Welcome to the first Gambler’s Challenge: Callin’ out the Moose.
MixedMartialArts.com Underground message board crusader “blue63” from Los Alamos, NM has stepped up to the daunting challenge of trying to provide more profitable picks to the readers of this site than yours truly spanning the next four UFC / Strikeforce events. Ha, good luck with that! I’ve asked him to provide some analysis with his picks for each event. Whether he can handle that task is beyond me. I’m sure that he’ll gave it the ‘ole college try, but, I’m not necessarily sure that applies in his case. A thinking man he is not – he’s about as smart as bait. Not his fault necessarily, he descends from a fool – his pops has been known to study for drug tests. As if that weren’t enough, he lives in New Mexico. Not surprisingly, divorces in his neck of the woods and tornadoes have something in common – they both always end up costing someone a trailer. Eh, follow the results of the Challenge below.
Gambler’s Challenge Running Total (After 4 Events):
–> Moose’s Running Total: -$130 (9 wins, 5 losses, 1 draw) – WINNER 🙂
–> blue63’s Running Total: -$635 (8 wins, 8 losses)
Moose’s UFC 107 – Penn vs. Sanchez total: +$245 (3 wins, 0 losses)
Moose’s UFC 106 – Ortiz vs. Griffin 2 total: -$425 (0 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw)
Moose’s UFC 105 – Couture vs. Vera total: +$100 (3 wins, 1 loss)
Moose’s Strikeforce – Fedor vs. Rogers total: -$50 (3 wins, 1 loss)
blue63’s UFC 107 – Penn vs. Sanchez total: -$500 (0 wins, 3 losses)
blue63’s UFC 106 – Ortiz vs. Griffin 2 total: -$127 (2 wins, 2 losses)
blue63’s UFC 105 – Couture vs. Vera total: +$203 (4 wins, 1 loss)
blue63’s Strikeforce – Fedor vs. Rogers total: -$211 (2 wins, 2 losses)
Event #4: UFC 107 – Penn vs. Sanchez
Post-Event Comments: Golden throated Orioles play-by-play man Chuck Thompson used to have a great saying back in the day upon every Baltimore victory – “ain’t the beer cold”. Indeed, it is. I won’t lie… about three quarters of the way through UFC 107, I knew that I had it in the bag. Once Struve got the nod, and Florian finished off that hairy wildman, I felt my comeback and eventual coronation was all but a forgone conclusion. The official icing on the cake was fellow Italiano Frank Mir taking out some frustration on an overmatched Kongo. Once that fight ended, the confetti dropped from the ceiling and I had my choice of women. Ok, no confetti, and no women (besides my wife), but a win’s a win, and that wrapped up a competitive Gambler’s Challenge: Moose vs. blue63. Many thanks to the pride of Los Alamos, NM “blue63”, he provided a nice challenge and certainly had me on the ropes, but in retrospect should just stick to horseshoes and grenades. Well done, young man.
Pre-Event Comments: My son asked me the other day if Santa would bring him presents on Christmas because he’s been such a good boy this year. Sure, he has, and as a result, Santa will produce some goodies for the boy. I’ll put in a good word with jolly old St. Nick. On the other hand, I’m expecting a lump of coal and no nookie from Mrs. Claus due to my poor performance in the Gambler’s Challenge: Moose vs. blue63 if I don’t turn it around this weekend. It’s been a painful stretch of close wins, blowout losses, and “what the hell was I thinking” in the four event stretch comprising the current Challenge. Only the mediocrity of my mulleted opponent blue63 has kept me in the game. Where there’s a will, there’s a way – and I still predict victory. In fact, we differ on two of the three picks referenced below, and although losing by $245 coming into this last event, I could still pull it out with a clean sweep (or maybe even picking two of three). As detailed here, below are my winners. The research was extensive and the result is guaranteed… well, maybe not, but you get the point. If nothing else, I’m “due”, right? Have some fun, head over the Bodog or any of our other preferred sportsbooks and throw a few bucks into an account. Having even a small amount of your Bill Gates-like fortune riding on a fight brings a new level of excitement. It’s Hail Mary time for me – will I pull out the win? Flutie steps back, sees a receiver down field breaking free from the Miami defense, the ball is in the air…
Moose’s Recommended Play: Mir (-240) over Kongo (+190). Bet $240, won $100
Moose’s Recommended Play: Florian (-205) over Guida (+165). Bet $205, won $100
Moose’s Recommended Play: Struve (-120) over Buentello (-110). Bet $55, won $45
blue63’s comments: Well folks, we’re nearing the end of this wonderful little journey that I’ve known as the MMAFullContact Gambler’s Challenge. It’s been a very fun experience and this is the last event of the competition. Anyways, without boring you any further here, three solid picks for this weekend’s show.
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Guida (+165) over Florian (-205). Bet $200, lost $200
This is one of the few matchups at 155 besides the Championship collision with BJ and Diego that I have been longing for throughout the year. Kenny Florian is a very talented fighter with some good Thai Boxing, decent jiu-jitsu and solid elbows; he has made his mark on the Lightweight division based on his talent. Clay Guida is the exact opposite however, with Guida depending on his underrated but very sound wrestling, excellent cardio and his never-say-die attitude to fuel his climb up the Lightweight ladder. I don’t see Florian’s takedown and wrestling defense to be enough to stop Guida’s relentless attack and trademark slams nor do I see KenFlo’s jiu-jitsu being sharp enough to submit Guida. Add into the equation Guida’s tried and tested caveman-like chin and you have yourself one very live dog folks.
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Buentello (-110) over Struve (-120). Bet $100, lost $100
It has been three and a half years since the Texas native and veteran of this sport has stepped foot inside the octagon, and what a return it will be. The “Headhunter” Paul Buentello faces the nearly 7 foot Dutchman in Stefan Struve in what will surely be a very exciting clash of styles. Buentello excels at using his jab and footwork to play the distance game and always offers KO power. Struve is a very young and exciting Dutch prospect with slick submissions and technical striking, however, the last time that Buentello lost via submission his opponent was literally still in grade school. If Buentello can stop the take-down or at least survive long enough on the ground to get back up on his feet, I see the Headhunter making a big splash in his Octagon return.
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Gouveia (-125) over Belcher (-105). Bet $200, lost $200
Alan Belcher is someone who I have always enjoyed watching. Belcher has a well-rounded game and always puts on an entertaining show. Unfortunately for Alan (and his dreadful Johnny Cash tattoo) he has a very tough fight lined up for his first UFC appearance in his “home-town” in Wilson Gouveia. The more I think about this fight, the more I can’t find a single aspect of the game that Belcher does better than Gouveia. Everybody knows that Gouveia has exceptional jiu-jitsu but he has also proven to have decent striking with KO power. Gouveia is one of those guys who has all the tools he needs to excel yet his success has been hindered in the past by mental errors. Since making the move to American Top Team, we haven’t seen many of those errors by Gouveia, so don’t pass up this line before it sways more in Gouveia’s favor.
Event #3: UFC 106 – Ortiz vs. Griffin 2
Post-Event Comments: E-gad… what stinks in this joint? Ah yes, my picks at UFC 106 – Ortiz vs. Griffin 2. Although I’ve forgotten more MMA than 4-time KMart Employee of the Month blue63 will ever know, I inexplicably dropped three of four picks in the event to lose a whopping $425. No sweat on the cash front, I’ll shake the money tree out back, but, damn, I may lose the Gambler’s Challenge! That’s like the ’85 Chicago Bears inviting a Pop Warner team to a scrimmage and losing. The fat lady isn’t singing yet, although she may be warming up. I’m putting on my rally cap!
Pre-Event Comments: Allright, here’s the deal. Most days, I wake up the morning and piss excellence. I’m the kind of guy that puts his pants on two legs at a time. You see what I’m getting at here. When I put together my picks last Thursday for the weekend’s UFC 105: Couture vs. Vera event, I figured my usual three winners in four fights (with an underdog winner mixed in for grins) would get it done in the Gambler’s Challenge against my normally overmatched, underachieving foe blue63. Normally, it would. My three winners netted me $100 on $500 wagered – not a bad chunk of change. However, the moons must’ve aligned or blue63 found that horseshoe in Frank Mir’s ass because he inexplicably stumbled his way to picking four winners in five fights. Very nice! I hope he’s pulling out the same dartboard and blindfold this week, because I have more winners on tap. Had anyone had the cojones to play either of our event picks, they would’ve cashed in nicely. Quit messing around – head over to Bodog or any of our preferred sportsbooks and open and account to join in on the fun and profit. Anyway, on to our picks for this Saturday’s UFC event. As seen here, my previously recommended plays for the UFC 106: Ortiz vs. Griffin 2 event consists of the below. Go time!
Moose’s Recommended Play: Johnson (-125) over Koscheck (-105). Result: Loss – Bet $125, lost $125
Moose’s Recommended Play: Cane (+130) over Nogueira (-160). Result: Loss – Bet $100, lost $100
Moose’s Recommended Play: Rosholt (-185) over Grove (+155). Result: Loss – Bet $200, lost $200
Moose’s Recommended Play: Camoes (+190) over Uno (-250). Result: Draw – Bet $75, $0 won
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Ortiz (+110) over Griffin (-140). Bet $250, lost $250
I want to start off this analysis by saying this is the one fight of the card that I am biased about. Tito Ortiz is the reason I started watching this sport so many years ago and Forrest’s ‘Run Forrest Run’ schtick he pulls every time he gets embarrassed has caused me to lose any and all respect for the guy. Tito is coming a year and a half break from fighting and Forrest is coming off two consecutive losses and hasn’t had an impressive showing since 2007. I’ll spare you my biased commentary on why Tito is going to once again pound Forrest’s head into mashed potatoes. Bet HUGE on The Huntington Beach Bad Boy, it’ll be the last time in a while that you’ll get in on a line with Tito as the underdog.
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Koscheck (-105) over Johnson (-125). Bet $150, won $142
This has Fight of the Night written all over it. Both guys always come out ready for war and throw bombs. The difference in this fight will be Koscheck’s top notch champion-caliber wrestling going against Rumble’s horrendously overrated wrestling and seriously lacking ground game. If Kos decides to stand and bang with Rumble he could be disconnected from his senses quickly, but I don’t see that happening. Kos WILL put Johnson on his back, he WILL pressure him and he WILL end up either winning by TKO or even a possible submission. Look for Koscheck to show Rumble NO LOVE and end this fight inside of two rounds. Somehow he’s the underdog in this fight, which will lead to a solid return on your money.
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Baroni (+180) over Sadollah (-220). Bet $50, lost $50
It’s great to see the New York Bad Ass back in the UFC, nobody besides Tito can sell a fight like Phil can or match his swagger. Unfortunately for the NYBA, he was brought back into the UFC for one reason and one reason only; to be a moderately big name that can be fed to up and coming contenders. That is exactly the case in this fight. Joe Silva and Dana have to see this fight as all but a guaranteed win for former TUF winner Sadollah. I however, disagree. Baroni has went back to the basics, found a new home (AKA) and has been improving his game by leaps and bounds since his loss to Joe Riggs in June. If Phil can keep this fight standing, eventually he WILL knock Amir out. Phil has been training daily with wrestling studs in Koscheck, Fitch, Velasquez and company, so I don’t see this as a matter of if Phil will KO Amir, but when.
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Nogueira (-160) over Cane (+130). Bet $50, won $31
Luiz Cane is right up there with Gegard Mousasi as one of the hottest fighters in the game currently. Banha has yet to be defeated by an opponent with his only loss being a DQ against James Irvin in his UFC debut due to kneeing a downed opponent in the head. However, he has never faced anyone as good or experienced as ‘Little Nog’. Little Nog is a very seasoned fighter who’s beaten a who’s who in MMA including Dan Henderson, Overeem, Sakuraba and Guy Mezger. Look for Minotoro’s experience to be the deciding factor in this fight. Minotoro will take Cane into the deep waters and make him wilt. Little Nog is going to make a very impressive UFC debut at the expense of Luiz Cane.
Event #2: UFC 105 – Couture vs. Vera
Post-Event Comments: Well, I’ll be damned… even a blind squirrel can find a nut occasionally. In a sure sign that the apocalypse is upon us, I went 3-1 (yet again) bringing home a solid score of $100 – enough to cover the UFC 105 high-def Pay-Per-View cost, pizza, and beer – and I still lost in Event #2 of the Gambler’s Challenge! The UG’s very own blue63 hit on 4 of 5 recommended plays and brought home a nice chunk of change – $203. Had he actually manned up (like I did years ago!) and bet those plays at Bodog, he’d now have enough money to get the electricity and phone turned back on at his crib. Bravo, blue63!
Pre-Event Comments: As seen here, my previously recommended plays for the UFC 105: Couture vs. Vera event consist of the below. As usual, I won’t thrill you with specifics, but call your fat Uncle who likes to gamble – they’re all winners. Do yourself a favor and make some cash on them at Bodog. For consistency sake, all lines have been normalized to Bodog.com’s lines for those fights from earlier today.
Moose’s Recommended Play: Couture (-125) over Vera (-105). Result: Bet $200, won $160
Moose’s Recommended Play: Swick (-250) over Hardy (+190). Result: Bet $150, lost $150
Moose’s Recommended Play: Bisping (+100) Denis Kang (-130). Result: Bet $50, won $50
Moose’s Recommended Play: Hathaway (-250) over Taylor (+190). Result: Bet $100, won $40
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Couture (-125) over Vera (-105). Bet $100, won $80
This is either going to be a hell of a fight, or The Naturals easiest outing since Mike Van Arsdale. It all depends on which Brandon Vera shows up for the fight; Vera is one of the most talented guys in the 205 division but he’s also unquestionably the most inconsistent. Throughout his career, Captain America has not only out wrestled better wrestlers than Vera, but he has done so in a brutalizing manner. Randy has been able to take down Tito, Chuck, Lesnar, Van Arsdale and Kevin Randleman. Vera will be the same story, just a new chapter. Randy Couture by TKO.
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Hardy (+190) over Swick (-250). Bet $50, won $95
This has been the hardest fight for me to pick on the event. I’ve gone back and forth several times as far as who I think will take this one. Dan Hardy has very underrated BJJ and Muay Thai, a lot of people are still sleeping on The Outlaw. Hardy absolutely worked a former professional boxer in Marcus Davis on the feet and has a purple belt under Eddie Bravo for when his fights hits the mat. Anyone who has watched MMA in the past 5 years or so knows what Mike Swick brings to the table, that being blazing fast hand speed, knockout power, a nasty ‘Swickotine’ and a nasty desire to separate his opponents from their consciousness as quickly as he possibly can. I’m not personally making a play on this fight but if I were I’d bet on The Outlaw. Dan Hardy by KO.
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Kang (-130) over Bisping (+100). Bet $150, lost $150
This fight is cut and dry in my eyes, so I won’t bore you with an entire paragraph about why once again Bisping is going to be down for the count. Kang has much better striking, much better grappling and much more experience. Bet big on Kang. Kang by whatever method he so chooses.
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Brown (-155) over Wilks (+125). Bet $150, won $96
James Wilks is hot off his welterweight victory of the worst TUF season ever. It almost seems like he was thrown to the wolves in this fight, Matt Brown is one of the toughest post-TUF finale fights a winner has ever had. Brown has fast hands, huge power and always fights with bad intentions. He has been susceptible to getting caught in a submission in the past which is Wilks’ strong suit, but unfortunately for the Brit I don’t see that as being enough to overcome the huge discrepancy in the striking game. Bet big on Matt Brown. Brown by TKO.
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Pearson (+165) over Riley (-205). Bet $50, won $82
Ross Pearson was the only fighter with real potential to come out of of TUF 9. He has unorthodox striking, a good ground game and is a cardio machine. Aaron Riley is a very seasoned veteran of 40 fights who trains at one of the best camps in the world, Greg Jackson’s MMA. Many of Rileys wins have come against mediocre at best competition and have been by submission, he’s had major problems in the past against guys with KO power which has made him hesitant to pull the trigger against powerful strikers. Pearson takes this fight a full three rounds in the upset of the night. Pearson by UD.
Event #1: Stikeforce – Fedor vs. Rogers
Post-Event Comments: In this first event of the Gambler’s Challenge, the amounts that were bet on each of the fights were the same – $125. Starting with the next event, in an effort to mirror more realistic gambling techniques, up to $350 can be bet on a single fight, while the least that can be bet on a single fight in an event is $50. The total amount bet on all four (or more) fights must still combine to equal $500.
Pre-Event Comments: As seen here, my previously recommended plays for the Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers event consist of the below. I’ll spare you the sage-like analysis, but just realize that its four winners right there. Do yourself a favor and make some cash on them at Bodog. For consistency sake, all lines have been normalized to Bodog.com’s lines for those fights from earlier today.
Moose’s Recommended Play: Emelianenko (-625) over Rogers (+425). Result: Bet $125, won $20
Moose’s Recommended Play: Shields (-340) over Miller (+260). Result: Bet $125, won $36
Moose’s Recommended Play: Mousasi (-650) over Sokoudjou (+450). Result: Bet $125, won $19
Moose’s Recommended Play: Silva (+120) over Werdum (-150). Result: Bet $125, lost $125
The following consists of blue63’s predictions for the same event. Oddly enough, for someone who thought my picks and analysis were so lacking previously, he mirrored me on 3 of the 4, although he does have a stone cold loser in Mayhem. I do give him credit for trying, although, I’ve read more analytical pieces from my 5 year old. Looks like it all comes down to Shields vs. Mayhem to determine who gets the early upper hand. Good luck to blue63!
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Emelianenko (-625) over Rogers (+425). Bet $125, won $20
I’m taking Fedor in this fight. I think the line is weighted towards the Last Emperors favor a little heavily, but it’s very hard to make an argument against the best in the history of the sport. Rogers has very heavy hands and some good boxing, so he always has the “punchers chance” but that will not be nearly enough on it’s own to sway my choice. Rogers will make a mistake that Emelianenko will capitalize on. Look for a Fedor RNC or Armbar in the first two rounds.
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Miller (+260) over Shields (-340). Bet $125, lost $125
This is the best opportunity for a good return on your money throughout this event. Jake Shields has been on a tear as of late, in his last 4 bouts he has came out on top via submission in 2 rounds or less. The last time Shields lost a fight was nearly 5 years ago, but that could all change on Saturday. Miller is consistently undervalued on sportsbooks due to his underwhelming style, but he always delivers. Mayhem took Jacare to a decision, and if Jacare couldn’t finish Mayhem I don’t see Shields getting his 5th submission victory in a row. Miller by UD.
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Mousasi (-650) over Sokoudjou (+450). Bet $125, won $19
Mousasi is the real deal. Gegard has decisively beaten Jacare, Dennis Kang, Melvin Manhoef, Mark Hunt and Babalu Sobral in his last 6 fights since April of last year. There is not a fighter in the sport right now hotter than Mousasi; he has been out of the first round once in his last 12 outings. Sokoudjou always finds a way to surprise people, but unfortunately you can never tell if that will be due to an impressive performance or an underachieving bout that ends in The African Assassin being choked out. One thing is a certainty though, this fight will not go to the judges. Between the two competitors, they have two decisions in their last 22 fights. Mousasi by 1st rd TKO.
–> blue63’s Recommended Play: Silva (+120) over Werdum (-150). Bet $125, lost $125
This is the one fight on the card that I had trouble initially picking. Werdum is the best heavyweight BJJ player, hands down. If Werdum can get this to the ground and secure side control or even the mount, Bigfoot will be in a very precarious position. Silva is no slouch on the ground himself, but I think his takedown defense and superior boxing will be the difference in this bout. Once Werdum finds himself unable to get the huge Brazilian to the ground, he will be in for a long night. Antonio Silva by split decision.