They couldn't say it for the last few years but this is where most of the WEC's welterweights, middleweights and light heavyweights wanted to be. The UFC is the biggest fight promotion in the world and those guys fighting in the WEC knew that bigger money and fame was potentially waiting with a move to Zuffa's high rent district. WEC welterweight champ Carlos Condit leads the charge into the UFC as he headlines Ultimate Fight Night 18 against Martin Kampmann Wednesday in Nashville.
Watch Cage Writer break down the top fights at UFN 18 with Dave Farra from RawVegas.tv:
Betting on MMA is simple to understand. A minus number 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. Anything over -300 is a huge favorite. The plus number is what you get if you bet $100.
UFN 18 odds (Venetian Resort Hotel Casino):
Martin Kampmann (-115) v. Carlos Condit (-115) - Welterweight
Condit's been dying to test himself against the best. Kampmann (14-2, 5-1 UFC) may not be a huge name yet at welterweight but he's got the potential to be. It's his second fight down at 170 so stamina shouldn't be an issue. The Dutchman is very dangerous on the feet and has a big chin so Condit (22-4) doesn't want to trade leather for very long. He should try to get this one to ground and use his length. Kampmann (Xtreme Couture) and Condit (Arizona Combat Sports) come from two of the best training camps in the country but I have a little more faith in Xtreme Couture. This is a huge fight for Condit. The 24-year-old would love to be mentioned in the same breath as top five welterweights like Georges St. Pierre, Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves. We'll find out here if he has a complete game.
PICK: KAMPMANN -115
Carmelo Marrero (+325) v. Ryan Bader (-450) - Light Heavyweight
There are mixed reviews on Bader. Some think the former Arizona State wrestler has the upside to be a player in the loaded light heavyweight division. Others think in a division this deep, a one-trick pony may not thrive. The issue at hand is Bader's standup. How quickly can he add some dangerous elements on the feet to augment his takedown and ground and pound skills? He did score a knockout with some big rights in the The Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale against Vinny Magalhaes. This is a nice test against another former college wrestler in the former Rider Bronc Marrero (10-2, 1-2 UFC). Marrero, who grappled in college at 285 pounds, isn't dynamic standing and should be custom-made for Bader. This is a huge price though for a fighter just kicking off his UFC career. Marrero is no pushover having logged time with guys like Gabriel Gonzaga, Cheick Kongo and Wilson Gouveia.
PICK: BADER -450
Rafael Dos Anjos (+325) v. Tyson Griffin (-450) - Lightweight
Griffin should be motivated to crush Dos Anjos. After losing a tight decision to Sean Sherk, Dos Anjos is a step down from a status standpoint. Dos Anjos showed some good jiu-jitsu skills against Jeremy Stephens but then got sloppy and was KO'd. Griffin is one of the top 10 lightweights in the world and I'm sure UFC would like to see him score a dominant victory before they put him back in with a high profile opponent this summer.
PICK: GRIFFIN -450
Junie Browning (+130) v. Cole Miller (-160) - Lightweight
Jeremy Stephens (+130) v. Gleison Tibau (-160) - Lightweight
Matt Horwich (+150) v. Ricardo Almeida (-180) - Middleweight
Jesse Sanders (+240) v. Brock Larson (-320) - Welterweight
Nick Catone (-115) v. Tim Credeur (-115) - Welterweight
Nissen Osterneck (+140) v. Jorge Rivera (-170) - Middleweight
Joe Vedepo (+130) v. Rob Kimmons (-160) - Middleweight
Tim McKenzie (+130) v. Aaron Simpson (-160) - Middleweight
Steve Steinbess (+160) v. Ryan Jensen (-200) - Middleweight