Undercard Fights With Betting Value For Your UFC 196 Picks

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, March 3, 2016 8:38 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 3, 2016 8:38 PM UTC

UFC 196 features two epic main events but let’s not forget that there are other bouts that are worthy of our scrutiny. Let’s review the UFC odds and take a look at those matchups that can fatten our bankroll this Saturday night.

Gian Villante (14-6, 9 KO’s, 2 Subs) vs. Ilir Latifi (11-4, 5 KO’s, 4 Subs)
This should be a bird’s eye view of what it takes to crack the top 10 in the light heavyweight division. While a win by either man is not an immediate ticket into that elite group we do know that Villante is ranked 13th in the world by the UFC and if the Swedish Sledgehammer Latifi can walk out of this one with a victory there will be stiffer competition in his future.

The bottom line in this fight is you have the height (6’3” vs. 5’10”), reach advantage and counterpunching skills of Gian Villante versus the low center of gravity wrestler with fists of dynamite in ilir Latifi. But here’s the thing. Villante can knock’em out as well and has been doing so with regularity. Villante also has a wrestling background so he should be able to compete with Latifi if the fight hits the mat. I wouldn’t go to the refrigerator during this match because it could be over before you know it. I am going to include Gian Villante in my UFC picks because he can pretty much do everything that his opponent can do but it is he who enjoys a strategic physical advantage.

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UFC Pick: Gian Villante +170 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

Check our Diaz vs. McGregor Preview 

Tom Lawlor (10-5, 4 KO’s, 4 Subs) vs. Corey Anderson (7-1, 3 KO’s, 4 Subs)
Tom Lawlor, after beginning his MMA career as a light heavyweight, toiled in the middleweight ranks for four years compiling a 4-4 record including a submission loss to former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman. However, last July Lawlor decided to beef up and get back in the cage with his 205 pound peers. The result was a resounding success with a second-round KO over heavy-hitter Gian Villante and a Performance of the Night bonus to boot.

Corey Anderson comes into this one as the UFC odds favorite but ironically the only blemish on his otherwise pristine record was a TKO loss to the man Tom Lawlor last defeated – Gian Villante. Anderson has won three of his last four bouts all by unanimous decision which may be a telling sign. Aside from his TUF 19 Finale win over Matt Van Buren, all of his knockouts and submissions have come outside of the UFC. I’m thinking big fish-small pond kind of a guy against an opponent like Lawlor who is no joke. Let’s side with another underdog in this one.

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UFC Pick: Tom Lawlor +245
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


Diego Sanchez (25-8, 6 KO’s, 9 Subs) vs. Jim Miller (25-7, 3 KO’s, 13 Subs)
Usually the early preliminary bouts are replete with little known fighters trying to make a name in the big tent known as the UFC. However, here we have two recognizable veterans who will be battling early which is a treat for those who recall the halcyon days of The Nightmare and his universally respected opponent Jim Miller. It’s amazing that Miller is just 32 while Sanchez is 34 with all the miles on those MMA treads. These are not the same fighters from several years ago but they are certainly formidable enough to play the role of gatekeepers in the lightweight division.

The long and short here is that both men have lost three of their last four and Sanchez is notorious for his fights ending in decisions. In fact, despite his 15 finishes in 25 victories he has not earned a knockout or submission since June of 2008! I prefer Miller’s wrestling skills over a black belt BJJ artist like Diaz who cannot seem to use those tools to gain a tapout. This should be a chess match but if there is a finish, it will be Miller stopping Diaz.

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UFC Pick: Jim Miller -135
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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