World Series of Fighting 2 Betting Preview

WSOFThe World Series of Fighting comes to us live, this Saturday from Atlantic City, New Jersey with a five-fight main card broadcast on the NBC Sports Network. For an upstart promotion, the show is pretty interesting throughout, with multiple UFC and Strikeforce veterans looking to show the world that they still have what it takes to make it on the big stage. First up: an interesting fight at heavyweight between former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and former UFC welterweight Anthony Johnson. At first glance, it may look odd that a former welterweight is fighting a former heavyweight champ, but Anthony Johnson (14-4) is not your run-of-the-mill welterweight. In fact, he’s not a welterweight at all anymore. In eleven UFC fights, Johnson missed the welterweight mark twice, and the middleweight mark of 185 pounds once, mostly due to his massive weight cut of over forty pounds at a time. After losing to Vitor Belfort at a catchweight of 197 pounds, Johnson was released by the UFC and the decision was made for him to move to light heavyweight. Since that move, Johnson has looked great and he has gone a perfect 4-0 with key knockout wins over DJ Linderman and Jake Rosholt. Now, in what was one of the longest running jokes from his UFC tenure, Johnson is moving up to heavyweight to fight Andrei Arlovski, and quite frankly, the size difference is minimal. Johnson could theoretically weigh in at a thick, solid and tight 235, and Arlovski has long been in the 240 range for the most of his career. It will be interesting to see how Anthony Johnson performs when he doesn’t have to cut an ounce of weight, and it will also be interesting to see what his cardio looks like carrying all of the additional weight. Arlovski has bounced back from four straight losses from 2009-2011 with four straight wins and a no contest against Tim Sylvia — in a fight Andrei was winning until a confusing soccer kick to Sylvia’s head rendered him unable to continue. Arlovski’s comeback hasn’t been against the best of competition, but he has seemed to regained his confidence which was definitely shattered for a while after his losses in Strikeforce. The betting lines for this fight have been just as crazy as the fight itself. Arlovski opened as a slight -135 favorite (bet $135 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers, while Johnson was ever so slightly an underdog, at -105. Within hours, Johnson had skyrocketed to a -210 favorite, and Arlovski moved to +170 (bet $100 to win $170). At this moment, the line sits at an absolute pick ’em, with both fighters being -120. Clearly, based on the opening odds and the line movement, nobody knows how this fight is going to play out. After defeating Bellator’s bantamweight champion, Eduardo Dantas, at Shooto: Brazil 33, a long and drawn out bidding war for Tyson Nam (12-4) broke out between Bellator and the UFC, only for the WSOF to end up with the 29-year-old when the dust settled. Nam was billed as facing the winner of Miguel Torres and Marlon Moraes (9-4) at the first World Series of Fighting show. Now, he takes on Moraes in what could be a final step to WSOF’s eventual plan to crown division champions within the next two or three shows. In another tight opening line, Moraes was made a small favorite at -130, and Nam was -110. Nam has strong hands and a savvy ring IQ. He has a good gas tank and will want to keep the fight standing. His opponent wasn’t expected to defeat Miguel Torres, and with non-stop pressure, Moreas was able to overwhelm the veteran. He will probably use the same reckless abandon against Nam, as he has nothing to lose in trying to take the fight to the ground early and often. The public has seen some value in Moraes, perhaps due in part to his recent victory being on more of a high-profile stage than Nam’s. At any rate, the price on Moraes is now -180, with the comeback on Nam +140. Proving how deep the welterweight division is across the sport is the fight between former UFC employees Josh Burkman (24-9) and Aaron Simpson (12-4). These two will be competing for the right to face Jon Fitch in the summer at the next WSOF event. Simpson was made the only solid favorite in the opening betting lines at -260, with Burkman at +180. The public has moved this line even further towards the former Arizona State Sun Devil, as he now sits as a -300 favorite to Burkman’s +220. Simpson was last seen at UFC on FX: Browne vs. Silva, getting knocked out by Mike Pierce in the second round of a fight that he nearly finished twice in the first round. Following the loss, which was his second in three fights, the UFC decided not to renew Simpson’s contract. Simpson is a big welterweight, cutting down after spending most of his career at middleweight, but Josh Burkman is a veteran who has fought a who’s who in the sport. Training primarily at Team Quest in Portland, Burkman has gone 6-1 since being released by the UFC, with his sole loss coming to Jordan Mein, who is currently making a name for himself in the UFC welterweight division. This is a very competitive fight, with both men sporting strong ground games, but with Simpson more than likely wanting to employ his strong wrestling on the athletic Burkman. Gesias Cavalcante (17-6-1-2) has hit a rough patch in recent years, going 3-5 with 2 no contests over his last ten fights after starting his career 14-1-1. It could be his step up in competition, trouble with injuries, or simply father time, but “JZ” just hasn’t been able to string together more than a few wins at a time. He still possess good BJJ abilities, as he’s a brown belt, but we’ll see if his time with the Blackzilians has helped him fend off the wrestlers that have given him fits in recent years. His opponent is the upcoming Justin Gaethje (7-0) undefeated and with five knockouts, one submission and one decision, what tape we have of Justin Gaethje is that of a monstrous lightweight, one that impressively knocked out Drew Fickett in 12 seconds last October. Gaethje is a good pickup for the WSOF scouts, and this should be a close, fun match. The lines reflect this, as Cavalcante opened at -145 and Gaethje +105. Bettors have moved the line slightly towards the prospect Gaethje, perhaps thinking Cavalcante’s time as a top fighter is truly through. It now sits with Gaethje as the slight -130 favorite and “JZ” -110. Dave Branch (11-3) may be most famously remembered as the man who was slam KOd by Gerald Harris at UFC 116, but he has methodically been building a decent resume since the highlight. Since going 2-2 and being cut by the UFC, the Renzo Gracie BJJ blackbelt has gone 3-1 on the independent circuit with his only loss to Anthony Johnson at a catchweight of 195 pounds. Now he fights a former middleweight legend in Paulo Fihlo (23-4-2), a former WEC middleweight champion and Pride standout who, for a few years at least, captivated the MMA world and was primed to go down as one of the best ever. Then, he essentially lost his mind, got a face tattoo, didn’t make weight a few times and took a bunch of obscure fights, going 3-3-2 over the last three years after losing to only Chael Sonnen in his entire career before that. Filho’s skills are still there, and he was made a small -135 favorite over Branch at -105. However, Branch is on the rise and Fihlo has definitely lost his spark in recent years, we’ll see if the former WEC champion has it in him for one more run. In typical Filho fashion, it was reported that he suffered a panic attack at the airport in Brazil and didn’t make his plane to New Jersey. WSOF officials nearly pulled him from the card, but he later assured them he was en route and would still be competing. Surprisingly, since this announcement the line — which had already moved to Branch being the -185 favorite and Filho the +145 underdog — hasn’t moved any further. Perhaps bettors are leery of the fight not happening at all, and want to make sure Filho makes it to the cage before laying their money down. The undercard of this event also features a talented cast of fighters as UFC veterans Waylon Lowe and Cameron Dollar square off in the featherweight division. Roufusport prospect Rick Glenn also takes on Alexandre Pimentel at 145. Two more UFC veterans will do battle in the welterweight division, as Kris McCray and Danillo Villefort look to make their mark on what is becoming one of WSOF’s premiere divisions.

Written by Jason Nawara

Leave a Reply

WSOF 2 Opening Betting Odds

World Series of Fighting 2 Picks: Anthony Johnson (-125) vs. Andrei Arlovski (-105)