Salty Corner MMA: Episode List

Conor and Floyd, can’t you see? Sometimes your words just hypnotize me, and I just love your flashy ways, guess that’s why they broke, and you’re so paid

Like the masses staring up at the sky with their fat, stupid, mouths agape, cereal boxes with holes poked in them, cardboard sunglasses, and other mensa members looking directly into the eclipse. We have been hypnotized.

Sparing footage, 8 ounce gloves, 49-0, timing vs speed vs defense, little boy, juicehead monkeys, and millions and millions of dollars have clouded our judgement and ability to think rationally. I’m not above it. I’m sitting at my desk right now with a framed bet slip from the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook by my computer. Placed on April 19th, prior to the fight’s announcement mind you; a hundred dollar bet on the 0-0 boxer to beat the 49-0 undefeated veteran.

I can’t explain it. Why are we having this fight? It doesn’t rationally make sense. The fight itself seemed like a talking heads dream, the dog days of summer were approaching with little to no sports talk to be had. Just whispers of “what ifs” surrounding the boxing and mixed martial arts worlds. Barber shop talk coming to fruition. How would an mma fighter do in a boxing ring? Different range, different speed, would the mma striker adapt to the subtle nuances of the sweet science? Not only that, what about a young, audacious, 2 division champ against a semi-retired, brash, defensive wizard. How would that play out in the squared circle? For the first time since the UFC’s manifestation we can have this conversation of cross sport combat. Though the boxing rules are in play, we have a list of “what ifs” longer than Mayweather’s IRS lien.

ohhh yeah, that’s right…

The man that spent 90 days in jail for a misdemeanor related to his multiple domestic abuse allegations also seems to owe the IRS 29 million dollars. “Hard work, dedication”
But is Uncle Sam the motivation? Is that the dirty secret, is that what took this fight just weeks to put together? Everyone remembers the years it took for Mayweather promotions to reach an agreement with Manny Pacquiao right? Why would the same guy come scrambling out of retirement to post dozens of Girl collection promotion videos and get in the ring with a fighter that has nothing to lose, but everything to gain? How does this help Floyd? Strictly financially. Honest question, is this because he needs the money, or because he wants the money? Either way I don’t love the motivation to come out of retirement to take a high risk fight against a fighter with serious power in 8 ounce gloves.

Floyd should just dart out of range and pop counters in Conor’s leprechaun mug. He should have better footwork, cardio, technique, and experience. But where is he at physically?
Clearly the instagram flexing in the club pictures suggest he isn’t slacking on the ab roller. But what about inside the ring? Where is he at with his sparring, timing, and cardio. I am not saying that he got old over night but at what point does the age catch up to a fighter generally? I’m pretty sure it’s before 40. I’m curious if his power will be enough to drop Conor; who hasn’t had any trouble eating shots from 4 ounce UFC gloves, elbows, knees, shins, etc. Conversely Conor has done nothing but put people on queer street with his accuracy. It’s clear who has the power advantage, but can he land crisp, clean shots? I like the reach advantage for Conor because countering is where Mayweather is going to make his hay but at what range?

I have a distinct dichotomy between what I’m hoping to see and what “gun to my head” I think happens. Everyone, including myself wants Conor to shock the world. To see Conor come from the UFC and knock out one of the greatest defensive boxers the world has ever known would be a watershed moment in the history of combat sports. As a mixed martial arts die hard bitter ender I want so bad for that to happen, and I will be rooting for the underdog to prevail. But wait, is this how pro wrestling fans felt when CM Punk got into the cage with Mickey Gall? Did those neckbeard mongoloids actually think he had a chance? Am I the MMA version of those mouth breathing hill billies? Do the hardcore boxing fans look at casuals like myself with the same disdain and disregard the way I look at grown men that watch other grown men on Monday night raw slap each other’s oiled up, bare chests while writhing in pain?! What have I become? I can’t possible be this naive, it’s almost as if I’ve been… hypnotized…

As much as we want it to happen, it won’t.
Conor Mcgregor will likely lose a decision to one of the best boxers of all time. People will likely call Mayweather’s 50th consecutive win a record breaker. Disregarding Julio Cesar Chaves 89-0-1 undefeated streak because he went on to lose a handful of fights…
That’s fine, it’s all fine. This is more than boxing. This is a spectacle, this is a circus. Grab your fucking popcorn and candy apples, pay up the $100, sit back and enjoy the show! This is a special time for the UFC fans, boxing fans (GGG vs Canelo is just around the corner) and it’s drawing eyeballs to the sport which is always a net positive. Regardless the outcome I’m happy and excited to see how this grows the combat sports and the next generation that will grow up looking up to Conor the way I grew up looking up to “I’ll fuck you till you love me faggit”

By the way I would literally eat a mouth full of laxatives and do a handstand for the duration of the Gervonta Davis vs Francisco Fonseca fight and not worry about shitting on myself. This is as big of a can kicking showcase fight as humanly possible.
the end.

One weekend, two cards, two parlays

As of right now (Thursday 6/22/17 8:09am) there are still almost 900 available tickets for Bellator’s biggest ever event… lol. But fuck it I’m excited. Maybe it’s the summertime, maybe it’s the Mayweather vs. Mcgregor news, or maybe it’s the summertime some more, but this weekend’s fights between the biggest Bellator event ever and some random little UFC card have me certifiably jacked up. Not to mention the betting opportunities on these cards with lesser known and under rated fighters that come with Bellator and UFC fight night cards. Short and sweet breakdowns and highlights.

Saturday night Bellator is hosting two events on the same night. “Bellator NYC” and “Bellator 180″… they’re called prelims in the real world, but thank god you don’t have to buy two tickets, because clearly people aren’t even buying tickets to one event! Anyways for people who can’t get enough of men in their underwear fighting to the death like myself you should be excited about this these events.

Chinzo Machida (Elder sibling of former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and avid urine drinker Lyoto Machida) is fighting 6-0 undefeated James Gallagher (who may or may not be Conor Mcgregor’s younger sibling)
Bellator is making chicken salad out of chicken shit with this fight. Young loudmouth in joggers and a $60 hard part haircut from Ireland vs. a dime a dozen old Brazilian with a recognizable last name. Great work from the match makers and I love that they’re putting their young guns in a position to show out on this stage. I’m leaning towards the new breed with a fire in his belly, I’ll take Gallagher by late ground and pound tko. (Not a bet)

Heather Hardy 0-0, never heard of her, making her MMA debut, nothing much to say here except she’s kinda hott and I hope she wins because she’s kinda hott.

Ryan Bader vs Phil Davis
A rematch of a super boring fight but I’m falling for it. Both guys have made strides in their striking since then and when you see two high level wrestlers get in cage together that’s what generally separates the winner from loser. Not much to say for analysis on how the fight goes down other than if it stays standing, which I think it will, I look to see Bader with more volume and more power. I could see him getting loose putting some combos together in the second & third rounds, turning up the pressure late and walking away 29-28 on the cards. (def not a bet)

Aaron fucking Pico vs. Zach Freeman
Couldn’t tell you much about this other than “finally.” The rumors of Pico coming to MMA have been spreading since he hit puberty and won a bunch of medals and wrestling championships all over the world. Another young gun put in a position to succeed on a big stage. Again, I don’t know much about this fight, but what I do know is Scott Coker is no dummy and I would surmise Freeman has some poor take down defense. When it comes to young fighters under the bright lights it’s hard say with certainty that they will be worth the hype. In this case it feels legit and I’m excited to see him in action. I would say 30-27 on the cards and Aaron Pico picks up his first ever MMA victory.

Lorenz Larkin vs Douglas Lima
So funny that in his first fight since leaving the UFC Lorenz Larkin will be the welterweight champion of Bellator. When you compare level of competition and on top of that successes against that level, it’s blatantly obvious who the better fighter is. Larkin is criminally underrated and a shame he left the UFC, talk about big fish in a little pond. He is going to be putting a beating on Lima, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end this fight in the second round after a mauling.
First bet of the night, Lakin -180.

Fedor vs. Meathead
I already went thru this fight the first time it was going to happen and you’re getting an even better price tag this time around.
Meathead -125

Parlaying Larkin -180 and Meathead -125 pays +180 will be my only bet on the night

I know it’s not much, the card as a whole is not show stopping. But Bellator is clearly doing the best they can with what they’ve got and that’s enough for me to sit my ass on the couch with some cold miller lites and a few leaves of the devil’s lettuce. Nothing I want more than a nice quiet Saturday night after a morning of yard work and an afternoon of hacking around the golf course; I’m very much looking forward to it. On top of that we get dessert on Sunday night! Again, it’s not much but a full weekend of decent fights is as good as one night of great fights as far as degenerate gambling is concerned.

BJ Penn has not been BJ Penn for about as long as Fedor has not been Fedor. I guess if you’re going to fight for way too long you might as well fight an other old fuck. Dennis Siver is just as old and just as tired as the 38 year old Prodigy. The two grown ass men step into the octagon with 60 fights between the two and just one win combined in the last four years. So fucking what? By this point in the weekend I’ve watched 21 fights so I’m not complaining. I am struggling to find a way for BJ to look good here. If they keep it standing I think Siver is still the faster and harder hitting striker, if BJ can get Siver down and hold him there he can find success. At this point in his career I find it hard to believe he’s doing much in the way or wrestling and Siver is not very technical but he makes up for it with strength and size. I gotta look one way here, I have had a great time betting against Penn in his last three fights and I’m not going to stop now. Give me Siver -220
P.S. over/under on spinning heel kicks by Siver is at 11.5

Main Event, Michael Chiesa vs Kevin Lee
There are some lines that make me think I’m missing something. When the lines first became available Chiesa opened at -110 to Lee’s -120. Without thinking twice I laid a nice wager on the underdog before he became the favorite. Very proud of myself for beating the line movement I said to myself “Glad I got the straight bet on now, I’ll parlay him and someone else probably by the weekend.” I sure did beat the line movement, problem is it moved the wrong fucking way. People are actually betting Kevin Lee! What am I missing here? I don’t like to play MMA Math, look at the styles, look at the level of competition, look at the strides both fighters have/haven’t made recently. Even yo momma knows! Is that all it takes to sway the johnny come lately Conor ball washers to lay hard earned money on? Some goofy glasses and matching outfit along with some rehearsed shit talk and a press conference scuffle. Let’s get back to the records, before the hype, before Ariel Helwani, before “yo momma.” Professional since 2008 Micheal Chiesa has just one legit loss on his record. In 2013 he lost to Jorge Masvidal who could be fighting for the welterweight title if he could have gotten Demian “Jansport” Maia off his fucking back for 5 minutes. Basically what I’m saying is that that loss years ago is nothing to scoff at. His other loss was a doctor stoppage against Joe Lauzon and he was kicking his ass till the cut was deemed too bad to continue. I don’t know who is more under rated this weekend, Chiesa or Larkin. Either way I love both guys. Both of em have fought and beat better levels of competition and look good doing it. Kevin Lee has put together the most unimpressive 14-2 record imaginable. Including losing to the toughest opponent he has faced in Al Iaquinta… who Chiesa choked out in the first round but we don’t like MMA Math around here so that’s not worth getting into. Lee hasn’t done enough in the octagon for me to separate himself from middle of the pack lightweights. He striking is not the cleanest, and it’s not like he’s getting by on power over technique because he’s not the hardest hitter either. His game plan is wrestling to submission attempts and it shows on the feet. And guess what? That doesn’t get fans dick’s hard! It’s not the UFC’s fault for not promoting him and it’s not Areil Helwani’s fault no one is clambering for him to be on the MMA Hour. “No one cared who I was until I put on the mask.” and that mask is some Coachella outfit, a mouth full of shit talk, topped off with a press conference scuffle. Well it worked, you have a main event that people are talking about. Problem is you might have gone and bit off more than you can chew. You want the attention, you want the eyeballs, and you want the big bucks? You gotta to deliver the goods homie! I expect just as quickly as we watched Kevin Lee turn himself into a showman outside the cage, I think he will try to emulate that image inside the cage… and that is not the fighter he is. He’s a young man so I should expect to see some improvements in his stand up but to getting to the comfort and technique level of Chiesa is not going to happen over night. All the while Maverick is also improving fight to fight. I’m not saying Lee isn’t tough, he’s in the UFC of course he is… but Chiesa is a grrrriiiiinder. That camp he comes from in Washington is not afraid of some hard as fuck sparring. You’re striking is gonna come a long way when you are used to taking shots like that in the gym. If the fight turns into a the a fire fight or a show for the fans, Chiesa isn’t afraid to get burned by the flames and Lee ain’t about that life. Not only that Chiesa has the same background as Lee when it comes to wrestling and submission grappling. You want to go down the list of guys Maverick has submitted vs Lee’s list and you’ll see the kind of high level chain wrestling and grappling Chiesa is bringing to the table. He’s better anywhere the fight goes. I have a hard time see Lee winning this fight outside of a one punch KO that lands on the button. He’s not going to beat Maverick on points and he’s not going to get the sub. There’s just way more ways Micheal Chiesa can walk away with the W and I think he serves Lee his first ever submission loss.

Dennis Siver -220 and Micheal Chiesa +110 parlay pays +205 will be my only bet of the night

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist

Everyone knows the silly old question; “What’s heavier? A 145 pound bag of bricks or 145 pound featherweight champion Jose Aldo’s counter right hand?” They’re the same!

This is two weekends in a row with cards that are made up of just co-main and main events worth watching but Saturday I’m happily shelling out HD PPV money to watch interim champ Max Holloway fight Jose Aldo Jr to unify the featherweight championship belt. I can’t say enough good things about either fighter, but I’ll try and I’ll start with the interim belt holder.

Max #BLESSED Holloway has been my #mancrushmonday for good long time. I even bet him to beat some guy named Conor McGregor in 2013, and for the record I would still take Holloway in the rematch if it were to happen. But now in 2017, Holloway at just 25 years young, has become a fearless and versatile striker. I like to go back and watch fights over again to see how fighters improve or regress over the course of a career but watching him in the past 4 years is like watching amazon stock just keep getting better and better and reaching new levels of mother fuckery. The way he beat the shit out of Anthony Pettis and Ricardo Lamas opened a lot of eyes to the leaps he has made lately with his deep bag of strikes, accuracy, and above all the volume. He is just coming at dudes with layers of offense. Mixing up strikes and quickly going away from what doesn’t work and piling on when he finds success. Watching him throw combos in slow motion I felt like the guide in Jurassic Park with the short shorts and cowboy hat watching the raptors. “They never attack the same place twice. They were testing the fences for weaknesses, systematically… They remember.” Max learns on the job and the more time he has with an opponent the more equipped he his to land what he has to. Once he has that info he ratchets it up an other level and pours it on, the accuracy and volume take over. What I love about Max is his confidence. This young kid is full of piss, vinegar, and potential. Watching him grow in the sport and reach the level he has in such a short time is great for the sport, great for his home state Hawaii, and nice to see a fresh face that has super star potential.

Jose Aldo Jr.
It’s rumored that if you say his name three times in the mirror with the lights off you wake up with legs that look like they’ve been smashed by the entire English premier league. People forget that this man was on a 10 year unbeaten streak leaving a path of blood, broken bones, and torn up underdog betting slips in his wake. Unfortunately the Keyser Soze of the featherweight division has had his legacy besmirched by the the aforementioned Conor Mcgregor with one punch. He came back after the loss and beat Frankie goddamn Edgar by decision without as much as breaking a sweat as the four fight from the top of a star studded UFC200 card. Match up wise Aldo is a nightmare for anyone, you can’t take him down, and you can’t beat him standing. He has the hardest leg kicks in the division and he will be happy to throw them against his first opponent in years who isn’t trying to take him down all the time. If Max doesn’t check those early and often he will be severely diminished in the areas he’s needs to be to have any kind of success. I don’t want to say it’s too much too soon, it’s just too much period. Max is a great fighter who could be the champ if it wasn’t for a once in a lifetime talent named Jose Aldo. Considering Max’s style this is brewing to be a stand up war that 5 round fights were made for. I’ll be on the edge of seat giddy with joy when it comes to “iiiiit’s TIIIIIME!”

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. On Saturday night Scarface is going to come back and reclaim the undisputed title with what could be the fight of the year. Jose Aldo via Dec. or they bring out a wheelchair for Holloway to be taken to the hospital after he’s deemed handicapped via leg kicks and the fight is stopped late.

Just for shits.
Cláudia Gadelha beats Karolina Kowalkiewicz via decision
Nate Marquardt beats Vitor Belfort via third round tko and the Over 1.5 rounds +180 cashes

UFC 211 live from Jerry’s World

Finally. Clear the schedule, shut off my phone, hopefully the wife goes to her sister’s and I can watch this behemoth of a card alone on the couch with a fridge full of boomsauces and a spliff of the devil’s lettuce. 28 fucking people will fight each other inside the UFC octagon at Jerry’s World in Dallas Texas this weekend, including five fighters that have held UFC gold around their waist.

A card this stacked with interesting style match ups, old vs young match ups, and two championship matches rarely has this level of low variance lines. The top five fights on the card are all under -200 for the favorites. This is one of the best cards on paper for fights but unfortunately I think it’s pretty bad for betting. Instead of a long winded story or technical breakdown for this card (it’s too good, too long, who has the time?) I’m gonna blast thru the better fights on the card with picks. That’s “picks” ladies and gentleman, not bets.

Courtney Casey vs Jessica Aguilar
There’s a few fights on this card that I think pin an up and comer against a vet; this is the first one to kick off. Casey laying a price tag of -120 to Aguilar’s even money still feels like good value. Casey has shown more and more with every fight that she isn’t just a pretty face, this girl came to scrap. She’s coming into her own with her striking and went from violent to crisp with her punches in her last outings. Aguilar has been there done that but I think this is a fight that’s more “done” than “done that.” People always say “powers the last thing to go” when talking about heavyweights. Conversely speed, agility, and explosiveness are first. Basically the most important things in the lower weight classes (where people aren’t getting knocked out with the same frequency) are the first aspects of your game to dwindle away. That being said Aguilar is fucking 35 and a 35 year old woman is gonna be far more diminished that a 35 year old man. I think the dinosaur gets a mercy stoppage after taking a hellacious beat down from the rangy 5’6″ strawweight.

Dustin Poirier vs Eddie Alvarez
45 fucking cent movement on this fight. This was my fight. I talked about on the Scratching the Surface podcast, Poirier opened as a +120 dog! I was excited to get on that plus money train but being an experienced gambler with the self control of a nun I decided to wait till I watched tape and found a clear path to victory. In the mean time and in between time the public drove Poirier to a -125 favorite. Live and learn. I don’t think I’ll have any action on this but I will say I think that Alvarez kinda jumped the shark. He looked just eh in his last few fights despite being a world champ… I know that sounds stupid but all I can say is that “I was not impressed by your performance” Poirier can crack on the feet and he’s only 28. He’s still learning and I think the loss to Conor was a turning point in his career. I think he can put the lights out on the former champ if this stays on the feet. No bets at that price but I like The Diamond in a late stoppage.

Frankie Edgar vs Yair Rodriguez
Don’t make me do it UFC, don’t make me pick against Frankie Edgar. I could watch Yair beat the fuck out of old ass BJ Penn because I had a lot of money on him winning that fight inside the distance. I’m not putting a cent opposite Edgar, this guy is too tough for his own good and he’s going to put that toughness to the test this weekend. You’re going to hear this in every breakdown but Rodriguez looks better and better every time he gets in the octagon. He just looks some comfortable and confident there. After his last fight I was saying things like “wait till he faces an elite striker” but for some reason when I heard Edgar was the next opponent I wasn’t as confident in the vet as I thought I would be. I can’t figure out why but my gut tells me Edgar loses the first and third round and ends up on the wrong side of the score cards. 29-28 Pantera.

Jorge Masvidal vs Demian Maia
Broken record says that the old guy loses. But holy shit these fights are fantastic and we’re not even at the co-main event yet. This is a throwback match up, I wrote a long piece on the “striker vs. grappler” in my “Julianna Pena vs Valentina Shevchenko; Styles make fights” blog a few months back. This fight is different tho, it could go one of two ways. The 39 year old BJJ wizard either looks like Michael Jordan on the 95-96 Bulls and drags Gamebred down to the mat, works his way to the back and slaps on the RNC. Or he looks like Wizards #45 Jordan and gets his old head caved in by one of the slickest strikers in the division. Masvidal has made me a lot of #easymoney as of late, including a TKO of Cowboy. I’m gonna ride the hot hand; I think Masvidal has the perfect skill set to keep the fight at range. Everyone in the building knows exactly what Maia wants to do and Jorge is smart, talented, and explosive enough to pop in and out of range. Making people look foolish on the feet is what he does best and I think it’s not going to be hard to do it to the geriatric Brazilian. Gamebred 2nd round TKO.

Jessica Andrade vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk
JJ (don’t think for a second I didn’t copy and paste that fucking name, it’s JJ for the remainder of the article) is hitting her stride. The way she dismantles fighters with her stand up and discourages girls with her hand speed and accuracy is special. I love watching her fight, I love watching her talk, I love Joanna Champion. Her attitude and showmanship really comes thru on the embedded series. Doing the right things by moving to ATT in Florida and saying the right things in her interviews. It’s hard for me to pick against her right now. That being said, Andrade has been trending in the right direction as well. I really liked what I saw from her in her last bout with Angela Hill and her finish of Calderwood. Stylistically this is a really tough fight for the Champ; she’s going to have her hands full and hopefully they don’t break while smashing them off Brazilian’s skull. She’s had issues with hand injuries in the passed and she is going to have to hit and hit and hit and hit Jessica with everything she’s got. “Bate Estaca” should change her nickname to Jessica “IDGAF” Andrade because she honestly doesn’t even have a fuck to give. She can and will take a shot to give one and god damn can she give one. JJ isn’t unhittable and the chin has been touched; I don’t see it actually happening at the end of the day but the threat is too much to lay the price tag. JJ at -190 isn’t cheap. I would sooner take JJ by dec. But wouldn’t that be a fucking sight to see. A little prepubescent Justin Bieber looking champion with a sideways flatbrim hat and board shorts hugging and kissing on her borderline bbw wife in the middle of the octagon, speaking Portuguese and it all being translated to a crowd of Texan rednecks. For the sake of the sport and the new ownership I hope to god that doesn’t happen. yeehaw mother fucker it’s main event time.

Junior Dos Santos vs Stipe Miocic
The title of the baddest man on earth, the heavyweight championship of the world, the maaain event of the eveniiiinnnng. By this point in the night I’m somewhere between barely keeping my eyes open; fighting off exhaustion and boiling over with excitement in anticipation for 250 pound men in their underwear trying to kill each other. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it. Last time these gentleman fought each other they put on a hell of a show. A stand up brawl that really could have gone either way on the scorecards that ended with Cigano squeaking out the decision victory. Since then Stipe has gone on an impressive run; knocking out every mother fucker that stood across from him. Junior not so much; he was finished by Allister Overeem (one of Stipe’s recent victims) and beat Ben Rothwell on points before taking a long time off to have a baby and god knows what else. Anyways conventional wisdom would say that Stipe retains the title; MMA math and the ring rust yada yada I get it, it makes sense. But the heavyweight division doesn’t make sense and I always say “Don’t put your hard earned money on women and heavyweight favorites” if you gotta have a dog in the fight, pardon the pun, but take Cigano at plus money. The fight should stay standing and I think Junior can do enough damage to the champ to slow him down and likely get a stoppage. It’s hard to win 5 in a row in any division let alone the one with the hardest hitters walking god’s green earth. Junior by TKO/KO pays +150. I’m not telling you to I’m just saying as someone who bets on the puppy bowl for fucks sake, that’s what I’m doing.

Canelo Alvarez vs Julio Cesar Chavez’s son

I’ll probably spend more time bragging about how spot on my analysis on the Joshua vs Klitschko fight was than I will watching any tape or breaking down the upcoming Golden Boy promotions card. That being said let’s get an ice pack ready before I blow out my shoulder patting myself on the back. The first few rounds went much like I expected. Back and forth exchanges and tied on the scorecards for most of the fight. Both men scoring big knock downs and both showing incredible toughness and both earned a lot of respect in my book. Joshua was up enough on the scorecards to win the decision before the knockout which was nice to see. Wlad came in hugging with his arms up/out like I said in the breakdown and right on cue Joshua just about put his head into the third row with an uppercut. That punch changed the course of the fight and had Klitschko on noodle legs till the end. Great fight, great payday, and the leader in the clubhouse for fight of the year.

The combination of the Mexican-American war in 1864-1868 and the Reform War in 1858-1861 left the Mexican treasury poor and indebted to it’s allied countries. With an economy crippled by war spending and patriotism at an all time low president Benito Juárez made a decision to put all payments to allied countries on a two year hiatus to help the economy and boost morale around his country. It was understood by Britain and Spain that this time was necessary to rebuild, but France on the other hand had bigger plans. The juggernaut army the French had built up at this time had an almost 50 year unbeaten streak and proudly held up their championship belt while thinking Mexican’s hard times would mean an easy win to add to their impressive record. The David vs Goliath 12 round main event was named the Battle of Puebla. The day on which this battle was fought, May 5th 1862. “Cinco de Mayo” as it is now commemorated as. The poorly equipped and under sized Mexican army refused to be beat and they defeated the French army, restoring pride in the hearts of Mexican citizens and the economy reaped the benefits.

This Cinco de Mayo we have another David vs Goliath match up in Saul Canelo Alvarez vs Julio Chavez Jr. The two biggest names in Mexican boxing will step into the ring this weekend to do battle in a 12 round light middleweight championship fight in Las Vegas. The victor however will undoubtedly be Goliath. Canelo Alvarez is an elite striker with serious power. He can hang with anyone near his weight class. On the B side we have son of the greatest Mexican Champion boxing will ever know. Julio Cesar Chavez will be immortalized in the sport’s heritage; his son has Goliath sized shoes to fill but no slingshot will help him this weekend. Chavez Jr. is a decent enough boxer; he showed signs of power against the lowest of the low competition but when the going gets tough Chavez Jr. hasn’t showed any semblance of the heart or grit that it takes to hang with the elites of the division. I’m not going to waste anymore time with this breakdown. Canelo has an overwhelming technical advantage; he’s going to be better anywhere and everywhere the fight goes. As if that wasn’t enough he turned up the heat in the “Face Off” HBO interview making Chavez look like he was explianing to his dad why he burnt the empanadas. I generally rationalize spending money on Pay Per Views by saying I’ll win on the bets but you would have to risk $581.25 to win enough on Canelo to pay for the card. Parlay David Lemieux and Canelo. Or take either by TKO/KO; have a few Coronas or Tecates while you search for streams that are as illegal as anyone who cares about the fight.

Addition 5/3/17:
Seeing Chavez get sucked down to “Canelo weight” is going to be trouble. He’s going to be frail looking on the scale. The mental toll of the cut and mind games going on are going be be rough. I think Canelo is going to go hard on Chavez’s already diminished body. I can see him using his left hook to the body early and often, my only concern is that he doesn’t spend too much time admiring his work. His left hook to the body could leave him vulnerable to the straight right hand. As long as he can mind his P’s and Q’s while going to the midsection it’s going to pay dividends as soon as the 4th and 5th rounds.

I am going to with a 6th round TKO for Canelo.

Klitschko vs Joshua

Everyone wants to give a shit. Everyone wants to care.

But unfortunately boxing sucks and everyone knows. It’s not a sport that has a team playing 162 games a season or every Sunday for 16 weeks; boxers need to be entertaining in and outside of the ring. 12 rounds a handful of times a year isn’t going to keep the attention of American fans or keep them invested over the course of a career. The Heavy Weight division has been under the reign of the Klitschko brothers for over a decade with it’s media coverage fading as quick as it’s fan base. The American fans need a fresh face to bring boxing back to barber shop and water cooler talk. The door has been cracked ajar with the Mayweather vs Mcgregor fight looming over the summer; can it be swung open this weekend with the knock out power from the handsome Englishman Anthony Joshua?

Bettors think so. Joshua -250 favorited in most shops and laying -110 to win via TKO/KO like he has in every one of his 18 professional fights. I admit when the line opened up for Joshua -220 my first inclination was to jump on the number before it moved and figure out if I was going to hedge at a better price or let it ride. So far my decision has been made for me with little to no line movement in almost five months. I’ll say this now before you figure it out while reading the following few paragraphs… I’m no boxing expert, but watching Joshua turn god given athleticism and power into crisp technique and experience is exactly what boxing needs. Kids don’t give a fuck about Klitschko. The 41 year old veteran has just 184k instagram followers to Joshua’s 2.2 million. MILLION. Who do you think Showtime and HBO are rooting for?

Maybe I’m caught in the hype and I want it to be so. Maybe my “just for the hell of it” bet on Tyson Fury vs Klitschko in 2015 has me pushing the old Ukrainian into retirement before he’s done. This is a pick based way more on timing than on technique. I do think it’s a close fight stylistically; Klitschko looked a little worn from the opening bell in his last fight. Rumors of hand injuries, family issues, and maybe just not taking Fury all that seriously may contributed to that. His speed wasn’t there and he never turned up the volume even while being down on the cards. That being said his chin hung in there and never showed signs of being finished. It’s hard to count him out because he can absolutely use his experience and his jab to dictate a slower pace and to keep Joshua from putting combinations together. I have to wonder how much better he can look at 41 years of age than he did in his last fight two years ago. If the Wladimir that showed up vs Fury shows up for Joshua I think it’s an easier fight to call.

Joshua on the other hand has showed all the promise in the world. Finishing 16 of 18 opponents inside of three rounds is alarming regardless the level of competition but Klitschko is light years better than anyone Joshua has had the joy of sharing the ring with. Watching him stagger fighters with combinations and pour it on when he smells blood is just what the boxing community needs and “you can only beat who they put in front of you.” AJ has said in interviews that he’s “looking for the knock out.” It’s a lot easier said than done when you consider kind of competition Wladimir has stood in front of his entire career. AJ does a great job of using half speed single shots to measure distance and lull fighters into thinking they can take a breath. This is where he plants his feet and lands his two and three strike combos. His power and accuracy is so violent that shots that are blocked still seem to stagger and hurt opponents. What he lacks in defense he makes up for in offense. This isn’t going to last forever but while he’s young and in his prime he’s going to be real trouble for anyone standing across from him.

After the end of 12 rounds I think you’re going to see two tired and beat up men. I like Joshua to get his hand raised on points.

After finishing my tape study and going back and forth I see too many ways Joshua can finish. There’s a lot of talk about not seeing AJ fight into the later rounds and how Klitschko has been doing it forever so he’s comfortable there. At 41 I see that as a detriment. What I was the most impressed with in my tape study was Joshua’s accuracy and speed in the clinch. Wladimir is going to want to slow the fight down and drag out the pace. He is going to want to tangle up AJ and force the ref to break them up. He’s going to have a hard time bullying AJ. I see this fight being close thru the first half but I think when Klitschko tries to get in close and hug up on Joshua in rounds 6, 7, or 8 he is going to get caught with his hands up/out reaching for a clinch only to get ripped up the middle by an upper cut from the young athletic English heavyweight.

I was going to say +550 for a decision victory for Joshua is a nice return on investment but I think you’re better off laying -110 for the KO/TKO.

Pick: 7th round KO for Anthony Joshua
Bets: 2 units Anthony Joshua -250 for game
1 unit Anthony Joshua by KO/TKO -110

Don’t put your hard earned money on…

Gambling has been a part of my life in some form of an other since a very young age. Started early on from playing dice for lunch money to betting the Patriots every Sunday with the local point shaving bookies to after school poker games in high school. In my gambling manifesto, when I hang it up, when I’m finished with this roller coaster of highs and lows, chapter one, page one will read “Don’t put your hard earned money on women or heavyweights… unless they’re dogs.”

MMA betting lines have come a long way. The sport is ever evolving and changing with the times and trends, fortunately for bettors Vegas has been a little late to the party. Finding an edge or a bad line in a fight used to be a lot easier. The hardcore fans/bettors used to be bargain shopping, finding under valued name brand up and coming fighters for clearance bin prices. Fighters that grew the sport like Ronda Rousey and Conor Mcgregor has sucked a lot of valve out of these lines. If anything favorites has been over valued. Paying out the nose for big names like GSP, Cain Velasquez, and obviously Ronda Rousey.

“Don’t put your hard earned money on women or heavyweights… unless they’re dogs.”
I say it all the time half jokingly because it gets a laugh, but volatility and unpredictability in picking winners is more prevalent in women’s and heavyweights than any other division and it’s not close. Having a one of them in a parlay is asking for trouble.

So guess what I’m going to be doing this weekend?
That’s right… Max betting a heavy weight favorite. The Bellator Circus is back in town with a hail mary match up between Fedor Emelianenko and still relevant fighter Matt Mitrione. So much history and memories of the great stoic Fedor smashing opponents and grabbing submissions with ease. Conversely Mitrione might be most famous for being a goofball on the ultimate fighter, sporting the world’s worst hematoma on his eye, or getting d’arce choked by Brendan Schaub. For some reason, in 2017, they’re fighting each other. Lines open as Mitrione just a -150 favorite. The legend of Fedor may be the only thing keeping it from opening up as a -250 favorite. I would expect the closing line to look at lot closer to that. It’s a different game now, like I said earlier in the article. “the sport is ever evolving and changing…”

Meathead has his deficiencies of course, but the point is he is still active and successful as far as heavy weights are concerned. His departure from the UFC was not because if a lack of performance but of contract disputes. The man wants to get paid… and what better way than to beat arguably the Greatest fighter of all time in Fedor Emelianenko. I think Fedor is making a big mistake by taking this fight. Meathead has surprisingly active counter punching ability and a knack for slipping out of range of heavy hands. Not only is this a poor style match up but I think it’s bad timing as well. Mitrione is putting together a little winning streak with this new chapter in his career, while Fedor is grasping at the tail end of his. It’s too much for a man whose already poured his heart and soul into MMA, I’m not sure he has enough left to give a sport that demands so much.

Close your eye(s), and take Matt Mitrione -150.

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Julianna Pena vs Valentina Shevchenko; Styles make fights

It’s been said hundreds of times, “Styles make fights.” It’s what the sport was built on. A tournament of different mixed martial artists with various backgrounds and skill sets competing in combat to see who could beat the shit out of the other guy. Out of all the different match ups over the years, none have stood the test of time with more variant outcomes than the Striker vs Grappler. The unstoppable force vs the immovable object. The two most prioritized aspects of mixed martial arts, striking on the feet and grappling on the ground are the two most common breeding grounds for highly skilled fighters to emerge from. From high school wrestling to after school karate classes, the two disciplines are in a constant battle for mma supremacy.

With the sport growing and evolving rapidly in the passed few years we seemed to have gotten away from these type of match ups. Mostly because guys have the proper diverse training camps and coaching to cover the different aspects of the sport. Women on the other hand still have these very specialized athletes that find themselves almost pigeon held in their game plans. It’s refreshing honestly. Watching them go thru the process that the men’s division went thru that had me so intrigued with the sport to begin with.

History shows us both sides of the coin.
Sprawl and Brawl, from Chuck Liddell to Robbie Lawler to Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Wrestling, from George St. Pierre to guys like Johny Hendricks and Daniel Cormier.

Who can implement their game plan and impose their will on the opposition?
Shevchencko has shown us her stand up and counter punching is out of this fucking world. The way she hit Holly Holm with “same time counters” was something we don’t see much of in the UFC at all. It’s almost like she found the timing of Holm and blasted her as soon as the punches were coming in. She showed an ability to rattle her and slow down the taller longer striker. Beating her at her own game.
Pena is just about diggity dog shit on the feet, if this stays standing she won’t last 25 minutes. But that’s not her game so who cares. Pena has a way of forcing girls to fight her fight. She makes it ugly, she makes it sloppy, and in the high altitude of Denver it could get messy fast. If everything goes her way you’re going to see a bully push the striker into the fence, make her carry her weight, drag this to the ground and ride Schevchenko around like a rented mule. Schevchenko doesn’t have enough experience on the ground to fend off average ground and pound or sub attempts. If Pena gets her down and tired she’s going to have her way with her and could easily finish her with her uncanny ability to big sister pound out girls. The only problem is all fights start on the feet. We’ve seen improvements from Valentina in her take down defense and footwork, is it enough to stop a high level grappler like Pena?

I don’t think so. Vegas opened up Schevchenko as a 2/1 favorite. Maybe they thought the win over Holm would draw name recognition? Maybe they thought the Venezuelan Vixen’s infrequency in the cage had us forgetting about her ability? I don’t fucking know. All I know is that if you’re getting plus money on a girl with the ability to take a striker down and into her world on the mat, I’m gonna be holding a ticket with her name on it come fight night.