UFC on Fuel TV 8 Takeaways, Betting Recap Mar 4, 2013

This article is courtesy of the newest addition to the MMA Oddsbreaker team, Brad Taschuk. He will primarily being doing editing for the site, but will be contributing the occasional piece as well. His work, when not on MMA Oddsbreaker, can be found at his own blog, tazmma. Here, he takes a look back at this weekend’s UFC on Fuel TV 8 card, his thoughts on the fights and how his personal betting night went.

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Silva StannAlright, there’s going to be an emerging trend in this takeaways article, so I’m going to throw it out there right now. I have re-named “UFC on Fuel TV 8″ as “UFC: What the $#@! Were You Thinking?!” due to the all-around stupidity exhibited on the card from fighters, referees, judges and everyone else involved. I’m not exempt from this epidemic either, so you’ll have some self-effacing quips to look forward to as well.

Overall, UFC: What the $#@! Were You Thinking?! was a very strange card. At one point there was a run of eight consecutive decisions on the card, and I think if you bet the ‘Over’ on each fight on tonight’s card you would have gone either 10 of 11, or a perfect 11 of 11 (I don’t remember if Lim/Guimares O/U was set at 1.5 or 2.5). For any MMA event, nevermind one featuring some of the dynamic finishers this card had, that’s just odd.

Normally on these articles I start from the top and work my way down to the prelims, but this time I’ll be working in reverse, as the ‘What the $#@! Were You Thinking” quotient increased as the night went on.

Hyun Gyu Lim def. Marcelo Guimares via 2nd Round TKO

This fight went mostly according to plan, although Lim has pretty bad striking defence for a fighter who uses his striking as his primary weapon. His takedown defence also leaves something to be desired, as Guimares has some of the worst takedowns we’ve seen in the modern era of the UFC and was still able to put him on his back twice. For Guimares, even though he’ll almost certainly be cut he can take solace in the fact that he’s not going to end his UFC career 0 for a million on takedowns attempts. He’ll be 2 for a million.

Betting Thoughts: I expected Lim to win via KO. However, being his first time in the UFC and not having a great sense of how sturdy Guimares’ chin would be, I only made a small play which ended up cashing. I see to be having some good success betting on the first fight of the evening lately.

Alex Caceres def. Hyung Ko Kang via Split Decision

Alex CaceresAnd the first ‘What the $#@! Were You Thinking’ award of the night goes to… the judges of this fight! Well, two of them actually. Junichiro Kamijo and Charlie Keech both decided that Alex Caceres sort of having mount for six seconds and landing a couple of punches outweighed the bulk of the round which saw Kang exhibit control and pass guard multiple times. It wasn’t the worst decision in the world, but 11 of 12 media scores for the fight as per MMA Decisions, that tells you something. Caceres is a fighter that the UFC desperately wants to be better than he is, but he can’t stop a takedown to save his life, is constantly outmuscled in fights, and just lacks a basic understanding of defensive positional awareness. Kenny Florian was going on and on about how “slick” Caceres was for getting out of bad positions, but even better would be if he didn’t put himself there to begin with. I can only imagine what will happen on the day that the UFC feels Caceres has developed enough to take on a good Bantamweight, because I don’t see that going well for him in the slightest.

Betting Thoughts: I bet the fight to go to decision at -115, and to decision it went. Caceres has only finished the BJJ-allergic Damacio Page since being signed to the UFC, so I knew Kang’s grappling would be good enough to survive. The question I had was whether or not Caceres would put himself in a spot bad enough that he couldn’t get out, so I added Kang ITD to a round robin just to be safe.

Kazuki Tokudome def. Cristiano Marcello via Unanimous Decision

These guys are both limited fighters, and they showed their flaws off nicely in this fight. Tokudome exhibited his terrible striking defence right off the bat as he got hurt badly by Marcello, and did nothing to try to avoid any punches. Marcello showed his own poor striking defence in the third round and he was dropped and looked to be on his way to being stopped, but managed to survive. Basically this fight showed fighters that they don’t need to have any fear of Marcello’s guard, which is going to make it very difficult for him to win fights if he stays in the UFC. The ‘What the $#@! Were You Thinking’ in this fight goes to Marcello, for sitting with a closed guard waiting to… lose a decision? I don’t know what it, but it sure didn’t accomplish anything (unless his goal was in fact to lose a decision).

Betting Thoughts: No bet here. Despite the win, Tokudome has to be considered a fade against anybody with even moderately effective striking in the future. Marcello, if he remains in the UFC can be faded against pretty much anyone now that his guard has been exposed.

Takeya Mizugaki def. Bryan Caraway via Split Decision

Takeya MizugakiThis was a competitive fight, with the second round clearly belonging to Caraway and the third just as clearly going to Mizugaki. The first was a toss up, and while Mizugaki landed the better strikes, Caraway took his back late in the round. The judges obviously favored Mizugaki’s work in the first, and he got the nod. Caraway didn’t look bad in this fight — although he tired greatly in the third round — in fact, his wrestling was very effective and his grappling abilities were stellar as always. If anything, Mizugaki underperformed slightly as his normal takedown defence was non-existent in the early going. Still, he managed to squeak by and finally put an end to his win-one, lose-one streak in Zuffa.

As for the ‘What the $#@! Were You Thinking’ moment of this fight. Miesha Tate. #JustCoast. ‘Nuff said.

Betting Thoughts: Another fight that I bet to go to decision and that cashed with only slight concern. Caraway had a moment on the back in the second round that looked dangerous, and Mizugaki landed some big shots in the third while Caraway was busy coasting away, but overall I was confident in this bet and willing to lay the -150 juice.

Brad Tavares def. Riki Fukuda via Unanimous Decision

This was actually a really good fight, so my ‘What the $#@! Were You Thinking’ award goes to everyone on twitter who was complaining about it. Look, we all knew this fight was going to decision from the moment it was announced, and yes that probably took some of the entertainment value out of it, but Tavares and Fukuda were still going back and forth for the full 15 minutes, striking at a high volume and landing good shots. For two middle-of-the-pack 185ers, I sure enjoyed it.

Tavares is showing some solid improvements to his striking each time out, and as much as I joke about Mike Goldberg saying he has/had the best takedown defence in Middleweight history, he is pretty tough to get to the floor when he’s not throwing lazy kicks. Fukuda seems to have completely stagnated in his career as he’s the exact same high volume grinder type he has been for years prior to coming into the UFC, and now years in the UFC. If you’re watching for possible cuts, he could be one.

Betting Thoughts: I favored Tavares slightly and knew the fight was going to go to decision, so passing on him by decision at +165 irked me a bit, but I didn’t expect the gap between the two fighters to be quite so big. Oh well, live and learn.

Dong Hyun Kim def. Siyar Bahadurzada via Unanimous Decision

Dong Hyun KimThis is the first fight with two ‘What the $#@! Were You Thinking’ awards. The first has to go to Herb Dean for threatening to stand Kim up… FROM MOUNT. The fact that he would even consider that is absolutely atrocious. If you’re able to mount your opponent, you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. For a fighter to have to be concerned about being stood up from that position goes against everything that MMA should be. For some of you out there who enjoy watching old obscure MMA, that’s the sort of hilarious brawl-mongering that happened in RINGS Holland back around the turn of the millennium, not something that exists in any sort of respectable modern MMA organization.

As for the actual fight, Kim is a far superior grappler than Bahadurzada, and that showed for basically the duration of the fight. He took Siyar down, got dominant positions and won the fight with ease. Also, those knees to the body he was landing while trying to lock in the arm triangle were things of beauty. I can’t say I’ve ever seen knees to the body used in that fashion before, and I loved it.

Betting Thoughts: The second ‘What the $#@! Were You Thinking’ goes to everyone who brought Kim back down from a -300 favorite to a -170 favourite by fight time. Thanks for the free money.

Rani Yahya def. Mizuto Hirota via Unanimous Decision

The ‘What the $#@! Were You Thinking’ is strong with Hirota. He showed in the third round that he was capable of stuffing Yahya’s takedowns and forcing a stand up fight, but refused to do it at any point during the first two rounds. Obviously Yahya’s fatigue played some part in that shifting dynamic, but we have seen Hirota stuff the takedowns of bigger, better wrestlers, so that wasn’t the only factor. Furthermore, despite knowing he needed a finish to win, after stuffing those takedowns — and with an obviously tired Yahya in front of him — what does Hirota decide to do? Well, grapple with Yahya of course. He even tried to submit him from his back at one point. Oh, Mizuto.

For Yahya’s part, his grappling has always been something special, but his wrestling has really come along in the past few years. We really saw it when he outwrestled Mike Brown back in January 2011, but his ability to chain takedowns together is quite fun to watch as long as his cardio holds up. He’s going to be a tough out for all but those with the very best takedown defence at 145.

Betting Thoughts: No money on this fight, which is good since it likely would have been on Hirota.

Yushin Okami def. Hector Lombard via Split Decision

Yushin OkamiNow we’re getting heavy into the ‘What the $#@! Were You Thinking’ part of the card. In this fight, you can apply that term to Lombard, whichever judge actually scored the fight for Lombard, and me for betting against Yushin Okami.

Hector Lombard surprised me with his lack of takedown defence in this fight. Really surprised me. I expected that Okami might be able to grind him out against the cage, but I didn’t think that Okami would take him down with such ease. When Okami was holding a single, Lombard did nothing to work out of the position, he basically just waited to be taken down whenever Okami felt like finishing it. That alone was bad enough, but then when you look at the third round, where Okami was having some nightmarish flashbacks to his UFC 144 fight with Tim Boetsch, Lombard really trumped himself. After hurting Okami badly and having him stumbling around like a drunk, Lombard just settled into Okami’s guard and rested. I understand that he was tired at that point, but he had one shot to win the fight at that point, and it was to finish Okami. There was no reason for Lombard to engage on the ground unless he knew he could finish the fight.

As far as the judging goes, that was about as clear a 29-28 as you can get. Okami easily won the first two rounds, and Lombard obviously won the third. How anyone could score that any differently is beyond me. I just wish I had the name of that judge to go along with this nice, big ‘What the $#@! Were You Thinking’ I’ve got for him.

Betting Thoughts: Why would I bet against Yushin Okami? What was I thinking? As I tweeted during the event, everyone knows Okami is Jon Fitch v1.85, and yet I picked the fighter who still doesn’t have any quality wins to beat one of the most established fighters in MMA. At least I could see the impending folly of my ways and included Okami via Decision in my round robin at a juicy +320.

Diego Sanchez def. Takanori Gomi via Split Decision

Barry Foley and Chris Watts, this ‘What the $#@! Were You Thinking’ goes out to you. Despite Gomi landing more strikes, landing harder strikes and controlling the pace and place of the fight, you both saw it fit to give Diego Sanchez both the first and second rounds which further cemented him as Leonard Garcia’s replacement as UFC fighter most likely to win an undeserved decision. Personally, I scored all three rounds for Gomi, with the second round being debateable. Looking at the media scores on the fight via MMA Decisions, not a single media member had the fight scored for Diego Sanchez. Not one.

Gomi looked measured out there, using his jab to set up ripping body shots that had a visible effect and opened up Diego’s head for his trademark winging hooks. In return, Sanchez circled away constantly, landed the occasional kick to the body, and looked bad on most of his takedown attempts. I’m just not sure what the judges saw in that fight that had them thinking Sanchez won.

Betting Thoughts: I bet Gomi via Decision. It was +373. I should have won. I didn’t. These things happen in MMA sometimes way too often. Moving on.

Mark Hunt def. Stefan Struve via 3rd Round TKO

I wonder if Stefan Struve got the Seth Petruzelli proposition before this fight. It’s the only explanation for him standing in front of Mark Hunt when as he showed on a couple of different occasions he could drag the fight to the ground and do whatever he felt like. In the first round, Struve pulled guard and swept Hunt with ease. From mount, he landed some good shots, and then half-assed an armbar that resulted in him being put on his back. In the second round, there was a “scramble” where once again Struve found himself in mount landing hard shots on Hunt, and once again gave up position to go for an embarrassingly bad armbar, even by Heavyweight MMA standards. Finally, in the third round he just stood there and let Hunt punch him in the head and body until his face broke. Stefan Struve, ‘What the $#@! Were You Thinking?!’

Hunt StruveAs for the man who may be on the most unlikely four-fight winning streak in UFC history, it’s almost impossible not to like Mark Hunt. He really seems like he just doesn’t give a crap out there. He wants to throw some hays, and if he gets the knockout, he gets the knockout. If he doesn’t, he’s going to get tired and throw some more. Despite a very limited ground game, he doesn’t shy away from going to the ground, even when he should. Hunt’s insistence on sitting in Struve’s guard should have gotten him submitted, but somehow it didn’t, and now the rally for Mark Hunt is going to start up again. I still find it incredibly hard to picture Hunt having success against anybody ranked above him in the UFC, but I also thought Struve would be able to submit him easily, and look how that turned out.

Betting Thoughts: I played Struve by submission straight, but anyone with some common sense knew that Hunt winning by TKO or KO was just as realistic a possibility. So again to be safe, I added that prop to my round robin. Coupled with Okami by Decision, that portion of the round robin paid out just under +1200, and the round robin as a whole cashed at +200.

Wanderlei Silva def. Brian Stann via 2nd Round KO

My final ‘What the $#@! Were You Thinking’ of the evening goes to myself, as karma swiftly kicked me in the ass for both predicting and being willing to profit on bad things happening to Wanderlei Silva. With him being back at 205, the fight being in Japan, the fight taking place during the day in Japan, and the overall weirdness of the card, Stann winning by KO couldn’t have happened as easily as I thought it would. And it didn’t.

Even after being rocking multiple times in the first round, it seemed like Wanderlei was rejuvenated by the extra weight he was carrying as he popped back to his feet and kept swinging, reminiscent of his old Pride performances. As the tables started to turn, and Stann was literally sent flying by a Silva right hand at one point in the first round, you could almost feel that Wanderlei was going to pull off something amazing.

That he did, as a vicious right hand followed by a swarm of punches put Stann to sleep in the second round, and the only thing missing was a soccer kick or two for good measure. Dare I say it? Pride Never Die.

Betting Thoughts: I was exceedingly confident in Stann. Too confident, obviously. Perhaps he’s just not as good a fit at 205, perhaps the commentating duties have started to get in the way of his training, or perhaps he just got smoked out by a legend having one last resurgent performance. No matter why it happened, I’m glad I did well earlier on the card, because this fight sent me crashing back down to earth with a meagre 0.15 unit profit for the evening.

Written by MMAOB Staff

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