We're back! It's been a few weeks since we did a betting piece. We return with a potentially historic card to look forward to. Edmonton Alberta Canada's Rogers Place arena will host this Saturday night's event. The UFC 215 card marks the UFC's first Canadian pay-per-view since UFC 206 last December.
The main event of the evening will see flyweight king-pin Demetrious Johnson take on Ray Borg for the 125lbs title. Johnson will look to make history by defending his title for a record eleventh time (beating Anderson Silva's longstanding record of ten).
The co-main event of the evening will see the delayed Shevchenko vs Nunes rematch. A lot more is on the line this time, as they fight for the women's bantamweight title. The fight had been expected to headline UFC 213, but was cancelled.
Elsewhere, we have the return of Neil Magny following his controversial victory over former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks. Ironically he'll face another former champion in this bout, only this time it's former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos.
I believe there are a number of open fights and potential betting opportunities. With that said, lets take a look at the betting odds.
Dog or Pass
There's two fights that I believe have betting value in the respective underdogs at current prices. To give you an idea why I pick fighters like this it's quite simple, we need a lower win percentage to make profit than if we're backing heavy favourites. If one of the two suggested underdogs win, we'll make a slight profit or break even.
You might as well get the “Who da fook is that guy?” out of your system now. Jeremy Stephens is a former lightweight knock-out artist who moved down to 145lbs a few years ago. Mixing decent takedown defence with powerful kickboxing; he's been consistently in the top 15 since making the move to featherweight.
Gilbert Melendez is a member of the famed Scrap Pack (the Cesar Gracie trained group includes Jake Shields and the Diaz brothers). He was the final Strikeforce lightweight champion before moving to the UFC. Melendez is primarily a wrestler with decent boxing and excellent cardio.
Selection: I like Melendez as an under-dog here. I think the betting line is a little skewed because he's dropping down to 145lbs for the first time in over 10 years. Melendez has never been a large lightweight and I think that his skill-set is the known mix that Stephens often struggles with. I like Gilbert at evens and I'm tempted to take a shot at the victory being by decision if the prop goes over 2/1.
The original fight between Nunes and Shevchenko has dictated most opinions on how this will shape out. Perhaps the fight is being over simplified when you say that it's Amanda's gas tank vs. Shevchenko's defensive skills. The common consensus appears to be that Nunes must finish this fight inside three rounds or Shevchenko will take over in the later rounds.
Whilst I agree to an extent, I think that first fight illustrates key areas for Saturday night. Shevchenko spent most of the first round attempting to counter Nunes with little volume and a very average success rate (landing just 42% of her strikes). In the second round her volume on the feet was practically non-existent as Nunes took her down twice and dominated the round. A lack of patience cost Nunes a potential finish in my opinion. I do have to give Shevchenko credit for taking advantage of two control errors to get out of bad spots during the round.
I think history has been rewritten when it comes to the third round. Yes, Shevchenko did win the round conclusively; but bar the early elbow she didn't really put Amanda under tremendous pressure. It's obvious that Amanda slows down, but Shevchenko does very little to test how much is left in the gas tank. It's this in-activity that would worry me as a betting man if I bet pre-fight on Shevchenko.
Selection: Personally I'll be betting on Nunes at 11/10. I may hedge this live with a bet on Shevchenko but that's how I am set personally at this time. I'm very tempted on the under 3.5 rounds line too at 17/20.
Henry Cejudo vs. Wilson Reis: I think that Cejudo looked at his best against Joe Benavidez in a razor close decision loss. I believe he can out-wrestle and out-work Wilson Reis on his way to a decision victory at 10/11. I think this is much better value than the current straight win betting price.
Ilir Latifi vs. Tyson Pedro: This is a step up in competition for Pedro, but it's one that I'm intrigued to watch. Pedro has a massive size advantage over Latifi but it's yet to be seen who will control this fight. I think it's possible that many are betting on this being over quickly. I'm of the opinion that this may go beyond the 1st and may see the scorecards. For that reason I'm going over 1.5 rounds at 11/10 and I'm tempted to play Pedro by decision at 7/1 or Latifi at 11/2.
That's all from me for this card. Tell us what you're betting on in the comments section. As ever, these are suggested plays. Please do not bet what you can not afford to lose. Don't forget to follow us on twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with all the latest features and MMA news on MMACS.net. Enjoy the fights.
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