Even though this Saturday’s UFC 184 card has been hit with injuries, fans in Los Angeles still get to see some pretty good fights. There might even be some bargains with the MMA odds for the undercard.
The problem with being a fight promoter is that your fighters keep getting hurt. This Saturday’s UFC 184 card (10:00 p.m. ET, PPV) at the Stapler in Los Angeles was originally supposed to be headlined by Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort for the Middleweight title, but Weidman had to pull out with an injury. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (pneumonia), Caio Magalhaes (infection) and Yancy Medeiros (foot) are also off the card.
At least there’s no shortage of fighters willing to take their place. Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano should be a quality main event, and the undercard looks like it’ll have its fair share of good fights. Our colleague Swinging Johnson has already previewed two of the supporting fights on the main card; let’s take a look two other matchups for Saturday and see if we can find some betting value on the UFC odds board.
Jake Ellenberger (–215) vs. Josh Koscheck (+170)
When the card for UFC 184 was first announced, Koscheck (17-8 lifetime) was paired off against Neil Magny, but promoter Dana White shuffled the deck and made it Ellenberger (29-9) instead. Each of these former Welterweight title contenders is on a three-fight losing streak; Ellenberger most recently suffered defeat at the hands of Kelvin Gastelum (–165), while Koscheck was knocked out by Tyron Woodley (–160).
We thought we may have seen the last of Koscheck in the Octagon after that first-round loss to Woodley. At 37 years old, the former NCAA champion wrestler from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania is three years removed from his last victory, and that was a split decision over Mike Pierce (+190) that easily could have gone the other way.
Ellenberger, who was an All-American wrestler one notch below Koscheck in Division II, is eight years younger than his opponent. He appeared to be well on his way toward a Welterweight title fight after beating Nate Marquardt (+120) two years ago at UFC 158, but it’s been nothing but frustration since then. We think the younger Ellenberger has both the stamina and the work ethic to get the job done Saturday for our UFC picks.
Free UFC Pick: Take Ellenberger
Alan Jouban (–400) vs. Richard Walsh (+310)
The UFC odds suggest this welterweight fight will be a little more one-sided. Jouban (10-3 lifetime) is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Warlley Alves (–675) last November, but pretty much everybody except the three judges in question felt that Alves deserved the victory. Walsh (8-2) also lost a controversial split decision in his last fight against Kiichi Kunimoto (–230). Home-court advantage may have played a role in both cases.
As with the Ellenberger-Koscheck fight, this is a matchup of two similar styles – both Jouban and Walsh are skilled in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai. At 32, Jouban is six years older than Walsh, but still in his prime. Jouban also has a more credible résumé, having worked his way up through the Resurrection Fighting Alliance promotion before stepping in the Octagon. Walsh fought on the indy circuit in his native Australia before beating Chris Indich (+217) at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale: Bisping vs. Kennedy.
Despite – or maybe because of – Walsh’s road to the UFC, we’re inclined to roll the dice with the more unknown commodity at this price. It’s a small sample size, but according to FightMetric, Walsh has posted superior numbers in striking accuracy and defense. Also, Jouban has yet to attempt a takedown in the Octagon, and his defense on that front checks in at just 33 percent. Walsh has been accurate on 55 percent of his takedowns. Having said that, Jouban’s southpaw stance could make things awkward for his opponent. We’ll roll with the underdog regardless.
Free UFC Pick: Take Walsh