MMA Betting Preview: TUF 16 Finale Odds for Preliminary Card Bouts

TUF 16 FinaleThe Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale is coming at us live this Saturday from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s been a tumultuous season to say the least, and it’s less-than-stellar cast members aren’t being invited to fight on the undercard like in previous years. That gives us a surprisingly stacked preliminary card full of names and up-and-comers that will be televised live on FUEL TV starting at 7 p.m. (ET). The FUEL portion of the prelims begins with a welterweight showdown between TJ Waldburger (15-7) and Nick Catone (9-3). All three of Catone’s losses have come inside the Octagon, and as a Division I wrestler and brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, when the fight isn’t on the ground, he has troubles. In his opponent Waldburger, you have a 24-year-old who is still very raw and coming off a disappointing loss over a surging (at the time) Brian Ebersole. Waldburger is constantly moving and supremely comfortable on his back, so this is a fight that has grapplefest written all over it. However, both fighters may respect each other’s game enough to see who is the better striker. This is a very close matchup with Waldburger opening as a -125 favorite (bet $125 to win $100) according to the MMA odds against the underdog Catone (-105). Next, a pair of lightweight newcomers make their Octagon debuts at the TUF 16 Finale. TUF 15 cast member Vinc Pichel (7-0) and Russian Rustam Khabilov (14-1) will lock horns in an attempt to ruin the other fighter’s night. Khabilov is a phenomenal Judo and Sambo practitioner and uses it well in the ring. He spent years in M-1 Global, and his recent fight in ONE FC is one of his only “cage fights,” so it will be interesting to see how does against someone who has always been in a cage. Pichel opened as a +140 underdog (bet $100 to win $140) yet has finished every fight he’s been in with strikes, so the favored and more experienced Khabilov (-170) will want to close the distance early and often. TUF 14 alum Johnny Bedford (18-9) will meet Brazil’s Marcos Vinicius Borges (20-3-1) in what should be a scrappy affair. Bedford is a big bantamweight at 5-foot-10, and he has good all-around skills.  However, he has been submitted eight times in his career and just happens to be facing a man who has finished every fight he’s won with 13 submission wins and seven knockouts on his resume. It will be a challenge, but the favored Bedford (-250) has also faced tougher competition in his career than Borges (+190). In the final prelim of the night, we have grizzled vet Mike Pyle (23-8-1) taking on rising fighter James Head (9-2). Pyle has basically seen it all and done it all, and he’s put together a 6-3 record in the UFC, falling to the upper echelon of the welterweight division while getting the job done against the fighters he should be beating. He is a solid welterweight and as experienced as they come with knockout power, but his real skills come on the mat as he is a brown belt in BJJ and has 16 submissions to his name. Head is not nearly as experienced as Pyle, but he is well-rounded for his relatively young career and has excellent takedown defense to go along with a nearly bottomless gas tank. Pyle’s experience though has him as a clear favorite at -210 to Head’s +160.

Written by Jason Nawara

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