UFC 100 News and Notes

UFC 100 News and Notes

Pitbull's power could shock St-Pierre at UFC 100
By JASON LOGAN

Something was triggered in Georges St-Pierre when he was shocked by Matt Serra at UFC 69 over two years ago.

Since that loss, the Canadian karate specialist has been on a focused rampage, ripping through a who's who of the welterweight division. He has now regained his title and has become one of the most reconizable icons in mixed martial arts.

While St-Pierre's current stretch in the UFC is impressive, his recent opponents all have one thing in common - they're safe.

Unlike his opponent for this Saturday's welterweight title fight at UFC 100, St-Pierre (-300) has defeated five fighters who are very talented but don't possess the same power and knockout ability as Thiago Alves (+220).

“Thiago Alves is a big fighter,” says renowned boxing and MMA linesmaker Joey Oddessa. “He walks around in excess of 220 pounds when not training... I would not feel comfortable laying -300 odds on anyone against Thiago Alves.”

Alves is riding his own impressive streak into UFC 100. The Brazilian Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu specialist has an 18-2 career mark and hasn't lost in over three years, winning seven straight bouts – five by way of knockout.

At 5-foot-9, Alves packs a ton of power into his stocky frame, earning him the fitting nickname “The Pitbull”. Of his 18 career fights, 10 have ended with Alves' opponent staring up at the lights in a daze. Four of St-Pierre's past five opponents combine for just 13 career knockouts and the one guy with more KO victories than Alves (Matt Hughes with 13) has fought in 43 professional MMA bouts.

The biggest concern for MMA bettors eyeing the upset was Alves' weight issues. He's struggled to cut weight in the past, but reports out of his camp have him ahead of schedule to reach the set 170-pound limit by Friday's weigh-in.

Alves' standup power presents a true threat to St-Pierre's title reign. The champ was knocked out by Serra at UFC 69 (Serra's lone KO victory) and had a tough time against B.J. Penn's striking when those two met at UFC 94 last January.

“You never know what to expect until he gets hit,” says Oddessa. “St-Pierre has steadily improved and avenged his only two career losses. But Alves might be the biggest and most powerful guy he has ever stepped into the Octagon with.”

UFC 100 is scheduled for Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

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Re: UFC 100 News and Notes

Lesnar hated by fans, loved by bettors at UFC 100
By JASON LOGAN

Brock Lesnar might be the most hated man in all mixed martial arts.

Hardcore UFC fans and MMA purists despise the former NCAA wrestling champion for his lightning-quick rise in the sport in just four professional fights.

They believe the mammoth former WWE star hasn't paid his dues - that he doesn't deserve to wear the UFC heavyweight title, which he tore off MMA legend Randy Couture in a dominating performance last November.

Their biggest argument is Lesnar's loss to Frank Mir in his debut bout at UFC 81, which the reigning champ can avenge when the two meet for the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 100 Saturday night.

Oddsmakers have priced the champ as a hefty -230 favorite for the rematch, and not just because Lesnar is the most polarizing personality in the sport. Renowned boxing and MMA linesmaker Joey Oddessa believes the Minnesota monster is the real deal.

“Lesnar looked to be well on his way to victory in his first encounter with Frank Mir,” says Oddessa. “Had referee Steve Mazzagatti not stopped the action citing a foul, many believe Lesnar was seconds from scoring a TKO win.”

In their February 2008 bout, a wet-behind-the-ears Lesnar dictated the early going with his power. But that rookie mistake (punch to the back of the head) let Mir off the canvas and eventually allowed the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist to sink in an ankle lock on the overzealous Lesnar, giving Mir a submission victory.

While the majority of the MMA world dislikes Lesnar, the betting public can't get enough of the brash young champion. They're riding Lesnar into UFC 100 - much like they did in his UFC debut.

Saturday's original line opened with Lesnar priced at -175. But as the event drew closer, steady action on the champion pushed Lesnar's odds all the way to -275. They have since come down to -230 as of Friday.

The knee injury Mir suffered earlier this year forced their rematch, orginally scheduled for UFC 98, to be rearranged for this weekend. That had an impact on early UFC 100 wagers, but it's Mir's unpredictable preparation that has him priced as the underdog again.

The 6-foot-3 native of Las Vegas has constantly been criticized for his work ethic. Mir is one of the most naturally gifted fighters in the game and hasn't begun to reach his potential until recently. He boasts a 12-3 professional record and is coming off three straight wins after suffering a rough stretch in 2006.

“It is always tough to know what to expect from Frank Mir.,” says Oddessa. “Despite his fast submission win against Lesnar, he undoubtedly was in some trouble prior to the restart. And as impressive as his win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (at UFC 92 in December) was, it is hard to tell if Nogueira was really at his best.”

“Both fighters looked impressive in their last wins, but Lesnar is deservedly the betting favorite in the rematch.”

UFC 100 is scheduled for Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

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Re: UFC 100 News and Notes

UFC 100 Predictions
by T.O. Whenham

The UFC has made it into triple digits with their events, and they are celebrating that impressive milestone by putting together what is quite likely the best card they have ever had. The event, taking place Saturday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, features two title fights and three other potential thrillers on the main card, and a very solid preliminary card as well. It features one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world in Georges St. Pierre (he could secure the top spot on those rankings with a big win here), and the most hyped heavyweight in a long time in former WWE champion Brock Lesnar.

The event sold out before tickets were made available to the public, and it's not hard to see why. Here's how I see it all going down (odds are from Bodog):

Brock Lesnar (-215) vs. Frank Mir (+175) - This match will unify the UFC Heavyweight Championship. It's a rematch of Lesnar's first fight. In that event Lesnar took Mir down twice, but his inexperience was evident and Mir earned an early submission. So much has changed since that fight that the results are only barely relevant. Lesnar has three more fights under his belt and has developed much more technique and depth to his game. Mir added another big win, and clearly improved his boxing significantly in the process, and is making it easier and easier to believe that he is a legitimate long-term contender. Both guys are well matched - they can play off the weaknesses of the other fighter well.

It's hard to find an edge, but I have to lean towards the favorite for one reason - athleticism. Lesnar is not only massive and bull-like, but also freakishly mobile for a big man. That gives him an edge if the fight deteriorates into a free-for-all, and that makes him the pick.

Pick: Brock Lesnar

Georges St. Pierre (-315) vs. Thiago Alves (+245) - I can't wait for this one. Alves brings two things to the table that St. Pierre isn't used to - unlike most GSP opponents he's not smaller than the champ, and he has more striking power than St. Pierre is used to. He'll have to use that striking skill to keep this one off the mat. No one wrestles as well as GSP, so if he can make this a wrestling contest it won't be pretty. Alves needs to negate that advantage and find a way to trap the champion and sting him. Frankly, though, I just don't see that happening. St. Pierre s to fast, strong and confident. This one could be close, but my guess is that it won't be. Either way, it is definitely St. Pierre's fight to lose.

Pick: Georges St. Pierre

Dan Henderson (-215) vs. Michael Bisping (+175) - This is a very interesting pairing between Henderson, a wrestler with a vicious punch, and Bisping, a kickboxer with decent jiu jitsu. Bisping will want to stay on his feet to maintain his edge, while Henderson will likely try to go to the ground as soon as he can. It's quite likely that this one will go the distance, and when that happens I see the edge going to Henderson. He's more powerful, and likely to be more effective in the later stages.

Pick: Dan Henderson

Jon Fitch (-550) vs. Paulo Thiago (+350) -
Thiago is undefeated in 11 fights, but just one came in the UFC. Fitch is desperate to climb back into title contention, so he really needs a win here. Thiago is a bit of a mystery because of his inexperience and because we don't know how to beat him. Fitch, though, is a tough and talented fighter, and he'll be especially motivated here. Thiago stunned Josh Koscheck last time out, but I don't see him sneaking up on Fitch this time.

Pick: Jon Fitch

Yoshihiro Akiyama (-270) vs. Alan Belcher (+210) - Akiyama is an impressive Japanese fighter making his UFC debut. He's seen as a much-needed potential challenger to Anderson Silva. I don't doubt his credentials, but I have a real concern backing first-time UFC fighters, especially when they are heavily favored. Belcher beat Denis Kang in a similar situation in UFC 93, and it would be easy to give him too little credit. Akiyama is probably the best fighter, but there is value in the underdog at this price. Real value.

Pick: Alan Belcher

Stephan Bonnar (-365) vs. Mark Coleman (+285) - This fight is a joke. Coleman was once great, but he's well past his prime, and watching him continue on is just sad. This one could be ugly.

Pick: Stephan Bonnar

Jim Miller (-190) vs. Mac Bonnar (+155) - These two grapplers have similar styles. That means that the one who can better dictate the terms of the fight will have the edge. My best guess is that that will be Miller. He seems to be the better fighter, and that makes him the pick.

Pick: Jim Miller

Jon Jones (-525) vs. Jake O'Brien (+325) - The oddsmakers suggest that this isn't much of a contest. They are right. O'Brien has some nice knockouts to his credit, but Jones is a big jump on class for him, and I'm not convinced that he's up to it. Jones is faster, more athletic, and just plain better. This one won't go the distance. It may not even make it out of the first round.

Pick: Jon Jones

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