Focusing on finding value for UFC on Fox 15, I think most of it lies within the prelims. This is a great card from an entertainment standpoint and there are intriguing matchups, but that also lends to some fights that are tough to cap. On the main card, I’m running into that issue with Machida vs. Rockhold. I think Rockhold is better on the ground than Machida, comparable standing, and likely stronger in the clinch and wrestling. Despite that, Machida’s unorthodox style can possibly give Rockhold troubles and I do not like how Rockhold keeps his hands down. There are enough question marks here for me to stay away, but I do feel fairly comfortable this fight hits the later rounds.
Camozzi vs. Jacare is obviously a pass with the steep odds, and that leaves us with Swanson/Holloway and Van Zant/Herrig. Swanson vs. Holloway screams a close match to me. I think both are fairly comparable standing, but Swanson probably has the edge on the ground. I think this fight will end up staying on the feet most of the time and aggressiveness, durability, and cardio will become a factor. I’m sitting back and waiting for either to hit around +150, and that’s the play. With Van Zant vs. Herrig, I’m going to take a leap of faith on Van Zant. In her debut, she showed an extremely high work rate. In a fight that is very likely to go to decision, that’s a huge factor. Sure, she didn’t look great technically, but athleticism and aggressiveness still goes a long way in women’s MMA. This is one of those weird fights where I actually think Herrig is just a little better technically in every aspect, but all of that is trumped out by athletic ability, volume, and aggressiveness. I like Van Zant here up to around -175, but as mentioned, it’s a leap of faith so betting size should be small.
I feel the televised prelims for this card bring the best bet for the card in Jim Miller vs. Beneil Dariush. In a way, this fight reminds me of when Miller fought Oliveira or when Miller fought Medeiros. Jim Miller hasn’t looked like a top contender for a bit since he has lost his step ups in competition, but Miller has never been a stepping stone for a prospect. He stepped up to the plate against Oliveira as well as Medeiros. I think we are going to see that again over the weekend as Dariush does not hold clear advantages anywhere. It can definitely be argued that Dariush is the better overall grappler, but that remains to be seen for MMA. Furthermore, Miller should hold the advantage standing. What I really think will set Miller over the edge is the hometown support and his aggressiveness. We saw aggressiveness was Dariush’s downfall against Ramsey Nijem. I actually cap Miller as the favorite here and think + odds are great.
OSP vs. Cummins is somewhat difficult to cap. I can see the logic in favoring Cummins since people think he’ll replicate Bader’s gameplan, but I think people are selling Bader a bit short. Bader is also a threat standing, and Cummins does not present this. I think OSP’s standup, athleticism, experience, and overall ability are enough to present challenges to Cummins who seems to be fairly one dimensional and easy to gameplan for. OSP at + odds is the play.
I feel pretty similar on Villante vs. Anderson and Sterling vs. Mizugaki. Both of these fights are dog or pass. Villante can present problems to the rather green Anderson and Mizugaki is not a walk through for fighters who are not top tier. I think Anderson and Sterling both have a lot of potential, but these fights have a chance to be closer than they appear. I’m leaning towards passing on Mizugaki since Sterling will be more active and Mizugaki will likely be on the defense a lot, but Villante is worth a small play if he gets up near +300.
There are only two plays that I like here, and it’s the Under 2.5 at +170 on Means/Sullivan and the inside the distance line on Hettes/Brandao. I think Means and Sullivan will get in quite a few exchanges, and Sullivan is likely to fall. On the flip side, I would not count out Means going down either. I’m not sure why most people think this will go to decision. Neither fighter goes to decision often and stylistically I don’t see this being a snoozer. With Hettes/Brandao, it’s another one that I have a hard time seeing going to decision. Brandao can take Hettes’s head off standing, and I think Hettes can take advantage of Brandao if he gasses. I know Brandao has gone a more conservative route before to save energy, but that will be tough against a guy attacking from bottom in Hettes. As far as Gordon/Dempsey goes, I’ll have to pass.