Brian Ebersole earned a contentious decision over Claude Patrick to put an end to a run which saw only one large fantasy favorite win in the opening eight bouts. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Much like UFC 139 before it, UFC 140 delivered everything and more to its paying customers. You'd be hard pressed to find a better pairing of back-to-back PPV events, as once again viewers were offered a bevy of exciting fights with decisive finishes, with the added bonus of seeing Jon Jones put a vicious cap on the most impressive calendar year any mixed martial artist has ever had.
Top Story - Favorite-heavy Main Card Makes Fantasy Amends for Wild Undercard
If you follow your fair share of MMA personalities on twitter (and while you're at it, why not give yours-truly and Fake Teams a follow) you may have noticed a common talking point for those who give pre-fight predictions -- nobody seemed to be thrilled about how their picks were turning out. All-told, only one of seven non-PPV winners received more than 55-percent of the vote on MMAPlayground, and when the dust settled more than half of the undercard winners were the picking underdogs. Three winners received less than 1/3 of all votes, with Costa Phillipou receiving just barely more with 38-percent. Personally, I sat at 4-3, though bolstered by picking the double-value Bocek-Lentz fight (my Lock of the Night) right and getting either a round or method bonus in all four fights.
The Main card looked ready to carry on the trend as the opening bout saw Chan-Sung Jung starch Mark Hominick in an (incorrect) record-tying 7 seconds, marking the second biggest fantasy betting upset and providing the ever rare successful +2-underdog-bonus victory. One bout was all it took to flush out the upset germs, however, as Brian Ebersole eeked out a controversial win, Little Nog cruised, Mir came back from the brink to break Big Nog's arm and Jon Jones showed that even a little adversity isn't enough to stop him from looking positively terrifying. I for one am glad parity was restored. A few upsets is a fun way to separate the good fantasy picks from the poor ones. A whole card of 'dogs is a recipe for a couple players to look like geniuses and a lot of shattered pick percentages.
Keep reading after the jump for the event's Fantasy Studs.
Fantasy Stud 1A: Chan-Sung Jung (+2 bonus, selected by 16-percent, +325 fantasy line)
Much was made before the Jung-Hominick bout of which Jung would show up. Would it be the technically composed Jung who calmly picked apart Leonard Garcia, or the Korean Zombie who went to war in the first Garcia bout and came out on the wrong side of a George Roop head kick? We never got a chance to find out, as it was Hominick who came out uncharacteristically sloppy, throwing a wild hook in the bout's opening seconds. Whether Hominick's head was still not in the right place following the loss of friend and trainer Shawn Tompkins, or the hometown fight got his adrenaline pumping, Hominick abandoned his calm attacking style for just a second, and it was all Jung needed to put his lights out. In pulling off the win, Jung turned in a strong betting return and made me eat my words of warning about the false-intrigue of the +2 bonus.
Fantasy Stud 1B: Igor Pokrajac (Selected by 11-percent, +600 fantasy line)
Pokrajac is a fighter where I can't help feeling like I dropped the ball. Despite selecting the fighter who went off as the biggest fantasy underdog to win in my fantasy picks, I failed to identify him as the top underdog on the card, or even place a single dollar of fantasy money on the Croatian. For those who didn't make the same mistake I did, Pokrajac returned fantastically on his investment. While it's unlikely many Jung selectors received bonus points for method, as Jung's best route to victory was expected to be a submission, Pokrajac backers not only got 5-points that 89-percent of players did not, they saw Pokrajac win by his most-expected method, increasing the likelihood of method and round bonuses. On the fantasy betting end, he was the yahtzee fighter on the card, with an astounding return of $6 for every $1 investment. Unsurprisingly, the event's top fantasy betting earner had a large parlay down which included pairing Pokrajac with two of the undercard's other moderate underdogs, Jake Hecht and Phillipou.