UFC 180: Betting Q & Anik

Q & Anik is a new article featured exclusively at MMAOddsBreaker.com that goes 5 rounds with UFC commentator Jon Anik offering his betting tips and picks on some of the biggest UFC cards of the year. UFCUltimateInsiderJohnAnik_051_crop_north1st Round Q: Last time we spoke, you had mentioned how you were a bit concerned about Mark Hunt’s ability to lose 40 pounds in three weeks with the interim heavyweight title on the line against Fabricio Werdum since champion Cain Velasquez is out due to injury. What do you think about Hunt’s motivation to lose the weight and get in shape on such short notice, and will that help his chances against Werdum? Anik: I think the motivation is very real for Mark Hunt, and that’s why even though he started this three-week training camp north of 300 pounds, I don’t necessarily worry too much about him. Certainly, I don’t worry about him making weight, and I don’t worry about him being too out of shape. I think that the interim title is a great motivator for Mark Hunt. It’s just really one of the most remarkable stories in the history of Mixed Martial Arts that a guy who was 5-7 not all that long ago could evolve to this extent and put himself in position to be the next in line should there be an injury to either Werdum or Cain Velasquez. So I think you’re going to see a prime Mark Hunt, and it’s not like he’s too far removed from a dominant performance against Roy Nelson. The thing is, a lot of guys just also have the penchant for rising to the occasion. When guys on their UFC bios list heart and courage as a strength when it comes to their fight game, that is very real too. Anything can happen. Maybe Mark Hunt will prove us wrong. 2nd Round Q: I know you were really looking forward to seeing Werdum take on Velasquez because he is really the only other heavyweight who has similar stamina and can hang in there for five rounds. Where do you see bettors putting their money, and do you think Werdum could fight down to the level of his competition? Anik: I think that depending on where the number is, you might see some late money on Mark Hunt. But I just think that this is Fabricio Werdum’s fight to lose. I think his motivation is at an all-time high. Obviously, he’s disappointed this is not going to be Cain Velasquez. But here’s a guy who went to Mexico early to train at altitude, preparing for cardio Cain Velasquez, so there’s no denying that Mark Hunt is not Cain Velasquez. There’s no denying that Fabricio Werdum is going to be the party better equipped to go 25 full minutes if need be. Just from a skill set standpoint, the evolution of Fabricio Werdum is almost as incredible as the resurrection of Mark Hunt. Werdum’s always been a guy who’s been painted with the potential brush, and he might be the best grappler the heavyweight division has ever seen. But now he’s a real threat with his striking, the jab in particular, he works off of that, and that sets up everything else. We obviously know how gifted he is on the canvas, whether he’s in top position or working off of his back out of guard. He really can do it all, and I think that’s why so many of us were so intrigued to see what he could do against Cain Velasquez. Because for a long time I think those of us who were outlining a real competitive title defense for Cain Velasquez, this is the guy who we thought would give it to him. I definitely strongly lean towards Fabricio Werdum, I’d probably be looking at a prop for a Werdum finish. He’s got to be careful early, especially over the first 10 to 12 minutes with Mark Hunt, whose power is obvious. It just doesn’t take much for Mark Hunt to set you up and then knock you out. Werdum’s going to be aware of that. I just love Werdum’s frame for this heavyweight division. He uses his height really well. There’s just not a lot of glaring weaknesses when it comes to Fabricio Werdum. 3rd Round Q: The co-main event in an interesting welterweight matchup pitting a cagey veteran in Jake Ellenberger against one of the UFC’s top prospects in TUF 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum. Who do you think of Ellenberger in this spot off consecutive losses and maybe fighting for his job at this point of his career? Anik: He’s certainly a perennial contender type. I think these are the type of fights that really bring the best out of a veteran like Jake Ellenberger when you’re fighting an undefeated young up-and-comer like Kelvin Gastelum, who a lot of people believe is a future UFC champion or at the very least contender. Ellenberger knows his back is up against the proverbial wall. All of that said, I am certainly in the camp of those who believe that Gastelum is something special. What impresses me the most is even when he hasn’t really had it or has gotten off to a slow start, he still found a way to win and stay undefeated. It’s amazing how quickly Gastelum’s picked up the MMA game. In one sense, you do have two fighters going in opposite directions. But I’m not going to close the book on Jake Ellenberger yet. He may not win this fight – I’m not suggesting that I like him at +180 necessarily – but I just feel like you’re going to get his best. To me, the fight probably screams lay off, or maybe you want to look at throwing Gastelum in a parlay or something. 4th Round Q: You’ve always been a big fan of both featherweights Dennis Bermudez and Ricardo Lamas, who are also fighting in a featured bout on the UFC 180 main card. Between the two, who has the bigger edge? Anik: I don’t know how you don’t race to the window if you see Bermudez right now below -180. I just see value there, and that’s not to diminish why type of challenge Ricardo Lamas is. I just think that other than Lamas’ top game, I think Dennis Bermudez is probably better everywhere. I think Dennis Bermudez might be the most underrated guy in the UFC. He’s gotten some accolades as you will when you have a seven-fight winning streak, but to do so in this division the way he’s done it against pretty good competition. If you look at his last four, Max Holloway, Steven Siler, Jimy Hettes, Clay Guida, a couple finishes in his last two wins. The level of competition has been there. Of course Lamas’ only UFC loss is to Jose Aldo. The thing that I like about Ricardo Lamas is that he’s very much a strategist. And I think against Jose Aldo, the knock on him was that he sort of got away from the game plan a little bit and didn’t really get after it until that fifth round. Ricardo Lamas has made a career on coming through in big spots as the underdog before. I think he was a slight underdog against Erik Koch in one of the real compelling performances for him that really sort of catapulted him forward. I just think Bermudez can do it all. Even when he fought Diego Brandao in The Ultimate Fighter Finale, I think there was a sense that Bermudez was a special fighter. Of course he hasn’t lost since, so I think Bermudez has a great chance to finish him. I just think he can out-physical him, I think he certainly has more combinations and more options when it comes to the stand-up game. For Ricardo Lamas, I wonder if he’s going to be able to win the takedown battle. Because I think ultimately for Lamas, if he’s going to win this fight, he’s got to take Bermudez down. And I’m not sure he can win that takedown battle. So to me, Bermudez -170 I think is something you should take a long look at. 5th Round Q: This has obviously been a disappointing year for the UFC in terms of Pay-Per-Views, especially with main events like this one at UFC 180 resulting in Hunt facing Werdum as an injury replacement. However, there are still some big fights coming up late in 2014 and early in 2015 that are must-see if they happen. Which matchup are you most excited about, and what do you think about the early betting lines? Anik: Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier (at UFC 182) is really, really interesting because I certainly can make a case for Cormier more than I’ve ever been able to make a case for anyone against Jon Jones. That being said, I believe Jon Jones – based upon his strength of schedule – is the greatest Mixed Martial Artist of all-time. Obviously Anderson Silva’s in that discussion. Jose Aldo, after the win against Chad Mendes, now all of a sudden I think you can make a case for him as the greatest of all-time as well. But when it comes to this fight, if you can get Jon Jones under -175 (currently -170 at Several Bookmakers), given where he’s been priced in recent title defenses, even though this one I think is the toughest, I don’t know how you don’t pull the trigger. And I’ve even had conversations with Daniel Cormier about this, just how much respect he’s getting from Vegas. I think Daniel thinks a lot of that has to do with the fact that this is two undefeated fighters. He considers Jon to be undefeated. He thinks obviously as a heavyweight, the Josh Barnett fight is something a lot of people point to, and you wonder if Jon Jones could do to Josh Barnett what Daniel Cormier did to him over 25 minutes. I think the heavyweight angle is the reason why the line is what it is. It’s certainly the fight that I’m most looking forward to over the first quarter of 2015. 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.

Written by Matty

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