UFC on FOX 13: 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: Former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos takes on rising contender Stipe Miocic in the main event at UFC on FOX 13, which looks to be a battle of two of the best boxers in the division. JDS has a huge advantage with his experience inside the Octagon, so how do you see this matchup playing out? Anik: For Junior dos Santos, three of his last five fights have been against Cain Velasquez. So I think he’s jumping for joy that the Octagon door’s going to close, and Cain Velasquez is not going to be in there. I just think that mentally it’s very taxing when you’re preparing for a guy like Cain because you know how hard he is to get out of there, and you know that he’s not going to gas at all over 25 minutes. I think that weighs on guys heavily. And once you’ve been in there with Cain two and three times, it’s got to be a tremendous confidence boost going forward against anybody not named Cain Velasquez. I think stylistically these guys are very similar. Stipe Miocic has a Division I wrestling background that he can lean on if he so chooses. But I don’t think he’s going to be able to consistently take Junior dos Santos down and keep him there. JDS has great takedown defense, he uses the fence well. And I also just don’t know that that’s really what Miocic wants to do. Ultimately, he wants to out-box you, and on most nights in the heavyweight division, he’s going to be the better boxer. I don’t think he’s the best boxer in this matchup. I think he isn’t quite as quick as JDS, I don’t think he’s quite as powerful. I think the line is probably about right. It will be interesting to see how Miocic approaches it. Because if he does try to make it a Mixed Martial Arts fight and not just have it contested on a napkin in the center of the Octagon, I think his chances do go up a little bit. But I just think his bread and butter really has become his boxing, and I think we’re all sort of curious to see Miocic on this level against a truly elite heavyweight. Certainly, he’s had some shining moments against Roy Nelson and has only really had one bad night in the UFC. But I just think you’re going to find that there’s a little bit of a gap when it comes to the speed and the power, so I lean towards dos Santos. Round 2 Q: Before UFC 181, we speculated that Travis Browne might fight the winner between JDS and Miocic in a heavyweight title eliminator bout next year for the right to take on the winner between Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum after they finally square off for the heavyweight championship in 2015. Now that Browne took care of business with his first-round TKO of Brendan Schaub, could that now be the case? Anik: I think that makes a ton of sense. You’re going to find regardless of who wins on Saturday night, Junior dos Santos or Stipe Miocic, that they go on a heavy campaign for a title shot. But of course the Velasquez-Werdum fight has to happen first, and it seems like that could go down in June in Mexico City. So you’re looking at October as really the earliest that anybody not named Fabricio Werdum would get a crack at Cain Velasquez, which means a fight in the interim. I think it’s very highly probable that the JDS-Miocic winner would get Travis Browne in a confirmed title eliminator. Round 3 Q: In the co-main event, No. 3 lightweight contender Rafael dos Anjos meets Nate Diaz in an intriguing matchup. Diaz has not been seen in the Octagon in more than a year while dos Anjos has been very active with three bouts since his opponent’s last fight. You have said in the past that in cases like this you tend to lean toward the more active fighter, so does Diaz change your mindset at all or are you picking dos Anjos? Anik: I’m always reluctant to back a guy who’s had an extended layoff, and for Nate Diaz, he hasn’t fought since knocking Gray Maynard out last November. I don’t necessarily think it applies though when it comes to the Diaz brothers because they pride themselves so much on conditioning. If he’s not fighting, he’s certainly doing other things, triathlons and everything else. I don’t worry too much about the layoff, I just worry about the matchup. This is a prime Rafael dos Anjos. I think it was nice because his career evolution was such that he had a few setbacks early on. I thought the Clay Guida fight for dos Anjos would be a breakthrough moment, he ended up hurting his jaw, and that set him back. But when he finally got his first UFC main event against Benson Henderson, his skills were worthy of that showcase, and obviously he took full advantage. We’ve seen a lot of guys like Robbie Lawler evolve into really technical strikers when they weren’t necessarily at one point in their careers. But dos Anjos is just a completely different boxer and striker than he was when he first got into the UFC. And he’s become one of the more sure-handed guys in the division. He also has a very powerful ground game, he can take you down, and I think he has a strength advantage here against Nate Diaz. I just think stylistically it’s a really tough matchup for Nate Diaz, so to me I look at the red corner with dos Santos and dos Anjos, and potentially throwing those two together. I think you might see some money come in on Nate Diaz, but I really like the matchup for dos Anjos. I think his confidence is obviously high after taking out Benson Henderson in that fashion, and I think he can bully Nate a little bit. A lot of people say that in that -220 to -280 range in MMA is where you really make money. Those guys that are slight favorites that seem to win seven or eight times out of 10, but they’re not prohibitively priced at -380 or -400. I love dos Anjos’ current form, I think he’s a dark horse in the lightweight division. This is probably something that is going to sound like I’m really not a sharp gambler, but I’ve often wondered, you beat Benson Henderson in a main event, are you just going to give it right back? Round 4 Q: Another big heavyweight fight on the main card pits Alistair Overeem against Stefan Struve, who was forced to withdraw from his last bout with Matt Mitrione in July after he fainted beforehand. Overeem has not looked anything like his former self in losing three of his past four while there are obviously some health concerns with Struve. Who do you think is in better shape right now and why? Anik: Mentally, I think you have to wonder how the UFC 175 situation weighed on (Struve). As he gets ready to fight in Phoenix, is he thinking that they’re going to come in after the weigh-in and tell him he can’t fight. But I believe that he’s pretty mentally tough. This is all he’s ever wanted to do. I remember when we did the press conference at UFC 146, when that main card was all heavyweights, he said he wanted to be the first fighter with 50 UFC appearances. And at that point in time, he was well on his way. Now, it’s been one setback after the next. I think the real focus for Stefan Struve has to be just on improving his game and focusing on fighting and not his health. Let the health take care of itself, focus on fighting, focus on getting better, focus on using his length and using his jab and employing more knees and becoming a more diversified striker – tightening up his defense because he’s not going to be facing any 7-footers in the UFC. That’s a huge advantage. As he continues to fill out frame-wise, he’s still somebody who I believe can make a run at heavyweight contention, but he has to stop the knockout losses here and now. He’s got to shore up his defense, and I think just change the way he fights a little bit. I probably see value on anybody fighting Overeem these days. I think a lot of us probably missed the boat on Ben Rothwell, who was absurdly priced in Connecticut. I think Alistair Overeem has the chance to go down as one of the all-time disappointments if he never fights for a UFC heavyweight title. I think he needs to change his stripes a little bit, I think he’s got to find a way to be more defensive. There’s no denying that his offensive skill set is still close to a prime Alistair Overeem, he can still finish any heavyweight in the world. The problem is, once you touch him, he goes down. And that obviously has a lot to do with just how many repetitions he’s had in MMA, in K1 – he’s just had a lot of training reps. I don’t think his chin is going to hold up long-term. I think he needs to get his hands up. We saw recently Edson Barboza get a little bit conservative. If you think your chin is not going to hold up, then you need to change your style a little bit to try to win. Round 5 Q: You’re calling The Ultimate Fighter Finale on Friday night but have some insight into a women’s strawweight bout on the FOX preliminary card Saturday between two unbeaten contenders who already have UFC contracts in Claudia Gadelha and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Gadelha is a solid favorite in her debut while Jedrzejczyk already has a UFC win under her belt, so who do think has the advantage? Anik: Obviously, we’re going to crown a strawweight champion the night before, but the No. 1 contender at 115 pounds for that first champion could very well come out of this bout between Gadelha and Jedrzejczyk. Jedrzejczyk impressed Dana White a lot with her UFC debut and her toughness, but I think most people consider Gadelha to be one of the top two or three strawweights in the world. To me, I think it’s closer on paper, I really do. And I think there’s some value with Joanna Jedrzejczyk. I think both women know the stakes, and we have a lot of depth in this strawweight division. My biggest takeaway from doing three strawweight fights so far is all of the girls are really well-rounded, super tough, not necessarily a ton of fight-ending power in this division, so you really do need to be technical. Both of these women are very technical, but I don’t know if there’s any woman right now at 115 pounds that should be a 3 or 4-to-1 favorite over another woman in the UFC. I think the Top 10 is pretty close, so I would probably lean towards Jedrzejczyk with a little value there. 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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