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Added March 29th, 2010 by David Glisan

UFC Betting Free Picks:  UFC Fight Night

The UFC will hold their 21st Fight Night event from Bojangles Arena in Charlotte, NC on Wednesday night.  The event will be televised live on Spike TV in the US.  In the main event, Kenny Florian will face former PRIDE superstar Takanori Gomi in his UFC debut.  Also on the card, a heavyweight battle between Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson–I’m sure the fact he’s booked in an event held in an arena named for a chain of fried chicken restaurants isn’t a coincidence–will face 6’11” Stefan Struve.  No real interest in the undercard but we will take some wagering positions on the top two fights. The lines below are from Bookmaker.

UFC FIGHT NIGHT 21:

KENNY FLORIAN VS. TAKANORI GOMI:

Until late 2008, Takanori Gomi aka ‘The Fireball Kid’ was considered among the sport’s elite lightweights.  He fell from favor after an upset loss via split decision to Sergey Golyaev at Sengoku 6.  He followed that up with another loss, this one via submission to Satoru Kitaoka for the Sengoku light heavyweight title.  He’s won both of his fights since, defeating Shooto welterweight champion Takashi Nakakura by TKO in a non-title bout and won his Japanese farewell bout (at least for now) with a unanimous decision victory over Tony Hervey.

Kenny Florian recovered from a lopsided beating at the hands of UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn, beating tough Clay Guida by submission in December 2009.  Florian is a first rate fighter, but at least since coming to the UFC he’s struggled when facing top notch competition.  He looks dominant against everyone else, but was TKO’d by Diego Sanchez, dominated on the mat by Sean Sherk and submitted by Penn.

The big question here concerns Gomi–if he’s in shape and can regain most of his pre 2008 form he’s one of the best in the business.  He’s only 31 years old (actually two years younger than Florian) so its not like he’s ‘over the hill’.  Most of his difficulty over the course of his career has come from lack of focus, and not lack of ability.  The price in this fight has Florian a -315 favorite and that’s based exclusively on the fact that most of the mainstream UFC fans are very familiar with him and not familiar with the Japanese MMA scene.  Getting a +255 takeback on a fighter with Gomi’s skills, we’ll take a shot.  Really, a Gomi win would also be the ‘best case scenario’ for the UFC–they’re quickly running out of challengers for BJ Penn to defend his lightweight title against and Penn vs. Gomi II (the fought in 2003 at a ‘Rumble on the Rock’ show with Penn winning via submission) is one of the best options they have in the near term.

PLAY TAKANORI GOMI +255 OVER KENNY FLORIAN

STEFAN STRUVE VS. ROY NELSON:

At 6’11”, Struve’s best weapon is the matchup difficulty provided by his height.  He used that to great advantage in earning a majority decision against rugged veteran Paul Buentello, but there’s a big difference between Buentello and ‘Big Country’–Nelson has great BJJ skills for a heavyweight and doesn’t need to keep the fight standing.  Struve is lanky for a heavyweight, and will likely come in around 245-250 pounds.  Nelson has never been mistaken for ‘lanky’ in his life and will come in at the heavyweight limit of 265.  Struve, for once, is at a significant matchup disadvantage and Nelson can use his height against him.  Once the fight goes to the ground, Nelson has far superior BJJ skills and a solid ground and pound game.  Struve’s long limbs make for good submission targets.   The longer the fight goes, the more it favors Struve who would be best served by ‘sticking and moving’ and trying to steal a round or two.  For that reason, we look for Nelson to try to end this early by submission or ‘ground and pound’.  If you have access to a book offering a line on ‘Nelson to win inside the distance’ at -158 or thereabouts that would be the best position.  At Bookmaker they’re offering props on this fight with ‘Nelson by KO, TKO, or DQ’ at -155 and ‘Nelson by submission’ at +240.  Most of Nelson’s wins have come via KO or TKO, so that’s probably the best way to play it if you need the specific outcome.  The exposure to a submission victory with this prop as its worded at Bookmaker is a concern, so you could also throw a small play on that at +240 as a hedge.

PLAY ROY NELSON OVER STEFAN STRUVE BY KO, TKO OR DQ -155

 
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