UFC 201 – July 30, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

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.

UFC 201 – July 30, 2016 – Perez vs. Rivera

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.

UFC 201 – July 30, 2016 – Pearson vs. Masvidal

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.

UFC 201 – July 30, 2016 – Hamilton vs. Grabowski

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.

UFC 201 – July 30, 2016 – Reis vs. Sandoval

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.

UFC 201 – July 30, 2016 – Graves vs. Velickovic

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.

UFC 201 – July 30, 2016 – Benoit vs. Serrano

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.

UFC 201 – July 30, 2016 – Brown vs. Arzamendia

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.

UFC on Fox 20 – July 23, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Of the $4,709 in wagers listed on the pre-fight summary, I ended down $2,497 net on the night. I added a bet on Moontasri, hedged some of the Melendez bet using round betting on Barboza, and hedged some of my Knight bet on Alers. All of these last minute bets were losers. Adding on these losses I ended the night down almost $3,130 net.

What’s most disappointing is that five of the 11 fights were won by the underdog, yet I still ended down almost 60%, mostly because my bets on Pepey & Melendez were outsized and I got way too cute on round betting. I should know better to bet the %’s I did on how a fight might finish instead of outright on a fighter (outside of a hedging strategy), and there’s no excuse for me to have made these mistakes.

On the losses from the outsized bets on Melendez ($2,000) & Pepey ($1,000), I’m not overly concerned as of now because I have no good reason to think this strategy won’t work over time to maximize returns. My betting history pre-dating this blog has been much better than otherwise by making large bets when I had conviction, and the odds I’ve given fights on Kelly over time have shown to be conservative (the sample is large enough I think it’s representative), so I am not convinced I’m making a mistake by pursuing this strategy for now. That said, it does make things more volatile, and will be something I’ll continue to monitor and analyze continually. Related to this subject, if anything I made obvious mistakes on, it was not factoring enough information into my conviction bets & even making them too early before fight night. For example, Melendez not on PED’s was something I should have weighed more heavily than I did, and perhaps I would have not bet the same size if I had really thought about it more.

This is the first of four cards (five unofficially) on The Open Roll where I’ve ended down, and it won’t be the last. Learn and drive on. Next up UFC 201 in seven days.

UFC on Fox 20 – July 23, 2016 – Pre-Fight Summary

Bets placed total $4,709, with ~$11,500 potential upside in the very odd case they all go my way. Below are the bets in more detail:

  • $2,000 on Melendez at +180.
  • $1,000 on Pepey at +162.
  • $585 on Wineland at +140.
  • $455 on Yakovlev at +200.
  • $294 on Knight at +175.
  • $150 on Shevchenko within five at +700, $25 R3 at +3300, $25 R4 at +3300 & $25 R5 at +4000.
  • $150 on Herrig at +275.

UFC on Fox 20 – July 23, 2016 – Usman vs. Yakovlev

Time of writing Usman is -227 vs. Yakovlev at +212 or an implied ~32% chance of winning. I think there is likely value here on the Russian rapper.

Usman is the better wrestler, a bigger man (Yakovlev has fought at 155 pounds), could be the better striker, is a beast athlete, comes from the more reputable camp and has some real hype behind him. Yakovlev is the taller man, has much more & better experience where he’s proven he can compete at a high level (e.g. went three rounds with Demian Maia, beat Gray Maynard, etc.) and has some fairly solid takedown defense / wrestling (e.g. Maynard was 2 of 17 in their fight at 155, Maia was two of three at 170).

Giving the Russian a conservative 35% chance of winning implies a ~4% weighting. I’m currently $455 or less than 3% at +200 and will likely stay where I am, assuming current odds and information holds.

UFC on Fox 20 – July 23, 2016 – Elkins vs. Pepey

Time of writing Elkins is -181 vs. Pepey at +162 or an implied ~38% chance of winning. I think Elkins should be favoured, but not by that much.

Elkins is not a great athlete and takes damage to get inside, but once he gets in the clinch or against the cage he’s a master of grinding. It makes sense he’s favoured, likely to grind this fight out and win the decision. But Pepey has a very high level submission game, far superior to Elkins, and is an explosive striker, much better on the feet overall than Elkins is. It’s often a good rule of thumb to favour the wrestler with a proven abaility to get inside on high level competition and grind out the decision, but with Pepey a threat to anyone for the submission or KO, this feels like it should be closer to ~45% type odds on Pepey I believe.

Assuming ~45% chance of winning for Pepey, the Kelly Criterion suggests a ~11% type portfolio weighting. I’m currently ~$1,000 or ~6% on Pepey, and will likely stay here assuming current odds and information hold.

UFC on Fox 20 – July 23, 2016 – Wineland vs. Saenz

Time of writing Saenz is -157 vs. Wineland at +143 or implied 41% chance of winning. I think this fight might be closer to a coin flip, but I’m not saying that with a lot of conviction.

Looking back at both men’s fights / record, I think most come to the conclusion this one likely goes to decision and with Saenz’s hand raised. I’d agree this looks to be the most likely outcome heading in, but just slightly and with very low conviction. With Wineland fighting in front of his home crowd, having fought of the best in the division, having showed the potential to end fights early and knowing fights in this division typically play out the way they ‘should’ less than half the time, I believe the odds should really be closer to 50/50 here.

Assuming ~45% type odds on Wineland implies on Kelly ~7% type portfolio weighting. I’m currently ~$585 at +140 or ~3% and will likely stay here.

UFC on Fox 20 – July 23, 2016 – Herrig vs. Curran

Time of writing Curran is listed at -105 vs. Herrig at +100 or coin flip type odds.

These two are too early in their development for me to really have a good view on what type of fighters show up on Saturday. For that reason, and no glaring discreptencies apparent in the odds, I am a pass on any outright bet.

That said, it is worth noting Herrig has gone to decision 12 of her 16 fights (75% of the time), while Curran has gone to decision three of her six fights (50% of the time). I have no reason to believe either has a higher likelyhood of finishing here than in prior bouts. Assuming ~60% chance this 115 pound fight goes the distance and ~50% chance either wins implies ~30% ish probablity either wins by decision.

The current line on Herrig by decision at +275 implies ~26% type chance of this outcome. Based on ~30% type estimated probability, the Kelly Criterion implies a ~8% type weighting. I have $150 on it or less than 1% portfolio weighting, and I am happy to stay here assuming current odds and infromation holds.

UFC on Fox 20 – July 23, 2016 – Ngannou vs. Mihajlovic

Time of writing Ngannou is -600 vs. Mihajlovic at +520 or implied ~16% chance of winning. I think this one is probably a pass.

Mihajlovic has some scrap in him for sure, but is the much smaller man, this is his first UFC fight, he’s taken fights to decision 40% of the time (with his record built against guys with very salty records), doesn’t look too fit and is 36 years old. Ngannou is a beast, much larger & athletic and has shown he is a finisher. What’s also impressive about Ngannou is he actually utilizes his range well, and can throw combinations / set up his power shots relatively well for a man his size.

I’d sprinkle some on punchers chance type odds, which is closer to +700 in my books. We’re not there today, so will leave it be unless the line changes.

UFC on Fox 20 – July 23, 2016 – Shevchenko vs. Holm

Time of writing Holm is listed at -277 vs. Chevchenko at +260 or an implied ~28% chance of winning. Holm should be the favorite, but not by this much.

While both these ladies are listed at 135 pounds, Holm really is the bigger, longer & likely stronger fighter here. Because the skill level appears to be very close and it is likely in my opinion this fight goes to decision, I think this will matter. It’s one of the most tangible items to point at heading into the fight that likely sways the odds of scrambles, takedown attempts and snoozer distance striking type rounds in Holly’s favour.

That said, I think Chevchenko is likely more dangerous on the feet & on the mat. Watch the 3rd round vs. Nunes, where she dominated the current champ striking at range & in the clinche throughout, and at one point even had Amanda almost in an Americana from dominant side control. If you’re going sprinkle some on this one ending before 25 minutes is up, I think there might be value here on Shevchenko.

This type of conviction for this type of fight, I think it makes sense to cap out at around 2% type portfolio sized bet. Currently I have $150 on Valentina to end it within 25 mins at +700, $25 at +3300 R3, $25 at +3300 R4 & $25 at +4000 R5. I have $135 or so left to get up to 2%, but will likely stay here until at least a few of the earlier fight bets play out.

UFC on Fox 20 – July 23, 2016 – Barboza vs. Melendez

Time of writing Barboza is listed at -201 vs. Melendez at +190 or implied 34% chance of winning. This line makes little sense I believe and think there is value here on Gilbert.

Barboza has the ability to finish anyone from the outercircle, and is of the most dangerous strikers in the UFC today from range. But history shows this can be dealt with. Watch how Michael Johnson beat Barboza, watch how Tony Ferguson beat Barboza, then watch how Melendez clearly won each of every minute against Pettis before getting caught in a guillotine the last two minutes of the second round. If Melendez can turn this into a scrap and keep the pressure on Barboza, which I think he can… well then, the longer this fight might go, the more I believe it favours Melendez – the more damage is taken by both men, the more I believe it favours Melendez.

I want to give Melendez somewhere around 55% chance of winning, but let’s be conservative & consider the many things we might be missing… assuming El Nino has a 45% chance, and on the Kelly Criterion this implies a +15% portfolio weighting on Melendez. I’m currently $2,000 or ~10% weighting on Gilbert at +180 and will look to top up and/or hedge if it makes sense before or during the fight.

UFC Fight Night 91 – July 13, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Bad news is I wasn’t able to get all the fight analysis posted or final bet weightings before the card started. Good news is of the two fights I posted picks / analysis for I was right on both! So maybe it all worked out for the better in the end?!?

I will not include this card’s results when mentioning my trackrecord on the site go-forward (it would make me look better & there is a case to include the two names I posted analysis / weightings for, but I think it would be debatable if I did so let’s err on the side of caution), but I thought some might want to know where I ended up on the card anyways. Net winnings totalled ~$2,820 on total bets placed of ~$3,900 (~72%). $1,300 on Yahya paid off at +100, $1,000 on McDonald at +155 was lost, $800 on Omielanczuk paid off at +167 and $800 on Nakamura paid off at +155.

Looking back at the card asking what I might do different next time, biggest mistake was not placing simple bets I’d had already done work on (like the Nicholson fight). Outside of that I felt really lucky to win the Omielanczuk bout – I like betting against +40 year old fighters back after a long hiatus who get the nestalgic premium, but even after that was all factored in Omielanczuk is mediocre enough the line was probably close to fair. McDonald was another one I got nostalgic on, and should have weighed his sub-par first round stand-up / chin in his last fight more heavlily than I did. I still think he was worth some at +155, just probably not $1,000 against a dude with the handle “hands of stone”.

Anyways, there it is folks. We have a card this weekend so you’ll hear back from me shortly.

UFC Fight Night 91 – July 13, 2016 – Yahya vs. Lopez

Time of writing Yahya is +103 vs. Lopez at -112. Yahya is great value here in my opinion.

Lopez has close to as good of a wrestling pedigree you’ll see from an up & comer entering the UFC and has shown he can bang, but he only started training MMA four years ago. Yahya on the other hand has 17 fights in UFC & WEC since 2007, has faced & competed with the top guys in the division, has about as good of a BJJ pedigree you’ll see from a UFC fighter, is still only 31 years old and currently on a two fight winning streak.

It would be unjustified to take a guy (hype train or not, home crowd advantage or not) who hasn’t fought in the UFC against a guy like Yahya, and to get +103 here on the vet is a gift in my opinion. I could be missing something here & really underestimating Lopez’s abilities… Yahya does gas in later rounds & is past his prime… but I still really like the odds here. I’m looking to move towards 10% weighting assuming current odds and information hold.

UFC Fight Night 91 – July 13, 2016 – Clark vs. Nicholson

Time of writing Clark is -211 vs. Nicholson at +196 or 34% chance of winning. I think the odds on Clark assumes a lot, but there’s a ton uncertainty around this fight overall.

Clark is undefeated & RFA LHW champ, but hasn’t really fought anyone noteworthy & many with salty records, so watching tape on the guy doesn’t tell you much on how he might look in his UFC debut in front of the home crowd. He has a very strong wrestling background and has trained at Jackson’s for one month in the past three, mentioning Jon Jones was a training partner whenever he gets the chance.

Nicholson on the other hand broke his jaw in his UFC debut against Cirkunov (wasn’t the first time his jaw has snapped either), threw sloppy spinning techniques that left him vulnerable for the takedown, and didn’t manage well defending against the larger man on the mat. That said, Nicholson does have a good striking background (golden gloves boxing champ, state Muay Thai champ etc.) & has gotten a number of KO’s in his earlier fights, so he is dangerous.

From what little footage I’ve seen on Clark, he has a basic, at times aggressive, straight back & forth style, doesn’t take his head off the centre line when moving into the pocket (but does use his jab decently well to do it) and really relies on his speed & athleticism to hang in enough on the feet to ultimately get the takedown. He has a decent ability to drop levels and get the takedown when his opponent gets too aggressive, but has also been successful with hugely telegraphed double legs on sheer athleticism over his opponents in RFA. If Nicholson is going to establish himself as a lower rung guy in the division (jury is still out on this one), he should be able to game plan, execute & win against this style of fighter, because it’s fairly straight forward & typical to see from a wrestler.

A ton of uncertainty surrounding both men (e.g. UFC debut adrenaline dump Clark, Nicholson’s jaw & progression since his last etc.), but the main question really is whether you believe Nicholson will be able to use his range and not over commit to any combination in such a way that leaves him susceptible to the takedown. The fight with Cirkunov didn’t show this, and I don`t have good reason to think he’s gotten significantly better since.

While Clark should have the edge, I don’t think 34% implied chance of winning is appropriate in the Middleweight division for this type of fight (odds +200 and higher in the past 45 UFC fights, ~36% of the time the underdog has won). I don’t think Nicholson will win, but I’m still looking to maybe go to 1-3% portfolio weighting on current thinking… will wait until closer to fight day to ultimately decide where to land on this one.

UFC 200 – July 9, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Saturday morning I had a softball tournament commitment and the afternoon an unanticipated need to call the exterminators at my place (don’t ask), so my apologies for not posting my bets and all the fight analysis heading into the card. Overall, I ended the card up ~$820 on bets placed of ~$4,020 (~20%) including hedges. Below are the bets in more detail:

  • $1,000 on Edgar at +100 & $50 total on R4 & R5 finish for Edgar – lost $1,050 on Aldo’s win.
  • $695 on Gastelum at +175 ($145) & -115 ($550), hedged $242 on Hendricks at -165 – won $481 net on Kelvin’s win.
  • $600 on Nunes at +225 – won $1,350 on Nunes’ win.
  • $250 on Browne at +224, hedged $40 on Valesquez R1 at +200 – lost $170 net on Cain’s win.
  • $250 on Silva/Cormier over 2.5 rounds at +165, with $50 on Silva to finish the fight at +500 – won $363 net on the fight going past 2.5 rounds.
  • $230 on Lesnar at +150, hedged with $292 on Hunt at -125 – won $53 net on Brock’s win.
  • $100 on Assuncao at +299 – lost $100 on TJ’s win.
  • $100 on Santos at +220 – lost $100 on Mousasi’s win.
  • $100 on Zingano at -172 – lost $100 on Pena’s win.
  • $50 on Miller by decision at +300 – lost $50 on Miller’s win.
  • $20 on Lauzon R1 at +700 – won horseshoe $140 on Lauzon’s win.

This weekend worked out a bit better than expected on actual vs. expected returns for the fights overall (actual return $2,255 vs. odds implied return <$1,700), but I didn’t bet enough (only ~$14,700 bet over the weekend’s ~34 fights). The most obvious area for improvement I think is setting clearer criteria for my strategy and portfolio allocation decisions. This is what I’ve been thinking about this morning. I believe I’ve figured out a better way. More to come on this later.

The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale – July 8, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Ended the card up an uneventful $197 on bets placed $1,320 (~15%). Below are the bets in more detail:

  • $195 on Lee at +130 – won $253 on Lee’s win.
  • $145 on Gaudelha at +160 – lost $145 on Joanna’s win.
  • $130 on Pearson at +290 & $100 on Pearson to finish at +700 – lost $230 on Brooks’ win.
  • $120 on Taveres at +175 – lost $120 on Choi’s win.
  • $120 on Bruno at +140 – lost $120 on Maynard’s win.
  • $370 on Nicolau at +122 – won $452 on Nicolau’s win. After winning prior two fights I increased weighting on my highest conviction bet, which was this one.
  • $120 on Ferreira at +105 – won $126 on Ferreira’s win.
  • $20 on Zafir at +275 – lost $20 on Jingliang’s win.

Didn’t have much conviction or time, so I didn’t place many bets of size. That said, overall it was still a relatively favourable result, so I’ll sleep well tonight.

The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale – July 8, 2016 – Pre-Fight Summary

Bets placed total $970, with ~$1,500 potential upside in the <0.1% case they all go my way. Below are the bets in more detail:

  • $195 on Lee at +130.
  • $145 on Gaudelha at +160.
  • $130 on Pearson at +290.
  • $120 on Taveres at +175.
  • $120 on Bruno at +140.
  • $120 on Nicolau at +127.
  • $120 on Ferreira at +105.
  • $20 on Zafir at +275.

Disappointed I couldn’t find more value or move on conviction calls earlier. Maybe I should have taken the day off my actual job before the card. Hopefully live betting brings some opportunity…

UFC Fight Night 90 – July 7, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Ended the night up $1,241, which was largely due to Alvarez and a good result in my books considering I made some fairly silly mistakes. For more details on the bets:

  • $1,300 on Alvarez at +375, with $3,000 on Dos Anjos at -360 – won $1,875 on Alvarez’s win.
  • $650 on Herrera at +360, with $80 on Luque R1 at +200, $50 on Luque R2 at +350 & $20 on Luque R3 at +900 – lost $544 on Luque win.
  • $520 on Lopes at +214 – lost $520 on Birchak win.
  • $500 on Sajewski at +210, with $940 on Burns at -188 – ended flat on Sajewski’s loss.
  • $403 on Doane at +192, with $515 on Munhoz at -188 – lost $129 on Munhoz win.
  • $358 on Lewis at +130 – won $465 on Lewis’ win.
  • $327 on Mina at +107 – won $350 on Mina’s win.
  • $260 on Jouban at +115, with $130 on Muhammad at +120 – won $169 on Jouban’s win.
  • $195 on Clarke at +260 – lost $195 on Duffy’s win.
  • $130 on Baghdad at +155 – lost $130 on Makdessi’s win.
  • $100 on Sanders at +150 – lost $100 on Arante’s win.

Overall, it turned out better than it should have. I was comfortable with most of the losses, but Clarke & Luque stuck out as my biggest mistakes. I didn’t do enough work on both, and shouldn’t have weighted my bets so high on underfollowed fights (more sharp’s likely setting the line than not) I didn’t have high conviction they could win. I also hedged too much on Alvarez too soon. Hindsight is 20/20, but Alvarez was my best idea coming in so this takeaway isn’t just influenced by the result. I also should have spent more time looking at wagers in aggregate and concentrated more in my best ideas. Lessons learnt I hope. Now off to the next card!

UFC Fight Night 90 – July 7, 2016 – Pre-Fight Summary

First card of the open roll, and initial bets are in!

Bets placed total $9,327 (including hedges), with ~$2,980 potential downside if I lose all of them and ~$7,540 potential upside in the <0.1% case they all go my way. Ratio of potential upside to downside of 2.53x implies I need to be right ~28% of the time to break-even. This simple metric doesn’t tell the full picture of risk/reward, so below are the bets in more detail:

  • $1,300 on Alvarez at +375, with $3,000 on Dos Anjos at -360.
  • $650 on Herrera at +360, with $80 on Luque R1 at +200, $50 on Luque R2 at +350 & $20 on Luque R3 at +900.
  • $520 on Lopes at +214.
  • $500 on Sajewski at +210, with $940 on Burns at -188.
  • $403 on Doane at +192, with $515 on Munhoz at -188.
  • $358 on Lewis at +130.
  • $327 on Mina at +107.
  • $260 on Jouban at +115, with $130 on Muhammad at +120.
  • $195 on Clarke at +260.
  • $130 on Baghdad at +155.
  • $100 on Sanders at +150

Bets may be added tomorrow pre-fight, and weights will change as the wins/losses roll through along by adjustments made via live betting. I’ll be back for a re-cap Friday. Wish me luck!

The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale – July 8, 2016 – Lee vs. Matthews

Lee is currently listed at +145. The last time he was the underdog was seven fights ago when he faced Iaquinta February 2014. I think it’s justifiable to wager a small percentage on Lee here.

Lee is taking this fight on short notice, and by the sounds of things he seems to be looking past Matthews, which is not a good sign (but also par for the course for Lee). I think Matthews has more weapons on the feet & strikes at a very high level, can threaten the submission from more places than Lee can, likely has better cardio in the later rounds and I think can maintain a better pace throughout. On the other hand, Lee likely has the better jab, is the better wrestler of the two and is also the bigger man. Overall, it’s very close but Matthews should have the edge.

Assume a ~45% type probability for Lee and on the Kelly criterion implies ~7% type portfolio weighting. Preliminary plans are to go to +/- 1% the day of the fight.

The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale – July 8, 2016 – Smith vs. Ferreira

I really don’t expect this one to last two full rounds and the more I think about it, the more I think it’s a coin flip. Ferreira is the underdog at +130 or implied 44% chance of winning. Despite probably having the worse chin, Mutante is the bigger man, has better training partners, is most likely better on the ground and is probably the better striker too.

Current plans are to go to ~0-1% portfolio weighting on Ferreira once the July 7th card comes and goes.

The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale – July 8, 2016 – Moraga vs. Nicolau

Time of writing Moraga is listed at -170 or an implied 63% chance of winning vs. Nicolau at +155 or an implied ~39%. Moraga is a vet who has faced much better competition than Nicolau, so I get why he’s the favorite. That said, Nicolau really impressed me in his last fight vs. Rodrigues, is a quintessential Nova Uniao fighter and has a ton of experience for only being 23 years old.

Despite my own questions how the weight cut will impact Nicolau going down to Flyweight and knowing historically betting on the dog at this weight class has only worked out ~23% of the time (in the past 43 fights), I’m taking Nicolau here. I think he has what it takes to be top ten in either Flyweight or Bantamweight in the next couple years and I think Moraga is at the age where it’s tough to see him get significantly better between fights. Let’s give Nicolau ~45% chance of winning… I plan to move close to ~1% weighting on the day of the fight.

The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale – July 8, 2016 – Maynard vs. Bruno

Gray Maynard is 39, has been TKO or KO’d in three of his last four, almost got knocked out in his last decision loss and his last win was in 2012 (split decision over the Carpenter). Bruno only has wins via submission or decision with zero KO’s on his record after 18 fights. With Bruno coming out of Nova Uniao, and Maynard having helped Aldo in training camps in the past, I want to think this factor gives Bruno better odds of ending Maynard than his fight history might suggest, but that’s presumptuous. Currently odds for Bruno are +123. I like him closer to +150, and will likely do nothing on this one unless we get to around this level.

The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale – July 8, 2016 – Silva vs. Holbrook

I’m really looking forward to watching this fight. Joaquim Silva is a very exciting & dynamic striker, pushes the action and is more than willing to take two shots if he can get three in (which works with his chin). Holbrook should have lost his first UFC fight, but you can’t deny it showed he has really good scrambling ability and he can threaten submissions from a variety of places on a much higher level than his blue belt ranking might lead you to believe. Also, he was a golden gloves state champ, has a history at a lower level of competition ending fights within the first, likes to push the pace and likely wants to turn this one into a stand-up battle. I’d take either over +150. We’re not there today but will continue to watch the lines to see if the opportunity might arise.

The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale – July 8, 2016 – Choi vs. Tavares

Tavares is listed at +174 or an implied ~36% chance of winning. I think there’s likely value on Tavares.

Choi just might have the touch of death in his hands, but he hasn’t really fought anyone notably enough or had enough UFC fights to really confirm it. I suppose the logic is if Khabib can TKO Tavares, should be easy work for Choi? OK, maybe… Tavares has taken down 15 of his last 17 opponents and is a beast on the mat with 14 total wins by submission. Choi on the other hand is relatively unproven in his ground game. Tavares does get hit, but… he has taken shots and survived. Give Tavares ~45% chance of winning on Kelly the number is ridiculously high… I’m looking to go to 5% today, assuming I lose all the fight wagers prior.

The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale – July 8, 2016 – Pearson vs. Brooks

Time of writing Will Brooks is -356 vs. Pearson +314. Brooks has beat Michael Chandler twice and is 17-1 overall. Chandler’s only losses are to Eddie Alvarez & Will Brooks. He’s likely a top five guy in the UFC. Pearson on the other hand seems to only lose to top 15 guys. He’s a vet and legit top 20 in arguably the toughest division in the UFC, his relevant losses have been close and he’s a real fighter. I can justify a higher probability for Pearson than the 24% implied by the odds. However, I think Brooks will ultimately win and given there are 33 fights over three days this coming weekend, think it’s probably best to decide on 0-0.5% and move on to other areas I might have more conviction.

UFC Fight Night 90 – July 7, 2016 – Herrera vs. Luque

Can someone please let me know why Herrera is +360 or an implied 1 in 5 here? I don’t get it, I must be missing something obvious here? Luque is 8-5-1… I mean he trains with beasts, mixes up his strikes well and his last submission was impressive, but implied ~20% chances Herrera beats him? That seems insane. Herrera has trained out of Jackson’s, has a better record and in his last TKO’d the opponent ending the fight 30 seconds into the first round. Heavy hands and accurate. I want to put this fight close to 50/50… I’m currently over 3% portfolio weighting, seeking more information to decide whether to go to ~5-10%…

UFC Fight Night 90 – July 7, 2016 – Vieira vs. Beltran

Despite being a 33 year old Bantamweight, Vieira should be the favorite. I think he likely finishes Beltran by submission in round 1 or 2. But Beltran is one of those scrappers with good hands, fights every second of every round, has a ton of heart & can scramble – you can never really count him out. +158 on Beltran implies 39% probability of winning. I could justify 45% ish type odds here on Beltran based on styles & division historical results, but this coming weekend has too many fights and resources are limited, so I’m going with less than ~0.5% weighting and moving on.

UFC Fight Night 90 – July 7, 2016 – Burns vs. Sajewski

Burns has a very high finish rate done via strikes & submission, has more experience, has faced much better competition and comes from a better camp. Historically betting on Featherweight underdogs has been a money losing proposition, with just 6 of the past 37 (where odds were +200) pulling off the upset. Sajewski can finish and is a real fighter / competitor, but at +216 or 32% type probability I’m unlikely to go more than ~0.5% weighting on Sajewski, assuming current information and odds hold.

UFC Fight Night 90 – July 7, 2016 – Sanders vs. Arantes

Sanders is currently +150. I’d consider Jerrod a one dimensional wrestler (not in reality, but as an MMA fighter) which is not enough today to become a contender in smaller weight classes, but he’s so dominant in that one dimension you can never really count him out. Arantes hasn’t shown solid takedown defense (e.g. Fili took him down 5 of 8 attempts or 62% in their matchup vs. ~45% average historically) or great threat of a guillotine in the past, and it’s tough to bet that his jiu jitsu / sneaky transition / sweep game will be effective against the much larger and stronger Sanders. Although I’m tempted to take the underdog assuming historic probabilities for the division (i.e. 42% of the time dogs have won in last 60), I don’t like betting anything really material on 36 year olds with history of injury in a small man weight class where speed often really matters (unless the odds are compelling). I have less than 0.5% weighting on Jerrod and am done looking at this fight because the risk reward doesn’t seem real compelling and therefore the marginal benefit of doing more isn’t really there in my view, assuming current information and odds hold.

UFC Fight Night 90 – July 7, 2016 – Doane vs. Munhoz

At time of writing Doane is +201 or an implied one in three. I believe there is very good reason to believe this fight will be much closer than the odds imply.

Munhoz is on a bit of a hype train. It’s rare to hear commentators speak about Munhoz without saying things like “he could compete with any top ten guy in the division today”, “he’s the complete package”, mentioning he trains at Kings & Blackhouse, bringing up his long list of impressive Jiu Jitsu accolades, etc.. Watching tape I’d think he probably could compete with most of the top 15 in the division, but I also think a good chunk of 15-30 could compete with Munhoz and that Doane has actually shown he can compete with the top 10.

Before looking at why Doane can very likely make this competitive or win on his own merits, consider a few other items. Munhoz got popped for PED’s in his fight Oct 2014 in Canada. His last fight was in Brazil… even then, Rivera beat Munhoz in his own backyard. July 7th will be held in Las Vegas… don’t know one way or another, but let’s read between the lines, make some assumptions and factor some degree of risked probability in. This probably favors Doane.

Now on Doane, he’s proven you can’t count him out even against top 10 guys, which makes ~33% type odds seem just strange. For example, Alcantara in 2014 was very likely a better fighter (& definitely a bigger man) than Munhoz is today. Doane won round three in my opinion vs. Alcantara, and if he hadn’t got tee’d off on those brief moments in rounds 1 & 2 (both rounds Doane landed more shots, got more takedowns in 2 and the same in round 1) he could have very likely got the win.

Finally consider some history, the past 60 UFC fights in the Bantamweight division 42% of the time the underdog pulled off the upset.

Giving Doane a conservative ~40% chance of winning implies on the Kelly criterion ~10% type portfolio weighting. I generally don’t like to bet over 5% unless I actually believe the underdog is likely to win. I’m at ~1% today and think that might grow to 2-4%, assuming current odds and information holds.