Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

UFC 93 is just about here and presents possibly the most challenging set of fights to try and wager on. We need to come up with some winners especially with the three big fights on the card. Cage Writer was terrible at both the Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale and UFC 92 going 0-6. The premium picks are 18-3 and +1545 dating back to September (UFC 88, UFN 15, UFC 89, UFC 90, UFC 91, TUF 8, UFC 92). Dave Farra from RawVegas helps Cage Writer break down the top of the card. 

Official plays are in BOLD

RICH FRANKLIN (Even) v. DAN HENDERSON (-130) - LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT

This is a rough fight to call. Chances are that it goes the distance unless one of fighters lands a huge bomb. The fight is decided by who gets to fight to their strength. If Hendo gets it to the ground, he'll nullify Franklin's striking. Henderson is asking for a decision loss if he allows Franklin to box for the majority of the fight. I see Henderson getting it to the ground often enough to eek out a win. PICK: HENDERSON -130

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 was a huge favorite at -800 for his UFC 90 fight. The plus number is what you get if you a bet a dog for $100 

MARK COLEMAN (+325) v. MAURICIO "SHOGUN" RUA (-450) - LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT

This could be a rough night for Coleman. Rua and his camp are still irate about the way Coleman and the rest of Hammer House behaved in the ring and the lockerroom after the last fight in Pride where Rua suffered a fluke broken arm. A focused, angry, in-shape Rua is one of the best fighters in the world. I see this as the beginning of run that gets Rua back in the pound-for-pound discussion. Coleman's only shot to win is ground and pound but he's already said that he respects Rua's jiu-jitsu too much to risk it. "The Hammer" wants to throw with Rua. That's bad news for the 44-year-old. Hopefully, his face doesn't resemble his look after the loss to Fedor Emelianenko back in 2006. PICK: RUA -450

ALAN BELCHER (+170) v. DENIS KANG (-200) - MIDDLEWEIGHT

Kang is an import from Japan where he fought solid competition. He ripped off a 23-fight unbeaten streak from 2003 to 2006. Recently, he lost 2-of-4 fights and his most impressive wins in Pride came against smallish middleweights in Akihiro Gono and Ninja Rua. A focused Belcher is dangerous if he keeps the fight on the feet. Kang has been known to slug it out. Belcher really tore up Sean Salmon, Kalib Starnes and Jorge Santiago, who is now the Sengoku middleweight champ. Kang should win but I like the value on Belcher. PICK: BELCHER +170 

JEREMY HORN (+240) v. ROUSIMAR PALHARES (-320) - MIDDLEWEIGHT

Horn is a gamer but is he on a world class submission level? He came up short last time out against a great jiu-jitsu fighter in Dean Lister. Palhares appears to be on another level even from Lister. The Brazilian does need to improve his takedown skills. He had all sorts of trouble getting Dan Henderson to the floor. It shouldn't be as difficult with "Gumby." Keep an eye Palhares' kicks, they're an underrated part of his game. He'll catch Horn at some point. PICK: PALHARES -320

MARCUS DAVIS (+110) v. CHRIS LYTLE (-140) - WELTERWEIGHT

This is a big fight for Davis. He must win it to get another shot at a top-10 170-pounder. Otherwise, he may be relegated to Lytle's current role of gatekeeper. Lytle is a good striker but he too often throws caution to the wind. Being a former professional boxer at a higher level than Lytle, Davis is better defensively and shouldn't be as easy to catch with clean shots. It'll be interesting to see if this one goes to the ground. Lytle can be slick on the ground. This fight's placement on the PPV card is a compliment to both of these guys. It seems like a slam dunk that the fight is in the running for some sort of post-fight bonus award. PICK: DAVIS +110

IVAN SERATI (+140) v. TOMASZ DRWAL (-170) - LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT 

These are the fights that are impossible to bet on. You basically have two fighters making their UFC debut. Drwal did fight Thiago Silva at UFC 75 but that was over 16 months ago and Silva was way out of his league. Watching some of Drwal's fights, he appears to be comfortable on the feet and on the mat. Serati went into freak out mode in a few of his fights, giving up his back quickly. I'll roll with Drwal, who also looks like a more natural light heavyweight. Serati may have some gas tank issues if this one reaches the second or third round. PICK: DRWAL -170

TOM EGAN (+150) v. JOHN HATHAWAY (-180) - WELTERWEIGHT

This is another tough one. Egan, 20, only has six professional fights. Is he being thrown to the wolves too early simply because of his Irish heritage? He appears to be more a ground guy than Hathaway. Total crap shoot here. PICK: HATHAWAY -180

NATE MOHR (+170) v. DENIS SIVER (-200) - LIGHTWEIGHT

Nothing motivates like a potential pink slip. Both of these guys may not see the UFC for a while with a bad loss here. Mohr is coming off a year layoff for knee surgery. His leg was shredded by Manny Gamburyan at UFC 79. I don't love what I've seen from Mohr but I think the price is too heavy on Siver. At least he has his pre-med degree to lean on if he loses. PICK: MOHR +170

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