UFC 159 is shaping up to be one of the best MMA cards bettors have been blessed with in some time. We already looked at the main event between Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, so we dive into a tasty undercard ripe with big names and betting value.
Michael Bisping (-174) vs. Alan Belcher (+144)
Middleweight contenders collide in the co-main event of UFC 159 as Michael Bisping takes on Alan Belcher.
Bisping (23-5) is looking to rebound from his KO loss to Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7. He’s a solid all-around fighter with good technical boxing and improved wrestling. However, he has faltered when stepping up in competition. Going up against Belcher should be interesting because Bisping has the takedown ability to grind out a decision, as well as the boxing to win the fight standing.
Belcher has underrated knockout power and Bisping has to be careful if he chooses to stand and trade with "The Talent." Belcher is certainly capable of winning this bout, but he has a questionable fight IQ at times and, if he makes any mistakes against Bisping, it could prove to be the difference.
This is a competitive fight but Bisping better in most areas and those edges should help lead him to at least a decision win, if not a stoppage, as the Brit moves back into title contention in the UFC middleweight division.
Phil Davis (-315) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (+255)
Davis (10-1, 1 NC) was a dominant collegiate wrestler and his skills on the mat have transferred over to MMA, where he's gone 6-1, 1 NC in his UFC careers. The 28-year-old Davis is a stud on the mat, however, his striking is still a work in progress and his wrestling defense is poor.
Davis is getting an interesting matchup in Magalhaes, who called Davis out on Twitter. Magalhaes is an exceptional grappler and if Davis' plan is to take him down to the ground, he could get in a lot of trouble with Magalhaes' deadly submission attack. And if the fight stays standing, it could really go either way.
Magalhaes (10-5, 1 NC) is one of the most dangerous ground fighters in the entire UFC. He has eight career wins via tapout and he most certainly can win this fight if he takes it to the floor. He also has better standup than Davis and can make things interesting. The one knock against Magalhaes is his cardio, which has been questionable at times. If he doesn't gas out against Davis, he has a good shot of pulling off the upset.
Roy Nelson (-235) vs. Cheick Kongo (+185)
Nelson (18-7) has won his last two fights and three of his last four fights via knockout as he continues to make a push towards a title shot. The 36 year old is known for his less-than-stellar physique but don't let his belly fool you. He's won 11 times by T/KO, including three "Knockout of the Night" performances in the UFC - and he has an underrated ground game as he's a BJJ black belt.
Kongo (18-7-2) hasn't fought since an extremely boring decision win over Shawn Jordan at UFC 149. He’s a solid striker with good finishing power (10 knockout wins in his career), but his best attribute is his Greco Roman wrestling, which allows him to pin his opponents up against the fence and control them there.
This fight will play out standing and I really can't see Kongo being able to avoid Nelson's power for too long. Nelson will stalk Kongo down and throw bombs, eventually landing that big overhand right to crush Kongo and win his fourth straight fight.
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