Commentary

Betting UFC: Lay off Jones-Machida

Plenty of value for bettors in UFC 140; Insider breaks down its top five fights

Originally Published: December 8, 2011
By John Candido | FightMetric
 Jon Jones versus Lyoto MachidaESPN.com IllustrationJon Jones is a heavy favorite over Lyoto Machida on Saturday night.

Editor's note: ESPN Insider debuts a new feature that marries betting and mixed martial arts. With help from the statistical folks over at FightMetric, Insider will break down the money lines on five fights spotlighted on each UFC card.

Seeing double?

The main card of UFC 140: Jones versus Machida features the first event since 2006 to showcase both Nogueira brothers on the same card. The Nogueiras are notoriously difficult to tell apart: they're identical twins, their first names are both Antonio and they basically have the same nickname (Minotauro/Big Nog and Minotoro/Little Nog).

However, what will separate the two brothers Saturday night in Toronto are the money lines on each. One will be very much undervalued, while the other will be very much overvalued. After reviewing the stats and lines behind both of the Nogueira fights, bettors and MMA fans should have no trouble telling which Nog is which, and on whom they should throw down some money by the time each steps into the Octagon.

Frank Mir (minus-260) vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria (plus-220)

Heavyweight (265 pounds): Big Nog, the elder of the Nogueira brothers, certainly looked old and was done fighting after getting TKO'd by Mir at UFC 92 and then suffering a devastating knockout loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 110. During the next year, Nogueira underwent surgery and rehab on both knees and each of his hips. Few expected much in the way of a comeback. At UFC 134 in Brazil, the newly rebuilt Nogueira stunned fans with a first-round knockout victory over rising heavyweight star Brendan Schaub.

[+] EnlargeAntonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Sherdog.comBig Nog looks like a good value bet for UFC 140.

Despite the impressive knockout, most bettors won't be able to shake the memories of the pre-surgery Nogueira being dominated by Mir in their first match. Fortunately for savvy MMA fans, the stats demonstrate why Nogueira should do better in their rematch.

Nogueira's opponents have landed about 42 percent of significant strike attempts against him over the course of his career. What most fight fans remember was Mir's ability to land an abnormally high 65 percent of his significant strikes against Minotauro in their first fight. But following surgery and rehab, a boxer like Schaub was only able to land 24 percent of his significant strikes against a healthy Nogueira before getting knocked out. Remember that Nogueira was a minus-360 favorite in the first fight against Mir. At plus-220, you're getting a pre-recovery line for a post-recovery Minotauro, all thanks to public perception.

Insider pick: Nogueira


Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (minus-225) vs. Tito Ortiz (plus-175)