Let me start off by saying that I don’t bet on MMA fights. Mixed Martial Arts is often an unpredictable sport. With so many different ways to win, a fight can be over in a blink of an eye, and a fighter who was dominating early might find himself on the canvass staring at the arena lights and wondering what happened. The unpredictability is a big part of what makes MMA fun to watch… but not so much to bet on. Even when you’re absolutely certain that your guy (or girl) will win, fights often happen to go the distance. At which point you might as well flip a coin, at least that what is seems like the judges do sometimes, judging by how many bizarre decisions and inconsistent scorecards they turn in. On top of that, the bookies who set the betting odds do this stuff for a living and don’t like losing money, so you have to assume that the odds-makers kind of know what they’re doing. Taking all that into consideration, it ‘s not easy to make money betting on fights. In fact you may just be better off trying your luck at GameVillage Bingo, or spending some time here.
That said, every now and then a fight comes along where the betting odds just don’t seem to mesh with the reality. And I believe that the welterweight match up between Matt Brown and Erick Silva, coming up this Saturday at UFC Fight Night in Cincinnati, is one of those fights. [#11] Matt Brown holds a significant rating advantage over [#26] Erick Silva. The official UFC rankings concur (with Brown at #7 and Silva #14). Brown is on a six-win streak, five of those T/KO stoppages inside of two rounds. Silva on the other hand has been alternating wins and losses in his UFC fights, and suffered a brutal KO courtesy of Dong Hyun Kim prior to his most recent win over Takenori Sato. While losses to Kim and Jon Fitch are nothing to be ashamed of, the list of opponents that Brown defeated is more impressive than Silva’s. And Brown is far more experienced in the UFC Octagon. And yet, all major sports betting sites have Erick Silva as a 2-1 favorite over Brown, with odds as high as (-250) Silva and (+206) Brown.
So what is causing bookies to offer Matt Brown as an underdog in this fight? Is it the fact that Brown hasn’t fought since last August? A nine-month break between fights is not a huge deal at this level, and the two extra fights that Silva racked up in the meanwhile will hardly make up for the discrepancy in Octagon experience: Brown still has more than twice as many UFC fights under his belt. Of course there is always a question of the back injury which forced Brown to be inactive in the first place – the extent of Brown’s recovery could play a role here.
Is it Brown’s 11 career losses, 9 of those coming by submission, while Erick Silva holds 9 submission wins? Submission defense has been a huge gap in Brown’s game, but none of his recent opponents have been able to exploit it. The current state of Brown’s ground game is still largely an unknown, and he will certainly be looking to keep this fight on the feet as he usually does. Silva is the more well rounded fighter of the two, but he has not demonstrated a chin to handle Brown’s knockout ability, or the endurance to deal with his high-pressure game. The burden will be on Silva to bring this fight to the ground, and not get his face knocked sideways while doing so. The odds-makers have gotten it wrong on many of Matt Brown’s fights in the past, and I believe they are underrating him once again, making it a good underdog bet.
No matter how the fight goes, it is sure to be an exciting one. Both fighters have an ultra-aggressive style and are not afraid to take risks in a fight in order to deal out some punishment, even if it means absorbing some in process or ending up in an unfavorable position. This is a great match-up of styles, and I am looking forward to seeing it live (this will only be my second time attending a UFC event). See you in Cinci!