Rumble worth the UFC fantasy risk
May 23, 2015 3:01 AM
by Alan Berg
And New UFC Light Heavyweight Champion of the World…
It is a guarantee (outside of a draw, yikes) Saturday at MGM Grand that the UFC crowns a new champion. Either Anthony “Rumble” Johnson or Daniel Cormier will wear the title stripped from former Pound for Pound No.1 Jon Jones.
Jones was stripped due to legal troubles from a hit and run accident last month. Saturday’s card also features the UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman defending his title against Vitor Belfort.
Let’s discuss the main event first. Rumble earned a title shot against Jon Jones for his one round demolition of No.1 ranked light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson. Gustafsson you might remember gave Jon Jones arguably his toughest fight in a close decision loss back in 2013.
Rumble was a small underdog (+150 to +180) against Jones and opened up as a small underdog to Cormier (+110 to +135). It’s interesting that the bookmakers didn’t open this closer to a pick’em based on Johnson’s line vs. Jones. At press time, Johnson was starting to become the favorite as high as -120 a few books.
Matchup wise this is a simple fight. Cormier takes Rumble down and grinds out a decision or submission victory or Rumble catches Cormier like he smashed Gustafsson. I really like Rumble’s chances in this fight because of his heavy hands and that Cormier’s best skill for getting him to the ground is grappling. I think Rumble will get a lot of respect from Cormier with the KO of Gustafsson and it will lead to his undoing.
On to the picks for Kountermove.com:
Chris Weidman ($5,300) – I want so badly to believe that Belfort has one solid KO left in the tank because he is a must watch fighter. Thus far Weidman has been underwhelming for me with all the hype. Not his fault with the two Anderson Silva fights but I would like to see him dominate this fight. Hopefully he feels the same. Projection: SUB5.
Diamonds in the Rough
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson ($4,800) – While this is a pickem fight, the possible points alone for another Rumble type knockout make Johnson a play worth making. Look for the KO from the new UFC champ. Projection: RD2 KO.
John Moraga ($4,300) – Much like the betting line (4/1 to 5/1) Moraga has a low salary. Joseph Benavidez is the real deal at Flyweight. Benavidez has four losses but only two fighters have beat him (Dominick Cruz and UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson). Moraga is the same story his only losses are to Johnson and John Dodson. With so much talent it’s worth taking a shot on Moraga in the hopes he catches Benavidez on an off night. Projection: Split decision.
Alan Berg has 10-plus years of experience at Las Vegas sports books and prior to moving to Las Vegas covered sports for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Follow him on Twitter: @vegasberserker Contact him at ABerg@GamingToday.com.