MFC 39 Opening Betting Odds and Preview

MFC 39For the first time in 2014, AXS TV fights returns to the regional MMA scene to bring fans some Friday night entertainment. This particular card heads north of the border for MFC 39. The card is headlined by two title fights in the heavyweight and lightweight divisions. Following up his stirring knockout of prospect Smealinho Rama which earned him the heavyweight title, Anthony Hamilton looks to defend that belt against UFC veteran Darrill Schoonover. Hamilton has now won five straight fights by way of stoppage, and seems to have come into his own training at Jackson’s MMA. After dropping five straight fights, including his lone UFC appearance, Schoonover has put together his own three-fight streak, including a win over Paul Buentello. Schoonover’s last MMA fight was back in September 2012 though, so ring rust could be an issue for the Texan who likes to grind and normally goes deep into his bouts. The lightweight title bout features two more similarly styled fighters, as both Kurt Southern and Tom Gallicchio prefer to work on the ground. Between the two, 18 of 30 victories have come by way of submission, but with some of the recent improvements that Southern has shown in his striking, he may choose to keep this fight on the feet. Like Schoonover, Gallicchio has also been relatively inactive of late, only fighting once in 2012 and 2013 combined. He was a contestant on Bellator’s ‘Fight Master’ series, but was eliminated in the preliminary round, so did not benefit from working with any of the trainers on the show. Today, MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for the top three fights on MFC 39 at Several Bookmakers. Check them out: ——————– MFC Heavyweight Title Anthony Hamilton -160 Darrill Schoonover +120 MFC Lightweight Title Kurt Southern -280 Tom Gallicchio +200 Jason South -125 Gilbert Smith -115 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: These are actually some tricky fights to break down, which means the MFC matchmakers did their jobs well on this card. I do give a slight edge in the main event to Schoonover, as he has shown to be quite durable in the past, only suffering one stoppage due to strikes in his career. Being that a (T)KO is really Hamilton’s only route to victory in this fight, and he likely won’t have the gas tank to pull one off beyond the first round, I think that Schoonover can outlast him. Obviously there is a fair deal of risk here, as Hamilton does have a ton of power and Schoonover isn’t exactly what I’d call a dynamic offensive fighter, but as a dog I’ll take a small stab. Remember that this is regional level heavyweight MMA, so don’t get carried away no matter what your read on this fight is. Also, Schoonover is coming off of a long layoff, so he may not be able to push the way he has in previous fights. Even though Gallicchio is coming down from 170 to fight at 155, I still like Southern in this bout. He’s a solid wrestler who seems to have mostly worked through the submission defense issues that plagued him early in his career. He’s also significantly improved his striking. While no Ernesto Hoost, he can be effective on the feet, which is more than what can be said about Gallicchio, who has never stopped a fight by (T)KO in his career. Look for Southern to keep this one standing and try to batter his foe for a stoppage. However if things do get dicey on the feet, he’ll have that wrestling in his back pocket, even though Gallicchio is far more dangerous on the ground. Finally, in a clash of fighters who almost seem more at home on a submission grappling mat than in a ring, South and Smith are faced with the prospect of a fighter across from them who has nearly the same skills as themselves. I give Smith the slightest of edges, in spite of his severely lacking cardio. South was four seconds away from hearing the bell in a five-rounder in his last time out, so he certainly has an edge there. However with this only being a 15-minute bout, I think Smith can get takedowns and win primarily by shutting down South’s submission game from top position. Unless some money moves the line seriously in this bout, I’m probably staying away all together.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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