As we come to the end of 2019, it feels great to put another good year behind us as we’ve made a solid profit in both prefight and Live Betting over the last 12 months.
In the recent break-in UFC schedule, I identified a couple of areas where I can improve, and I’ll be spending more time analyzing my results during the next break in January to try and identify any other areas that I can tighten up. Hopefully, the changes that I make will help us make even more money in 2020.
We are now deep into December, but we’re not even halfway through the MMA Betting schedule as we still have tons of MMA events coming up before the end of the month with 3 Bellators, 1 Rizin, 1 PFL, and 1 UFC card all taking place over the next few week’s. This weekend we have Bellator 235 taking place on Friday, UFC Korea taking place on Saturday and then Bellator 236 taking place about 8 hours after UFC Korea finishes.
Holloway’s disappointing loss last weekend at UFC 245 puts us at a small overall loss for December, but I’m working hard behind the scenes to try and find us some solid bets to finish the year strong. I will be Live Streaming the majority of my fight research for all of the upcoming Bellator, Rizin, and PFL cards on the new Live Streaming platform on the website. I’ll be updating the Livestream page with specific start times for these upcoming streams as soon as the odds for these promotions get released and liquidity has a chance to build up.
Please download the Telegram app on your mobile phone and click this link after it is installed to join our Telegram group. You’ll then receive push notifications whenever I start a new Livestream.
|Fight||Betting Tip||The bet with the best risk to reward ratio|
|Chan Sung Jung vs Frankie Edgar||No bet||Edgar to win|
|Aleksandar Rakic vs Volkan Oezdemir||2 units on Aleksandar Rakic to win at odds of 1.69 | -145 | 69/100||Rakic to win|
|Charles Jourdain vs Doo Ho Choi||3 unit parlay accumulator on Choi and Velasquez to win at odds of around 1.54 | -185 | 27/50||Choi and Velasquez to win|
|Bruna Ellen vs Juliana Velasquez [this fight takes place at Bellator 236]|
|Da Un Jung vs Mike Rodriguez||No bet||Rodriguez to win|
|Jun Yong Park vs Marc-Andre Barriault||No bet||Barriault to win|
|Kyung Ho Kang vs Pingyuan Liu||No bet||Liu to win|
|Ciryl Gane vs Tanner Boser||No bet||Gane to win|
|Seung Woo Choi vs Suman Mokhtarian||No bet||Mokhtarian to win|
|Dong Hyun Ma vs Omar Morales||No bet||Ma to win|
|Alexandre Pantoja vs Matt Schnell||No bet||Pantoja to win|
|Roani Barcelos vs Said Nurmagomedov||No bet||Barcelos to win|
|Amanda Lemos vs Miranda Granger||No bet||Lemos to win|
|Heili Alateng vs Ryan Benoit||No bet||Benoit to win|
Bruna Ellen vs Juliana Velasquez Betting Tip and Prediction
I haven’t recommended a parlay/accumulator bet since July, but with so many heavy favorites competing this weekend across UFC Busan, Bellator 235 and Bellator 236, it was always going to be likely that we’d find at least two fighters that could be partnered up for a boosted return.
The 3 major MMA events this weekend have a total of 15 heavy favorites competing on their cards, which is crazy when you take into consideration the fact that the average UFC event only has 12 fights. Bellator has gone squash match crazy on their two cards this weekend, and perhaps the most annoying part of this is that I’m about halfway through researching all the fights, and I haven’t found an underdog who looks likely to cause an upset yet. Toby Misech is perhaps the underdog with the best chance of beating the odds, but he missed weight by 5 pounds, so who knows how seriously he’s taking this fight.
I still have 5 fights left to research this weekend across Bellator and the UFC, but out of the fights I’ve researched so far, there are two fighters who are significantly better than their opponents. This doesn’t mean that there are no risks with betting them, and it doesn’t mean that they are free from weaknesses, but I do feel that their advantages will be too big for their opponents to overcome.
If you joined me on Friday night’s Bellator Livestream you’ll already know exactly why Juliana Velasquez is the first leg of this parlay / accumulator. They say that pictures speak a thousand words, so let me share with you guys a couple of pictures that should emphasize why Velasquez should win this weekend. Here’s a picture of Velasquez:
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Alcançar o que se deseja dá trabalho, mas não pare de lutar porque está cansado. Só pare apenas quando tiver triunfado. 📸 @aquelecarioca . #mma #bellatormma #mmagirls #mmafighter #preparaçãofísica #treinamento #treinofisico #esporte #fightlikeagirl #girlspower #fighter #lutadora #mmafeminino #mulheresnaluta #juvelasquez
Here is a picture of Bruna Ellen:
Bellator has a history of signing beautiful Instagram model type girls like Anastasia Yankova, Lena Ovchynnikova, and Bruna Ellen and initially giving them favorable matchups to help them pick up a couple of wins. Then, inevitably they climb the rankings and start to face a higher level of opponent, and that’s where things tend to go South.
There’s nothing wrong with Bruna Ellen, she’s not a particularly bad fighter, and there are some things that she does very well. She has excellent head kicks, good fight IQ, and well-timed takedowns. The problem is that there are levels to this sport, and Ellen is very young in her career with plenty of holes to work on, and Velasquez is a lifelong Martial Artist with the skills to dominate wherever this fight takes place.
Juliana Velasquez has just about every advantage you could want going into this fight, and while her odds do reflect that, this should be a relatively risk-free bet that we can use to boost our odds on Do Ho Choi.
Velasquez is significantly better than Ellen in every single aspect of MMA. She also has a big size advantage, cardio for days, and she’s very tough. Aside from Ellen’s leg kicks, there’s nothing else she brings to the table that could cause Velasquez a problem, and it won’t be easy for her to land those leg kicks without paying the price because Velasquez’s counters are ruthlessly accurate.
If you look at the picture of Velasquez that I posted earlier in this article and spend 30 minutes watching some of her past fights, you could be forgiven for thinking that she has a base in Muay Thai. When you watch her fight, she certainly looks like a Muay Thai fighter, but it turns out that her base is grappling. She competed in the Olympics in Judo for Brazil, which makes her a nightmare standing up and also on the ground.
From a technical point of view, this is a very difficult stylistic matchup for Ellen because she likes to throw hard leg kicks and wide, looping, winging hooks. Velasquez loves to walk her opponents down and react to what they’re doing. You’ll rarely see Velasquez initiate a striking exchange; instead, she waits for her opponents to act first, then she slips their shots and punishes them with devastating counter combinations. Her striking is very good, and the size difference between these two fighters will make it difficult for Ellen to get inside and have any success with her hooks.
Bellator have a bit of an informal Flyweight tournament playing out this weekend with Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defending her Flyweight title against Kate Jackson. Then Veta Arteaga, Bruna Ellen, Juliana Velasquez, and Alejandra Lara all fighting each other to decide who’s next in line to face the winner of the title fight. In my opinion, Velasquez would easily beat every single Flyweight competing this weekend, including Macfarlane, who is the Champion. Hopefully, she gets her rightful shot at the belt if she gets past Ellen this weekend.
This is a great stylistic matchup for Velasquez. She should be able to dominate the fight standing up or on the ground. She should win easily unless something absolutely crazy happens.
Reasons for betting on Juliana Velasquez
Risk Factors with betting on Juliana Velasquez
Charles Jourdain vs Doo Ho Choi Betting Tip and Prediction
It wasn’t that long ago that people were talking about Doo Ho Choi as being in line for a title shot at 145 pounds. He was considered to be one of the hottest prospects in the division, and unlike many hype trains, he certainly had the skills to back it up. Fast forward two years and many people seem to have forgotten about this guy, myself included.
I’ve got to be really honest. Before researching this fight, I had completely forgotten just how incredible Doo Ho Choi is. He’s not perfect, no fighter is, but there are certain things that he does better than almost anyone else in the division.
It’s also nice to see the UFC helping him try to get his career back on track by matching him up against a very favorable stylistic opponent in Charles Jourdain. So often, we see the UFC behave absolutely ruthlessly with their matchmaking, but it does appear that they are trying to gift Choi a win in front of his hometown fans.
This is a good stylistic matchup for Choi because Jourdain is primarily a striker, but his striking is all kicks based. He has very good leg kicks and decent body kicks, but he really struggles to land significant head strikes. If you go back and watch all his fights from his TKO days, you’ll see that his Boxing is quite wild and sloppy. It’s rare that you’ll see him land big punches. This was also a glaring weakness in his UFC debut against Desmond Green. Take a look at the stats and see for yourself:
As you can see, Jourdain only landed 11 strikes to the head in a 15-minute fight, which is kind of terrible. Especially when you take into consideration the fact that Desmond Green is a wrestler, and Jourdain is supposed to be the technical Kickboxer. Green ended up beating Jourdain in a stand-up fight. You can also see that Jourdain’s accuracy is really bad, having only landed 37% of the strikes he threw. These weaknesses are not just specific to his debut against Green, they are also present in all of his fights in TKO.
Charles Jourdain is a talented young fighter who will be making huge improvements from fight to fight, but at just 24 years old I feel like a fight against someone like Choi might be too much too soon. Jourdain is incredibly tough and scrappy, but I really feel like his wreckless Boxing will get him into a lot of trouble against an accurate Boxer like Choi.
Jourdain’s leg kicks are absolutely legit, though, and one area where it’s likely he’ll cause Choi problems. It is worth noting, however, that the best counter to a leg kick is a punch in the face, and Choi does an excellent job of landing vicious counters with pinpoint accuracy. We have also seen Choi do a pretty good job of slipping leg kicks against Jeremy Stephens, so Jourdain may struggle to land them as easily as he did against Green.
One particular area that Choi has struggled in the past is his ability to fight effectively while being forced to move backward. When pressured by Swanson and Stephens, he really struggled. He has spoken to media this week and said that he’s made big improvements in this area and specifically mentioned how his striking defense has improved a lot.
Charles Jourdain shouldn’t pose too much of a threat to Choi in this area because Choi has one of the best chins I’ve ever seen in MMA, and like you’ve seen from the stats, Jourdain’s not particularly good at landing head strikes. When Jourdain comes forward, he throws wild looping shots. If you go back and watch any of Choi’s past fights, you’ll see that he looks like he’s fighting in the Matrix. He stays calm, relaxed, and when his opponents open up, he does a good job of slipping their shots and firing back devastating counters. He only gets into trouble when his opponents can sustain pressure and trap him against the cage and land head strike combinations. Jourdain hasn’t shown an ability to do that in his past fights, so Choi’s significant technical advantage when it comes to Boxing should be the difference here.
Both these guys are primarily strikers, but if Choi wanted an easy night’s work, he could just take Jourdain down and dominate him on the ground. Jourdain showed in his last two fights against Lapilus and Green that his takedown defense is very bad, and his ground game is at a very low level.
Charles Jourdain has shown in his past fights that he loves a scrap, but sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for. Jourdain’s sloppy Boxing is likely to get him into a lot of trouble against a Sniper like Choi that can deliver devastating KO power in every shot.
This is a fight where Choi has a significant advantage in every single aspect of MMA. Jourdain’s leg kicks are really the only thing that poses a threat to Choi, but it’s tough to see them being the deciding factor in a fight where Choi’s advantages are so substantial. Choi also has home advantage on his side, which should help.
Juliana Velasquez and Doo Ho Choi are two fighters competing this weekend that have massive advantages over their opponents. Both of them should win easily unless something crazy happens.
Reasons for betting on Doo Ho Choi
Risk Factors with betting on Doo Ho Choi
My Betting Tip
Choi and Velasquez to win
[3% of your bankroll]
Decimal = 1.54
Moneyline = -185
Fractional = 27/50
The bookies believe that Juliana Velasquez and Doo Ho Choi have a 65% chance of winning based on their current odds.
Aleksandar Rakic vs Volkan Oezdemir Betting Tip and Prediction
I held off on betting Aleksandar Rakic this week because, as a general rule, the odds on favorites improve the closer we get to the time of the fight, while the odds on underdogs tend to decline. There are always exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking, that’s how the odds move. I was hoping that with so few well-known fighters competing this weekend at UFC Busan, people would get desperate and go dog hunting on Volkan Oezdemir. This would then, of course, improve the odds on Rakic. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be happening, and the odds, as a result, have steadily declined on Rakic all week. With less than 8 hours to go before the start of UFC Busan, it’s now time that we locked in this bet.
You’ll often hear me say that good bets don’t always win, and bad bets don’t always lose and that all bets carry some degree of risk. You’ll never find a bet without some form of risk. In January, I’ll be building a new Members Area of the website that will enable me to start producing content where I can explain these aspects of gambling in a much more detailed way. For now, I’ll just emphasize that all bets carry a certain degree of risk, and the amount of risk you can allow within a bet is determined by the return in the odds. We call this the risk to reward ratio. I have a particular way of calculating this that has served me well over the years, and I plan to share the specifics of my methodology with you guys in the new Members Area of the site that will be launching in January.
Assessing the risk to reward ratio in a bet like this is very important because Rakic has specific weaknesses that Oezdemir can exploit. The real question with a bet like this is how much of a threat does Oezdemir pose to Rakic, relative to the advantages that Rakic holds over Oezdemir.
Based on my research, there are two specific areas where Oezdemir can cause Rakic big problems, but I also feel that they are outweighed by the areas in which Rakic can cause Oezdemir problems. Rakic’s current average odds of around 1.69 | -145 | 69/100 carry an implied probability of 59%, which feels much too low to me. I can’t cap Rakic at 70% either, but I also feel he commands more respect than being given a 60% chance to win. For me, I feel it’s fair to settle in the middle and cap Rakic at 65%, giving us a 6% margin over the betting sites.
First, let’s talk about the risk factors in this fight, and then we’ll move onto why I feel Rakic is a good bet.
Rakic has a base in Muay Thai and a very similar fighting style and stance to Darren Till. They have that traditional Thai style of creating a wide base with their legs and standing very rigid and upright. This means that Rakic’s head is often a static target and there to be hit. Guys like Rakic and Till rely on their ability to anticipate their opponent coming forward and then either being able to slip the shot, circle out of danger, or fire back with a devastating counter.
This style can obviously get you into trouble against a heavy-handed opponent like Oezdemir, and it cost Rakic against Devin Clark when he got dropped off a left hand in the 1st round.
Another area where Rakic can get himself into trouble is his willingness to exchange. When Rakic is focused on his striking defense, he’s very difficult to hit. Like Till, he does a great job of slipping shots and circling away from his opponents when they come forward. Rakic does, however, get himself into trouble a lot because he loves to sit down on his shots and catch people with counters as they come into his Boxing range. He often gets the better of these exchanges because of his speed and technique, but he definitely takes a lot of risks, and this can get him into trouble against a heavy hitter like Oezdemir.
There is a significant risk that Oezdemir catches Rakic with a bomb and wins this fight by KO. But there are also caveats to this risk, which makes Oezdemir a lot less dangerous than some people may be giving him credit for.
I’ve always felt that Oezdemir’s power was a little overstated. Afterall he went the distance with OSP, who was gassed out of his mind in round 2, and Oezdemir couldn’t really hurt him with anything.
We also saw Latifi gas bad in the 2nd round against Oezdemir and even though Latifi was stood flat-footed, trapped against the cage, right in front of Oezdemir, it still took many power strikes and a couple of minutes of teeing off on Latifi before Oezdemir eventually landed the KO shot. Oezdemir’s only KO wins in the UFC are against Cirkunov and Manuwa, who both have a history of being chinny. The Cirkunov KO, in particular, was incredibly soft and looked borderline suspicious.
If you go and watch Oezdemir’s fights, you’ll also notice that his hand speed is incredibly slow, and he needs to get really close to his opponents before he can land on them. He does a good job of pressuring people and cutting the cage off, but his hand speed is slow, so he doesn’t do a good job of landing anything when he gets into good positions. This is likely to get him into a lot of trouble against someone like Rakic, who has great footwork and will be significantly faster.
Speed kills, and Rakic is much, much, much faster than Oezdemir. At times it looks like Oezdemir is fighting underwater. If he catches you, he’s going to hurt you, but Rakic is a technician who will hopefully see the majority of Oezdemir’s power strikes coming from a mile away and get out of danger.
Oezdemir’s slow hand speed is not where his problems end. He’s also very flat-footed and cumbersome in his movement. If you go back and watch Rakic’s fight against Justin Ledet, you’ll see him throw gut-wrenching leg kicks to the inside and outside of Ledet’s legs. Oezdemir is too slow to slip these kinds of kicks or check them, so it’s very likely he’ll be getting blasted all night with leg kicks from Kickboxing range. Rakic has the kind of power in his leg kicks that can end a fight, and I don’t see what Oezdemir is going to be able to do to stop them aside from getting a takedown or driving Rakic into the cage and forcing him to fight in a phone booth.
Grappling is another risk factor in this bet because Rakic’s takedown defense against Barroso looked ok, but certainly not bulletproof. It is, however, worth noting that it was Rakic’s debut, and it was 2 years ago, so we can’t be too harsh on him. Since then, he has been training at ATT and has shown flashes of solid wrestling in his fights against Devin Clark and Justin Ledet. I am sure his wrestling and takedown defense has improved since he fought Barroso.
Oezdemir is not a strong wrestler either, but it’s possible that he’ll try to take Rakic down to steal rounds. This got him into trouble against Anthony Smith because he didn’t have the cardio to grapple hard, which may make him reluctant to mix it up with Rakic on the ground. I found it interesting that in his fight week interview, Oezdemir mentioned that he thought Rakic might try to take him down. This could be because Cormier and Smith both showed that Oezdemir is heavy from top position but very, very weak off his back. Rakic showed a heavy top game and great ground and pound against Justin Ledet, so this is another potential path to victory for Rakic.
The biggest reason why I think Rakic is a great value bet this weekend is because Oezdemir does not have the cardio to fight at a high pace for 3 rounds. His output usually falls off a cliff in round 2. This makes this a really difficult stylistic matchup for him because to beat Rakic, he’s going to have to pressure him, get in his face and try and land bombs in Boxing range. The problem is, this style requires a big gas tank because you’re constantly chasing your opponent around the Octagon. Oezdemir can’t afford to start too fast and risk gassing out like he has in almost all of his fights that went past the 2nd round.
This creates a huge dilemma for Oezdemir because he usually manages his cardio by fighting in bursts. The Dominick Reyes fight is perhaps the most obvious example of how he paces himself. What you’ll see Oezdemir do in all his fights is burst forward with an explosive combination and then hope that the power in his hands put his opponent into a defensive shell. He then does nothing in Kickboxing range for 30 seconds to 1 minute while he catches his breath and then comes forward with the next blitz. The problem with trying to use that kind of strategy against a high volume striker like Rakic is that Rakic won’t give him a break. He won’t be able to catch his break in between blitzes because he’ll be getting blasted with leg kicks and body shots. This makes this a really tough fight for Oezdemir because if he doesn’t KO Rakic in round 1, he’s going to have to fight at a high pace for 15 minutes, and historically he has shown that he can’t do this.
This is one of those bets that I like a lot because, despite the risks, I feel Rakic wins about 80% of the time if he can just avoid getting knocked out. I feel it’s extremely unlikely that Oezdemir can win a decision because his output falls off a cliff in round 2, and he becomes much less dangerous as the fight goes on as he starts to get tired. I’m like 90% sure that Rakic will win round 3 due to Oezdemir’s cardio issues, which means he would only have to win the 2nd or 3rd in order to win a decision.
The risk of Oezdemir knocking Rakic out is very real, but if he doesn’t, he probably gets picked apart for 3 rounds and loses a decision. We also can’t ignore the fact that Rakic is extremely dangerous himself. Oezdemir has questionable striking defense, fights with his hands low, and he’s very slow. This makes him a sitting duck to the KO. Rakic showed in his fight against Manuwa that he’s lightning-fast and extremely dangerous. I know that Manuwa is chinny, but if this head kick lands on anyone on earth, it’s knocking them out. Paul Felder, on commentary, said, “That’s what it sounds like when you get hit with a Baseball Bat to the head.”
We have been floating around break even on prefight bets over the last couple of months, and I am becoming increasingly concerned that some people are not gambling responsibly. I’ve noticed that when we are taking small losses, some people are having meltdowns in the Chat Room after events.
I can’t emphasize enough that betting on MMA is a minefield with risk everywhere. It’s incredibly difficult, and on any given night, any bet can lose. There are clear, obvious, and significant risks with betting on Rakic this weekend. If you can’t deal with the possibility of Rakic losing, don’t bet him because Oezdemir can absolutely death shot him within 30 seconds.
Just remember that over the course of a year, we will place a lot of bets. Our goal is to make more money than we lose. We’ve done this in 2019 and banked a decent overall profit for the year.
You have to be prepared to mix it up and accept that there are risks with every bet. Take losses on the chin and enjoy the wins. Losses are like paying taxes; they are just part of this game. Every bet has risk factors; you have to accept that they exist and hope that the fighter you bet on comes out on top. If Paris Hilton fought Mike Tyson, there would be risk factors. Two guys are fighting to the death in a cage until a referee steps in and stops it, or the time limit is reached. You’re going to see a lot of crazy stuff happen.
To reach the highest level of anything in life, you have to be good at learning from your mistakes and constantly improving. Oezdemir is going to know he’s slow, and he’s going to know his cardio is bad, so he’s going to be working on those weaknesses every day in the gym. Don’t be surprised if he shows up with dramatically improved Boxing and cardio. On the flipside, Rakic will know that his striking defense almost cost him against Devin Clark, and he’ll know that Oezdemir hits like a truck, so don’t be surprised if he shows up with significantly improved striking.
This is the game we play. Don’t bet too big and use smart bankroll management. If you struggle to deal with losing mentally, don’t bet Rakic because this is a risky bet. With that being said, I think that the reward far outweighs the risk here, and I think Rakic’s advantages make him a decent bet at the current odds. Let’s hope he comes through for us.
Reasons for betting on Aleksandar Rakic
Risk Factors with betting on Aleksandar Rakic
My Betting Tip
Aleksandar Rakic to win
[2% of your bankroll]
Decimal = 1.69
Moneyline = -145
Fractional = 69/100
The bookies believe that Aleksandar Rakic has a 59% chance of beating Volkan Oezdemir based on their current odds.