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Steve Cofield

UFC 94 picks, Vegas style

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

The UFC keeps bringing the big events. After topping one million pay-per-view buys at UFC 91 & 92, here comes Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn. This one may shatter all records. The betting price on GSP has risen from -170 to -180. Will Penn underdog money come rushing in or has the "Primetime" show convinced bettors that he won't be able to keep pace for five rounds? Aside from the glamour fight, the card is stacked with good scraps.

We're coming off a nice showing this weekend at the Affliction 2 card going 2-0 and +220. Seven Affliction fights were available for wagering in Las Vegas. The favorites went 6-1. Cage Writer did nail the only underdog that came in, Vitor Belfort over Matt Lindland at +120. We also hit with Renato Sobral's easy submission victory over Thierry Rameau Sokoudjou. Cage Writer is in the midst of 22-3 run with our suggested plays, pulling down +1975 dating back to September (UFC 88, UFN 15, UFC 89, UFC 90, UFC 91, TUF 8, UFC 92, UFC 93, Affliction 2).The key to making money on the fights is locating a few strong plays and showing the discipline to pick your best spots.

Dave Farra from RawVegas.tv helps Cage Writer breakdown the top of the card. The rest of the fight selections follow.

UFC 94 UPDATED ODDS (Venetian Resort Hotel Casino):

Cage Writer's official plays in BOLD

B.J. PENN (+150) v. GEORGES ST. PIERRE (-180) - WELTERWEIGHT
This is a helluva fight and it has a great chance of going the distance. It's another fight where you have to decide who dictates the pace. If GSP uses his wrestling, he'll probably get Penn down enough times to get a decision and bruise him up on the ground. If GSP gets brave and wants to stand for much of the fight, Penn has the advantage. Penn really shredded GSP on the feet in their first fight in the first round. The one downside with Penn, as always is that question of stamina, Can he sustain first round pace in the championship rounds, the fourth and fifth? There's too much value to pass up here on Penn.
PICK: PENN +150

THIAGO SILVA (+180) v. LYOTO MACHIDA (-220) - LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
This is a big fight for Machida (13-0, 5-0 UFC). He needs a dominant victory so that the UFC can really fire up fans if he's given the next shot at UFC light heavyweight champ Rashad Evans. He can do it as long as he stays off the ground. If Silva (13-0, 4-0 UFC) dedicates himself to getting the fight where he need to, has the chance to pull off the upset. This is another value spot. Silva's submission game is excellent and he can be devastating with ground and pound.
PICK: SILVA +180

JON JONES (+150) v. STEPHAN BONNAR (-180) - LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Jones, 21, appears to be a helluva prospect but this is a big step up for a guy who only started fighting professionally last April. If Jones (7-0, 1-0 UFC) sticks to his wrestling, scores some takedowns and slows down the pace of the fight, he's got a shot. If he stands with Bonnar (11-4, 5-3 UFC), that's trouble. Bonnar has been off for 15 months rehabbing a knee injury but it's given him a chance to get his life together and now he's working with the best group of trainers he's ever worked with. This begin Bonnar's climb back up the contender ladder.
PICK: BONNAR -180

DONG HYUN KIM (+180) v. KARO PARISYAN (-220) - WELTERWEIGHT
Will we see the 2005 version of Parisyan or what we saw through much of 2008? Karo has battled lots of injuries and his personal life always seems to be wreaking havoc on his fighting life. This is a great battle of judo practitioners and the price may be too high on Parisyan with some of the question marks.
PICK: KIM +180

CLAY GUIDA (-115) v. NATE DIAZ (-115) - LIGHTWEIGHT
What a style matchup! Guida goes 100 MPH and will probably take Diaz whenever he wants. But once there, will Guida stay busy enough and avoid that critical lapse where he gets caught by one of Diaz's wacky submissions? Guida can do it and win the fight on points. This has Fight of the Night written all over it.
PICK: GUIDA -115

NON-TELEVISED UNDERCARD

JON FITCH (-450) v. AKIHIRO GONO (+325) - WELTERWEIGHT
Fitch is a beast and will probably push the pace to hard for Gono to stay in the fight. Gono is a tough SOB, so it won't be easy. The guy has been in there against much bigger fighters like Gegard Mousasi, Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua. Fitch really worked on his striking since the GSP loss at UFC 87. He certainly can't afford a loss with all the nonsense that went down with his contract back in November.
PICK: FITCH -450

JAKE O'BRIEN (-180) v. CHRISTIAN WELLISCH (+150) - LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
"Irish" Jake is back and this should make for an interesting battle against Wellisch, who is a very striker. The fight comes down to one major factor, how will Wellisch defend the takedown against the former Purdue wrestler? This is a huge fight for O'Brien, who has lost two straight, and has already been booted from the UFC once before.
PICK: O'BRIEN -180

CHRIS WILSON (-300) v. JOHN HOWARD (-200) - WELTERWEIGHT
Wilson is going to make some noise at 170 beyond just being a card-filler. He's gigantic for the weight with a pretty solid striking game. He gave Fitch a real battle in his UFC debut and has wins over Rory Markham, Gilber Melendez and Jay Hieron. Wilson should win but laying this price is too much.
PICK: WILSON -300

MANNY GAMBURYAN (-115) v. THIAGO TAVARES (-115) - LIGHTWEIGHT
This has the same potential as the Diaz-Guida fight. Gamburyan wants to get it down but Tavares is a very good on the ground. On the feet, Tavares is a little reckless but more dangerous than Gamburyan. Manny is still a bit of mystery with the injuries and his awful defense in the shocking loss to Rob Emerson at UFC 87 is worrisome.
PICK: GAMBURYAN -115

MATT ARROYO (-180) v. DAN CRAMER (+150) - WELTERWEIGHT
Arroyo was a highly regarded prospect before he lost to Matt Brown last June. He suffered a fluke ankle break in that fight and couldn't hold off Brown. He's back and Cramer is tailor-made for Arroyo's submission game. Cramer can wrestle but he lacks the experience to stay out of trouble.
PICK: ARROYO -180

Join CageWriter on Saturday night. Maggie Hendricks will host a live chat throughout the PPV portion of UFC 94. Cofield will be cageside with updates on all 10 fights. And don't miss the only post-fight wrap-up show from the MGM starting at 10 p.m. PT/1 a.m. ET

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