UFC 203 Predictions - Betting The Best Value Across The Board

STIPE MIOCIC VS ALISTAIR OVEREEM FACING IN FRONT OF EACH OTHER BEFORE FIGHT

Saturday, September 10, 2016 8:41 PM GMT

The spotlight is shining brightly on two fights at UFC 203. Stipe Miocic will make the first defense of his recently won UFC heavyweight title against Alistair Overeem in his backyard of Cleveland, OH and former WWE superstar CM Punk will make his highly anticipated mixed martial arts debut against Mickey Gall.

But who cares about hype if you are a betting man or woman? What you want to know is where the value is at. Well, UFC 203 is an interesting one.

 

CM Punk vs. Mickey Gall
Let’s start with CM Punk vs. Mickey Gall. In some circles, you can find Punk as much as a +375. Considering that he’s never had an MMA fight and the video that we have seen of Punk’s training has many of us thinking he’s still a novice, the line makes sense (although a +750 also makes sense, but I digress). However, you never really know what’s going to happen out there. And that’s good enough reason to take a blind flier on Punk. Look, I don’t think he has much of a shot either and, from what I’ve seen of Gall, he’s not too shabby. But passing up on +375 odds with a guy nobody has seen him fight is just ridiculous to me. If you have the money to throw out there, go for it. I wouldn’t confidently dump the farm on Punk, but I’d certainly take my chances with a few dollars. Also, see what you can find on the prop side of things. Gall wants to make a statement and I definitely see this going under 2.5 rounds if he’s going to win. I don’t see Gall dragging this out and considering he’s 2-0 with 2 submission finishes, I like his chances of ending the fight early.

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Alistair Overeem vs Stipe Miocic
The heavyweight fight is intriguing because although Miocic is the favorite, his skill set is very similar to Overeem’s (+150). And with the wild randomness of championship fight endings this year, I take no issue in putting money down on Overeem. Although Miocic has a wrestling pedigree, he doesn’t really use it. This will be a mostly standup affair where kickboxing will take center stage. Miocic has been excellent during his five-year tenure in the UFC. He’s 9-2 with 7 knockouts. He’s one of the few men that have knocked out Mark Hunt and made wickedly quick work of both Fabricio Werdum and Andrei Arlovski in his last two fights. Stefan Struve has knocked him out before, but that was back in 2012. His other loss was to Junior dos Santos, who outpointed him in an excellent fight back in 2014.

As for Overeem, he’s been wildly unpredictable. The athletic gifts are certainly there, but his jaw has always been in question. However, he’s been on a roll as of late with four straight wins against Stefan Struve (KO), Roy Nelson (Decision), Junior dos Santos (KO) and Andrei Arlovsk (KO). His striking has always been a notch above most, as evidenced by his K-1 record. But when the 36-year-old does lose, it is inside of the distance.

 

Here’s a fun fact - Alistair Overeem hasn’t lost a decision since 2005 against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at Pride 29. Since then, he’s lost nine fights by submission or knockout. Obviously, you’ll have to see what kind of odds you can find for a Miocic knockout. If it’s plus anything, anywhere, take it. Overeem is capable of winning a decision, but losing one is highly unlikely. Especially when he’s facing a devastating striker with a high knockout percentage of his own. On the other hand, given the odds, there are worse things you can bet on aside from Overeem winning. When you look at their records, how they fared against Junior dos Santos, a devastating striker in his own right, could tip how this fight plays out. Overeem flattened JDS in the second round of their fight last December and looked great before then. Miocic wasn’t dominated by dos Santos, but he found himself swept up in a striking affair where the more fluid striker won the fight. With Overeem being the most accurate striker in UFC history, it will be interesting to see how Miocic deals with Overeem’s pinpoint accuracy and fluidity. Overeem is also slightly better defensively, as he doesn’t get hit as much as the new champ. However, the shots that land have the potential of putting him to sleep.

The real question will be what happens if this fight gets past round three. Miocic has only seen championship rounds on two occasions, against JDS and his fifth round KO of Mark Hunt. Overeem has never gone past 15 minutes. With a high volume striker, there are questions as to whether Overeem’s conditioning will fail him in the later rounds and cause his hands to drop, thus exposing that questionable chin. There are a lot of things to consider here but see what you can find on a Miocic or Overeem knockout. I don’t see this fight going the distance.

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Travis Browne vs Fabricio Werdum
As for the co-main event that pits Travis Browne against Fabricio Werdum, this is a fight I heavily favor Werdum. Granted, he was knocked out quickly against Miocic. However, before that, Werdum was close to being recognized as the greatest heavyweight in MMA history with victories over the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Cain Velasquez, Mark Hunt, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and others. He’s been a man on fire ever since returning to the UFC with much improved striking to accompany his magnificent ground game. He’s already defeated Browne once – by unanimous decision back in 2014 – and I don’t expect things to change this time around. With Browne at a +175, there isn’t enough incentive to go with a man who was just mauled by Cain Velasquez and has looked out of sync over the past couple of years. Not enough reason to ante up in favor of Werdum at -205 because, after all, they are heavyweights and one punch changes everything.  

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