(This story was originally published on Jan. 12, 2018 – before the Vitor Belfort vs. Uriah Hall co-headliner cancellation.)
MMAjunkie Radio co-host and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC Fight Night 124’s bouts. Today, we look at betting and fantasy options for the card.
UFC Fight Night 124 takes place today at Scottrade Center in St. Louis and is the promotion’s first trip to the city. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.
ALSO SEE:UFC Fight Night 124 main-card breakdown: Paige VanZant or Jessica-Rose Clark?UFC Fight Night 124 main-event breakdown: A reluctant pick with Dooho Choi vs. Jeremy StephensUFC Fight Night 124 co-main-event breakdown: Speed could determine Vitor Belfort vs. Uriah Hall
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Disclaimer: The following section is designed for entertainment purposes only. The unit sizes serve as a rough representation of the percentage of bankroll risked, as well as my confidence in said plays. If you intend on gambling, do so responsibly and legally at your own risk. All lines are drawn from 5Dimes.eu on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018.Dan’s plays
Playable parlay pieces (my most confident favorites):Matt Frevola (-235)Kyung Ho Kang (-345)
Summary: My recommended parlay pieces are typically my most confident picks (within a reasonable price range) that could serve as potential legs for whatever play you’re trying to put together.
For my first recommendation, I elected to go with Matt Frevola (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who faces Marco Polo Reyes (7-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC). Frevola, a young talent who was recently featured on Dana White’s Contender Series, will now get his shot on the big stage.
His opponent, Reyes, is no slouch standing. The Mexican boxer slips and rolls with punches like it’s second nature. That said, Reyes’ aggression has traditionally been his foil, leaving him open for counters on the regular.
Despite Frevola still having plenty of room for improvement with his own striking, he shows the will and well-rounded skill to contend with Reyes in exchanges. More importantly, Frevola, whose strong suit is on the canvas, shows the takedown savvy and aggression that I see posing problems for Reyes.
Betting on debutants can always be risky in practice, but I believe the dynamic of this matchup favors Frevola.
Secondly, I elected to go with Kyung Ho Kang (13-7 MMA, 2-1 UFC), who faces Guido Cannetti (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC).
Kyung Ho Kang
I was initially going to stay away from this fight due to its on-paper intangibles (Cannetti coming off of a USADA suspension and Kang returning from military service), but ended up thinking otherwise.
Even though the price of Kang has climbed this week, I still believe he may be one of the safer bets as far as possible parlay legs go. I feel like Cannetti is an underrated fighter – I picked him as a sizable ‘dog in his last outing. But he may run into rough weather here.
I believe Kang is the more well-rounded fighter, and should have a sizable advantage in wrestling exchanges and ground transitions. Cannetti has been training with Team Alpha Male, so I’m sure he is seeing his fair share of scrambling. I just believe the 38-year-old bantamweight may ultimately find himself a step behind on fight night.
Straight plays:Mads Burnell +170 (0.5 unit)
Summary: For my straight plays, I typically like to look for fighters, from underdogs to reasonable favorites, who I believe have a solid chance and price tag.
Since most of my more confident picks are well above the -200 range, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and play Mads Burnell (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC), who faces Mike Santiago (19-10 MMA, 0-1 UFC).
This fight is a tricky one to feel out, and I don’t blame you for not following me here. However, like many UFC debutants, I don’t believe we saw the best Burnell in his last outing (a short-notice fight against a tough stylistic matchup). Still, there is a lot to like about Burnell’s game.
There isn’t a ton of footage out there, but those who have seen Burnell work know that the accoladed grappler has worked a lot on his boxing in recent years. Comfortable inside the pocket, Burnell displays decent slips and rolls that may help fuel his counters against an aggressive Santiago.
That said, Santiago, the deserved favorite, will have a lot to offer from his southpaw stance. From crushing body kicks to deceptively dangerous uppercuts and shovel-hooks, the Chicago native comes strong with everything that he throws.
Coming from a wrestling base, Santiago will use his takedowns and pressure to help punctuate his presence. However, I’m not so sure he will be able to use his grappling as freely given the opposition at hand.
An accomplished submission grappler on the European scene, Burnell has spent the last few years crosstraining at gyms like Tristar and Xtreme Couture. Making most of his money off the front-headlock position, I suspect that Burnell will fair well when faced with a wrestler who is wild at heart. It’s not a big shot, but I’m going to side with Burnell to get it done.
Props worth looking at:Mike Santiago/Mads Burnell “doesn’t go the distance”: -135 (1.5 units)Matt Frevola “by submission”: +675 (.25 unit)
Summary: My first prop play admittedly serves as a hedge.
As stated in my lone straight play above, I’m taking a shot on an unpopular dog in Burnell. To help ease that exposure, I decided to play the angle of “doesn’t go the distance,” since I ultimately believe that to be the safest bet when it comes to playing this matchup.
Both men have a do or die sensibility to their games, and they don’t see the scorecards often. For the price of -135, this is a prop I ended up leaning pretty heavy on.
Secondly, I decided to play Frevola “by submission.”
For the reasons stated above, Frevola is one of my more confident picks on the card due to the dynamic of his matchup. And given that Frevola’s path to victory involves taking his opponent down and looking for a submission, I feel that +675 is a price that is just asking to be played, as I see that being the most probable outcome of this fight.
Fights to avoid (live dogs, high intangibles, etc.):James Krause vs. Alex WhiteJessica Eye vs. Kalindra FariaDanielle Taylor vs. JJ Aldrich12