UFC 179: Betting Q & Anik Q & Anik is an article featured exclusively on MMAOddsBreaker.com which goes five rounds with UFC commentator Jon Anik discussing his betting tips and picks on some of the biggest UFC cards of the year. 1st Round Q: Chad Mendes will get his second opportunity to win the UFC featherweight title belt from champion Jose Aldo. What has changed for Mendes in the roughly three years since their last championship bout to make him more worth wagering on this time around? Anik: I really don’t know which way to go on this main event. I feel like the price is probably where it should be. I think if Mendes were to swell closer to +200, I think the value would swing that way. I think he’s a much improved fighter. I thought it was interesting when they fought the first time, Mendes’ post-fight interview in the Octagon after the fact, he was just very nice and sort of amicable. And he said, ‘Jose’s a great champion, and maybe after this we can be friends.’ He would never say that now. Now, this man is a bona fide killer, obviously the finishes speak to that. I think the public perception differs as to Chad Mendes’ current form because he fought a few late replacements, the level of competition in his (five-fight) winning streak at times maybe left a little bit to be desired. Every time’s he’s been healthy since the Aldo win, he’s finished the opponent. Against Nik Lentz, he really had to dig deep, he was not at all healthy that night. I know that was a pretty grueling 15 minutes. I think the key for Mendes in the fight is to try to get him down at least once per round, and then he has to finish him in one of those instances when he gets him there. We’ve seen Aldo taken down in the past, albeit sparingly, but I think Mendes believes that it’s sort of about attrition, and that if he just stays committed to the takedown, that eventually it’s going to materialize. Obviously, their first fight lasted less than a round. But I feel like Mendes feels like the key for him is to get through that first round and to try to work the takedown game, and to really punish Jose when he gets there. Obviously, Aldo has a very active and accurate guard, but I do think Mendes can overpower him a little bit on the ground because he’s just much more physical. I think you’ll see at the weigh-in and certainly on fight night that Mendes, even though he’s not as tall as Jose Aldo, he just physically is wider and bigger and just sort of a different specimen than he was back at the beginning of 2012. 2nd Round Q: How big is the location of this event to Aldo from a betting perspective considering it will take place in his home country of Brazil? Anik: I got to spend some extended time with Mendes three weeks ago, we watched back the Aldo fight in sort of a film room session for UFC Ultimate Insider. Just the fact that the fight’s taking place in Brazil, Mendes hasn’t made it a secret that he’s not happy about that. I think it’s an inconvenience for him to have to beat Aldo in Brazil, especially since the fight was scheduled for Los Angeles. To me, it’s a very real factor. I remember when Raphael Assuncao fought T.J. Dillashaw, Assuncao said, ‘If that fight was in the (United) States, I’m not sure I get out of that guillotine attempt by T.J.’ But the fact that the fight was taking place in Brazil, and the fans, it really was a real factor in sort of willing him to not tap out. And so I think that because this fight’s taking place in Brazil, I lean towards Jose Aldo. I feel like if this fight was in the U.S., I would be much more inclined to pick Chad Mendes. I don’t think it’s about the scorecards or the judges, I think it’s just about the environment and the atmosphere and everything that accompanies Fight Week. It’s just a different beast over there, it really is. 3rd Round Q: Light heavyweights Glover Teixeira and Phil Davis both underwhelmed with their performances on the same card at UFC 172, so who has the advantage now that they will face each other in the co-main event? Anik: I think Phil Davis is a live underdog. I just think he fought the better fighter in Baltimore in Anthony Johnson. I really think it was that simple. I thought that maybe Phil Davis didn’t get enough credit for just hanging in there and not getting finished. Even though he wasn’t having great success really in any discipline, I did feel like he stayed active. At least he tried to move forward and stay in the pocket. And of course 90 percent of the time he did, he got his head snapped back or he got countered. He proved to me that he can take a beating, and he’s not looking for a way out. Here’s a guy who has never been finished, this was only his second career loss. To me, I look at Glover Teixeira at this price, I think the value’s with Phil Davis. He’s had the high-level competition you like to see, he’s been to Brazil and won. If you go to Brazil and beat Lyoto Machida, you shouldn’t be +240, +250 to go there and beat Glover Teixeira. I think he will be able to take Glover down at times. He’s just got to avoid the power. He didn’t avoid Anthony Johnson’s power, but he didn’t get finished. So to me, that I think is something that I would look to. For Glover, I think there’s value in going 25 minutes with Jon Jones. But you remember times in that Jon Jones fight where Jones was sort of sticking his chin out there against a guy that we all thought was the most powerful light heavyweight in the division, almost welcoming him to try to knock him out, and he couldn’t. I believe that a 15-minute fight favors Phil Davis, so I think there’s value on the underdog there for sure. I knew Glover would be the favorite, I didn’t expect him to be at this elevated of a price. 4th Round Q: Besides Davis, what other underdog do you like most on the UC 179 card and why? Anik: There’s nothing really that jumps off the page. I think that if you’re looking for an underdog play, I would take a look at Lucas Martins. I do think that Darren Elkins can Darren Elkins him, and by that I mean just make it a suffocating 15 minutes, take him down, ground-and-pound, get that going. But Lucas Martins is flashy, he’s got a lot of ability. We’ve learned a lot about him in a short time in the UFC because he’s fought in three different weight classes. Clearly, bantamweight was not for him, neither was lightweight. This is where he belongs at featherweight. His knockout of Alex White in the third round was unbelievable. He earned a bonus for that I believe. Alex White was winning the fight, was undefeated at the time. And Martins was just not going to be denied. I absolutely love his toughness, I love a little home cooking in Brazil. To me, I think if you’re looking for Martins or Elkins to get the finish, I think Martins is more likely to finish Elkins. So if you can get +155 or higher, I would lean in that direction. 5th Round Q: Looking ahead to UFC 180 in Mexico City, there was a major announcement made this week that the main event is losing heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez due to injury, as he is being replaced with Mark Hunt, who will face Fabricio Werdum for the interim title. What are your early thoughts on that matchup? Anik: First of all, what a massive disappointment for the UFC. Of all the headliners we’ve lost all year, if you could hand-pick maybe one that they could least afford to lose or least want to lose, it would be Cain Velasquez, the very guy who helped pave the way for Mexico being out of the Mexican headliner. It’s almost hard for me to digest that bit of news and look ahead, but I think Mark Hunt deserves the opportunity. Not that Junior dos Santos doesn’t, but I think Mark Hunt has put himself in a position to take advantage of it. I just feel like he’s got to lose 40 pounds in not a lot of time. When he found out about the fight, I think he was 302 or 303. So that’s certainly a factor for me. Werdum to me, it’s always been about if he is committed and motivated, he’s a top guy in the world. He was very motivated as the underdog against Travis Browne. He was super motivated to fight Cain Velasquez, so much so that he moved to Mexico several weeks ago to try to get acclimated to the elevation. I just don’t love Mark Hunt in a 25-minute fight at elevation, having to lose 40 pounds on short notice against a guy in Werdum who was preparing to fight the baddest man on the planet. Some already believe it’s the greatest career resurrection in MMA history, and if (Hunt) were to win a UFC belt, interim or otherwise, it would be the story of the year. But I just think Werdum right now is on another level, and I think he’ll be smart enough to avoid that early Hunt power. And I think probably Werdum by submission. Disclaimer: Mr. Anik is contractually prevented from wagering on UFC events. His betting tips and picks posted here are for information and entertainment purposes only.