UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till

UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till

The UFC is back to regular schedule now after a short break between UFC 216 and UFC Fight Night 118.

UFC Fight Night 118 will be the second time that the UFC has ever hosted an event in Poland. The main event features an intriguing contest between proven fighter Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (-140) against an up-and-coming talent in Darren Till (+136).

Donald Cerrone is known for taking any fight, anytime, anywhere and there could be no better example than him fighting Darren Till in Poland. Darren Till is undefeated through 15 fights and has made a name for himself as a calm, composed, efficient and intelligent Muay Thai striker inside the UFC’s octagon. He has dissected his last two opponents in Bojan Velickovic and Jessin Ayari over the course of three rounds. This will be the first time that Till has competed for five rounds as a professional.

“Cowboy”, on the other hand, has been doing this for as long as we can remember. Although he’s on a two-fight losing streak to top talent in the division such as Jorge Masvidal and Robbie Lawler, there’s no doubting that Cerrone is still as dangerous as ever. His 2016 was one of the best of all mixed martial artists as he destroyed Alex Oliveira, Patrick Cote, Rick Story and Matt Brown with incredible finishes.

The co-main event features local star, Karolina Kowalkiewicz (-405), as she takes on Jodie Esquibel (+400) in a women’s strawweight contest. Kowalkiewicz is currently on a two-fight losing streak after losing a title challenge and then being submitted by Claudia Gadelha in the first round. She looks to bounce back to form against UFC newcomer, Jodie Esquibel. Esquibel makes the move to the UFC after featuring heavily in Invicta FC. After losing to Ashley Yoder in The Ultimate Fighter Season 23, Esquibel then dropped another fight to current UFC strawweight Alexa Grasso. A win over DeAnna Bennett was enough to earn Esquibel a shot in the UFC, although it’s against one of the best competitors in the division.

The two other main card bouts are a light heavyweight matchup between Jan Blachowicz (+138) and Devin Clark (-140) and a middleweight bout between Oskar Piechota (-177) and Jonathan Wilson (+164). Blachowicz has lost four of his last five bouts and will be competing against Clark who is on a two-fight win streak. UFC newcomer Oskar Piechota has heavy hands and an elite jiu-jitsu game and will be looking to run through the returning Jonathan Wilson.

Best Sportsbooks for Betting Online in the US

Predictions and Best Bets

Oskar Piechota vs. Jonathan Wilson

Oskar Piechota is one of the most talented additions to the UFC roster in recent history. He joins the UFC undefeated after ten fights and has won all of his fights via stoppage. He has a multitude of ways to finish opponents, too. He can either take them down to the mat and submit them or land crushing punches that seem to send opponents stiff much like Volkan Oezdemir does in the light heavyweight division.

Wilson returns after an extended layoff and may find himself being a little hesitant, especially against a fighter with so many ways to attack you.

This one shouldn’t last the distance, and in fact it might even end in the first round.

Bet: Total Rounds – Under 1.5

Odds: +100

UFC Fight Night 118 card

UFC Fight Night 118 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 11:30am ET on Saturday, October 21

Main Card

UFC Fight Pass (3:00pm ET / 7:00pm GMT)

  • Donald Cerrone vs. Darren Till
  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Jodie Esquibel
  • Jan Blachowicz vs. Devin Clark
  • Oskar Piechota vs. Jonathan Wilson

Fight Pass Prelims

UFC Fight Pass (11:30am ET / 3:30pm GMT)

  • Marcin Held vs. Nasrat Haqparast
  • Anthony Hamilton vs. Adam Wieczorek
  • Damian Stasiak vs. Brian Kelleher
  • Sam Alvey vs. Ramazan Emeev
  • Artem Lobov vs. Andre Fili
  • Salim Touahri vs. Warlley Alves
  • Lina Lansberg vs. Aspen Ladd
  • Felipe Arantes vs. Josh Emmett

Bellator 185: Mousasi vs. Shlemenko

Bellator 185: Mousasi vs. Shlemenko

Despite fighters dropping out of Bellator 185 like flies, the event is still likely to be fantastic. At the moment, it almost resembles the style of a boxing event, with one big fight and an underwhelming ‘undercard’.

Bellator 185 is headlined by an exciting matchup between Gegard Mousasi and Alexander Shlemenko. Mousasi, who is one of the best middleweight fighters in the world, only recently left the UFC to join Bellator. It was a fascinating move from the veteran who is currently on a five-fight winning streak. Mousasi will meet Shlemenko who is undefeated in his last seven fights. Mousasi and Shlemenko have combined for a total of 115 fights in their professional careers – which is truly unbelievable.

The matchup is bound to be extremely fascinating. Mousasi is coming off huge performances against Chris Weidman, Uriah Hall, Vitor Belfort, Thiago Santos and Thales Leites. He’s also knocked out his opponent in his last four fights. While Shlemenko’s competition hasn’t been as fierce, he’s definitely still one of the very best middleweights in the world. In fact, standing up with Shlemenko seems to be a recipe for disaster and it will be interesting to see how Mousasi approaches this fight with the Russian.

Also on the main card is Neiman Gracie vs. Zak Bucia, which has now been bumped to the co-main event. 28-year-old Neiman Gracie is undefeated through six fights and has five submission victories to his name. The 18-8 Zak Bucia will be making his Bellator debut at Bellator 185 after managing a three-fight win streak at Shamrock FC.

One of the most exciting prospects in mixed martial arts will also feature on the card when boxing star Heather Hardy returns to the Bellator cage for the second time. Heather Hardy made her MMA debut at Bellator NYC in July and was involved in one of the best fights of 2017 against Alice Yauger. Hardy will face Kristina Williams at Bellator 185.

Best Sportsbooks for Betting Online in the US

Predictions and Best Bets

Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Shlemenko

Everyone is expecting Gegard Mousasi to walk in the door at Bellator and storm through the competition. Well, before he even gets to the champion, he needs to get through Alexander Shlemenko. Shlemenko is an unbelievably tough, durable and intelligent striker who packs vicious and fight-stopping power.

Gegard is the more technically sound of the two and he deserves to be the betting favorite. But, the gap between these two fighters isn’t as large as the bookmakers are suggesting.

For this reason, we’ll take the value play on Shlemenko and hope that he can upset Gegard Mousasi.

Bet: Alexander Shlemenko to win

Odds: +235

Bellator 185 card

Bellator 185 begins on Spike.com from 7:00pm ET on Friday, October 20

Main Card

Spike TV (9:00pm ET / 1:00am GMT)

  • Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Shlemenko
  • Neiman Gracie vs. Zak Bucia
  • Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams
  • Ana Julaton vs. Lisa Blaine
  • Ryan Quinn vs. Marcus Surin

Fight Pass Prelims

Spike.com (7:00pm ET / 11:00pm GMT)

  • Vinicius DeJesus vs. Joaquin Buckley
  • Steve Skrzat vs. Costelle Van Steenis
  • Jordan Young vs. Alec Hooben
  • Kevin Carrier vs. Kastroit Xhema
  • Vovka Clay vs. Frank Sforza
  • John Beneduce vs. Dean Hancock

Bellator 184: Eduardo Dantas vs. Darrion Caldwell

Bellator 184: Eduardo Dantas vs. Darrion Caldwell

This Bellator card, like many of recently, is sneakily stacked from start to finish with top quality talent. The main card especially is bringing out the best bantamweight and featherweight prospects that the organization has on offer.

The main event features a fascinating Bellator Bantamweight Championship bout between Eduardo Dantas and Darrion Caldwell. Caldwell hasn’t competed in 2017 after he defeated Joe Taimanglo in a rematch to reclaim his earlier loss. It was a surprising defeat for Darrion Caldwell, who entered the fight as a huge betting favorite and was regarded as one of the best prospects over at Bellator. The win put him right back on track and clearly at the top of the line as he now is challenging Eduardo Dantas for the title.

Eduardo Dantas is an example of a super cool and composed champion; nothing fazes Dantas. He’s now on a four-fight win streak, and this will be the seventh time that he has been involved in a title fight with Bellator. His most recent outings have been difficult ones for him and both opponents, Joe Warren and Leandro Higo have pushed him to the very limits.

In the co-main event, Daniel Straus heads back into the cage after losing his Bellator featherweight title to Patricio Freire. It was a tough loss for Straus, who now will have to start the journey back to the championship all over again. It’s not an easy pathway, either, as it all begins with a hungry Emmanuel Sanchez who is ready to give it his all at Bellator 184.

Also on the main card is Bellator veteran Pat Curran, who hasn’t competed in close to 500 days. He’ll return, as well as many others on this main card, and hope to settle back into the rhythm of things relatively fast. He won’t get much of a chance to relax, though, because his opponent John “Macapa” Teixeira is a hungry fighter who brings incredible pace and ferocity with him from the opening seconds.

If that’s not enough, recent Bellator signing, Leandro Higo will be making his second appearance in the organization after losing to Eduardo Dantas in his inaugural performance for Bellator. Higo pushed Dantas to a split decision and now will be facing off with the also aforementioned Joe Taimanglo, the same fighter who upset Darrion Caldwell and shocked the world.

Best Sportsbooks for Betting Online in the US

Predictions and Best Bets

Leandro Higo vs. Joe Taimanglo

When Leandro Higo crossed over to Bellator, most people thought that he would run through the division and claim Bellator’s Bantamweight Championship. Unfortunately for Higo, he had a nightmare start in the organization after failing to make weight in his championship bout against Eduardo Dantas. Instead, the fight would be a non-title fight and after losing a three round split decision, Higo is now going to need to work his way back to the top by defeating Joe Taimanglo.

Joe Taimanglo is no slouch, either. He recently picked up a career-changing victory against Darrion Caldwell, who is challenging for the title this weekend. After submitting Caldwell and shocking the world, he would eventually lose a rematch with Caldwell but only after pushing him to the very limits yet again.

Prediction

Leandro Higo is one of the premier grapplers across mixed martial arts in any division. His excellent control, slick techniques and amazing ability to submit opponents from any position will be on display this weekend at Bellator 184. Whether or not Higo can submit Taimanglo is a fair question, because Taimanglo has an outstanding ‘never say die’ attitude.

The odds here are short, but not short enough to keep me from betting on Higo.

Bet: Leandro Higo

Odds: -203

Bellator 184 Main Card

Friday, October 6, 2017

PPV – (9pm ET / 1am GMT)

  • Eduardo Dantas (-111) vs. Darrion Caldwell (+100)
  • Daniel Straus (-170) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez(+155)
  • Pat Curran (-160) vs. John Teixeira (+155)
  • Leandro Higo (-200) vs. Joe Taimanglo (+180)

UFC 216: Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee

Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee

UFC 216 should be nothing short of spectacular.

The main event features an exciting UFC Interim Lightweight Championship bout in which the winner of Tony Ferguson (-200) and Kevin Lee (+190) will realistically be awarded with an opportunity to Conor McGregor. McGergor, the current UFC lightweight champion, has recently expressed interest in returning to the cage to defend his title.

The co-main event matchup sees Demetrious Johnson (-1000) square off with Ray Borg (+760) in an attempt to break Anderson Silva’s record of ten consecutive title defenses. Johnson tied the record with a win over Wilson Reis earlier this year and if he defeats Borg at UFC 216, he’ll likely sit in the history books of the UFC forever.

Also on the main card is an exciting heavyweight bout between Fabricio Werdum (-225) and Derrick Lewis (+215). The pairing of Werdum and Lewis will make for an instantly entertaining matchup as they both bring unique styles and abilities with them to the octagon.

The first fight of the main card will be an intriguing lightweight battle between Beneil Dariush (-225) and Evan Dunham (+211). Both Dariush and Dunham are desperately trying to crack into the UFC’s top ten rankings for the lightweight division.

Up-and-coming prospects also feature on UFC 216 in Las Vegas when Tom Duquesnoy stands toe-to-toe with fellow prospect Cody Stamann. Talented flyweight Magomed Bibulatov will also face his toughest test to date when he steps inside the cage with John Moraga.

Predictions and Best Bets

Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee

Want a hot tip? This fight is going to be amazing.

Tony Ferguson, one of the most feared lightweights in all of mixed martial arts, has been clawing his way to a title shot for years now. He’s eventually arrived at the top end of the division and would be a certain challenger for the UFC Lightweight Championship; however Conor McGregor is away from the sport temporarily. The UFC, in recognition of Fergusons’ efforts have created an interim title for him to contend for and he’ll meet Kevin Lee in the main event as a result.

While Ferguson earned his right to contend at the top, Kevin Lee may have just talked his way into this fight. When the two engaged in a heated argument moments after Lee defeated Michael Chiesa via rear-naked choke, the UFC must have been licking their lips. Now, in the lead up to the fight, all the UFC want to show us is the relentless back-and-forth trash talk that these two fighters have been spraying.

Prediction

Tony Ferguson is a freakishly good mixed martial artist. There’s nothing traditional about his style, either. He uses all sorts of wacky techniques such as inversions, knee bars and unique sprawl attempts to keep his opponent busy. Kevin Lee, on the other hand, is about as traditional as can be. Lee wrestles opponents to the mat before beating them up and submitting them with a rear-naked choke.

There are plenty of things to consider in this matchup, and while Tony Ferguson may have a clear edge in this matchup it might not be by as much as the bookmakers are making it out to be.

Ferguson will have fight-changing moments on the feet, but it may just take one small mistake for Kevin Lee to shoot in underneath one of Ferguson’s spinning attacks and secure a double leg takedown.

Take the underdog in this one and bet on Kevin Lee to win by submission.

Bet: Kevin Lee to win

Odds: +190

Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg

Demetrious Johnson is so far above the rest of the flyweights in the UFC that it’s kind of ridiculous.

Time and time again, Johnson has dominated opponents. It’s not an all-out brutality via relentless assault, though. Instead, Johnson is a defensive mastermind and ensures that he gives damage while not taking any. In fact, his last opponent, Wilson Reis, struggled to connect with “Mighty Mouse” and landed approximately 15% of his attempted strikes.

Ray Borg is no easy task for Demetrious Johnson, however. Borg has an insane ability to scramble out of bad positions – probably better than anyone else in the UFC. Even expert jiu-jitsu specialist Jussier Formiga wrapped up Borg from the back in their last fight but Borg scrambled out of the position with ease.

Prediction

Both Demetrious Johnson and Ray Borg fight with a slow pace as they tend to get a read on their opponent and measure their timing. The first round or two may start exactly the same, but once Demetrious Johnson gets going, its game over. Borg may remain competitive for the first ten minutes as he outscrambles and tries to counter Demetrious Johnson, but Johnson will pick up the pace as soon as he feels confident and by the third round, “Mighty Mouse” should have this one all wrapped up.

In reality, it may take Demetrious Johnson less than five minutes to dispatch of Ray Borg – especially if he wants to put a stamp on his record-breaking performance.

Bet: Total Rounds – Under 4.5

Odds: -120

Best Sportsbooks for Betting Online in the US

UFC 216 card

UFC 216 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30pm ET on Saturday, October 7

Main Card

PPV (10pm ET /)

  • Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee
  • Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg
  • Fabricio Werdum vs. Derrick Lewis
  • Beneil Dariush vs. Evan Dunham

Preliminary Card

FX (8pm ET /)

  • Tom Duquesnoy vs. Cody Stamann
  • Will Brooks vs. Nik Lentz
  • Lando Vannata vs. Bobby Green
  • Pearl Gonzalez vs. Poliana Botelho

Fight Pass Prelims

UFC Fight Pass (6:30 pm ET /)

  • Walt Harris vs. Mark Godbeer
  • John Moraga vs. Magomed Bibulatov
  • Thales Leites vs. Brad Tavares
  • Matt Schnell vs. Marco Beltran

Bellator 183: Henderson vs Pitbull

Bellator 183: Henderson vs Pitbull - Preview, Prediction and Best Bet

Bellator has put together one of the strongest cards of the year for Bellator 183 at the SAP Center in San Jose on September 23. The event is headlined by a fascinating lightweight battle between Benson Henderson and Patricky “Pitbull” Freire.

Henderson enters this fight with “Pitbull” after a split decision loss against Michael Chandler back at Bellator 165. It will be the first time that the former UFC lightweight champion has competed in 2017. Patricky Freire steps into the Bellator cage this weekend after scoring a brutal knockout victory over Josh Thomson at Bellator 172. Freire packs freakish power into his punches and is capable of ending anybody’s night early.

In the co-main event, Paul Daley will face off with Lorenz Larkin in a welterweight fight between two top-tier welterweights in the world. Paul Daley was battered by Rory MacDonald at Bellator 179 and will be looking to bounce back with a win this weekend. Lorenz Larkin also experienced a loss in his last outing when he lost to Douglas Lima in a Bellator Welterweight title challenge at Bellator NYC in June.

Also on the card, Roy Nelson will make his first appearance under the Bellator MMA banner after leaving the UFC earlier this year. Nelson will face off with fellow heavyweight Javy Ayala. Adam Piccolotti will square off with Goiti Yamauchi while Aaron Pico will make his second appearance in Bellator’s cage against Justin Linn.

Aaron Pico steps into the Bellator cage for his second-ever professional mixed martial arts bout this weekend at Bellator 183. The highly-touted youngster was completely dominated by Zach Freeman at Bellator NYC after being submitted in just 24 seconds. Expect Pico to come out a little more controlled, composed and relaxed this time around after experiencing the worst in his debut. Regardless of his mentality, his current technique is definitely an all-or-nothing approach when standing up. His boxing is excellent and his wrestling is class, however his jiu-jitsu transitions and submission defense definitely needs improving.

There’s a big chance that either Pico or Linn find a way to end the night early and we can’t see this fight making it to the end of the second round.

Best Sportsbooks for Betting Online in the US

Recommended Bet:

Aaron Pico vs Justin Linn
Total Rounds – Under 1.5
Saturday 23rd September – 9 pm (ET) / 1am GMT

Bellator 183 Schedule and Start Time

Bellator 183 Main Card – (9pm EST – 1am GMT)

Lightweight: Benson Henderson (24-7) vs. Patricky Freire (17-8)

Welterweight: Paul Daley (39-15-2) vs. Lorenz Larkin (18-6, 1 NC)

Heavyweight: Roy Nelson (22-14) vs. Javy Ayala (10-5)

Featherweight: Aaron Pico (0-1) vs. Justin Linn (7-3)

Lightweight: Adam Piccolotti (9-0) vs. Goiti Yamauchi (21-3)

Bellator 183 Prelims – (7pm EST – 11pm GMT)

Women’s Flyweight: Brooke Mayo (0-1) vs. Kaytlin Neil (0-2)

Welterweight: Fernando Gonzalez (1-0) vs. Alex Lopez (3-0)

Featherweight: Gaston Bolanos (1-0) vs. Brandon Laroco (1-1)

Light Heavyweight: Tony Johnson (4-3) vs. Mike Ortega (2-3)

Bantamweight: Justin Tenedora (1-0) vs. Ricardo Vasquez (Debut)

Women’s Flyweight: Jaimelene Nievera (4-3) vs. Corina Herrera (3-3)

Lightweight: J.J. Okanovich (4-1) vs. Luis Jauregui (4-2)

Flyweight: Daniel Gonzalez (1-0) vs. Anthony Castrejon (1-1)

UFC Fight Night 117: Saint Preux vs Okami

UFC Fight Night 117: Saint Preux vs Okami

Ovince Saint Preux and Yushin Okami headline the UFC’s long-awaited return to Japan on September 23 for UFC Fight Night 117. The event is set to take pace at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama and is currently packed full with eleven entertaining fights showcasing some of the UFC’s best talent from around the world and nine Japanese mixed martial artists.

Saint Preux was originally scheduled to battle with former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio Rua in the main event. However, just last week on September 16, Rua was forced to withdraw from the event in Japan due to an injury. Yushin Okami now steps in on short-notice to fight in front of his local fans in Japan. Saint Preux enters this fight after scoring an impressive submission victory over Marcos Rogerio de Lima at UFC Fight Night 108. Okami will be returning to the UFC after managing to put together four consecutive victories through a number of different organizations in the past 18 months.

The co-main event features an incredible pay-per-view worthy women’s strawweight bout as Claudia Gadelha meets Jessica Andrade in the UFC’s octagon. After losing to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in July last year, Gadelha is staking her claim to another shot at the division champion after putting together two wins against Cortney Casey and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Andrade will be stepping into the cage after her four-fight winning streak was broken by the division champion at UFC 211. Both of these fighters are world-class athletes and are would-be champions if it wasn’t for one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Also on the main card is Japanese MMA legend, Takanori Gomi who will be battling it out with “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim. Gomi always puts on a show and this one will be no different because Dong Hyun Kim is known to be in wars, as well.

Gokhan Saki will also be making his UFC debut in front of fans in Japan. Saki put together a remarkable kickboxing record of 83-16 and scored 59 victories via way of knockout. His stand-up game is some of the best in the world, but it will be interesting to see how his style translates to mixed martial arts where takedowns and grappling feature heavily. Saki will be up against fellow light heavyweight Luis Henrique da Silva, who steps into the cage in Japan on a three-fight losing streak.

If that’s not enough, then the two first bouts of the main card will be sure to excite you as Teruto Ishihara takes on Rolando Dy in a featherweight bout and Charles Rosa meets Mizuto Hirota.

When two of the most dangerous female strawweight mixed martial artists collide at UFC Fight Night 117, we can be sure that this one won’t last the distance. The bookmakers, however, feel as though that Claudia Gadelha and Jessica Andrade will see the scorecards at the end of three rounds. Gadelha made easy work of Karolina Kowalkiewicz just a few months ago at UFC 212 and Andrade will need a dominant performance in order to get her closer to another shot at Joanna Jedrzejczyk. I’m expecting an over-eager Jessica Andrade to run into trouble with the technically sound and dangerous Claudia Gadelha.

Best Sportsbooks for Betting Online in the US

Recommended Bet:

Claudia Gadelha vs Jessica Andrade
Total Rounds – Under 2.5
Friday 22nd September – 11:30 pm (ET) / 3:30am GMT

UFC Fight Night 117 Schedule and Start Time

Main Card – (FOX – 10pm ET / 2am GMT)

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Yushin Okami

Jessica Andrade vs. Claudia Gadelha

Takanori Gomi vs. “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim

Henrique da Silva vs. Gokhan Saki

Rolando Dy vs. Teruto Ishihara

Mizuto Hirota vs. Charles Rosa

Preliminary Card (FOX – 8pm ET / 12am GMT)

Alex Morono vs. Keita Nakamura

Jussier Formiga vs. Ulka Sasaki

Chan-Mi Jeon vs. Syuri Kondo

Shinsho Anzai vs. Luke Jumeau

Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass, 7:30 p.m. ET)

Daichi Abe vs. Hyun Gyu Lim

UFC Fight Night 116: Luke Rockhold vs David Branch

UFC Fight Night 116: Luke Rockhold vs David Branch

Luke Rockhold (15-3) will meet David Branch (21-3) in the main event of UFC Fight Night 116 this weekend, September 16, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

It’s been over 15 months since we’ve seen Luke Rockhold competing inside the UFC’s octagon. The former-middleweight champion lost his title to Michael Bisping at UFC 199 and everything in the UFC’s middleweight division has spiraled out of control since this day.

Rockhold was previously viewed as unbeatable and no one dared to believe that Michael Bisping could dethrone him at UFC 199. His overconfidence, arrogance and lack of respect for the challenger ended up seeing him floored by a Bisping left hook and Rockhold lost sight of the championship belt in the first round.

The former-champion has been campaigning for a big-name fight for his return to the cage, however only the returning David Branch put his hand up to take on the talented middleweight. Branch recently returned to the UFC with a 11 win streak behind him at World Series of Fighting and his first time back in the UFC impressed the fans when he scored a decision victory over Krzysztof Jotko.

In the co-main event, “Platinum” Mike Perry (10-1) will be looking to lay his destructive hands on Thiago Alves (22-11) in what is sure to be a barnburner. After being outclassed by Alan Jouban late last year, Perry put himself back on the radar with a brutal knockout victory over Jake Ellenberger in April. Alves also enters this fight with some form after scoring an impressive win over Patrick Cote at UFC 210.

Also featuring on the main card is an explosive battle between middleweight brawlers Hector Lombard and Anthony Smith. Gregor Gillespie will look to use his classy wrestling against Jason Gonzalez. Kamaru Usman will be hoping to continue his climb through the welterweight division with a win over Sergio Moraes. There’s also a heavyweight bout to kick-start the main card when Justin Ledet welcomes Zu Anyanwu to the UFC.

Luke Rockhold should defeat David Branch convincingly. Then again, he was supposed to beat Michael Bisping with ease, also. This time around, however, don’t expect Luke Rockhold to take his foot off the pedal as he looks to make a point of him being the best middleweight in the world.

Either way, his aggression is either going to result in a fast finish for himself or a sneaky stoppage from the submission expert in David Branch.

Best Sportsbooks for Betting Online in the US

Recommended Bet:

Luke Rockhold vs David Branch
Total Rounds – Under 3.5
Saturday 16th September – 11:55 pm (ET) /  3:55am GMT
Odds: 17/20, -118, 1.85

UFC Fight Night 116 Schedule and Start Time

Main Card – 10pm ET / 2am GMT

Luke Rockhold vs David Branch

Thiago Alves vs Mike Perry

Hector Lombard vs Anthony Smith

Gregor Gillespie vs Jason Gonzalez

Kamaru Usman vs Sergio Moraes

Justin Ledet vs Zu Anyanwu

Prelims – 7:30pm ET / 11:30pm GMT

Tony Martin vs Olivier Aubin-Mercier

Anthony Hamilton vs Daniel Spitz

Krzysztof Jotko vs Uriah Hall

Luke Sanders vs Felipe Arantes

Jason Saggo vs Gilbert Burns

NFL – Season Preview

Thursday sees the start of the NFL 2017 and for those looking to have a bet now’s the time to start thinking about where your pre-season money is going. As ever, we at Intense Gambling will do all we can to assist. Let’s start by taking a look at each team on a division-by-division basis (each team’s Bovada’s odds on winning Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis in brackets):

AFC East

New England Patriots (+325)
Miami Dolphins (+7500)
Buffalo Bills (+15000)
New York Jets (+30000)

The Patriots have won the AFC East for the last eight seasons – an NFL record for consecutive divisional titles – and there is little to suggest that streak will end this season. In the AFC East the defending Super Bowl champions don’t appear to have much competition.

The Jets will likely suffer for not having either a reliable quarterback or number one receiver, while the Bills are in the process of rebuilding. The Dolphins, New England’s biggest challengers, also have plenty of question marks about their offence heading into the new season, especially after losing quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the season with a knee injury.

Miami signed Jay Cutler to replace Tannehill and he has looked good in pre-season but his tendency to offer up turnovers will be tested once it all starts for real.

The Patriots had their own major injury to contend with this pre-season when wide receiver Julian Edelman tore his ACL but they still have Tom Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick as  head coach; the perfect pair to lead the Patriots through any adversity.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (+1000)
Baltimore Ravens (+5000)
Cincinnati Bengals (+6600)
Cleveland Browns (+30000)

The Steelers are in pole position here having won the AFC North in two of the last three seasons. For them another divisional title beckons in 2017 and possibly more. They have, on paper, the most talented offense in the division; the only question marks are around them possibly not having a defence to match.

The Ravens are likely to be Pittsburgh’s biggest challengers and have perhaps the best defence in the division but as an offensive unit they have struggled in pre-season without injured quarterback Joe Flacco. If they can get him on the field and healthy they can push the Steelers all the way.

For their part, the Browns have improved significantly from a lowly base but don’t look yet ready to compete again for a play-off spot. The Bengals too are without momentum although their odds don’t necessarily reflect this.

Best Sportsbooks for Betting Online in the US

AFC South

Houston Texans (+2800)
Indianapolis Colts (+4000)
Tennessee Titans (+4000)
Jacksonville Jaguars (+10000)

The Titans are the only team in this division without any real question marks over their quarterback position heading into the 2017 season and that is a definite advantage.

For the Colts, quarterback Andrew Luck has not played, or even trained, this summer while recovering from off-season surgery although they still hope to have him for the season opener against the Rams. But even a healthy Luck may not be able to compensate for a roster devoid of any genuine flair or talent.

The Jaguars meanwhile are struggling to find a number one quarterback, while the Texans have Tom Savage keeping the position warm just until rookie Deshaun Watson is ready to take over on a permanent basis.

The Titans however have Marcus Mariota, who threw 3,426 yards, 26 touchdowns and just nine interceptions last season despite missing the final game of the season because of a broken leg. He has recovered quickly from that injury and could lead the Titans to their first divisional title since 2008.

AFC West

Oakland Raiders (+1000)
Kansas City Chiefs (+2500)
Denver Broncos (+2800)
Los Angeles Chargers (+5000)

This is regarded as the best and most competitive in football and is definitely the toughest to call. The Chiefs and Raiders were both 12-4 last season with the Chiefs winning a tiebreaker for the divisional title. This time round it could quite easily turn into a four-way fight for the title and a direct route to the play-offs.

Last year the Raiders were on track to win the division until quarterback Derek Carr broke his leg in the regular season’s penultimate game. They then lost their regular-season finale to the Broncos while the Chiefs beat the Chargers to claim the divisional crown.

But with a healthy Carr back, the Raiders will feel they have some unfinished business. First of all they must hold off the Chiefs for the divisional title, but next in their sights will be the Patriots who they will try to unseat as AFC champions.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys (+1400)
New York Giants (+1600)
Philadelphia Eagles (+4000)
Washington Redskins (+6600)

The Cowboys went 13-3 to take this division last season but it wasn’t as straightforward as it sounds. All three of their regular-season losses came within this division, including both games to the 11-5 New York Giants.

But that’s to be expected in the one of the most competitive, high-profile divisions in the NFL. And now Dallas is now trying to do something no other team in the East has done since the Eagles in 2004 — which is win back-to-back divisional championships.

Since 2011, when the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl, all four teams have claimed the title, with Dallas and Washington winning two each. Will this chopping and changing continue, or can the Cowboys claim it again? It seems sure to be one that will capture the football watching public’s imagination.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers (+900)
Minnesota Vikings (+3300)
Detroit Lions (+5000)
Chicago Bears (+15000)

With Aaron Rodgers as QB, who’s won five of the last six divisional titles, even if the Packers are not the Pack of old they still look good enough to win this division, especially with Kevin King providing thrust in the secondary. Yet with Matthew Stafford at the helm of the Lions, they too have a quality quarterback to lead them through the season; the only question being does he have the same level of team support that Rogers has.

Ironically, if Stafford had been healthy at the end of last season, the Lions might have been good enough to pip the Packers to the divisional title but this time round they need to solve the problems with their defensive live in order to be competitive. They’ve added Jarrad Davis but that may not be enough.

Chicago are, in truth, slowly improving but QB Mitch Trubisky will need at least a year to adapt and make them a force, while Minnesota – who on the face of it appear competitive – will need to fill the void left by the injured Teddy Bridgewater to justify their place as second-favourites in the division.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (+1200)
Carolina Panthers (+2800)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3300)
New Orleans Saints (+5000)

The Falcons are looking to use the bounce from January’s 28-3 Super Bowl lead as fuel for the 2017 season, as opposed to be it being yet another hurdle of disappointment to overcome. And they will need to because every team in this division is equipped to challenge them.

Much will depend on how the Falcons are able to adapt to the ideas of their new offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian, who has taken over from Kyle Shanahan – now head coach of the 49ers. QB Matt Ryan will need to shake off an under-par pre-season, and they will hope to hit the ground running when the season begins.

The Buccaneers look well placed to challenge and are regarded as a team on the up.  All eyes will now be on QB Jameis Winston, now they have provided him with a couple more targets in DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard.

After a Super Bowl loss of their own in 2015, the Panthers looked a shadow of that team last season but Cam Newton now has a new arsenal of offensive weapons surrounding him, and their defence still remains solid. 2017 could be a good one for them. For the Saints it looks likely to be a tough one and they still rely heavily on the passing of veteran QB Drew Brees.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks (+1200)
Arizona Cardinals (+3300)
Los Angeles Rams (+20000)
San Francisco 49ers (+30000)

While the AFC West is considered one of the most balanced divisions in the NFL, the same cannot be said of the NFC West. For three of the last four seasons it’s a division that has belonged to the Seahawks and despite a changed offensive line that has already lost tackle George Fant, they should comfortably retain the divisional title again in 2017.

The Cardinals are likely to be their closest challengers and will be looking to their ageing core of offensive talent, led by 37-year old QB Carson Palmer, to steer them towards a shot at the play-offs.

Meanwhile, the 49ers and Rams will both benefit from the bounce of having new coaches – Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay respectively – but both look to be at least a full season away from being back in play-off contention.           

FANCY A BET?

If you’re looking for a decent value bet then the Steelers at +1000 with Bovado to win the whole thing looks a very decent shout; so too the Raiders at identical odds with the same online bookmaker. Both have a chance of end-of-season glory.

The same bookmaker is offering what looks a generous +1800 for the Titans to win the AFC and +1400 for the Panthers to win the NFC; both worthy of consideration.

UFC 215: Demetrious Johnson vs Ray Borg

UFC 215: Demetrious Johnson vs Ray Borg

Top quality mixed martial arts action returns to pay-per-view this weekend on September 9 as flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson faces Ray Borg in the main event. Demetrious Johnson is widely regarded as the best mixed martial artist in the world today and will be attempting to shatter a record previously set by Anderson “The Spider” Silva by defending his title successfully for a historic 11 consecutive times. Ray Borg will provide an intriguing challenge for the superstar, but he enters this one hugely underrated by the bookmakers and fans alike.

The co-main event features another UFC championship bout as Amanda Nunes attempts to defend her title against Valentina Shevchenko. This will mark the second time that these two athletes have met inside the octagon. Nunes came away victorious in the first battle by way of unanimous decision, but it wasn’t without question as Shevchenko began to outwork Nunes in the third and final round. This time, they fight for twenty-five minutes and the question on everyone’s lips is whether Amanda Nunes can survive against a surging Shevchenko?

Also featuring on the card is an intense battle between two supreme welterweights: Rafael dos Anjos and Neil Magny. Dos Anjos looked impressive in his first fight at the 170 pound weight class and scored a victory against the experienced Tarec Saffiedine. “RDA” claims to have more energy competing at welterweight and will be looking to start a climb towards the championship after losing his lightweight title to Eddie Alvarez in 2016. Neil Magny has lost just one of his last five fights and it was to the highly-rated Lorenz Larkin. With wins over Kelvin Gastelum and Johny Hendricks, and an inspiring comeback against Hector Lombard, Magny will be in a position to disrupt RDA’s climb through the division.

To kick-start the main card, Gilbert Melendez will be standing toe-to-toe with Jeremy Stephens in a fan-favorite showdown. Both of these guys can bang and there’s every chance that this one goes down as Fight of the Night. Also on the main card, Australian Tyson Pedro will be hoping to remain undefeated against #10 ranked Ilir Latifi this weekend.

The five-round fight suits Valentina Shevchenko completely. This time, she’ll get the opportunity to work Amanda Nunes over in the final rounds with her excellent counter striking. In the first fight, Shevchenko clearly lost the first two rounds but it was at her own expense as she was the one who initiated the takedown that caused all of the pain for her. Shevchenko should be too technically superior to Amanda Nunes on the feet, who often lunges in as she attempts her powerful strikes.

Best Sportsbooks for Betting Online in the US

Recommended Bet:

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko
Valentina Shevchenko to Win
Saturday 9th September – 11:30 pm (ET) /  3:30am GMT

UFC 215 Schedule and Start Time

Main Card – 10pm ET / 2am GMT

Demetrious Johnson vs Ray Borg

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko

Neil Magny vs Rafael dos Anjos

Ilir Latifi vs Tyson Pedro

Jeremy Stephens vs Gilbert Melendez

Prelims – 8pm ET / 12am GMT

Sara McMann vs Ketlen Vieira

Henry Cejudo vs Wilson Reis

Sarah Moras vs Ashlee Evans-Smith

Gavin Tucker vs Rick Glenn

Fight Pass Prelims – 6pm ET / 10am GMT

Mitch Clarke vs Alex White

Luis Henrique vs Arjan Bhullar

Kajan Johnson vs Adriano Martin

UFC Fight Night 115: Alexander Volkov vs Stefan Struve

UFC Fight Night 115

The UFC returns to normal schedule after what has been a crazy three weeks dedicated to promoting and being heavily involved in ‘The Money Fight’ between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. While many fans out there are desperate to watch some UFC action after an extended break; this card doesn’t pack respectable star power.

The main event of UFC Fight Night 115 will pit two giants against each other. 6’7″ Alexander Volkov will meet Stefan Struve who stands 7-foot tall in a fight that will make the octagon look tiny.

Volkov enters the main event at Rotterdam, Netherlands on a four-fight winning streak which includes a dominant victory over Roy Nelson. Stefan Struve also steps into the cage with some momentum after having recorded two consecutive victories.

Also featuring on the main card is a potentially explosive battle between Siyar Bahadurzada and Rob Wilkinson. Wilkinson will be making his UFC debut after racking up and impressive 11-0 record on the regional circuit.

Marion Reneau will face off with short-notice replacement Talita De Oliveira Bernardo. Bernardo looks to be largely under skilled relative to Reneau, and we are expecting a dominant performance from Reneau.

Leon Edwards will stand toe-to-toe with Bryan Barberena in a fight between two massive welterweights. Edwards and Barberena are always marching forward, so we can expect a bloody affair when these two meet inside the octagon this weekend.

It will be strange for Alexander Volkov not to have a height and reach advantage against his opponent this weekend at UFC Fight Night 115. Struve stands at seven-foot tall and will tower over Volkov. It’s not just about the numbers, though, it’s about how a fighter uses their range to maintain optimal striking distance. Volkov is far superior at working at an ideal distance between himself and his opponent, and he will find a home for his punches against Stefan Struve.

Best Sportsbooks for Betting Online in the US

Recommended Bet:

Alexander Volkov vs Stefan Struve
Alexander Volkov to Win
Saturday 2nd September – 5:00 pm (ET) /  9:00pm GMT

Main Card – 3pm ET / 7pm GMT

Alexander Volkov vs Stefan Struve – Main Event

Siyar Bahadurzada vs Rob Wilkinson

Marion Reneau vs Talita Bernardo

Leon Edwards vs Bryan Barberena

Prelims – 11:30am ET / 3:30pm GMT

Darren Till vs Bojan Velickovic

Felipe Silva vs Mairbek Taisumov

Mads Burnell vs Michel Prazeres

Desmond Green vs Rustam Khabilov

Francimar Barroso vs Aleksandar Rakic

Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Mike Santiago

Abdul-Kerim Edilov vs Bojan Mihajlovic