The biggest card of the year is finally here, and I’m ready to give you some
unbiased, intelligent, shot in the dark picks for UFC 189.
Thatch (-200) over Nelson
First of all, Brandon Thatch is the much better fighter, has a three inch height advantage, and has fought much tougher competition. But the main reason I like Thatch here is because of the reason why Nelson was selected for this fight. The UFC wanted to put Gunnar on the same card as McGregor because those two are boys. Plus, the Irish traveling in to watch McGregor will certainly want to jump on board with Nelson, which will give even more value to Thatch. Lastly, this is the first time Nelson has ever fought in the United States. All points to a Thatch win, but hold off til right before the fight to bet it, the -200 number should come down a bit.
Stephens (+185) over Bermudez
This is the easiest upset to pick on the card in my opinion. The metrics point heavily in the favor of Stephens with the five inch reach advantage and two inch height advantage. Stephens is the better striker and Bermudez proved he’s not immune to being out-wrestled in his loss to Ricardo Llamas. Stephens has lost back to back fights so his back is certainly against the wall, and he’s absolutely worth the almost 2:1 price in a fight that can easily go his way.
Lawler (+155) over MacDonald
I almost always prefer the loser of the first fight in a rematch, and I’m a huge fan of Rory MacDonald’s style, but Robbie Lawler’s experience will win the night for him Saturday. Since returning to Welterweight, Lawler has been a different man with just the one loss to Johny Hendricks in a five round fight of the night. MacDonald’s aggression will wear down as the fight bears on and Lawler will take advantage of the latter rounds. If McDonald is going to win this fight, he’s going to have to either get a TKO early, or make sure he wins the first three rounds. I think Lawler can steal one early and then seal the deal in the championship rounds.
McGregor (-140) over Mendes
This is the fight that caused me to cross out unbiased in my intro to this article. I’ll just flat out admit it, I love Conor McGregor. He’s the best thing that’s happened to the UFC in a long long time, and the thought of hearing what he has to say with a belt sitting in front of him is too good to pass up. Mendes actually presents a much different (and maybe tougher) challenge to McGregor than Aldo would have, but Conor still has a sizable edge. He’s bigger, stronger, hits harder, and is much more unpredictable. Mendes will attempt to shorten the distance between the two fighters, but taking down McGregor has proven to be a very tall task. Mendes is certainly the best wrestler McGregor has ever fought, but the calm collective rangy style of McGregor will make it nearly impossible for Mendes to fight on the interior as often as he would like. I’d be surprised if this fight gets out of the second round as McGregor will stay at a distance in pick Mendes apart with kicks and jabs eventually ending in a knockout. The price, which is going to head toward -200 most likely, is not great value (so I actually will NOT be betting this fight), but it’s McGregor’s time, and Chad Mendes is not the right guy to stand in his way.