Top Five Betting Picks for UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier

Swinging Johnson

Friday, May 22, 2015 6:24 PM UTC

Friday, May. 22, 2015 6:24 PM UTC

Swinger has reviewed the UFC odds and has locked on to his top five UFC picks this weekend. Let’s take a look at how UFC 187 shakes down on Saturday night.

Anthony Johnson (19-4, 13 KO’s, 0 Subs) vs. Daniel Cormier (15-1, 6 KO’s, 4 Subs)
Now that Jon Jones has done what no other man at 205 has been able to do - which is defeat Jon Jones - the number one contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson gets an opportunity to grasp the brass ring without actually facing the champion himself. His opponent, Daniel Cormier, believed he would have to put a few more notches on his holster before getting another shot at the title, but fortune has smiled kindly and he now faces a devastating puncher without all that much ground game. Sounds tailor-made for Cormier.

Let’s face the facts. An elite wrestler always has the advantage over an elite puncher. You can argue until the cows come home, but unless Johnson unleashes a clean shot or drives a knee to the exposed chin of Cormier as he shoots for a takedown, this one could see Cormier’s hand raised if Johnson cannot deal with the elite wrestling he brings to the table. In addition, three of Johnson’s four losses came via submission.

But in fairness to Johnson, he is a much more lethal version of the fighter who succumbed to Vitor Belfort; Josh Koscheck and the immortal Rich Clementi. Moreover, Cormier is getting a bit long in the tooth and Johnson handled another elite wrestler in Phil Davis in April of 2014 winning by unanimous decision. Cormier could very well get gassed if Johnson’s takedown defense stymies the former Olympic wrestler. I believe Johnson is peaking and has the chops to mitigate Cormier’s attempts to take this fight to the mat, much in the same way Alexander Gustafsson did in his battle with Jon Jones.

UFC Pick: Johnson (-115) at GTBets

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Must Read: Cormier vs. Johnson Prop Betting Guide

Vitor Belfort (24-10, 17 KO’s, 3 Subs) vs. Chris Weidman (12-0, 5 KO’s, 3 Subs)
I’m not sure why Chris Weidman gets such a bad rap for a guy who has defeated twice the greatest fighter to ever enter the Octagon. On second thought, that’s exactly why he gets no love from the MMA community. Weidman is the total package. His ground skills are sublime and his striking has evolved immeasurably. In addition, he now holds a black belt in BJJ from Renzo Gracie and is currently ranked the third best fighter on the planet for the mythical pound-for-pound title. His fight with the legendary Vitor Belfort has been delayed twice, each fighter pulling out due to injury, but they will now get down to business in what could be the PPV event of the year.

Vitor Belfort comes into this one looking like a one-man wrecking crew. He has crushed his last three opponents by way of head kicks resulting in KO’s over Luke Rockhold and the past-his-prime Dan Henderson, while scoring a TKO over Michael Bisping. Not exactly chopped liver competition but certainly not on the level of the All-American. Weidman will have no problem handling the immaculate ground skills of Belfort and can certainly stand and trade if that’s what Belfort chooses to do. At 38-years-old Belfort can still handle the gatekeepers with ease, but he is no longer a threat to the truly elite at 185 pounds.

UFC Pick: Chris Weidman -525 at GTBets


Donald Cerrone (27-6, 4 KO’s, 15 Subs) vs. John Makdessi (13-3, 9 KO’s, 0 Subs)
The casual fan will have a tough time placing John Makdessi. The Canadian born karate master has been a UFC fighter since 2010 but has not been as active as some of the more ambitious fighters looking to make their mark and ascend in the rankings. Makdessi is a kickboxer first and foremost, with a devastating arsenal of spinning back-fists, punching power and kicking prowess. But he is completely vulnerable to mat masters like Cerrone who can take a punch, dish it out and get the fight to the ground where he routinely dominates.

The 6’1” Cerrone will have no problem keeping the 5’8” Makdessi at bay. The beauty of a martial artist like the Cowboy is that he has tremendous staying power with a height and reach advantage that make him virtually impossible to contain for all but a few of the very best lightweights in the world. Makdessi is not one of those guys and he will find out just how long a climb it is to the top when he faces the incomparable Donald Cerrone at UFC 187. Let's take Cerrone with our UFC picks.

UFC Pick: Cerrone -570 at

Click Here to Find Out the 60 Ways You Can Bet on the UFC 187 

Travis Browne (17-2, 13 KO's, 2 Subs) vs. Andrei Arlovski (23-10, 16 KO's, 3 Subs)
The maniacal, vampirish Andrei Arlovski of yore has been, to a large degree, defanged. Now at age 36 he is no longer a contender to the heavyweight crown but a useful oddity that can conjure interest and produce ratings. His last fight in September against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva kept him relevant as he stunned the packed crowd with a first-round KO over the big man and rewarded his backers who got paid to the tune of +385 in UFC odds.

Travis Browne may have gotten stunned himself by Antonio Silva back in 2012 but he's a big dog who can sometime become an observer rather than a fighter when the pace slows. He now knows the heavyweights at this level are too strong and too fast to take a round off...or even a scant few seconds. Browne has won four of his last five with the only blemish being a unanimous decision loss to Fabricio Werdum. Perhaps when Arlovski was in his prime I would back the Pit Bull but Saturday night I believe Browne will stake his claim as a title contender and use his superior height and reach to put Arlovski to sleep somewhere in the second round.

UFC Pick: Travis Browne -450 at GTBets


Joseph Benavidez (21-4, 6 KO's, 9 Subs) vs. John Moraga (16-3, 2 KO's, 8 Subs)
As far as flyweights go John Moraga may be the most highly skilled submission artist of the lot. Yes, that's saying a lot but Moraga's mat game has evolved and he even took the uber talented Demetrious Johnson to five action packed rounds before succumbing to a dose of his own medicine (armbar) in July of 2013.

Joseph Benavidez wants a third crack at the champion Johnson but he will have a tiger by the tail in the UFC odds underdog Moraga. I look for this fight to go the full five rounds with Moraga stunning the MMA world by controlling Benavidez on the mat and pressuring him throughout. This one will be a shocker!

UFC Pick: John Moraga +440 at GTBets

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