I’m out of time, so this week’s pre-fight summary is just to get the bets out there. Not a lot of conviction overall on this card, with ~$1,478 bets or ~15% of the bank roll.
- $430 Bader Decision at +188, $120 Latifi R1 at +600 & $50 Latifi within distance at +300.
- $320 Barnett vs. Arlovski within 1.5 rounds at +125 & $100 Barnett KO/TKO at +330.
- $100 Issa at +133 & $34 Lapilus decision at +300.
- $75 Gust by decision at +199 & $25 Blach within distance at +1015.
- $90 Colombo vs. Danaho under 1.5 rounds at +130.
- $49 Hein decision at -110 & $40 Bang within distance at +352.
- $25 Dalby at -125 & $20 Sobotta sub at +1025.
Before looking at what the odds makers think, I make an effort to ignore others opinions and progress my own views first. I believe the result of this approach is a more confident view of potential outcomes and a focus on fights I have the most conviction in. My initial thoughts are as follows:
- Arlovski vs. Barnett: I slightly favour Barnett because I question Arlovski’s chin more than I do Barnett’s & think Barnett has the grappling edge. This is a heavyweight bout between two veterans both 2-2 in their last four, so I’m not that confident in one over the other.
- Gustafsson vs. Blachowicz: Gustafsson is clearly going to be the favorite here, maybe 60-80% likely by TKO/KO. Occasionally in these scenarios certain prop bets have value, which I suspect is the case here…
- Bader vs. Latifi: I favour Bader maybe ~55-70%, likely by decision, but I think there is greater than normal tail risk on this outcome not playing out. First, there’s good reason to think Bader’s chin is suspect; second, Latifi has a chance to KO almost anyone really in R1; third, we need to factor in the trip for Bader will presumably be much more difficult than it is for Latifi; fourth, Latifi’s wrestling really isn’t that bad… there’s more, but I’ll stop here.
- Hein vs. Bang: This looks like a coin flip which I have a decent chance of avoiding, but will maybe give Hein the very low confidence edge on HTA and perhaps cardio… it’s interesting, because Bang has a strong tendency to only throw cross counters and Hein, from the southpaw stance, has a tendency to only throw one two’s or three two’s… maybe there’s something more substantive to be read from this, but I’m not sure yet.
- Wallhead vs. Ayari: Two guys who have never fought in the UFC, two guys that I’ve never heard of. No opinion.
- Sobotta vs. Dalby: Dalby I reckon should be a 50-65% favorite here, with win likely to come by decision or TKO, and loss likely by submission. Dalby went to decision with Zak Cummings, Sobotta didn’t last a round with Noke. Sobotta has HTA and is a threat on the ground, I’m just not convinced he’s figured out how to get opponents to the mat reliably.
- Evans-Smith vs. Macedo: Evans-Smith perhaps 55-75% at first glance. Evans-Smith is a good UFC fighter and above average UFC striker, while Macedo doesn’t have one opponent on her record I can decipher being potentially close to UFC calibre.
- Issa vs. Lapilus: Issa I’d favour somewhere around 55-65%, likely to win by decision. Lapilus can be unorthodox & effective on the feet, has likely improved since his last & probably has the speed advantage, but everything I know based on history right now makes me think Issa should be able to get the takedown, which should be serious trouble for Lapilus.
- Danho vs. Colombo: No opinion.
- Askham vs. Hermansson: No opinion, other than this one on first glance appears to likely be done before three rounds will be up.
- Khabilov vs. Silva: Khabilov on first glance I think somewhere around 50-65% probably makes sense, but I need to watch more film on Silva to help jog the memory.
- Buschkamp vs. Enlund: No opinion.
Away from my computer so another abbreviated summary. Overall, I ended up $957.5 (67% ROI; 56% ROI including the free-play). I don’t read too much into any one cards result, but the outcome was favorable considering only three underdogs won. For more details on the bets:
- $240 on Maia sub at +485 paid out $1,165 gross, net of hedges $845.
- $350 on Miller at +125 paid out $437.5.
- $300 free play on Pettis at -215 paid out $140 gross, net of Oliveira sub hedge $105.
- $10 on Miller vs. Lauzon FOTN at +400 paid out $40 gross, net of Bochniak vs. Barzola FOTN bet is $30.
- Lost $350 on Barzola getting robbed by the judges.
- Lost $100 on Rawlings getting slept by PVZ out of no where deciding she was part ninja.
- Lost $10 on Alvey vs. Casey lasting no more than 1.5 rounds. Alvey got the KO at the end of R2.
Away from home this weekend so this card’s pre-fight summary is a bit shorter and lighter on details. For more on the bets:
- $240 Maia sub at +485, $200 Maia decision at +250, $50 Condit R3 +1200, $40 Condit R4 +1600 and $30 Condit R5 +2000. Basically betting Condit doesn’t win R1, R2, decision or no Maia KO/TKO, with best payout Maia sub or decision. Bet overall is just over 4% weighting.
- $350 or 4% Miller at +125.
- $350 or 4% Barzola at +147.
- $100 or 1% Rawlings at +180.
- $35 or ~40 bps Oliveira sub at +450, with $300 free play on Pettis at -215.
- $10 Alvey vs Casey under 1.5 rounds at +175.
- $10 Miller vs Lauzon FOTN at +400 and $10 Barzola vs Bochniak FOTN at +1200.
Before looking at what the odds makers think, I’m focusing more now on progressing my own views first. I believe the result of this approach will be a more confident view of potential outcomes and a focus on fights I have the most conviction in, not just the ones where the odds appear most interesting. For UFC on Fox 21 my initial thoughts are as follows:
- Maia vs. Condit: I like Maia here, thinking 50-65% at this early point, most likely by submission or decision, and most likely to lose by TKO or decision. Dominant BJJ > dominant striker… Those picking Condit will likely draw parallels from MacDonald’s strategy and it’s success against Maia… could be right, but I’m weighing Condit’s issues defending the takedown historically as a more relevant item (taken down three times by Woodley, six times by Kampmann, 12 by Hendricks & seven by GSP; Lawler & Alves aren’t relevant).
- Pettis vs. Oliveira: I’m thinking 45-55% at first glance, Pettis most likely by TKO or decision, and Oliveira most likely by submission or decision. I question what Pettis looks like at 145 & whether he’s actually in decline… I am also of the view Oliveira has a good chance of submitting Pettis & know how competitive he has been on the feet with some solid strikers. If Pettis looks like his old self, he wins. If he doesn’t, Oliveira should be able to compete on the feet & have the edge on the mat, probably making it 55/45 in this case.
- VanZant vs. Rawlings: Slight bias towards VanZant by decision here. VanZant keeps a high work rate and steady pace. I don’t like how Rawlings faded in later rounds in her last bout against Hee Ham.
- Lauzon vs. Miller: FOTN contender. I’m thinking Miller ~50-60%. I don’t want to guess how I think it will end, should be mayhem… thinking right now is Miller won the last one in 2012, Lauzon tends to get out hit even when he wins and Lauzon tends to generally have issues with southpaws (recently with Evan Dunham).
- Alvey vs. Casey: I hate betting on these types of fights. Alvey seems to only be able to win by KO and Casey is sure to lose R3 if we get there. I’ll likely leave this one alone.
- Laprise vs. Gouti: I like Laprise here, thinking maybe ~50-65% at this point, likely by decision. He has the better UFC track record, more UFC fights, has fought & looked competitive against better calibre of opponents and has the home town advantage.
- Barzola vs. Bochniak: I don’t like betting on these types of fights. Only a few pieces of relevant UFC film on both, both appearing to have big gaps in their games at this point and just too many unknowns generally. If Barzola isn’t the favorite I might take a closer look.
- Campbell vs. Silva: I don’t like betting on these types of fights. Campbell isn’t that good for the UFC & his opponent is making his UFC debut. If I learn more about Silva that makes me think a Muay Thai guy should get great odds against him, or something else that makes me think odds should be skewed one way or another, I might take a closer look.
- Emmet vs. Kennedy: I don’t know much about Kennedy, but I definitely remember Emmet’s first UFC fight… If this line is at all close I’ll take a closer look.
- McLellan vs. Di Chirico: I like Di Chirico here, thinking ~60% type probability makes some sense… his debut fight showed some sharp hands and good movement. McLellan is tough, but he looks average or below average about everywhere and doesn’t move his head that much.
- Vera vs. Guangyou: I wrote about this one for UFC 202 before it got moved to this card. I hold by the view Vera should be the favorite, but need to see what hedging options look like before I commit to anything.
- Janes vs. Hunter: Neither have fought in the UFC. I know nothing about either, so absent +8 hours of work on this one, it would be ignorant to think I have a chance at finding an edge here.
I said in the pre-fight summary my updated strategy would make writing these posts more difficult at times, and I was right about that much sooner than I had hoped… Kelly Criterion is meant to maximize returns, not minimize volatility.
I ended the night down $3,303 (~28% of pre-card portfolio size) on total wagers of $4,898 (negative ~67% return) vs. blind underdog betting strategy of negative ~32% (underperformed ~35%). Three underdogs came through with wins, only one of which (Larkin) I had some exposure. The only change I made post the pre-fight summary update was I added ~$66 on Larkin at +120.
My biggest lessons / mistakes I’m seeing post the card include: i) I should have not made a ten unit bet on someone I gave ~30% chance of winning to (Homasi) without seeing value on hedging options that could bring total odds closer to 50%; ii) when KO is the most likely outcome, I need to adjust the odds I give to speed (e.g. Johnson, Garbrandt, Larkin etc.) relative to a vet with hours of tape / tendencies readily available (e.g. Teixeira, Mizugaki etc.). The call was right & it was the dominant theme of the card as anticipated, but I didn’t make any money off of it (although I didn’t lose much either), despite certain odds providing the opportunity to do so under the underdog strategy; iii) just because someone is a BJJ black belt, it doesn’t mean they make ‘black belt’ decisions (e.g. Uda giving up his back the way he did). Unless it’s a black belt vs. blue belt, I need to understand someone’s game based on history / watching tape, not by taking a title & assuming it means something… which probably means I need to be more selective & analyze less fights; iv) Being totally honest, I feel I am stretching for returns in areas when they may not be there. The most important change I’ve decided to make now is to first decide on who I think will win, how it might play out, and a sense on probabilities before I ever look at the line… I’m also looking to pass on having a view more often, trying to get better at focusing my time where I believe I can best understand the situation & have an edge. Looking back at all my mistakes, especially the ones I’ve shown a tendency to repeat, I think this will be a very positive change.
For context, over the past 70 UFC cards the worst stretch an underdog betting strategy has had is four cards of negative returns FN 86, Fox 19, UFC 197 & FN 87 down +140% on bets placed (if you had put equal weighting on every underdog) vs. current three card negative run down ~120% for the strategy (negative ~74% if you’d just bet +100-200). For reference, over the past 70 cards & ~796 fights if you had put equal bet on every underdog it would have generated ~9.7% weighted average return (~52% of the cards would have been profitable), and implying on ~2 unit weighting per fight a ~197% return, ~4 unit weighting per fight a ~306% return, ~6 unit weighting per fight a ~159% return and ~8 unit weighting per fight a negative ~36% return.
Just a quick update, I added some hedges… $156 on Johnson R1 at +170 & $25 R2 at +450, $65 on Vettori R1 at +275 & $65 R2 at +500 and $120 Garbrandt R1 at +188 & $35 R2 +450.
Odds have gotten better on both Larkin and Diaz… I will make a decision to up either or post Uda, and will likely add other bets before or during. Enjoy the fights!
At time of writing I have $4,366 bets placed (~40% of the portfolio) primarily on underdogs over seven bouts (average six units per fight) at weighted average odds of +242 or ~29% implied vs. weighted average estimated probability of success of ~39% (implied edge of ~10%). For more details on the bets:
- $909 on Story at +145, partially hedged with $100 on Cerrone decision at +225.
- $1,000 on Homasi at +360, partially hedged with $100 on Means R3 at +1,000.
- $1,045 on Uda at +148.
- $300 on Diaz at +105, partially hedged by $216 on McGregor within the distance at +151.
- $296 on Teixeira within the distance at +364.
- $200 on Mizugaki at +450.
- $200 on Larkin at +120.
My largest three bets are sized close to the full Kelly Criterion. I’ll be looking to add hedges / cheap upside where it makes sense between now and fight day (and via live betting during the card)…
Those who have followed The Open Roll know I’ve been trying, thinking & debating different strategies on bet sizing, hedging etc. As an update, I basically concluded more selective (likely will be one to four fights per card) full Kelly makes the most sense for me right now… I’m early in my betting career and I’m calculating my bankroll based on +$11k net winnings to-date, so added near term volatility / risk in the near-term (which will certainly make writing these posts more difficult at times) in exchange for greater potential upside (Kelly by definition maximizes growth rate) at this point I think is best (I have good reason to be optimistic about the strategy based on UFC betting history & my own history). As always, I’m first looking to protect the downside and will manage risk within the context of the portfolio as best as I can, but will not be scared to bet up to full Kelly with a max bet size of ~10 units if the edge looks significant enough.
Time of writing best odds are Cody Garbrandt at -455 vs. Takeya Mizugaki at +444 or implied ~18% chance of winning for this Bantamweight bout. I think there is a modest edge on Mizugaki here.
Garbrandt’s has a very dangerous bum-rush hook style, and relative to Mizugaki is faster, has better footwork, is harder hitting and is arguably more accurate. Thinking about this in the context of what appears to be a fading Mizugaki chin, it doesn’t bode well for his chances in his 33rd professional MMA fight. That said, I still feel Mizugaki is a very good boxer as far as MMA fighters are concerned, and has solid enough stand-up to potentially land some nice shots (he counters off the opponents right hand very well in my view)… if I had good reason to think Mizugaki will find ways to use Garbrandt’s aggression against him and is planning to move out of the pocket after his initial counter (…I’m worried about Garbrandt’s left hook) I’d make this bet meaningful, but I don’t. One other item worth noting is there’s reason to think Garbrandt doesn’t have the best chin himself, which matters.
Garbrandt moves in aggressively swinging hooks. Mizugaki has a great right counter but tends to hang in the pocket too long, and is the slower man of the two. There’s real questions around both men’s chins. A ton of reasons to think a KO is likely, more for Garbrandt but there’s still some for Mizugaki (intercepting right counter?). Giving Mizugaki a ~25% chance of winning implies a ~8% bankroll weighting on Kelly. I’ll be much less than this and will decide what to do likely after weigh-ins.
Time of writing best odds show Means at -368 vs. Homasi at +375 or ~21% chance of winning this Welterweight bought. I think this line is insane.
Homasi will make his UFC debut on short notice following R2 KO win over 60 fight vet Jorge Patino August 5th. He didn’t take a ton of damage against Patino and cut only to 180 for it, so I assume he should be fine to make 170 & be in three round condition for the 20th.
When thinking about this line, consider Homasi weighs around ~195 on fight night (Means has fought as lows as the 155 pound division), has very heavy hands, a good chin and he, just like Means, likes to stand up & trade shots. I expect to see Homasi get a few good shots in, and if he does, there is a real chance it puts Means on queer street. Means is dynamic and throws punches in bunches, but they’re generally ~70%. Even assuming Means gets four shots in for every one Homasi does, adjust that for power & the 1/5 odds are insane (a pick em this one goes over 1.5 rounds)… also, keep in mind despite being the longer fighter, Means still gets hit – even Howard & Sullivan had moments on the feet. Another thing to consider is, despite the difference in power behind the two fighters punches, I don’t see a big speed differential either way.
Assuming Homasi has a ~30% chance of winning Kelly implies >10% bankroll weighting. I’m currently ~$1k or <10% bankroll weighting on this one.
Time of writing best odds for Cerrone is -160 vs. Story +150 or implied ~40% chance of winning this Welterweight bout. I believe there is likely value on Story at current odds.
I don’t like how Story has shown susceptibility to eat high leg kicks at the end of combinations (e.g. Gastelum, Saffiedine etc.) or how he looked in exchanges against a Muay Thia guy like Mafra – although it’s worked, his game relies on having a granite chin a bit too much for my liking. What I do like is how strong he is for the 170 pound division, his suffocating style, how the threat of the takedown should limit Cerrone’s leg kicks and that he throws very hard shots to the liver (where Cerrone historically has had some issues)… really comes down to me not knowing how Cerrone will do against a much stronger veteran wrestler at 170 pounds, and believing there is good chance it could be too much.
Putting ~49% type probability on Story implies ~15% bankroll weighting on Kelly. I won’t be that high, and will land on my weighting closer to the 20th.
Time of writing best odds for McGregor is -110 vs. Diaz +106 or basically a coin flip.
This is potentially the most over analyzed MMA fight of all time, so I thought I’d just list the reasons I like Diaz in no particular order: 1) he is the slight underdog, 2) he has better cardio, 3) he has more heart & doesn’t quit, 4) he’s bigger, 5) he’s actually training this time, 6) the degree to which Diaz can likely absorb more punches than McGregor outweighs the degree to which McGregor can likely land more punches than Diaz, 7) he’s much better on the mat, 8) he’s more experienced, 9) McGregor could be sparring too much before…
~55% chance of winning for Diaz implies >12% weighting on the Kelly Criterion. I’ll be watching closely leading into the fight trying to read tea leaves (… somewhat concerned Diaz could be, consciously or subconsciously, more motivated in a trilogy than he is in winning on the 20th) and determine my weighting likely on the day of the fight.
Time of writing Johnson is -190 vs. Teixeira at +190 or ~34% chance of winning this Light Heavyweight bout.
First thought on this one is that it’s well known Glover’s cross counter to left hook is his primary weapon on the feet – arguably one of the most consistent tendencies among top five fighters in the UFC today. Glover knows it, his opponents know it, but it still has worked just on great timing, power, skill in the pocket etc. (e.g. Evans & Cummins both appeared to prepare to counter it, but they both still got caught…).
I could be reading into this way too much, but this Henri Hooft Instagram clip of Johnson hitting pads really stuck out to me… the combo is left non committal jab hopping back when Hooft counters, planting, right cross, stepping off to the left to end with a left head kick… the more I think about it the more I like it. Assuming Glover does not find a way to get Johnson’s back against the cage or the old dog learns new tricks (reasonable assumptions I think), and recognizing this isn’t Johnson’s only tool, I feel very good about this approach (for both Johnson KO probability & chances of not getting clipped) to Glover’s cross counter than more traditional methods (e.g. left hook inside the opponents right cross, right knee to the body etc.).
Second thing that jumps out to me is Teixeira’s approach to OSP, which is the most recent bout with the most parallels to the current match-up vs. Rumble in my opinion. Glover attempted four takedowns in the first (75% successful), two in the second (50% successful) and three in the third (33% successful) – majority of which via leg kicks early, trying more doubles in later rounds with less success. I think there is good reason to believe Glover will pursue a similar strategy against Johnson. Thinking about how few low kicks Johnson tends to throw, and his success defending the double-leg against Davis, I feel good about Johnson’s chances of keeping this one mostly on the feet.
If I didn’t have a strategy that only involved betting on dogs I’d take Rumble here… interesting for a parlay. I wouldn’t bet on this in any material way, but I’d reckon this one likely ends before 1.5 rounds are up in Johnson’s favour.
Time of writing there is no line on this Welterweight bout.
It’s really hard to justify betting against Magny – besides having the best striking differential in the division, just look at his record. Since the start of 2015 he has wins against Hector Lombard, Kelvin Gastelum, Erick Silva, Gyu Lim & Kunimoto, with the only loss to Demian Maia. Pace, wrestling, pressure, use of range, transition game, closing distance effectively throwing combos, attitude, cardio etc… he has all the right tools and operates at a very high level.
Larkin on the other hand is no slouch himself. Whether you think Masvidal got robbed in that split decision or not, can’t argue that it wasn’t close, which says something about the level Larkin is on today (‘today’ being the operative word… bothers me how many bring up the Lawler win from 2012). Thinking about where Lorenz Larkin could have the edge – speed, power and damaging leg kicks appear to be the most obvious areas… oddly I’m even tempted to say I feel better about Larkin not taking damage in the pocket over Magny (e.g. Ponzinibbio was 36 of 104 strikes thrown in their matchup, which says a lot in my opinion).
When match-ups appear this close, I’m biased to take the better grappler / cardio / transition / wrestling / BJJ of Magny against the man who appears to be far more dangerous on the feet in the first 5 or so minutes. Recognizing the damage Larkin could potentially inflict in R1 & the potential fight altering impact (i.e. how would Magny react if he eats as many leg kicks as Ponzinibbio or Tumenov did in R1?), I’d be surprised to see this line much outside 60/40… that said, I’d expect Magny to open as the favorite with about even odds for this fight to go 2.5 rounds. Should be a fun one!
Time of writing there is no line on this Bantamweight bout.
First glance this might look like a classic BJJ (Vera 5 of his 7 by submission) vs. striker (Guangyou 4 of his 6 by KO/TKO) match-up. But after watching both of their bouts vs. Beltran (whom both have decision losses to) I’m left thinking although Guangyou might have more power this match-up could be quite close on the feet… I’m even thinking Vera could have the edge standing – he’s more diverse, longer, has better feet… if he can manage the big bum-rush overhand shot from Guangyou he should have the edge everywhere else.
Thinking about how this might play out if it goes to the ground… when Guangyou has been in top position in the guard, he’s shown habits for poor posture and putting his hands in compromising positions (I know it when I see it because I have some of the bad habits myself) – something you definitely do not want to do against someone as dangerous off their back as Vera.
I’m hoping this line is close and Guangyou is the favorite, because I’m of the view Vera will most likely win this one (unless Mark Goddard is the ref…)… thinking ~30% chance of submission & coin flip type odds in the case of a decision.
Time of writing there is no line on this Welterweight fight.
Perry is 5 foot 9 inches tall, fighting for the first time in the UFC. Watching Perry’s last two bouts in Square Ring Promotions and Battleground, I’m left with the impression he has a suspect chin, below average head movement and doesn’t set up his strikes very well. Gyu Lim is 6 foot 3 inches tall, with five UFC bouts under his belt (3-2 in the UFC) – all of his UFC wins have come by KO (two R1, one R2), with losses to Magny (R2 TKO loss) & Saffiedine (R5 decision), which is still respectable in my opinion.
Lim is a finisher that has put in quick work against fighters demonstrating similar deficiencies that Perry seems to emulate. I want to learn more about how Perry has been preparing for this fight, but even if he’s abusing USADA policies and training with Jon Jones, I’d still expect for this line to be set close to 75/25 (+300) with around even money for this to be finished before 1.5 rounds are up.
I ended the night down $2,236 (~15% of pre-card portfolio size) on total wagers of $5,597 (negative ~40% return) vs. blind underdog betting strategy of negative ~83% (outperformed ~43%). Only one underdog won on a card that included 12 bouts. The only change from the pre-fight summary was I added $500 hedge on McGee at -140.
Of the last 69 UFC cards (that’s just how far my database goes back) if you had just bet the underdog, last nights card was the worst result experienced.
Since July 7 2016, The Open Roll has made ~$28,125 in total bets (~$32,025 including UFC FN 91) on ~57 bouts (~61 including UFC FN 91), underwater ~$3,677 or ~13.1% (underwater ~$854 or ~2.7% including UFC FN 91) overall.
At time of writing I have $3,614 bets placed (~25% of the portfolio) on underdogs over eight fights (average ~3% portfolio bet per fight) of the 12 at weighted average odds of +134 or ~43% vs. estimated weighted average odds ~48% (implied edge ~5%), $492 bets placed (~3% of the overall portfolio & ~14% of the total underdog bets) on two favorites as riskless hedges at favourable odds and ~$990 bets placed (~7% of the portfolio) on various outcomes on six fights, with ~88% of those wagers used to hedge certain downside tail-risk on existing underdog long bets (although not perfectly / it comes with risk and the bet must stand on its own merit). Taking this all together, I have $5,096 on tonight’s card (~35% of the portfolio), with potential downside of $4,207 (<30% of the portfolio) if every single bet goes wrong and potential upside ~$6,095 (implies +148 or ~41% implied odds overall) if every single long bet goes right. For more detail on the bets:
- $954 on Novelli at weighted average +122 (including $296 at +140), hedged with $200 on Teymur at -130.
- $845 on Cummings at weighted average +126 (including $293 at +160), hedged with $292 on Ponzinibbio at -120. I also have $820 at weighted average +121 this fight will be finished before 2.5 rounds.
- Overall downside is $1,422 if the fight goes beyond 2.5 rounds & Ponzinibbio wins, and $43 if the fight goes beyond 2.5 rounds & Cummings wins. Overall upside is $1,769 if Cummings wins before 2.5 rounds, and $391 if Ponzinibbio wins before 2.5 rounds are up.
- $758 on Smith at weighted average +114, with bets on Gigliotti of $45 for R1 win at +220 and $10 for R2 win at +500.
- $658 on Dom T Steele at +175.
- $100 on Camozzi at +145.
- $100 on Taylor at +230.
- $100 on Pesta at +110.
- $100 on Sherman at +110.
- $40 on Jason for sub at +600 and $30 for TKO/KO at +750.
- $10 on Rodriquez R2 finish at +450 and $5 on Rodriguez R1 finish at +350.
- $10 on Gutierrez R2 finish at +1,400 and $5 on Gutierrez R1 finish at +900.
- $10 on Kawajiri within distance at +700 and $5 on Kawajiri decision win at +500.
Time of writing Yair Rodriguez is -278 vs. Alex Caceres at +274 or implied ~17% chance of winning for this Featherweight match-up.
I have a list of fighters I don’t bet against and Rodriguez is on it. I think he has the greatest potential in the division and is on another level relative to Alex. If this wasn’t enough, also considering Caceres walks around at ~150 pounds makes this an even easier choice for me.
I’m tempted to bet on Yair here but likely will leave it be.
Time of writing Bermudez is -205 vs. Jason at +191 or an implied ~34% chance of winning.
Bermudez is ranked #8 in the division, and he’s shown he deserves that standing or better. Jason is dangerous & I want to like him more (simply for the reason he has some of the worst tattoos in the UFC), but he’s so consistently inconsistent and has a suspect chin, so I’m having a hard time bringing myself to bet on him.
I’m likely a pass here on Jason, but am thinking about sprinkling some on submission win potential at +600.
Time of writing Leites is -172 vs. Camozzi at +160 or ~38% implied chance of winning.
Mousasi and Bisping both beat Leites keeping him at range, winning the jab & inside leg kick battles, defending the takedown and not getting sucked into drawn out exchanges in the pocket. If the fight goes down different from this game plan, Leites has shown he probably has a good chance at beating anyone in the division.
Do I think Camozzi can keep and beat Leites at range and effectively defend the takedown? He has a chance, but it’s more likely he will not.
I’m likely a pass, but will do more work if the line goes +200 on Camozzi.
Time of writing Ponzinibbio is -157 vs. Cummings +160 or implied ~38% chance of winning.
Ponzinibbio is a beast, keeps the pressure on, has KO power (especially in his right hand), is durable, fights out of ATT and is a BJJ black belt. Cummings is on a similar level in my opinion, but what worries me most, like anyone matched up against Ponzinibbio, is if Cummings will be able to deal with his heavy hands.
Cummings was Woodley’s main sparring partner in his preparation for Robbie Lawler. Do you think after that experience he’s equipped to handle someone with a big overhand right? Yeah, so do I.
Giving Cummings ~45% probability of winning implies ~11% weighting on Kelly. I’ll determine my weighting closer to fight night.
Time of writing Gigliotti is -129 vs. Smith +123 or an implied ~45% chance of winning.
Smith is a veteran of the division, with 11 Strikeforce & UFC matches since 2011 (his last was a decision win over Dan Miller ~13 months ago). This is Gigliotti’s first UFC fight, he trains out of Power MMA in Arizona, and looks to have exclusively fought fighters with very salty records leading to this one (except for maybe his last win against John Poppie).
From what I can glean from Gigliotti’s tape, it appears he might have the speed & power advantage… maybe. He’s kind of like a poor man’s Urijah Faber. Covers distance well, good strong overhand right, solid double leg, decent ground & pound, solid guillotine, sneaky striking breaking from the clinch etc. Smith doesn’t move his head as much as I’d like, is relatively flat footed and doesn’t have the best chin, so it’s conceivable to see Gigliotti find success in this match-up. That said, there’s levels to this and from everything I can see it’s incredibly presumptions to think Gigliotti is close to Smith’s level. Perhaps those closer to the people he trains with have other views, but those types of opinions are so biased I rarely listen to them anyways. Also, I think in the clinch and on the ground Smith should have the advantage.
Conservative ~50% type probability on Smith implies ~9% weighting on Kelly. I’ll wait until fight night to figure out what kind of weighting I’d like to put on this.
Time of writing Moroz is -229 vs. Taylor +206 or implied ~33% chance of winning.
Maryna Moroz is ranked #8 in the Strawweight division, has beat Calderwood and lost a three round barn burner decision to Letourneau. She is a beast. Danielle Taylor has not fought in the UFC, but looking at her KOTC matches, I’m left thinking she actually has KO power / style, which is very rare in this division. I also think she should be able to get some takedowns in this match-up (notwithstanding Moroz does elect to pull guard often).
No doubt Moroz should be the favorite, but Taylor has a shot here. I’m going to decide on weightings in the context of overall bets on this card.
Time of writing there is no line on this fight.
I really like Court McGee, but I’m hesitant betting on a guy coming off a big TKO loss less than four months ago. I don’t like how Dom Steele fades in later rounds and wish he threw more shots, but I still think Dom outright has a good chance of winning. There is also tail risk Court didn’t take enough time off to consider.
I suspect Court McGee might be the favorite here…. If he is, very good probability I’ll be betting on “Non-Stop Action-Packed” Dom T. Steele.
Time of writing there is no line on this fight.
Pesta went three rounds with the Black Beast before getting KO’d, which I think is impressive (also clearly won R1 doing it). He hasn’t had a fight in 11 months, so I’m hoping he still has a great chin. Pesta also has above average fight IQ, cardio and wrestling. Tybura had a really competitive outing against Tim Johnson, showing really good movement while standing at distance & in exchanges, he just wasn’t active enough to get the win.
This is heavyweight, so the line should be close. If we get anywhere outside of 60/40 on either I’ll take a much closer look.
Time of writing there is no line on this fight.
Teymur comes from the best camp in Sweden, is a high level & diverse striker that uses distance very well and is also fairly good at defending the takedown. Novelli is the bigger man, has really fast hands (defensively & offensively) for a 37 year old, I think there is a case he has the better hands of the two and is more experienced overall.
I expect this to be a really entertaining Muay Thai type match between the two, but still expect Novelli to have the slight edge. I’m going to do more work here, but would likely take either man if the line gets much outside of 60/40.
Time of writing there is no line on this fight.
Lost money betting on past TUF Latam competitors, who have better track records than Gutierrez, is top of my mind heading in… Watching old tape on Gutierrez, I’m left thinking despite having heavy hands (and above average tail risk he gets a KO win), he doesn’t move his head, is below average from the outer circle / closing distance and despite training out of Chicago hasn’t been great defending the takedown.
On the other side of this one, I was impressed by Ishihara’s win over Erosa, who is a good striker for bottom rung UFC talent. Also of note, Ishihara fights out of Team Alpha Male, which is not a bad thing to hear going in. I’d expect Ishihara to be the better fighter.
I’d expect Ishihara to be listed -200 or ~66% chance of winning. If the line is much different than that, or I learn something new that matters, I’ll take a closer look.
Time of writing there is no line yet on this fight.
Featherweight #5 Cub Swanson vs. #14 Tatsuya Kawajiri. Kawajiri should have a modest edge in the wrestling department, which makes it tempting to read into Swanson’s Edgar fight (Edgar took Cub down seven times over five rounds) & Kawajiri’s Knight fight (Tatsuya took down Knight six times over three rounds), and start to get worried. But really, in all likelihood Cub’s edge on the feet is far greater than Kawajiri’s likely edge on the mat (plus Cub’s above average ability to create distance from the butterfly and stand-up) that I’d expect Swanson to be somewhere around -200 or implied ~67% chance of winning here.
If the line is much different than 70/30, I’ll take a closer look.
Time of writing there is no line available yet on this fight.
Neither these guys have fought in the UFC, so tough to get a good read on what type of fighters show-up for both. One thing that jumps out is that Ledet by no stretch of the imagination is a heavyweight – the dude fights comfortably at 205 historically. Sherman is listed at 252, and looks to have fought the tougher opponents coming up.
I’ll probably avoid this one, unless the odds look crazy for some reason. I’d expect Sherman to be the favorite when the line gets posted.
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.
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.