Miocic v Overeem
UFC203 takes us to Cleveland for the heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem. Given the amount of times I have changed my mind on the winner of this fight it wouldn’t surprise if I start this article on Miocic and end betting on The Reem. Whilst I think Miocic holds some advantages which will count for a lot (namely durability and fight IQ), Overeem also has KO power, more diverse striking and cornered by the best coaches in the game. Stipe has the game and fight IQ to beat anyone in the division on his day, I just cannot decide if today will be that day.
I expect Miocic to have the better boxing, especially if he mixes in takedown attempts and level changes to open up the hands. The trouble with this is Overeems kicking game catching Miocic on the way in or ending up in the clinch which is where Overeem holds the biggest edge. Knees/kicks to the body and counter striking will likely be Overeems game-plan whilst Miocic will need to back Reem up to the fence with the jab, pressure and feints.
Both fighters have fight ending power so it seems risky to play the Over 1.5 rounds prop but that is the way I’m leaning here. Given what I expect to be both fighters’ game-plans the first round could easily be a feeling out process for both men. Overeems chin causes a bit of concern when betting the over but with his cautious approach to fights under Jackson-Winklejohn if he can avoid getting into a firefight he should get into the 3rd round and possibly beyond.
Given how hard it is to pick a winner on this fight (I am leaning Miocic via late stoppage in round 3 or beyond) I think the over at $1.82, or -125ish for the Americans, is a safer play. I wouldn’t fault a bet on either fighter to be honest as both have paths to victory I just feel better about the over at this price.
1u on Over 1.5 Rounds
Faber v Rivera
There isn’t much to say here save fading a fighter who’s talked about retirement. That is never a good sign. Maybe in other sports you can get by on talent alone but what if the going gets tough in the octagon and your heart isn’t in it completely? For this reason I have to bet against The California Kid. Rivera opened at +155 which I would have pounced on. As it stands he is $1.80/-120 which is still worth a play. If you’re after a little extra I wouldn’t argue against playing him by decision.
Faber is 37, had a plethora of losing title shots and I very much doubt the UFC grant him another one. I suspect he knows this all too well and is simply collecting his pay cheque at this point. He’s still a crafty veteran though and it’d be rude or to a future Hall of Famer to bet more than a unit against him. That’s all this will be.
1u on Jimmie Rivera
Gall v Punk (Brooks)
This is degenerate. I’m not going to argue with anyone that says this is degenerate but it does appeal. CM Punk is approaching 40, no real combat sport experience and fighting a kid who although green, has fought under the bright lights before. The UFC would probably prefer Punk win to drive more PPV sales next time but they know this isn’t a long term project. They know this is most likely one and done (despite me hearing Punk signed an 8 fight contract?!). This is a showcase fight but it isn’t a showcase fight for Punk. It is to build a star in Gall. To my surprise they’re not hyping Punk as someone who’ll steamroll Gall; they’re hyping him as an average dude wanting to fight.
For what it is worth in Ohio you require 5 amateur fights (with a winning record) to gain a pro license but the commission has waived this clause allowing Punk to fight this weekend. Really, this means very little as I’d have expected Punk to spar fairly heavily in his years of training but it is still experience he doesn’t have.
Punk has been training for 2 years under Duke Roufus so he’ll have improved out of sight in that time but is that enough for a 37 year old, with no fighting experience and a glut of wrestling related injuries to overcome? Gall has been training as long, if not longer than Punk has. He also hasn’t had back surgery in his time of training. I think Gall wins this fight in round 1 which is priced at $1.90/-110. The u1.5 rounds is set well above -200 so it isn’t like we’re expecting this fight last long. I’ll take the kid who’s fought professionally twice to finish in the first helping propel his name into the mainstream. I just hope when all is said and done here they give him time to develop unlike Mr Northcutt.
1u on Gall in Round 1
I had a play on Ian McCall but that fight has been scrapped. I believe McCall would have won a fairly comfortable decision.