Saturday is the big night. Randy Couture is returning to the Octagon to fight Antonio Nogueira in a heavyweight fight that would have been OMFG-type monumental five years ago. But let’s not kid ourselves: it’s still pretty goddamn awesome.
Remember back to 2000 when you dreamt about Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera scissoring each other? If that happened now, don’t tell me you wouldn’t watch the shit out of it. Sure, it might not be as life altering as it would have been back then, but it would still be absolutely outstanding. Basically what I’m saying is that Couture and Nog need to scissor each other Saturday night. (No homo.)
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (+150) vs. Randy Couture (-160)
Keith Jardine (-140) vs. Thiago Silva (+130)
Demian Maia (+157) vs. Nate Marquardt (-160)
Brandon Vera (-190) vs. Krzysztof Soszynski (+175)
Chris Leben (-135) vs. Jake Rosholt (+125)
Chris Tuchscherer (+301) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (-345)
Justin McCully (+249) vs. Mike Russow (-260)
Tim Hague (+145) vs. Tom Duffee (-150)
Ed Herman (-130) vs. Aaron Simpson (+119)
Mark Munoz (-200) vs. Nick Catone (+190)
Evan Dunham (+120) vs. Marcus Aurelio (-140)
– Couture-Nogueira is not the type of main event fight you want to throw money on. Couture is the rightful favorite based solely on each combatant’s last performance, but this one is still too close to risk it with this line. If Nogueira was a +200 underdog, he might be worth throwing some money on. But the reality is that Couture is a 46 year old man who, despite his Benjamin Button-like performances as of late, is eventually going to slow down in a very noticeable way. Then we have Nog who is 33 going on 57. The dude has taken more punishment during his career than Artie Lange’s liver. There are too many variables here to make an informed decision as to who to bet on.
– Thiago Silva is a solid underdog investment. It might not be an insane reward but he’s been deemed the underdog in a fight many think he’s going to win via Wanderlei-style beat down. I would venture to say that this line is based more off of Jardine’s name recognition and Thiago’s lack thereof than off of the actual stylistic match-up. Jardine looks impressive when he fights guys who are orthodox strikers or guys who are primarily counterstrikers, but history has shown that he drops like your mother’s panties when he faces fighters who come forward and brawl. (His bouts with a certain plastic surgery enthusiast and a Nebraskan single father both come to mind.)
– My money is on Nate Marquardt to put a beating on Demian Maia. Nate is good enough on the ground to at least survive with Maia to the point where he won’t make stupid mistakes. On the feet, it’s not even close. Marquardt’s striking is getting even more dangerous with every fight while Maia’s stand-up is elementary at best. Could Maia pull off another slick submission and finish Nate? Of course. Is it the likely outcome of this bout? Nope. At -160, Nate is a pretty solid investment if you see him winning this one like I do.
– Vera is rightfully the heavy favorite to put the stamp on K-Sos but his Brett Favre level of inconsistency places a big question mark above his dome-like head. If his recent interviews are any indications, Vera’s head is back in the game. His above-average striking should pose serious problems for the very tough K-Sos, while his ground game should be more than enough to thwart any submission attempts by “The Polish Experiment.” But with near 2-1 odds in his favor, is it enough to warrant putting money down on Vera considering his up and down performances? I don’t think so. But if you feel the need to toss your money around like you’re in the tittie bar and it’s about to close, put some cash on Vera.
– Leben is going to knock Jake Rosholt’s head into Kevin James’ lap. I literally can’t believe the line on this one is so close. I will literally shit in my own pants if Rosholt is able to lay-n-pray for three rounds without getting his face reconstructed. (I’ll probably shit in my pants even if that doesn’t happen as my plan for Saturday is to get shitpants drunk off Guinness and whiskey.)
– At +301, it might be a good idea to throw some money down on “The Tuchsch.” Nothing crazy, just a few dollars. His style relies heavily on top control and ground and pound which is a gameplan he will likely have a lot of trouble implementing on Gonzaga. At the same time, the 17-1 record of the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy product combined with the fact that he has heavyweight hands means his chances for a win against the notoriously inconsistent Gonzaga are much closer than this line would have you believe.
– As for the rest of the card, meh. McCully is so likely to get stomped by Russow that, even as a +249 underdog, he’s not worth betting on. Duffee and Hague is a toss up so no reason to really put action on either guy. Aaron Simpson at first seems like a decent underdog bet as his heavy hands could mean an early night for Ed Herman. But his limited experience means we know to little about him to make a legitimate prediction (so you’re better off staying away). I don’t care at all aboutthe Munoz-Catone fight. As for Aurelio-Dunham, the former Pride fighter’s inconsistent combined with Dunham’s limited exposure means it’s probably too risky to bet on.
– DISCLAIMER: Taking your gambling advice from a 20-something who (1) spends most days walking around the house in his underwear and (2) is notorious for making bad financial decisions is a lot like taking investment advice from a bum who wears an aluminum foil hat. Point is, take everything I’ve said here with a grain of salt. Or however that silly fucking expression goes.