UFC 172 Picks: Main Card Preview

Swinging Johnson

Monday, March 3, 2014 8:59 PM GMT

Monday, Mar. 3, 2014 8:59 PM GMT

Though the Light Heavyweight crown will be up for grabs we will analyze a few of the other matches on the main card as we attempt to cash in our UFC picks at UFC 172.

Teixeira vs. Jones

This is for all the marbles in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division and if you would like our take on how this contest will play out you can read all about it right here.

Share your thoughts at our UFC Betting Forum!

[gameodds]26/246313/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Phil Davis (12-1, 2 KO’s, 4 Subs) vs. Anthony Johnson (16-4, 11 KO’s, 0 Subs)

I recall vividly when the UFC’s light heavyweight division boasted three up-and-comers that appeared poised to dominate the division for years to come. Phil Davis, Ryan Bader and of course the current light heavyweight king Jon Jones were on a collision course towards the ultimate prize. Jones has emerged as the cream of that talented crop while Bader stumbled as the competition grew stronger. But Phil Davis has basically vacillated between breathtaking and pedestrian performances. The former four-time Division 1 All-American product out of Penn State still has only one loss on his record but some of his bouts, including the loss to Rashad Evans, have been snooze jobs. Yet, he has made his way to the upper echelon of the weight class by doing enough to notch one win after another including his most recent controversial decision over Lyoto Machida.

Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is back in the UFC after an involuntary two-year sabbatical when he lost to Vitor Belfort at UFC 142.  Since then he has reeled off six consecutive victories with four of those six coming by way of knockout. But this is the UFC and Johnson has demonstrated that though he can handle the fighters on the periphery, success has eluded him when he challenges the big dogs like Josh Koscheck and Vitor Belfort. Though Johnson has a wrestling background and was the 2004 JUCO National champion at 174 pounds, he has developed a striking game that has allowed him to ply his trade for all these years in MMA.

Once again we must consider pedigree as a way of determining which fighter is the best choice to include in our UFC picks. I understand that Davis’s unanimous decision victory over Machida did not sit well with everyone including UFC chief Dana White but whether or not you believe he won is almost immaterial. The fact is that he fought a world class and top contender to a virtual draw. He was able to stifle Machida’s attack and do enough damage to convince the judges to give him the nod. Anthony Johnson may possess knockout power but he is neither as skilled nor is his arsenal of weapons as diverse as The Dragon’s. 

This looks like a made-to-order match for Davis to add a KO or a submission to his resume. Johnson is simply cannon fodder for Mr. Wonderful to become relevant again at 205.

UFC Picks: Phil Davis as a leg in your parlay at Bet365.com.

Joseph Benavidez 19-4, 6 KO’s, 8 Subs) vs. Tim Elliot (10-4, 3 KO’s, 4 Subs)

Joseph Benavidez has contracted Urijah Faber Syndrome. In other words, he can beat anyone on the planet except the reigning champ. Benavidez’s four losses have been to current UFC Flyweight king Demetrious Johnson (twice) and defending Bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz (twice). But unlike Benavidez, at least Faber did wear a belt at one time (WEC Bantamweight Champion). No such luck for Joe B-Wan Kenobi.

This fight is much like the Davis/Johnson fight because it serves a sacrificial lamb on a platter to pretty much pad a resume.  Elliot has nowhere near the chops of a Joseph Benavidez and this will be a walk in the park compared to the wars he has had with other more deserving opponents. As we review our UFC odds it appears there is no line on this fight but ultimately Benavidez will be installed as a prohibitive favorite. Therefore, add him to one of your parlays in your UFC picks and watch Benavidez roll to an early knockout.

UFC Picks: Benavidez at Bet365.com.

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