UFC 214 Breakdown

 

Jimi Manuwa (-185) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (+150)

In most lines of work, 28 is considered a young age. In Mixed Martial Arts, it means you’re on the back nine of your career. Jimi Manuwa started training striking back in 2007, at the ripe old age of 28. Now 37, Manuwa is 17-2, and has launched himself firmly into title contention in the weak Light-Heavyweight division.

 

Since being signed in 2012, Manuwa has a record of 6-2, with his only losses coming to primetime opponents like Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, and Alexander Gustafsson (his best friend and training partner). Manuwa has made a name for himself inside the UFC with his incredible striking power, finishing five of his eight UFC opponents before the third round.

 

Volkan Oezdemir is not a household name, but it’s no fault of his own. The 27 year old Swiss-Smasher (he doesn’t have a nickname, so we will go with this) holds a 14-1 record with impressive wins over Ovince St. Preux and Misha Cirkunov.

 

While Oezdemir has never been finished, he’s also never faced anyone with the striking power of Jimi Manuwa. Both men rely heavily on their striking, and if that’s the case in this fight, then the Poster Boy will likely outclass him.

 

Gustafsson has said that he will not fight Manuwa at any point in the future, so things could get interesting in the LHW division after this fight, with Rumble gone and Jones and DC likely on the shelf for a few months while a new number one contender is established.

 

Best Bet: Manuwa – -185 is not great value, but neither is Oezdemir at +150. Manuwa is the best bet here.

 

Bonus Bet: O/U 1.5 Rounds – Over. Oezdemir is going to look to try Manuwa’s cardio in this fight. Expect a lot of defensive fighting and head bobbing before the fireworks.

 

Robbie Lawler (-160) vs. Donald Cerrone (+130)

Looking at the Welterweight division, this is the fight that the fans wanted, and needed. After Tyron Woodley defended his title by way of a draw against Steven Thompson last November, we all clamored for the rematch, leaving Ruthless Robbie on the shelf for another six months (which he needed after his knockout loss last July). Woodley and Wonderboy 2 was closer to an episode of dancing with the stars than a title fight. Both men circled around the octagon for 25 minutes and stole our $60.

 

Chael Sonnen used to say that he was the Gangster Weight Champion. Meaning that he would fight anyone, at any weight, at any time. That title is now held by Cowboy Cerrone, who has fought 4 times (in two different weight classes) since we last saw Robbie Lawler.

 

The former champion Lawler is known for dragging people into the depths of hell inside the octagon. Before his first round (*cough* fluke *cough*) loss to Tyron Woodley last March, Lawler had reached the final round in his last 7 fights, and ended Rory MacDonald’s UFC career with the best fight in UFC history.

 

While the people love Cowboy, we need not forget how brutal Robbie Lawler is. Even at -160, Robbie has value in this fight. He took the time off that he needed after being KO’d, and will come back better for it. Cowboy was knocked out earlier this year, and has suffered multiple injuries in training. Although he’s looked outstanding at 170, he’s not going to find a way to get out of this one.

 

Best Bet: Robbie Lawler – Rarely are you going to find a guy coming off of a title fight at a value like -160. He is head and shoulders the better fighter, and he is well-rested without any training camp injuries to speak of. He’s also been in the division for a lot longer than Cerrone, and if it comes down to cardio, he isn’t going to be beat.

 

Bonus Bet: Robbie Lawler, finish inside 3 rounds: Yes. Donald has been tagged by both Matt Brown and Jorge Masvidal in the last few months. That doesn’t spell well for a fight with the former champion. He is still going to push the pace, but that’s not going to work out well against someone who can push right back. Robbie outclasses him, and finishes him via TKO stoppage.

 

Cristiane Justino (-1100) vs. Tonya Evinger (+650)

Cyborg Smash.

ufc 214 breakdown

For those who have followed the career of Cris Cyborg, you’ll know that she has been at the center of attention for her use of performance enhancers. For those who don’t know her, you may have heard of her because Ronda Rousey refused to fight her on multiple occasions (good decision, Ronda). Either way, you’ll know her after Saturday night when she crushes Evinger’s face on Pay Per View. There isn’t much more analysis that I can give on this fight. Cyborg is a freak, the best women’s fighter on earth, and she will continue to destroy anyone that is put in front of her. Germaine De Randamie decided to just drop her belt instead of fighting her.

 

The only value in this fight will be betting on Evinger getting out of the first round (something only one of Cyborg’s last five opponents have managed to do).

 

Best Bet: Most betting sites are going to allow you to place prop bets. If your site allows you to do this, it’s the only reason that you should bet on this fight. Cyborg is going to destroy Evinger, and -1100 represents 0 value. Betting on the fight to make it out of one round, however, will give you some good value in most Cyborg fights, due to her high finish rate.

 

Tyron Woodley (-205) vs. Damien Maia (+165)

Damien Maia has had such an interesting career. He is the best Ju-Jitsu player inside the UFC, and (with respect to the Gracie’s) possibly one of the best ever at the sport.

 

For years, Maia was convinced that he was a boxer, which led to an awkward win-one-lose-one stage of his career where his place in the UFC was not clearly defined. After his loss to Rory MacDonald in 2014, Maia decided that he was going to use his Ju-Jitsu as his primary weapon, and his whole career changed. He’s won his last 7 fights, and has finished great opponents like Neil Magney, Matt Brown and Carlos Condit in that time span.

 

Maia’s game plan is very clear. He is going to take you down, get your back, and choke you until you go to sleep or until the bell dings and you’re sitting in the corner sore and pissed off that you couldn’t hit him.

 

Woodley has had a weird run as champion. He won the belt with an impressive knockout of Robbie Lawler, but has had two very underwhelming title defenses against Wonderboy Thompson since then.

 

The most important aspect of this fight is going to be Woodley’s takedown defense. If he can manage to keep Maia standing, it will almost surely be a short night for Damien. However, if he gets taken down, it’s going to be a long night for Tyron.

 

This fight, much like his last one, is going to be a snoozer. Although Tyron is an elite wrestler, he knows the danger of being taken down against Maia. It’s the battle of someone who doesn’t get hit vs. someone who doesn’t throw a lot of punches. Take your bathroom breaks here, because what’s next is going to be fun.

 

Best Bet: Damien Maia – He’s the legitimate number one contender, and might be the better fighter. +165 is good value here, so bet Maia.

Bonus Bet: Over/Under 2.5 Rounds – Over. Maia is going to try and enforce his ground game at every point of this fight. Unless Tyron can land a quick flurry and finish him, this fight is going to a decision.

 

Jon Jones (-260) vs. Daniel Cormier (+200)

I won’t believe it until it happens, but it feels like this fight is actually going to happen this time. The most heated rivalry since Chael vs. Brazil finally gets it’s second chapter on Saturday night.

 

Rarely do you see the champion as a +200 underdog, but that shows how great the respect is for Jon Jones. Jones is not a traditional Martial Artist, he’s his own thing. He can tap out the best black belts, knock out the best boxers, and take down the best wrestlers (as he proved in his first fight with DC).

 

Cormier is more motivated than he has ever been leading into this fight. Instead of trying to win over the hearts of fans as he has for years, Cormier has gone full heel and I love it. His Twitter, Instagram and probably diary are full of slights to Jon Jones and his troubles outside of the octagon.

 

The reason that the fans have never been able to embrace DC is because he never beat Jon. He got murked inside the octagon, and he got murked at their press conference leading up to the second fight that never happened.

 

But this is not the same DC that fought Jonny Bones nearly three years ago. This is champion DC. This is the champion DC that has finished Rumble twice and defeated Silva and Gustafsson since he last fought Jon Jones. Don’t let his shape fool you, Cormier has some of the best cardio in the Light Heavyweight division, and his stand up game has improved significantly over the years. He was able to avoid a barrage of punches in his last fight against Rumble, and take him down to submit him.

 

We are going to see tempers flare, sparks fly, and no hugs at the end of this fight. While I believe Jon Jones is the better fighter, and possibly the best fighter we’ve ever seen, I don’t think he’s necessarily a lock to win this one. Jones has spent much of the last year doing heavy lifting, and there’s no way of telling what that’s going to do to his cardio. He’s going to be able to take DC down, and he’s going to be win the grappling and striking exchanges, but the question is whether or not he can do it for five rounds.

 

Best Bet – Cormier: While I’m not sure that he’s going to win, +200 is great value for DC in this fight. Don’t be including him in any parlay’s, but if you’re betting straight up then DC is the best bet.

 

Bonus Bet – Over/Under 4 Rounds: Over. Both men have iron jaws, and neither have ever been finished. This one is likely to end in a decision.

 

 

Lock of the night – Cyborg

Underdog bet – Maia

Best Value – Cormier

Main Card Parlay – Manuwa, Lawler, Cyborg, Maia, Jones

 

 

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