Didn’t win the Mega Millions jackpot this past Tuesday? Well neither did I, and I’ve decided a better use of my time and money would be spent on MMA predictions rather than matching random numbers. The payout may not be a life-changing $1.6 billion, but it’s a hell of a lot more entertaining and the odds of hitting have got to be better than 1 in 302 million.
After all, why buy a $10 scratch-off that lasts a minute when you can put $10 down on a couple of fights that captivate you all night?
Now I’m no Vegas Dave, and I don’t have the bankroll or track record to pretend that I am, but that’s the beauty of parlays—you can put down very little money and if everything hits, you can make five to ten times your initial investment. With this in mind, I’ve decided to start a tradition of placing some multi-fight bets for the rest of the year to see if I can’t make a few bucks.
Disclaimer and the Rules
Just in case the above paragraph didn’t give you a hint, let me spell this out for you in the disclaimer—THIS ARTICLE IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY, MOSTLY THE ENTERTAINMENT OF YOU LAUGHING AT MY LOST MONEY AS THIS SERIES CONTINUES. I AM NOT QUALIFIED TO GIVE ANY BETTING ADVICE WHATSOEVER, SO PLACE BETS AT YOUR OWN RISK. AS ALWAYS DON’T BET MORE THAN YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE.
Since that’s out of the way, here are the rules:
- All bets must be parlays of 3 or more fights
- Bets must be at least $5 and not to exceed $20
- Payouts must be at least 5x the original investment (i.e. $5 bet means a payout of $25, etc.)
Got it? Good. On to the picks for UFC Fight Night: Volkan vs. Smith
Volkan Oezdemir (-185)
Although Anthony Smith’s rise at 205 lbs. has been somewhat meteoric, that’s more of a reflection on the light heavyweight division than it is on Smith’s abilities as a fighter. Don’t get me wrong, “Lionheart” is certainly talented, but knocking out two legends significantly past their prime doesn’t exactly translate into being a world beater, especially after Smith suffered a brutal TKO loss to Thiago Santos eight months ago.
It’s true that setback was at a lower weight class, but it’s still relevant considering Smith is going up against a vicious knockout artist in Volkan Oezdemir. After a lacklustre debut against Ovince St. Preux, “No Time” dispatched of two dangerous contenders in Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa both in under a minute before losing to the champ Daniel Cormier, overwhelmed by DC’s wrestling ability.
Even though Smith is on a hot streak, his striking defense eight months ago was atrocious, and I can’t believe it’s improved that much since then. That’s a death sentence against a guy like “No Time”, so I’m going with Oezdemir to derail the hype train.
Jonathan Martinez (+140)
Jonathan “Dragon” Martinez makes his debut this Saturday, fighting out of Plainview, Texas. Holding a record of 9-1 with his only loss coming via disqualification against UFC vet Matt Schnell, he’s assembled an impressive resume on the regional scene that includes five KO/TKO wins and two submission victories.
His opponent Andre Soukhamthath has struggled on the world’s largest martial arts stage. Going 1-3 in the UFC, his most recent loss against rising star Sean O’Malley was particularly egregious, with the “Asian Sensation” taking the fight to the ground in the final round when O’Malley could barely stand on an injured foot. This led to O’Malley winning a unanimous decision when Soukhamthath could have easily won by KO/TKO had he just made “Suga show” try to walk across the cage to fight him.
On paper, this is a tough matchup for Martinez. Soukhamthath should have the advantage on the feet and in the wrestling department. That being said, Soukhamthath has demonstrated awful fight I.Q. in his previous matchups. He also had trouble checking leg kicks. These to factors should both give him trouble against “Dragon”. Martinez is dangerous off his back and loves to throw his left leg like it’s a jab. I think the newbie gets it done in no small part to Soukhamthath making crucial mistakes.
Stevie Ray (-155)
Stevie Ray finds himself on a two-fight skid coming into this matchup. However, his last fight against Kajan Johnson was a close split-decision loss that arguably could have gone his way. While his style isn’t the most exciting, he has solid standup fundamentals. Ray is also a threat on the ground as shown by his split of six KO/TKO wins and eight submission victories.
Jessin Ayari will be fighting for the first time in a year and a half. His last fight was a unanimous decision loss to welterweight standout Darren Till. He’ll be dropping down in weight to 155 lbs. for this bout. Though his two UFC bouts have both gone the distance, he has eight submission victories prior to joining the organization.
The chances of this fight being a snooze fest are extremely high, but Stevie Ray’s value here is clear. The long layoff and weight class change for Ayari has a good chance of negatively affecting him. Ray’s solid ground game should also fend off any threats the German grappler throws. Ray should take this by decision no problem.
What’s on the Line
For these three I’m going to go with an upper limit bet of $20. This means I have a shot at $101.65 in a three-fight parlay.
Check back next week for my UFC 230 picks. You will also see if I managed to get off to a good start to this series.
Have a better parlay than me? Think my analysis is garbage? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Main Photo: ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – SEPTEMBER 01: Danish heavyweight Volkan Oezdemir interacts with fans during a Q&A session before the UFC Fight Night Weigh-in at the Rotterdam Ahoy on September 1, 2017 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)