UFC returns to Fox for the 10th time this Saturday night, with a decent looking card taking shape in Chicago, Illinois.
I’m taking over the writing duty here at BetOnMMA.org for the time being, so I’m going to be keeping track of my prediction record for the season. At the UFC Fight Night 35 card the other night I went 3 for 3, taking Rockhold, the over for the Tavares vs Larkin and Dillishaw over Mike Easton.
2014 Record: 3-0 for +3 units.
Now let’s get into the picks for this Saturdays card:
Josh Thomson vs Benson Henderson
Benson Henerson is back in the octagon after losing his Lightweight Championship to Anthony Pettis back at UFC 164 at the end of August. Benson submitted to a Pettis armbar in the first round. Pettis is still the only fighter to defeat Henderson since early in 2007 and I expect it to stay that way. Henderson is a big lightweight that likes to wear down his opponents with his athleticism. He actually never finished a fight while in the UFC, winning his first 7 UFC fights by decision (2 split) before losing to Pettis.
Thomson, also has most of his fights go the distance, and he hasn’t been at his best recently. He did defeat Nate Diaz by TKO in his last fight, but he lost to Gilbert Melendez in the fight before that via split decision. It may be useful to note that Melendez was the most recent win Henderson has, also by split decision. The Melendez loss should finish the rivalry between Melendez and Thomson, with Melendez winning their most recent two fights after losing the first.
I think Henderson will win this fight, but when you can’t finish it becomes very risky to bet on a fighter. I prefer the over in this fight even though it is a 5 rounder. Henderson was champion for a long time so he is used to the five round battles and Thomson fought to decision in his 4 fights that went 5 rounds (3 against Melendez).
Take over 4.5 -195 (5Dimes)
Gabriel Gonzaga vs Stipe Miocic
Both of these fighters are starting to make a name for themselves and are in line to become contenders in the heavyweight division. Gonzaga for one has won 5 of this last 6 fights, with the only loss coming to Travis Browne, who just defeated Josh Barnett and has really made a name for himself in the division this year. Gonzaga’s wins aren’t quite as impressive, but his last 2 beat downs of Dave Herman (17 seconds) and Shawn Jordan (1:33) have people taking notice once again. Miocic is a step up from the 5 wins he has in the past couple years, but a big win over Stipe and Gabriel will once again be right in the thick of the heavyweight division like he was 4 years ago.
Miocic won a big unanimous decision win over Roy Nelson back in June of 2013. This was a fight than he was a fairly big underdog in, but he used his athleticism to stay one punch ahead of Roy. In his fight before that Stipe lost for the first time in his professional career to Stefan Struve. If the Miocic who fought Nelson comes out then he should have a good chance, but I’m not a big fan of Struve, so a loss to him doesn’t give me a ton of confidence for Miocic.
Miocic is a more than 2 to 1 favourite in this one as well, which leads me to want to stay away from him. Gonzaga always has a fighting chance and he has been destroying guys of late. You can’t fault him for losing to Travis Browne who has dominated the division this year. I like Gonzaga in this one as a dog.
Take Gabriel Gonzaga +200 (5Dimes)