Back in the day when America was free and you could bet on fights online, I used to run a column for BetUS called ‘The Underdog’s Guide to UFC Fight Night 69’ or whatever that month’s particular event was. Basically, I’m a sucker for a long shot with some sweet odds attached, and I shared my uneducated enthusiasm for questionable betting with the world on a regular basis. Today I return with another edition, but with a little twist: I’m sitting in a casino in Reno Nevada and am actually putting my money where my mouth is. My much smarter buddy Damon once told me the best way to make money gambling on fights is off small edges on favorites. Let’s ignore that advice and get crazy with the underdogs!
Ryan Bader @ +350: While I am fully expecting Glover Teixeira to pin Ryan Bader against the fence and concuss him with short hard shots to the head, I have also learned to expect the unexpected in MMA. Especially when an upset fucks everything up. Teixeira is widely considered to be the next great 205 pounder, but that ignores the fact that he hasn’t actually faced any top 10 fighters in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. Relying on a guy who lost to Tito Ortiz to bust Glover’s hype bubble doesn’t seem like a great idea, but that didn’t stop me from throwing 30 bucks down on Bader just in case he comes in peaking and motivated against an overconfident Teixeira who also has the stresses of headlining his hometown coming out party.
Yushin Okami @ +210: Money aside, I actually want Teixeira to win – the UFC is more interesting with him rising up to give Jon Jones a challenge. It’s the same with Jacare Souza: he’s a much more entertaining fighter to watch than Yushin Okami and I’d rather see him climb up the middleweight ladder than get knocked down by the Japanese grinder. But my stylistic preferences didn’t stop Okami from beating Hector Lombard, Alan Belcher, Nate Marquardt, and Mark Munoz amongst others. Okami has basically made a career of decisioning more exciting and dynamic fighters and tonight I’m going to use that to my advantage to make money. I put 80 bucks on Okami stifling Jacare for three rounds and winning one of his patented frustrating split decisions. And if he doesn’t, I won’t even be mad because yo, I love all that alligator shit Jacare does when he emerges victorious. Win / win!
Tor Troeng @ +220: Tor didn’t exactly look amazing on his season of The Ultimate Fighter and has lost most of his fights against name opposition. Rafael Natal is also coming into this event as the main local draw with several martial arts schools and literally hundreds of students under his tutelige. So you know he’s going to show up with some serious fire in his belly to win. Still, there’s not too much of an obvious skill disparity between the two fighters which is more than you can say for the other main card fights like Benavidez vs Formiga and Trinaldo vs Hallman. It’s very possible for Troeng to take this one. Not possible enough for me to put money on it, but still.