UFC on FOX 14: 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: Alexander Gustafsson opened as a -245 favorite against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (+205) in their light heavyweight bout, and bettors have already moved him to -280 at Several Bookmakers with Rumble at +240. Stylistically, is this a dangerous matchup for Gustafsson, or do you think his size will be too much for Johnson to overcome? Anik: Anthony Johnson is a dangerous matchup for any MMA athlete on the planet, Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez included. Joe Rogan has suggested that Rumble just might be the scariest guy on the roster in any division, and I’d have to agree. His highlight-reel of knockouts is literally one unconscious human being crumbling after the next. There is no denying his power and no denying his improved fundamentals. Henri Hooft deserves a lot of credit for that, as do regular training partners and UFC standouts Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort. In Gustafsson, you’ve truly got a guy who can do it all and a guy who is still improving in his own right at just 28 years old. Gustafsson uses his size and length better than any tall fighter on the roster. He is a special fighter and plausibly a future champion. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Johnson continue his run of terror and actually finish the bigger man. So is it a dangerous matchup? I would say so, yes. 2nd Round Q: How much do you think the location of the Gustafsson-Johnson fight is worth to the betting line? And do you see the line continuing to move in Gustafsson’s favor because the bout is in Sweden? Anik: To dismiss it as a factor would be ignorant. We are expecting north of 30,000 at Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, and 99 percent of them will be in Gustafsson’s corner. And these people make some serious noise. I’m in Stockholm now, and all people keep talking about is how great an MMA crowd this will be. Can’t say for certain the extent to which it impacts the betting line, but it certainly accounts for some movement. It’s a home game and, even though home field is not as much of a factor as it is in the big four sports (NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB), it counts for something. Johnson has fought internationally before – fought Vitor Belfort in Brazil back in 2012 and had to have learned some valuable lessons that night. It’s a tall ask to beat Gustafsson in general and having to do so in this building is a challenge. But I believe Rumble is primed for it. 3rd Round Q: In the co-main event, Gegard Mousasi (-485) faces Dan Henderson (+385), who is clearly on the down side of his career. We’ve seen Hendo come through against Shogun outside the US as an underdog, but now he is dropping down to middleweight against Mousasi. Can you rate Hendo’s chances to pull off another upset on foreign soil, and what’s left for him in his MMA career? Anik: It’s interesting because Hendo has actually looked better over the course of his career as a light heavyweight. But clearly making 185 or 186 pounds is doable for Hendo, and it’s a quicker path to a title shot, something he still envisions, naysayers be damned. Ultimately, I think this fight largely hinges upon Gegard Mousasi and how he chooses to fight early on. He’s fought exclusively in five-rounders since crossing over to the UFC. Scheduled for just 15 minutes, I think you will see a more urgent, aggressive Mousasi, and his output will reflect that. Obviously you’ve got to be mindful of Henderson’s power, specifically in that right hand. But Mousasi has fought and won all over the world, he’s in his prime, and I believe it’s his fight to lose. I’ve been burned picking against Hendo in the past and believe this line is where it should be. That said, I’m not racing to the window to play Mousasi at -500. 4th Round Q: Maybe the most intriguing fight of the night figures to be another light heavyweight matchup between Phil Davis (-255) and Ryan Bader (+215). Can bettors expect to see the best out of both fighters, and is this a fair line considering what each has accomplished recently? Anik: Clearly, Ryan Bader isn’t earning the respect of the oddsmakers here. He has faltered in some big spots in the past, but this is a much-improved boxer and overall mixed martial artist. Jose Benavidez Sr. has worked wonders with the Power MMA team and I think, from a striking standpoint, this fight is fairly even. Bader would be wise to mix in some kicks and keep Davis guessing. Bader’s hands have really come around, but he’s got to employ all the weapons in his toolbox here. Phil Davis has gone into Brazil and beaten the likes of Glover Teixeira and Lyoto Machida. He’s had very few bad nights in his career and has beaten all of the guys he was supposed to beat. He deserves the favorite distinction here. A finish could propel him to a title-eliminator type of fight. This fight also has the backdrop of these two wrestling each other several years ago, so there is some familiarity, despite the fact that MMA wrestling is a different animal. I guess I see some value on Bader at anything greater than +200 but not in a great rush to play this fight. 5th Round Q: Outside of the main card, are there any underdogs that might be worth betting, or is there a particular fighter you are really looking forward to seeing that bettors should consider wagering on? Anik: I’m very high on Mairbek Taisumov, but at -650, you’re just looking at parlay fodder with him. I see some value on Andy Ogle as a slight favorite. He should be urgent and he has a lot of UFC experience to lean on. I also like the fact that he has re-located to Team Alpha Male in Sacramento on a more full-time basis, and he’s getting a lot of great training and attention. Urijah Faber and Justin Buchholz have made the trip with Ogle, and that is a power corner. 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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