I ended the night down $656 (<5% of pre-fight portfolio size) on total wagers of $2,609 (negative ~25% return on the night). If I had just bet the same amount on every underdog using closing odds I would have been down ~5% (I underperformed this strategy ~20%). For reference, comparing The Open Roll’s returns vs. simple underdog betting for Fight Night 90 was 13% vs. -16% (29% outperformance), Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale 15% vs. -24% (39% outperformance), UFC 200 20% vs. 14% (6% outperformance) and Fox 20 -59% vs. 19% (78% underperformance). On average I’m up ~6% overall (excluding ~72% gain on UFC Fight Night 91).
Rule number one is to not lose money and this is the second card where I’ve underperformed a simple underdog betting strategy. It never feels good losing money or to do worse than a formula, but it’s going to happen from time to time. The questions for me, win or lose, really is what did I learn from the card, where can I get better and did the night provide reason to believe something I’m doing isn’t working or should be replaced. On these criteria, I’m generally pleased… For more details on bets placed see below:
- $649 on Velickovic at +195 – the fight ended in a draw so I got my money back. Thought there was value on this line and I think the fight showed this.
- $500 on Grabowski at +115 – lost $500 on Hamilton’s KO win. Heavyweight is a b—-. Hamilton landed first…
- $400 on Herman at +197.5, hedged Krylov R1 win $40 at +175 – lost $440 on Krylov’s R2 win. Herman survived R1, landed too but got dropped with a high left leg kick to the head early R2, before I was hoping / believing he was going to turn the grind up and ultimately get the win… I’m sold, Krylov made my list of Light Heavyweights I’m biased to avoid betting against all together.
- $200 on Pearson at +205 – lost $200 on Masvidal’s win. Going in I thought & said everything told us Masvidal should win this, but I still put money on it because I liked the line. This was a bad decision.
- $200 on Serrano at -105 – Lost $200 on Benoit’s decision win. Serrano out hit Benoit every single round also landing 5 takedowns overall vs. Benoit at zero. Serrano got robbed.
- $200 on Rivera at +140 – Lost $200 on Perez’s decision win. Even though Rivera lost, I think this bet was a decent one.
- $200 on Ellenberger at +232, $10 R1 Ellenberger at +1100 – won $574 on Ellenberger’s R1 win. Had heard on Frank Mir’s podcast Brown say he got a concussion last year, and re-watched the Thompson fight… This was a great line…
- $200 on Kowalkiewicz at +160 – won $320 on Kowalkiewicz’s win. Despite poor head movement, she took it. When she fights Joanna the line will have to be great to justify getting involved on Kowalkiewicz…
- $10 on Lawler vs. Woodley decision at +650 – lost $10 on R1 KO. I wanted to take Woodley outright in this one but it felt like the line was fairly priced.
Time of writing Perez is -150 vs. Rivera +145.
I’m not willing to fully pay for the view Rivera is on total decline and Perez is on the way up.
I’m $200 on Perez at +140.
**Time is out and this is my last post, so will make mention here I also plan to bet against Rose (hype train is perhaps in the line) and on Ellenberger (Brown had a concussion last year, Ellenberger dropped Wonder Boy, etc.) both $200 or more each.
Time of writing Krylov is -208 vs. Herman at +210 or implied ~32% chance of winning.
Krylov should no doubt be the favorite, but in the 205 pound division for this type of match up history suggests ~32% type odds on Herman is far too pessimistic.
I’m $200 on Herman at +200.
Time of writing Masvidal is -227 vs. Pearson at +215 or implied ~32% chance of winning.
Almost everything I tend to look to determine odds makes me think Masvidal should win this. But when I think about how slight the degree in which these edges appear for Masvidal over Pearson, in the context of everything we don’t know and generally how crazy this division is at this level, I believe the line should be closer. This fight has great potential to be fight of the night, which by definition would imply tighter odds.
I’m $200 on Pearson at +205.
Time of writing Grabowski is +120 vs. Hamilton -132. I like Grabowski here.
I’m out of time to explain in full. Basically the view is Hamilton’s edge is likely in the clinch and wrestling department, but the degree of that edge I question enough to think this should probably be a pick em.
I have $500 on Grabowski at +115.
Time of writing Reis is -290 vs. Sandoval +257 or implied 28% chance of winning.
Reis is the #7 flyweight in the world and looks like he’s carved from stone. Sandoval has never fought in the UFC, his last four wins are over Glass Joe, Soda Popinski, Piston Honda & Don Flamenco, and his fifth last fight was a R1 KO loss to Willie Gates.
I’m almost 90% sure this fight will be a pass for me. I might go back if I have time before the fight to see if I’m maybe missing something here, but I really doubt it.
Time of writing Graves is -200 vs. Velickovic at +180 or ~36% chance of winning. There are characteristics about this match up that lead me to believe there is likely value here on Bojan Velickovic.
Velickovic deadlifts the mornings of fight day, moved alone to the US from Serbia to chase his dream, started in martial arts at age 10, is very well rounded, fights intelligently for someone with just one UFC fight under his belt, was big for 185 so will be huge for 170, is a south paw, has shown growth fight to fight, comes out of a really strong camp, pushes the pace and has good cardio. Graves is a tough guy, a good wrestler & ties his skills together well, but from what I’ve seen tends to win mostly on grit and will, which I think will be tough to do against a guy like Bojan.
I want to give Bojan the edge in this fight, which would imply a 27% portfolio weighting on Kelly. I’m not so bold, and still want to think & do more work on this one, so am just $660 or under 5% today at +195. I suspect this weighting will change by fight day.
Time of writing Serrano is -122 vs. Benoit +118 or 46% chance of winning.
Benoit is a brawler that swings with bad intensions, which often opens him up for the takedown. Despite being 36 years old, Serrano is a beast wrestler, is likely the better striker from distance, has a good chin, can brawl as well and has shown he has good enough awareness that it’s a high likelihood he will take this fight to the mat on multiple occasions. Also of note Benoit is stepping in last minute for this one.
I’m tempted to put some on the favorite, but at -122 or 55% chance of winning for Serrano I think this fight is probably close to fairly priced. Will hope the line moves, and make a game time call here what to do.
Time of writing Brown is -112 vs. Arzamendia +103 or basically a coin flip. I think Cesar Arzamendia is maybe worth a sprinkle at best.
Cesar is a very solid striker, athletic, the bigger man & can finish fights with his hands, but he has a weak chin. I re-watched all the exchanges in the Reyes fight again and am convinced Arzamendia is the superior striker with the ability to end Brown standing, even if Brown comes out new & improved. Cesar’s stated game plan is to out strike and KO Brown working from distance, which is good & realistic for Cesar… but I still think he will get hit and if he does, while I don’t think he’s a total glass jaw, I really don’t think it bodes well for him.
Also, I think Brown has the ability to submit Cesar if the opportunity presents itself. Watching the Barzola TUF Latam fight Cesar showed suspect defense against the ground & pound and suboptimal positional awareness on the bottom in scrambles from inferior positions. Cesar’s takedown defense is good enough, and he’s athletic / strong / active enough this isn’t the highest likelihood, but it’s more than a 20% probability in my mind these types of scrambles occur, making it a very real consideration. I also don’t have good reason to think his BJJ game has gotten that much better since.
Under current odds, information, thinking & opportunity set, I’m likely a pass.