Confucius says "Even Tito Ortiz can win a fight in 2011, he might even win two!"
If you want to shoot the moon and correctly predict every fight, you need to gamble on a few underdogs. For UFC 140, that means going against the grain and picking a Lyoto Machida, Tito Ortiz, or Korean Zombie to win when nobody else thinks they will.
In combat sports, the favorite usually wins. On a twelve-fight UFC card, eight or nine of the favorites usually win. In other words three or four underdogs (or more!) will win. It's time to sack up and pick a few. Today, let's take a look at each of the Main Card ‘dogs and their odds (courtesy of BestFightOdds.com as 12/7). Later in the week we will dig into the preliminary fights.
Lyoto Machida +400 over Jon Jones in a title fight
Lyoto Machida is a former UFC champion and, baseball fans will feel me on this comparison, he is a "five tool" fighter. Machida has punches, kicks, clinch-work, takedowns and submissions. Machida has much experience against high-level UFC competition. Machida has defeated numerous top-10 caliber opponents. He has finishing ability with finishes over Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans. At odds of +400 or more, he's worth a shot or parlay
Jung is an interesting long-shot because he has a path to victory, the submission, that is quite accessible against his UFC 140 opponent Mark "The Machine" Hominick. Hominick's record is 20-9, with 5 losses by submission. Notably, all five of Hominick's submission losses were to UFC/WEC caliber opponents-Josh Grispi, Hatsu Hioki, Rani Yahya, and Mike Brown. Also working in Jung's favor is that he is coming off a "Submission of the Night" victory over Leonard Garcia earlier this year at a UFC in Seattle. Thirdly, Hominick is entering this fight coming off a loss, and should he lose on Saturday, the Canadian kick-boxer would be on the third stretch of consecutive losses in his career.
If you watched the UFC 140 Countdown show, you have been masterfully persuaded that this rematch with Frank Mir is an even fight. In their 2008 showdown, Nogueira was the walking wounded, but now he is full strength. He had surgeries to "repair [his] problems" and now Nogueira is going to go on a winning streak and reclaim his UFC heavyweight title. That's a bit of a stretch, but against Frank Mir, he does have ways to win. Throughout his career, Frank Mir has shit the bed numerous times and lost UFC fights he had no business losing. Brandon Vera, Marcio Cruz and Ian Freeman all have first-round TKO wins over Frank, the #6 ranked heavyweight. Maybe Nogueira has back-to-back first round TKO wins.
(Tito Ortiz and more after the jump)
Tito Ortiz ("The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" or "The People's Champ") +191 over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Tito Ortiz is back. After ending his five-year losing streak with a surprise win over Ryan Bader at UFC 132, Tito Ortiz even got to main event UFC 133! If you believe what Tito Ortiz is selling, he is finally healthy in 2011 and at age 36 he is able to train like a beast again. His opponent, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, is the #12 ranked Light Heavyweight, but he is coming off two straight decision losses to tough wrestlers. Tito Ortiz is nothing if not a tough wrestler "Lil' Nog" can at times be very measured with his offense, preferring to counter strike, so Tito Ortiz being the aggressor could lead some judges to score him the winner of two close rounds. Nogueira has not been finished since a fluke KO in 2007, so a victory for Ortiz will likely take the full 15 minutes. There are probably better underdogs on UFC 140 to roll with, but Ortiz is certainly a fan favorite for many.
On Saturday night, the Canadian welterweight Claude Patrick will have the Toronto crowd on his side as he strolls out to the ring with a maple leaf flag draped over his shirtless torso. No doubt the JumboTron in the stadium will have the words "CLAUDE PATRICK" emblazoned underneath a giant Canada flag to make it even more obvious for the crowd. At 3-0 in the UFC, Patrick is the kind of close underdog that makes too much sense to pass up. Ebersole is a wacky opponent, he shaves his chest hair into an arrow (a "harrow"), and wackiness will only get you so far in the UFC, see Tom Lawlor.
Let's sum up your UFC 140 main card underdogs:
Rolling the dice: Lyoto Machida +400
I think I'm really lucky: Chan Sung Jung +400
Blinded by the UFC 140 Countdown: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira +220
I don't care if I lose: Tito Ortiz +191
Building the nest egg: Claude Patrick +120
Sample UFC 140 fight picks with 3 underdog picks
7-Brian Ebersole-Split Decision-3
2-Chan Sung Jung-Sub-3
Thanks for reading.