blog-IQ

Think Before You Fight


Bellator London will be taking place during Saturday morning for us stateside, and it won't be easy to view even if you were planning on it. The card will only be available on their Bellator app, so have fun watching the event on your phone. Solid play Bellator....solid play.


There's only 3 lines posted for this card, and there's really only one fight to take a hard look at from a value perspective. Michael Page is currently a -2100 favorite, and Leon Edwards' little brother, Fabian Edwards, has grown to a substantial -350 favorite over the gritty Brit, Mike Shipman. I'd avoid both these fights, as it's really a dog or pass situation, and I wouldn't give either of the dogs a good chance at pulling off an upset. But there is a Parlay that we like for a small play with these favorites involved.


After doing our tape study, we found some value in the Soren Bak at -125, as he takes on British military vet, Terry Brazier (+105). Bak is on a 5 fight win streak, beating some stiff competition during that period (Morgan Charrier, Paddy Pimblet, & Alexander Jacobsen to name a few). He's fought his entire career in Europe, but he's poised to break into the mainstream and stake his claim with American-based Bellator.


Bak carries a grinding pace, and uses his thick stature to out muscle his competition as the fight wears on. He's not the most graceful striker in the world, but he's got solid cardio, is physically strong, and has been in deep waters against stiff competition and has come out on top. He's biggest strength is most likely his will to win, and desire to overcome.


Bak's opponent, Terry Brazier, is no stranger to the European MMA circuit, compiling an 11-2 record over the last 4+ years of fighting pro. Talk about a grinder. Brazier does not possess elite level skills, but what he lacks in raw talent he makes up for in physical and mental toughness. He pushes an incredible pace against the cage and on the mat, but he doesn't carry this same pace over to his striking game. On the feet, Brazier has an awkward, hunched over, type of boxing game. His hands aren't quick, he doesn't throw many kicks, and he's often caught flat-footed during striking exchanges. We really weren't very impressed by his skillset when watching tape on him. His best weapons by far are his mental toughness, the pace he carriers in the clinch and on the ground, and his ability to win scrambles. He often wins very close decisions due to his ability to win position battles that start out 50/50. This looks good in the eyes of the judges, especially if there is little striking occurring in the round.


As you can probably surmise, we like Bak in this spot at a very reasonable -125. We have him projected closer to a -160 favorite, so we are getting some value here, but this is in no way a "layup" for Bak. This fight will most likely go to a decision, and this is good for Bak, as his cardio is superior to Brazier's. Brazier is by no means a "walk in the park". His mental toughness is a big wildcard in this fight. He's openly battled with PTSD after his stint in the British Army, learning how to deal with it during his adult life, and finding that the sport of MMA was a therapeutic reprieve that quelled his demons.


Regardless of Brazier's grittiness and toughness, it will not be enough for him to overcome the gap in skills and cardio that Bak possesses. If this fight stays on the feet, then the 1st round will be a closely contested back and forth, with Brazier not looking all that bad, but as he starts to tire, his footwork becomes stagnant and his striking gets sloppy. Bak will win the striking exchanges in rounds 2 & 3 for a 29-28 victory.


If this fight turns into a clinch-orgy, or gets fully to the mat, then Bak will be too strong for Brazier to positionally control on the ground like he has done with so many of his other opponents. This most likely won't be the most visually appealing MMA fight you've seen all year, but the grinding nature of the match will keep it competitive, and superior cardio will prove to be the deciding factor. Bak's more polished skillset, physical prowess, and legit cardio will carry him to standing in the center of his cage with his and raised after 15:00 minutes.


Bak / Decision / Unanimous


BET: Bak (-125) 3.25 units


We are also on a small parlay as well: Bak/Edwards/Page (+144) 2 units




You may be asking yourself, "Why did they name this article Sunday Morning Wood"? Well, that's a great question, with a legitimate answer. You may recall that we titled the recap article for UFC FN 163: Moscow as "Sunday Morning Hangover". We considered it a hangover because we had missed on a few favorites and finished in the red for the event. Hangover's aren't fun. I can attest. I've had my fair share of them in my earlier days. And finishing in the negative on a card that we spent dozens of hours handicapping really sucks as well......just like a hangover.


So you might see a theme here. If we finish in the black for an event, the recap article of the card will be titled "Sunday Morning Wood", because when I think of great things to wake up to, it's doing so next to a beautiful woman with your soldier at full salute; hence, the rightfully named article after a positive night predicting fights.


So, now that we've got that housekeeping out of the way, why don't we move on and talk a little bit about what transpired Saturday night in Brazil.


BETTING RECAP


As a reminder, all of our plays can be 3rd party verified on BetMMA.tips. When all the dust settled, we were able to sneak out with a 2 unit profit. It could have been a monster night for us if Shogun/Craig didn't go the distance, or would have finished in the 1st round, like many people thought would happen. If the Rua/Craig fight would have simply finished inside the distance (-280), then we would have ended the night up 6.5 units. That's a prop that had almost a 3/1 chance of hitting! To take it a step further, if the Rua/Craig would have finished <1.5 rounds (+100), then we would have finished up 15.7 units!! Yes, you read that correctly. We would have finished +15.7 units on the night if a coin flip of a wager had gone in our favor! Is that too much to ask? Hell, we would have taken just finishing ITD and a 6.5 unit profit, but no, Rua and Craig had to embark on a 15 minute journey that put most of us to bed, and ending in a draw. Ha - how appropriate for such a shitty fight.

Profit is profit, and we'll take our 2 units and be happy (although a 15 unit event would have been epic)! We hit with a big lean on Jan Blachowicz in another epically boring fight, which held the title of main event unfortunately. We also hit on our Trinaldo (-140) 3 unit bet, and our Turman (+110) 2 unit bet, but losing 4 units on one of our biggest plays of the night; Warlley Alves (-125).


We pretty much nailed how the Trinaldo fight was going to unfold in our fight preview, predicting that Trinaldo would win a tight decision, and not scoring too many points on DK, which was the case. We also recommended taking Trinaldo by decision at +150, and we hope you did, as that hit for us on our 1.5 unit bet.


In similar fashion, we pretty much called the Turman/Perez fight exactly how it unfolded. Perez would gas in the 2nd and 3rd, and Turman would squeak out a close decision victory. Sure enough, Turman won a pretty gross decision, and our +110, heavily owned in DK ($7,600), underdog came through for us, just as we suspected he would. The style matchup in this fight, and the previously mentioned Trinaldo/Green fight, pointed us in a direction that we felt very confident in, and our numbers backed it up. When you combine a solid understanding of the stylistic matchup, hours of tape study, and stats that all support your hypothesis, then it makes for a confident play.


We thought we had this in our Warlley Alves (-125) 4 unit play, but we underestimated two major factors in this one. Alves looked great his last fight out, dismantling Sergio Moraes. We shouldn't have put as much stock into that fight as we did. Yes, Alves looked good, but he was fighting an aging grappler who had very little standup and poor cardio. Alves bully-centric game aligns nicely with Moraes style, as Alves was able to control the place and pace of the fight, and preventing Moraes from taking him down. We should have realized that Moraes is not the fighter that he once was, and has looked absolutely awful two fights in a row now. He's declined big time, and we shouldn't have given Alves as much credit as we did for beating Moraes.



Alves couldn't handle Brown's athleticism

The 2nd thing we didn't weigh as much as we should have within our algorithm is Alves' cardio, and how much it negatively effects him during competitive fights. He's had cardio issues in the past, but it didn't seem to affect him against Moraes, so we figured that maybe he had addressed that weakness in his game. Wrong! Alves gassed after the first round. He looked completely dead after that first round, and I think some of it can be related to the disappointment in not being able to submit Brown in the 1st round. I think this broke Alves will, and once he realized he was tired, he started looking for a way out, and Brown gave him one. 2 big issues that we did not put enough stock in when evaluating Alves and his matchup with brown. If we would have picked up on either one of these prefight, then we wouldn't be having this conversation today, as we wouldn't have recommended the play.


Our Jan Blachowicz (-150) 4 unit play also paid off for us, as he edged out a incredibly boring close decision over Jacare Souza. This was a snoozefest from start to finish, and an appropriate end to a pretty terrible card from top to bottom. Honestly, one of the worst cards we've seen in quite some time, and this comes on the heels of a pretty awful card last week in Moscow. Is it the matchmaking, or just an expected lull? Our fight preview wasn't as accurate as we were for the Trinaldo or Turman fights, but it was still pretty accurate as to where the fight would play out, what would be the factors that produced a winner, and who the actual winner would be. We thought that Blachowicz would have been more aggressive, and not so timid, especially during the earlier rounds. Souza clinched against the fence quite a bit, looking to get the fight to the mat, but exactly like we explained it, Jan would prevent the takedown attempts, as his size and clinch work would be too much for Jacare to overcome in order to get the fight to the mat. We expected some more fireworks out of Blachowicz, but in the end we still got the result that we were expecting.


All-in-all we are happy with our 2 unit profit, but as mentioned before, if the Rua/Craig fight played out as it should have, then we would have had an absolute monster night! Oh well, we still put some profit in the bank, and that's really all that matters. Our goal is to hit a profit every event, regardless of size, and if it happens to be a monster, then all the better, but we'll take 2 units for now!



DRAFTKINGS RECAP


This card didn't allow for too much creativity from a lineup construction standpoint, as there were a number of high-priced favorites who had the potential to put up big numbers. In the end, a couple of those top end fighters came through with big scores, and a few others disappointed. Take a look at the final tallies below:


James Krause ended up running away with the points title for the card, scoring 134 in a demolition of a sitting duck, also know as, Sergio Moraes. We weren't high on Krause due to the dangerousness of Moraes on the ground, and his inactivity was a concern as well. Krause was fairly low owned at 22.5%, and those who rostered Krause were able to differentiate themselves from the field quite nicely.


We were high on Ramos & Oliveira, who were tough to roster together, and they came through for us with 108 and 105 points respectively. Oliveira was insanely owned with 65% of the field having an ownership of "Do Bronx". You either had to join the field to keep up (if he scored well), or fade him and hope for an upset. Chuck came through with an impressive performance, and rewarded his owners nicely with the 3rd highest total on the card.


We were very heavy on Wellington Turman, as there was not much value in the mid to lower tiers, save for one fighter, who we'll get to in one minute. Turman may have only scored 67 points, but he did so as a slight dog and a salary saver for our lineups. In order to squeeze in some of the high-priced fighters, you had to find those 1 or 2 fighters that may not score 100+ points in an upset win, but would throw up 65-80 points in a win. That's exactly what we found in Turman. Perez's unorthodox style kept the fight low scoring from a DK perspective, but a win is a win, and that's all we're looking for in our GPP lineups - 6 wins.


We hit with our recommendation of Ariane Lipski, but we aren't going to pat ourselves on the back for this one. It was an obvious play, and here's why. Originally, Lipski ($7,700) was scheduled to take on a pretty tough fighter in Veronica Macedo ($8,500), but Macedo pulled out a few days prior to the fight. It looked as though Lipski would be off the card as well, leaving us with an 11 fight card that already had plenty of lineup constraints on it. Not good. But the UFC was able to fill Macedo's spot the day before the event, bringing in little known Brazilian fighter Isabella de Padua. Maybe Lipski was going to get pulled from the DK card all together? Nope, the ended up sloting in de Padua at a $6,700 salary, meaning that Lipski would need to be priced around $9,400 - $9,500 in a normal situation. Well, they left the more than 2/1 favorite, Lipski, at her original salary of $7,700, meaning we were getting about $1,800 in value on our roster. Lipski was an almost automatic plug and play, as she gave you the likely upside of a victory while priced well below the average of $8,333.


Lipski did what she was supposed to do -- she got that dub, and put up a not-so-surprising DL score of 66.5 points. More importantly, Lipski gave us some flexibility with our lineups on a card that was very inflexible. She was needed, and many of the sharper players took advantage of the value presented with the late opponent change. It looks as though a good portion of the player pool did take the low-hanging fruit, as 44% of the field rostered her.


Our play on Jan Blachowicz turned out to be a winner, but it was a very uninspiring performance, not only in the cage, but on the DK scoresheet as well, as Jan only racked up 65.5 points in a 5 round snoozefest. We expected more aggression out of Blachowicz, but it looked as though his mangled foot slowed him down as the fight wore on. The camera cut to Blachowicz's corner between rounds and zoomed in on his left foot that seemed to have an alien head growing out of it or something. It had to have been broken, which ultimately forced him to a more strategic, slower-paced fight. A wins a win, but we were expecting Blachowicz to score much closer to 100 points than he did.


We were high on Warlley Alves due to his reasonable price point ($8,300), and odds of victory (-125), but we swung and missed on this play, as Alves looked gassed and defeated at the start of the 2nd round, eventually tapping to Brown in the 2nd. It was an awful performance, but as noted above, we realized where we missed on Alves, and will be sure not to make that mistake again.


All-in-all it was an slightly above average night for our lineups. We ended up with a 10% ROI on the night, but it could have been a hell of a lot better. If we had bigger shares of Krause, Cortez, and especially Brown, then we would have been near the top end of all GPP's. But like they say, "if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle". If's won't get you anywhere in this game, but hopefully the if's will teach you something so the next time an opportunity presents itself you'll jump on it. Many of our DK targeted fighters came through with a victory, although a number of them didn't score in the range that we had hoped (looking at you Shogun, de Andrade, and Blachowicz). We'll take profit wherever it presents itself, regardless of how big it is. On to UFC DC!


We've already started digging into the card, and we've found serious value in an early line on a specific fighter. We grabbed them for 5 units today before the line starts moving. We'll be posting a breakdown on the play in the next few days, but if you'd like to know what the play is before the breakdown, shoot us an email (admin@MMAFightIQ.com), or PM us @MMAFightIQ3.


Keep an eye out for the same detailed, fight breakdowns, as well as premium bets, and DK targeted fighters for #UFCDC over the next few weeks. We're offering up all of our PREMIUM content to the masses for FREE for the rest of 2019! All you need to do is sign up to be a member of www.MMAFightIQ.com!



We've been churning out our fight breakdowns, bets we like, and DraftKings fighters to target. There's a fair amount of opportunity on this card on the betting side of things, while on the DK side there are some pretty obvious plays that will be highly owned. Most of the top-tier fighters are must play, so mixing and matching a combination of those top-end fighters will be important if you're looking to lock up that ever-illusive "optimal lineup"!


We have 4 premium bets we've posted in the members area, as well as one prop bet, and one parlay. We feel very confident about these plays tonight, so let's see what the MMA Gods have in store for us tonight! On the DraftKings side of things its a little more dicey, with a lot of top-tier talent, and not much in the way of value in the mid and lower tiers. Creating multiple lineups, rotating the top guys throughout your lineup construction, and filling in the rest will be important. It's going to be tough to enter one lineup in a GPP and pull out a win.


The bets we are on are:


STRAIGHT BETS

- Alves

- Trinaldo

- Turman

- Blachowicz


PROP

- Rua/Craig <1.5 rounds


PARLAY

- Rua/Craig won't go to a decision

- Oliveira/Gordon won't go to a decision


We've made all of our premium content available for free from now until the end of the year! All you need to do is sign up to be a member of MMAFightIQ.com, and you'll gain access to the premium content that we slaved over this week. No strings attached! No credit card required!


Good luck, and look for a recap of our results tomorrow morning.


Cheers,

Johnny

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