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Steve Cofield

UFC 89 picks, Vegas style

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

The big event in Birmingham, England is just days away so here goes with another set of plays for UFC 89. Yahoo! Sports is working with RawVegas with Cofield and Dave Farra go head-to-head to break down the top fights on the card.

The blog is in the midst of a good run with the picks recently going 7-0 and at UFC 88 and UFN 15 for a profit of +790.

UFC 89 odds (Venetian Sports Book) Official plays are in BOLD:

Sports betting on MMA is simple to understand. When you see a minus number that is the amount you need to bet to win $100. The favorite is always a minus number. So the bigger the minus number, the bigger favorite that fighter is. Anything over -300 is a huge favorite. Anderson Silva is an unreal favorite at -800 for his UFC 90 fight. The plus number is what you get if you a bet a dog for $100.

MICHAEL BISPING (-200) v. CHRIS LEBEN - MIDDLEWEIGHT

It may not have the star power of a Chuck Liddell or Georges St. Pierre, but this is a damn good main event. A dominant victory by Bisping can start the talks of an Anderson Silva challenge. But it won't be easy, Silva is the only guy to really dominate Leben during his career. 'The Crippler' is always coming forward and throws heavy hands. I don't see Bisping submitting Leben on the ground so this one will be won on the feet. It's a battle between the clean punching of Bisping versus the heavier shots of Leben. I say Leben wins with the judges or takes out Bisping with a bigshot. There's too much dog value here to pass up. PICK: LEBEN +170

BRANDON VERA (-200) v. KEITH JARDINE - LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT

I go back and forth on this one each day. Jardine's coach Greg Jackson makes me nervous about taking Vera. Both fighters have had issues with fight approach at times but Jackson could give 'The Dean of Mean' the edge. Vera does have the more complete game since he can go to the ground and win the fight there if necessary. This is also great litmus test for Vera at 205 lbs. Maybe his athleticism is more effective against the big boys at heavyweight. It's a great fight on paper. I think I'm just going to enjoy it and stay away from a wager. The price on this should go down as fight night approaches. PICK: VERA -200

SOKOUDJOU (-180) v. LUIZ CANE - LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT

The UFC is often the great equalizer for international fighters. Sokoudjou appears to be a guy who benefitted from preferential matchmaking in Pride. His lack of a complete game is now coming to the surface in the more balanced UFC. The judo master does have solid power but his stand-up game is a bit stiff. And we've know he struggles badly on the ground. Cane's got a win over Jason Lambert and a DQ loss to James Irvin in the UFC. If this one goes to the ground, Sokoudjou could be in trouble again. PICK: CANE +150

CHRIS LYTLE (-330) v. PAUL TAYLOR - WELTERWEIGHT

Lytle finally gets an easier fight in the UFC. He is 4-7 with the organization with losses coming to Matt Hughes, Josh Koscheck, Thiago Alves, Matt Serra, Joe Riggs, Karo Parisyan and Robbie Lawler. He could probably be a 170 champ with another organization. I don't know that we can say the same thing about Paul Taylor. He'll be outclassed here. If this line comes down, it's worth a play around -250. PICK: LYTLE -330

MARCUS DAVIS (-130) v. PAUL KELLY - WELTERWEIGHT

Davis may be the most improved fighter we've seen over the last four years in MMA. He looked like a total non-prospect as a cast member on The Ultimate Fighter 2. Following the show, he ripped off 11 straight wins before losing last time out to Mike Swick. Davis never let his hands go in that fight because of an injured shoulder. The wing is mended and I expect Davis to come out swinging. He also seems to be at home fighting in the U.K. (4-0 UFC). Kelly, 23, is a good prospect but this is too much too soon. PICK: DAVIS -130

AKIHIRO GONO (-300) v. DAN HARDY - WELTERWEIGHT

We're hearing a lot of hype about Hardy out of the U.K. This looks like another case of a Brit being outclassed. Gono has fought and beat guys of all levels and sizes. He's been in there with the likes of Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, Shogun Rua, Matt Hughes and Denis Kang. Gono also has a win over recent Dream 6 winner Gegard Mousasi. Young Tamdan McCrory was hanging with Gono last November and then the Japanese fighter's class broke through with a dynamite armbar. If you read The Sun on a regular basis fire on the underdog, otherwise I'm going with the vet. PICK: GONO -300

SHANE CARWIN (-400) v. NEIL WAIN - HEAVYWEIGHT

Carwin is the unknown Brock Lesnar. He was a great college wrestler but unlike Lesnar, was a legit NFL prospect as a lineman. Carwin is massive at 6-foot-4, 265 lbs. He destroyed Christian Wellisch in his UFC debut. That makes it 9-0 with four knockouts and five submissions. Neil Wain is a blown-up light heavyweight at only 5-foot-10. Take a look at his fight against Dave Cieplinski. This one could look embarrassing from the get-go. I hate firing on numbers this big. Look to recent heavy favorite losses by Drew McFedries and Manny Gamburyan. It's still a risk. PICK: CARWIN -400

Jess Liaudin +120 v. David Bielkheden -150

Terry Etim -115 v. Sam Stout -115

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