Full TUF 18 Finale Opening Betting Odds

TUF 18 FinaleThis Saturday the UFC will wrap up the 18th season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ as the first ever women’s ultimate fighter will be crowned, along with a champion from the 8-man men’s bracket. The card will also feature previous TUF winner Nate Diaz taking on Gray Maynard in what is being billed as a trilogy fight between the two. Unlike past seasons of the show, only 8 of the 16 cast members will be competing on the finale card (six women and the two men), as the men’s bracket this season was particularly disappointing. Joining the current and former cast members on the card are a pair of featherweight bouts, as Rani Yahya takes on top Finnish fighter Tom Niinimaki, while Maximo Blanco and Akira Corassani look to build off their recent wins. Sean Spencer looks for his second consecutive UFC victory over Drew Dober, who makes his first official UFC appearance. The debuts continue as Jared Rosholt and Walt Harris will also square off in the heavyweight division, while Ryan Benoit and Josh Sampo add some more depth to the flyweight class. Lines have already been released for many of these bouts, but today MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas added the final two bouts at Several Bookmakers. The women’s final between Julianna Pena and Jessica Rakoczy, and a bout between Raquel Pennington and Roxanne Modafferi. Check them out: ——————– Nate Diaz -140 Gray Maynard +100 TUF 18 Women’s Tournament Final Julianna Pena -305 Jessica Racozky +225 TUF 18 Men’s Tournament Final Chris Holdsworth -265 Davey Grant +185 Jessamyn Duke -170 Peggy Morgan +130 Raquel Pennington -230 Roxanne Modafferi +170 Rani Yahya -170 Tom Niinimaki +130 Maximo Blanco -270 Akira Corassani +190 Jared Rosholt -230 Walt Harris +170 Sean Spencer -300 Drew Dober +220 Josh Sampo -125 Ryan Benoit -115 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: I find each of the new lines interesting in their own way. The men’s final seems like it’s Chris Holdworth’s to win, but Davey Grant matches him almost skill for skill. The Team Alpha Male product does seem to have a slight edge on the ground and a reach advantage he can put to use, but this fight is definitely closer than public perception would have you believe. Also, take into account that underdogs have gone a whopping 10-6 in the season finales of domestic TUF seasons dating back to TUF 5. I see the Duke/Morgan fight as a dog or pass situation. I can’t justify laying any sort of juice on an unestablished — albeit skilled — fighter like Jessamyn Duke, especially when she is fighting a dangerous striker like Peggy Morgan who is a tricky match up. Finally, the flyweight debuts of Ryan Benoit and Josh Sampo should prove to be entertaining and competitive. Sampo is fairly well-rounded, but likes to rely on his grappling and top position game to win fights. Benoit is a very aggressive striker who looks for the knockout with every punch. He backs that up with a decent wrestling and scrambling game. While Benoit has an advantage on the feet, Sampo has the edge in cardio. If it ends early it will be in Benoit’s favor, while Sampo has a better chance to win a decision. Personally, I favor the aggressiveness and stopping power of Benoit, but would only be looking to bet him if he moves to plus money. Update: I’m not going to claim to have a ton of confidence in either of the female fights that round out the card. In the tournament finale, all Jessica Rakoczy has to do is improve her movement and takedown defence and she can beat Julianna Pena. However, if they are the same fighters we saw on the show, Pena should be able to win handily. That’s always the tricky part about these TUF cards, for many of the fighters this marks the first full training camp they’ve had with a top gym, and we see rapid improvement out of fighters who may not have been that impressive on the show. The other fight is only tricky because Raquel Pennington can be an enigma of sorts. I see this as another one of those new-school vs. old-school fights in the female division, where as likable as she may be, Roxanne Modafferi simply doesn’t have the physical tools to compete at the highest levels of women’s MMA anymore. That being said, if Pennington comes out and does nothing, like in her semifinal fight which aired on Fox Sports 1 Wednesday night, she could lose a decision that way. Much will probably be made of Modafferi having the grappling advantage, but she has never submitted a high-level opponent in MMA, so that doesn’t concern me greatly. Unless lines get way out of hand, both of these fights are a pass for me.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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