Written by Ian Parker
UFC 201 is just a few days away. That means that there is money to be made! We have 4 main card match-ups including the 170-pound welterweight title fight featuring champion Robbie Lawler vs. challenger Tyron Woodley. Let's get things started, shall we?
Ian Mcall (+200) vs. Justin Scoggins (-250)
(Fight removed due to Scoggins withdrawing with weight-cutting issues)
Erik Perez (-120) vs. Francisco Rivera (-110)
This is going to be a fun fight to watch. Both guys always bring it. In my opinion this is a THE make-or-break test for Erik Perez. The UFC loves this guy but he hasn't hit that potential they were hoping he would hit at this point.
Perez is coming off a nice win over Taylor Lapilus. In order to keep his winning momentum going, he needs to get this fight to the ground. He is a fine striker, but where he will have the advantage is his creative ground game. If he wants to stand and bang, Rivera will oblige willingly.
Perez is a guy who has all the ability to make it to the top of the division, but when it comes time to shine, he just doesn't. I don't count the fight against Faber, as he was winning that fight and the eye poke changed everything. But, this is a guy who likes to strike and keep a fast pace. He also has a very durable chin.
All of Rivera's losses come by either decision or submission. As long as Perez does not fall into the brawl trap, he should grind his way to a decision win.
My Pick: Erik Perez via Unanimous Decision
Matt Brown (-330) vs. Jake Ellenberger (+250)
Let me start off by saying this... Matt Brown is an absolute animal and this is an extremely favorable matchup for "The Immortal."
Brown will not only have the advantage in the reach, but also in the striking game. Brown throws every combo with awful intentions and Ellenberger does not have the strongest chin these days. Brown is coming off a tough loss to Demian Maia in which Maia dominated him on the ground for the better part of three rounds, until he got submitted by rear-naked choke. Brown is going to come into this fight fired up, ready to prove to the world that he is ready to get back on track to the top.
Ellenberger is in a do-or-die situation. He is coming off his second straight loss and it is not going to get any easier in a fight against a hungry Brown. His only key to victory would be to take Brown to the mat, quickly, and grind out a win with some ground and pound. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. I think Brown has more than likely worked on his takedown defense, and will be able to keep this fight standing.
I would not want to fight Matt Brown, let alone coming off of a loss. This is the first fight I am going to be taking a heavy favorite to win. If you are already up a nice chunk of change from the previous fights, then do a single bet on Brown, regardless of him being -330. But, if you want to play it conservative, throw him in a parlay with a few other heavy favorites that I will mention at the end of the article.
My Pick: Matt Brown via TKO
Rose Namajunas (-265) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (+210)
We all know one thing: when the women come to fight, they tend to steal the show. That statement is even more realistic with "Thug Rose" on the card.
After seeing what Rose did to Paige VanZant in her last fight, I don't see this fight going much different. I think Rose is going to put a ton of pressure on Karolina early and finish this fight however and whenever she wants. This is easily the safest bet on the entire card.
Don't get me wrong, Karolina is not a bad fighter, Rose is just that much better and more than likely one fight away from a title shot. Feel free to put your mortgage on Rose and thank me later.
My Pick: Rose Namajunas via pure dominance
Main Event: Champ Robbie Lawler (-215) vs. Tyron Woodley (+175)
How do you not get excited whenever Robbie Lawler is going to fight. It has been nothing short of amazing watching what Robbie has done with his second chance with the UFC. He is a true warrior of the sport and represents everything that it takes to be a champion.
That being said, this is a very odd style matchup for Robbie. Let me explain why.
Robbie clearly likes to knock his opponents' heads off into outer space, and rarely brings the fight to the ground. In this case, he is fighting a freak of an athlete, who has a very successful background in wrestling. Robbie has shown that with no problem he can go five rounds and make every fight an absolutely bloody war (which he loves). However, I don't think that Tyron Woodley wants to enter that war with the champ.
Tyron has a ton of power in his hands and can clearly kick like a mule (ask Carlos Condit). I think Woodley will engage in the beginning, hoping to land a power shot. If not Woodley is going to do what he can to get this fight to the ground. Here is where Lawler's championship experience comes into play.
Robbie has fought the top level of competition for a very longtime and, at this point, I don't think anything or anyone can truly surprise him. Robbie also has a solid gas tank, in which Woodley has shown that is not the case. If Woodley can plant Robbie on his back and grind out a win, that is the only way I can see as a route to victory for him. But, I don't see that happening. I think Robbie may lose a round or two by getting taken down, but his gas tank will get him to the championship rounds and eventually knock out Woodley.
My Pick: Robbie Lawler via TKO
- Michael Graves
- Wilson Reis
- Rose Namajunas
By Parlaying these three heavy favorites, it will bring your odds to +159. I highly recommend these types of parlays. You do not win as much, and you do have to have more fighters win, but you also reduce the heavy odds on heavy favorites.
(Image via MMAWeekly.com)