the floor is narrow compared to the gap between the two standing.  Maia cannot afford to spend any more time vertically than he needs to.

People like to question Silva's takedown defense.  I've defended it in the past, and I'll defend it again.  His takedown defense is fine.  He runs into "trouble" because he has no fear being on his back.  Consequently, he opens up his striking game and puts himself in positions where his opponent can take him down.

That said, his takedown defense isn't at, say, B.J. Penn's level, so there's at least a reasonable notion that Maia can take this fight to the ground.  If it gets to the ground, Silva's BJJ is good enough to keep Maia at bay, but...let's just say long limbs and a BJJ wizard are not a good mix.

Not that anyone reading this would have the balls to lay the chalk anyway (and wait 'til you read my Penn/Edgar writeup!), but I'm staying away from this fight.  I don't see how Maia can get it to the ground with enough consistency or volume to really threaten Anderson.  Save your money and root against this ending up as Silva/Leites II.



B.J. Penn

#1 Lightweight
UFC LW Champ
Former UFC WW Champ


Frank Edgar

#7 Lightweight

-775 (BOOK) 89% Best Line +600 (DOG) 14%
31 Age 28
5'9" Height 5'6"
15 - 5 - 1 Record 12 - 1 - 0
6 / 6 TKO / SUB 2 / 3
BJ Penn's MMA Camp Renzo Gracie Combat Team
W - Sanchez (TKO)
W - Florian (SUB)
L - St-Pierre (TKO)
Last Three W - Veach (SUB)
W - Sherk (UD)
W - Franca (UD)

Frankie Edgar is a good fighter.  B.J. Penn is a legendary fighter.

Everything Edgar does well, Penn does better or nullifies.  Boxing, wrestling, jiu jitsu, whatever.  Frank Edgar, as much as I like him, has zero to offer Penn in this fight.

Let's break this down into a math problem.  At the best currently available line, B.J. Penn must win 88.6% of the time for us to break even.  Edgar's best chance of victory occurs if Penn comes down with a freak injury - torn ACL, bad cut, etc.  According to my database, a combination of "cut", "injury", or "doctor's stoppage" was the result of 44 of 1224 fights - or 3.5%.  Now, we musn't forget that a fighter could be injured that leads to a more traditional stoppage (or decision).  We also musn't ignore that in addition to his elusiveness, Penn has notoriously tough skin.

For simplicity's sake, let's just stick with the 3.5% number.  That leaves us with roughly 8% of fight permutations Edgar needs to win in order to make Penn a bad bet.  That's almost 1 in 10 fights Edgar has to win to move this into the land of Negative Expected Value.  Frankly, I just don't see it.

Edgar's small for the weight class, he doesn't have one strike KO power, and the idea of him submitting Penn is laughable.  A half-kelly bet giving Penn a 95% chance of winning would have you betting 30% of your bankroll.  I know most people would scoff at the notion, and I'm not going to publically recommend you lay that much, but I do think that's a fairly accurate assessment of the fight.

Follow me.  Follow me to bridge jumping.


Matt Hughes

#8 Welterweight
Former UFC WW Champ


Renzo Gracie


-360 (DOG) 78% Best Line +340 (5D) 23%
36 Age 43
5'9" Height 5'10"
43 - 7 - 0 Record 13 - 6 - 1, 1 NC
15 / 18 TKO / SUB 1 / 8
HIT Squad Camp Renzo Gracie Combat Team
W - Serra (UD)
L - Alves (TKO)
L - St-Pierre (SUB)
Last Three W - Shamrock (DQ)
W - Newton (SD)
W - Miletich (SUB)

Avenging his cousin's failure and being the bridge between East and West, Renzo Gracie would be a huge favorite if this was a made-for-TV movie.  Unfortunately this is real life, and the facts do not bode well for him.

Let's start from the top.  Renzo Gracie has not fought in three years.  It's hard enough for a guy like Ricardo Almeida to come back after that long a layoff, and he's only 33.  Renzo is 43.

Renzo Gracie last beat Frank Shamrock.  It's a DQ win, but Gracie controlled the entire fight.  What does that win mean when Frank went 1-2 beating Phil Baroni and losing to Cung Le and Nick Diaz? 

Even if we assert Gracie with some sort of edge in the standup (and I think that's a bold assertion), Hughes's wrestling and top game absolutely dominates this fight.  Hughes doesn't get nearly enough credit for his grappling as he should.  He's very, very competent on the floor.

This fight is going to be vintage Hughes - takedowns and ground 'n' pound.  It's going to be fun seeing Renzo back fighting, but this will end in similar one-sided fashion that the first Hughes/Gracie fight.  I like a nice big play on Hughes on anything under -450.

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