UFC Fight Night 34 Opening Betting Odds

UFC Fight Night 34The first UFC event of 2014 will also mark the first event to be aired live via the organization’s new ‘Fight Pass’ website. One of the biggest criticisms of the new platform has been that the quality of fight cards airing on it may not be worth paying for, but luckily with the two-month free trial in place that’s a bridge fans don’t have to cross quite yet. For the UFC’s first trip to Singapore they’ve brought in a plethora of new faces, as 13 fighters will be making their UFC debut on this card, which has to be in contention with some of the recent Brazilian cards for the most in recent UFC history. Two men recognizable to fight fans will be headlining the bout, while names like Tatusya Kawjiri and Katsunori Kikuno make their long-overdue UFC debuts on this event as well. The main event between Tarec Saffiedine and Hyun Gyu Lim already has a betting line, as the former Strikeforce champion currently sits as a -230 favorite (bet $230 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers. The aforementioned Kawajiri — who is undefeated since dropping to Featherweight, but also did not compete at all in 2013 — is a -215 favorite over Blackzilian prospect Sean Soriano (+165). Today, MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the remaining betting lines for UFC Fight Night 34 at Several Bookmakers. Take a look: ——————– MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 9am ET) Tarec Saffiedine -175 Hyun Gyu Lim +135 Tatsuya Kawajiri -210 Sean Soriano +160 Luiz Dutra -180 Kiichi Kunimoto +140 Kyung Ho Kang -210 Shunichi Shimizu +160 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6am ET) Max Holloway -245 Will Chope +175 Katsunori Kikuno -190 Quinn Mulhern +150 Dave Galera -160 Royston Wee +120 Mairbek Taisumov -305 Tae Hyun Bang +225 Dustin Kimura -315 Jon Delos Reyes +235 Leandro Issa -215 Russell Doane +165 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: As always, these cards with so many unknowns are incredibly tricky to bet, so tread carefully here. When I first heard about Luiz Dutra, he was basically just a guy who had supposedly decent hands (by MMA standards), and not much else. When he resurfaced on TUF Brazil 2, he had made some nice strides in his grappling game, and at this point I think he holds almost every advantage against Kiichi Kunimoto. Of course, being each fighter’s UFC debut it will be interesting to see how they do on the big stage, so I wouldn’t go all in on Dutra, but I do expect him to find success here. And Dutra’s boxing isn’t very good at all, but I still give him the edge there. Shunichi Shimizu is an exciting grappler, and while he’s not quite on the same level as a Shinya Aoki or Masakzu Imanari, he’s quite dangerous on the ground. The problem is that he’s almost all offense. His defensive grappling leaves something to be desired, and against a bigger opponent who is also a stalwart grappler in Kang, this just isn’t a good style matchup for Shimizu. Kang doesn’t have the best cardio in the world, so that may be something Shimizu can exploit if he drags this one deep, but I expect him to need a finish which he is unlikely to find, as he will be losing rounds along the way. There seems to be a fair amount of interest in Will Chope, and being a 6’4″ featherweight with an 18-1 record in his past 19 fights, I was intrigued as well. He does some things well. His clinch work is good, as is his top position grappling (especially transitioning from the mount to the back). However, against Max Holloway, I don’t expect things to go well. Chope doesn’t control distance well despite his height, puts his head down and reaches for the clinch, and doesn’t have great wrestling. To me that seems like a recipe for Holloway to box him up on the feet and use his improved takedown defense to keep the fight there. Kikuno and Mulhern is a strange fight, mainly because Kikuno is a strange fighter. The use of his karate base is unlike any other in the sport, and he’s also improved his grappling over the years. That last part is the key. Mulhern is the better grappler here, but it’s going to be difficult for him to get that part of his game going early in this fight. Still, Kikuno has a very low output on the feet, so he doesn’t distance himself from opponents and is at risk of being in controversial decisions. If he doesn’t stop Mulhern this could get dicey with Quinn’s higher output and Kikuno’s tendency to fade in fights. Unless you’ve been able to glean more from the horrible excuses for tape that are available on Royston Wee and Dave Galera, you should probably stay away. Wee is 2-0 and hasn’t fought since 2011, and Galera is 5-0 against very questionable opposition. I actually give a slight edge to Wee, as he has better positional grappling, while Galera can put himself in bad spots. Galera is the bigger fighter with the more impressive record, and seems to have more public hype though. However unless one of these guys turns into something nearing a +200 underdog, I can’t see much value here. Taisumov seems to be a well-rounded prospect coming out of Russia, while Bang has been around for a very long time on the Korean scene, and has historically stumbled whenever he’s stepped up in competition. I see Taisumov using his superior grappling to secure a submission in this one, but even if it stays on the feet I think he will actually outpoint Bang there as well. In the battle of the two little American islands, I think that Dustin Kimura has edges almost everywhere. Don’t let his loss last time out fool you, as Mitch Gagnon is a superb grappler, especially early in bouts. This is a huge step up in competition for Reyes, and he’s coming off a 16-month absence from active competition to make his UFC debut, a couple of red flags when it comes to betting a fighter. Another fight that I’m probably going to be staying away from is the opening bout of the evening between Russell Doane and Leandro Issa, although Doane is tempting if he becomes a bigger dog. The way these fighters match up has an easy path to victory for each. Doane could knock Issa out, or he could get submitted. Perhaps this fight ending inside the distance would be a safer way to go here, but the more likely scenario is Issa getting it to the ground and finding success.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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