TUF Betting Preview: Episode 8

Season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter has proven to one of the most exciting to date, not only because the bouts have been televised live each Friday for the first time in the history of the reality television series. The teams have also been evenly matched with some of the lightweight fights turning out to be very competitive. Last week’s episode was no exception, as Team Cruz’s Vinc Pichel (8-0) took out Team Faber’s John Cofer (7-2) via arm-triangle submission in the third round, also known as “sudden victory” since the judges scored the bout even through the first two. Pichel tied things up at 3-3 for coach Dominick Cruz, who had seen his previous three fighters all lose after taking an early 2-0 lead. Team Cruz would seem to have another big advantage this Friday when second pick Sam Sicilia battles Team Faber’s eighth pick Chris Saunders. Sicilia (9-0) was impressive in knocking out Erin Beach in the first round of their elimination fight, but he is also close friends with Team Faber’s Mike Chiesa. That relationship has caused many in the house to question the alliance of each fighter to his friend and his team throughout the series. Saunders (9-2) is a wild card in the tournament and will likely be a big underdog according to the UFC odds for this bout. Those MMA bettors who want to put their money on a true darkhorse candidate though may want to consider wagering on Saunders, who is a veteran with three years of pro experience. He had won seven straight fights before losing to Chris Horodecki by unanimous decision at Bellator 47 in the 2011 Summer Series 2. In other MMA betting news, the third matchup between Cruz (19-1) and Faber (26-5) for the bantamweight title will still take place at UFC 148 on July 7 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The UFC 148 odds have the champion Cruz as a -200 favorite (bet $200 to win $100) against the challenger Faber, who is the +160 underdogs (bet $100 to win $160). However, Cruz-Faber will be a co-main event as the middleweight championship bout between Anderson Silva (29-4) and Chael Sonnen (28-11-1) will be the headliner. The highly-anticipated rematch that saw Silva defend his title with a late submission after trailing the fight heading into the fifth round was moved from UFC 147, which is scheduled for June 23 in Rio de Janeiro. The TUF Finale will be June 1 at The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas, and the series is televised Fridays at 10 p.m. (ET) on FX.

Written by Matty

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