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FLD Presents: The UFC 101 Lockdown

Author : Brad Taschuk

Friday, 07 August 2009 07:56

There are some excellent plays across the board at UFC 101, but only a couple really stand out as Lockdown Picks.

With both of the bets suggested, it is important to keep in mind that only one has to be successful in order to make money on the event.

John Howard @ +176 (Pinnacle)

This is one of those cases where MMA fans (especially betting MMA fans) can be grateful that the media still doesn't really understand the sport. Howard looked fantastic, and shocked almost everybody in his fight at UFC 94 against Chris Wilson, who is one of the most well-rounded Welterweights not in the UFC's elite (and posed some similar problems as McCrory in the stand up). McCrory has shown some skills, but his three octagon wins have come against low-level challenges (Spratt, Cummo, Madigan) while the two times he has tried to step up in competition (Gono and Hazelett) he has lost.

Howard fits in to the latter group, and even though McCrory's length will pose a problem (although not a whole lot more so than Wilson's, who Howard did fine against in the stand up); once the fight gets inside, even with McCrory's latest "man spurt," Doomsday will be able to overpower him in the clinch and on the ground. Howard is relentless in obtaining takedowns and maintaining top position, and should be able to ride out a decision victory, or even catch McCrory in a submission in this fight.


Johny Hendricks @ +104 (Pinnacle)

There are multiple factors that make this pick a lockdown. First, Amir's history of injury means that even though he's had over a year since his last fight to train and improve, he's going to have some rust once he actually gets back in there to fight. From a mental standpoint, he also may not be as confident in his body as he was before.

The next issue is Amir's propensity to take punishment. Johny Hendricks throws human hand grenades (especially with his left hand), and with Amir's suspect defense, it's a very real possibility that he could land that left multiple times and end Amir's night. Yes, Amir has shown somewhat diverse striking, but he lacks really solid power and Johny has shown in his young career that he's able to take some shots.

Another thing working against Amir is the fact that this will be his first fight at 170. Many a time we've seen a fighter struggle with his cardio following his initial weight cut to a new division (even if it isn't an unnecessarily large cut). Cardio was one of the clear advantages Amir would have held over Johny, but I've never felt comfortable picking a fighter making their debut in a lower weightclass, and I certainly don't feel comfortable doing it against as dangerous an opponent as Hendricks.

Finally, on the ground people are acting like this fight is going to be Amir/CB 3, where Johny gets caught by the first sub Amir throws his way, but these people are doing two things: 1) Overrating Amir's ground game because he was able to sub a very green wrestler, and 2) They clearly have not seen Hendricks' exploits on the mat, and are considering him just another inexperienced wrestler. Johny's wrestling pedigree is well known, but he has also won some Grappler's Quest tournaments, and has shown a solid knowledge and application of the submission game (he works excellent Brabo chokes from the front headlock position, and has never really been threatened by a submission from someone's guard).

All of these things add up to Johny continuing to prove he's one of the best Welterweight prospects out there, and they make him one of our Lockdowns for UFC 101.