With the addition of 3 newcomers on the undercard, find out if there’s potential betting value on the UFC’s newly acquired talent. See who we are backing with our UFC picks in these exciting matchups.
UFC 143 ON FX: Prelims
Ed Herman vs.
Undefeated middleweight Clifford Starks will look to push
his record to 9-0 against the re-surging Ed Herman on the main card at UFC 143.
His debut with the promotion may have been a bit lackluster, but to his credit he won every round against a legitimate prospect. His stand-up consist of him constantly
loading up with his right hand with the occasional counter left on the inside.
Outside of the power in Clifford’s right hand, Herman shouldn’t have too much
to worry about if this stays on the feet.
Herman has serviceable wrestling himself but it’s certainly
the weakest aspect of his game. Starks
has a powerful double and turns the corner fairly quick on his single. The
question is whether or not Starks can maintain top position for 3 rounds
without being tapped or knocked out.
It’s a tough question to answer considering this is the best
wrestler (excluding Simpson) Herman’s faced since joining the UFC. Personally I
think his base will prove to bee too solid for Herman to really threaten him
off his back. For that reason this is probably one of the fights I’m least
looking forward to betting. I might take a look at Starks if he opens at
anything over +150, however, I think Herman’s experience and finishing rate are
enough to at least make him a marginal favorite here.
UFC Pick: Ed Herman
Immortal" Brown vs. Chris Cope
A pair of lightweights looking to bounce back from their
respective loses clash inside the cage when Matt Brown take on former ultimate
fighter, Chris Cope.
Fortunately for Brown, his propensity to feed his neck
probably won’t be an issue here. This will likely be a 3 round scrap between
brown aggressiveness and clinch vs. Copes’ footwork and stick and move boxing
To an extent, Che Mills already set the blueprint for breaking
Cope down. Chris was absolutely mauled in the clinch before the ref finally called
the bout with 40 seconds left in the round. Mills showed that you have to crowd
Cope as much as possible without giving him the space to fire off his
combination from the outside, which just so happens to be Brown’s specialty.
I personally question Brown’s head and dedication to the
sport at the moment. However I see him being too relentless and experienced for
someone like Cope at this stage in his career.
UFC Pick: Matt Brown
Rafael Natal vs.
So far, Rafael Natal has failed to live up to his initial
hype since entering the UFC in 2010. Through 3 fights he’s 1-1-1 and has shown
poor conditioning in at least two of those bouts.
Grappling is the biggest edge either fighter has in this
fight, however, I’m not so sure this
doesn’t turn into a striking battle for the most part.
Natal’s striking is fairly basic but at the same time surprisingly
effective. He has two things that he does really well: stays busy behind a well
extended jab and throws heavy inside leg kicks. In fact, Paul Bradley was
visibly wincing in the first round after taking a few kicks from Natal. It
basically set the tone for the rest of that fight, which Natal convincingly
took on the scorecards.
Kuiper comes from a Judo background and bring with him an
11-0 record with 6 knockouts and 4 submissions. He’s shown good hand speed and
some decent power in his right hand. He does have a tendency to leave his chin
in the air but from what I’ve seen can take good shot.
Natal should tenderize Kuiper’s legs early while carefully
avoiding his flurries against the cage. This is another tough fight to call, but
just based on their level of opposition I have to add Natal to my UFC picks. Kuiper does
appear to have a few legit weapons but I wouldn’t bet on him unless we’re
offered UFC odds of +190 or higher.
UFC Pick: Rafael Natal
Dan Stittgen vs.
UFC newcomers Dan Stittgen and Stephen Thompson will look to make a lasting impression as
they make their promotional debut on the undercard.
The term striker vs. grappler is often
overused but that’s exactly what this match-up is.
Thompson comes from a kickboxing/karate
background and has put together a 5-0 record consisting of 2 knockouts. From
the limited footage I’ve seen he put’s his combinations together nicely and has
an arsenal of flashy kicks. Firas Zahabi and GSP seem to be on this kid’s
bandwagon so take that for what it’s worth.
Stittgen, meanwhile, looks to be a freakishly
strong grappler with an ultra aggressive submission attack. He has good control
from both top and bottom and holds 5 submissions on his resume.
I just haven’t seen enough of Thompson’s
ground game for me to even consider a UFC betting play on him. Stittgen’s striking is
basically non existent but I feel much more comfortable backing his strength
and grappling over a few flashy strikes.
Pick: Dan Stittgen