UFC 98: Evans vs Machida (5/23/09) (Predictions)

Note: The odds listed are from www.betus.com (BU) and www.sportsbook.com (SB), they were listed as of 5/21/09.  Also, I will break down the line into percentages for everyone.  The percentage tells how often they would win the fight.  P.S. I know the percentages don’t always add to 100, that’s because thats the sportsbooks take, it’s just the way they do it.


Rashad Evans^$                               Lyoto Machida

rashad-evans1      vs       lyoto-machida

Rashad: BU+175 (36%), SB+165 (38%)  (5/13/09)

                   BU+150 (40%), SB+160 (38%)  (5/21/09)

Machida: BU-225 (69%), SB-205 (67%)  (5/13/09)

                     BU-200 (66%), SB-200 (66%)  (5/21/09)

 First, I apologize for not having this piece posted sooner, but hopefully a week before the fight works.  I believe and am willing to put money on Rashad Evans winning this fight.  There are several factors that brought me to this conclusion, some of which are speed, athleticism, and style.

I think that Evans has the perfect style and pedigree to beat the undefeated Machida.  I know that Machida has won every fight so far in the UFC, and that he has never lost a round in the UFC, but all good things must come to an end, and Machidas good win streak is going to end sooner than Evans.

Rashad was a division one wrestler for Michigan State University before he started in MMA.  I think it is safe to say that Evans is a better wrestler than Machida.  Also, I think that Evans is a better athlete in general, and quicker too.  Evans is in my opinion the quickest Light-heavyweight in the division.  I would expect Rashad to be able to cut off the angle, use his quick shot on Machida and take Machida down.  Machida has very good footwork, but isn’t as quick as Rashad.  In order for Rashad to win this fight he needs to take Machida down, and ground and pound him a little, rattle his cage a little bit.  It will not only score points on the judges score cards, but it will test Machidas resolve, which has never really been tested yet.  We still don’t know if Machida can take a good shot, or how tough he really is.

Machida likes to use his footwork and karate style to win his matches.  Machidas a counter-striker who prides himself on hitting without getting hit.  But, I don’t think Machida will knock Evans out.  Evans fought in the heavyweight division on the Ultimate Fighter tv show, and during that show he took some pretty clean shots from heavyweights and was never knocked out. 

 Basically, Machida isn’t going to knock out Evans which is probably the best way for him to win.  Evans is going to be quick enough to close the distance and take Machida down, look for Evans to take Machida down more than Machidataking Evans down.  Evans has a good wrestling background, and good ground and pound.  Evans is going to be able to control where the fight takes place, because Machida won’t be athletic enough to take Rashad down and score points.  Evans is going to either knockout Machida on the ground or possibly standing (Evans has very good punching power), or the fight will go to decision which Rashad will win because of the points he’ll score with his takedowns.

Lastly, lets not forget Rashad has never lost in the UFC either.  Yeah, he has had a lot of close calls (a draw and a couple of split-decisions) but Rashad has improved as a fighter every single time he has fought in the octagon.  If Rashad we’re to go back and re-fight those opponents now, I think he would fair much better.  Rashad has been in many close fights and he always comes out on top, the man knows how to win, the guy is simply a winner.


With Rashad being a Las Vegas underdog, and the reasons I explained above, how could one not want to bet on this.  Either way Evans is getting slighted by the odds.  I could see Evans being like +120 but +175? come on, gotta take those odds.


Added 5/21/09

I am still going with Evans,here are some keys to victory.

1. Don’t fall behind the judges scorecard early.  If Evans can keep the fight close and win the first and/or second rounds he might make Machida sweat a little. 

2.  Evans needs to be able to take Machida down, he doesn’t even have to control Machida on the ground, just score takedowns thereby scoring points on the judges scorecard.

3.  Don’t get over anxious.  Machida is a master at moving out of the way and disengaging and countering.  Evans has to keep his cool and stick to his gameplan especially in the first part of the fight.

4.  Don’t go straight in.  Thiago Siva showed us all what happens to a fighter who plots straight ahead towards Machida.  For those of us who don’t know what happend Silva got his face knocked off.  Evans needs to throw combinations, and change levels frequently, keep Machida guessing.

5.  Keep the pressure on Machida.  Evans is a superior athlete and wrestler than Machida, if he can close the distance and tie up Machida, he stands a real good chance of making Machida worry.  We have yet to see Machida in real trouble because no one has been able to keep constant pressure on him.

Evans is more than capable of following this gameplan.  As I stated earlier, Evans is going to be too fast, and to good of a wrestler for Machida to stay away from.  Evans, if your listening, win this one and show the MMA world you’re no joke.


Matt Hughes^$     vs     Matt Serra

Hughes: BU-275 (73%), SB-290 (74%)  (5/13/09)

                   BU-275 (73%), SB-275 (73%)  (5/21/09)

Serra: BU+190(34%)  SB+230 (30%)  (5/13/09)

              BU+190 (34%) SB+215 (31%)  (5/21/09)

Hughes is a pretty good lock for this fight.  Both fighters are about the same age, so both of their primes (which have passed) were around the same time.  In Hughes’ prime he was champ and virtually unbeatable.  Serra was always a pretty good fighter, but was never at the same level as Hughes.

Don’t count Serra out though, he did beat Georges St.Pierre as a huge underdog.  Serra does have heart, and he will show up to fight.  With that said though, Hughes has heart, and I know Hughes is looking forward to this fight too. 

Basically the best Matt Serra wouldn’t usually beat the best Matt Hughes.  Hughes for the win, either by good ol’ fashioned ground and pound, or submission.  Yeah, I know Serra is a BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) Black belt, but Hughes has some pretty good BJJ too.  Hughes might over-power or daze Serra and then slap a submission on him.  Go Hughes.


I think Hughes wins this fight about 75% of the time too, the odds are reasonable.


Added 5/21/09

Still happy with this pick.


Drew McFedries*     vs     Xavier Foupa-Pokam

McFedries: SB+160 (38%)  (5/21/09)

Foupa-Pokam: SB-200 (66%)  (5/21/09)

Well, I don’t really know who to go with on this one.  Las Vegas odds haven’t been released yet, but I think McFedries will be the slight favorite.  He has more experience in the UFC, with a couple of wins and some losses.  The losses have come to some very competitive opponents, and his wins have come against some OK opponents.  I don’t know if Xavier is a good or OK opponent, but he did lose his UFC debut by decision.  I expect McFedries to win.


Added 5/21/09

Well, I was wrong, McFedries is the underdog in this one but a substantial margin.  Apparently MdFedries is absolutely atrocious on the ground, but has one punch knockout power.  Foupa-Pokham on the other hand is slightly more versed on the ground, quicker and a good striker himself.  McFedries always has that punchers chance though, and he has lost his last two fights in the UFC, so is he due or not? Thats the real question.  I’m going to change this pick and goFoupa-Pokham by submission.


Updated 5/22/09

OK readers, I hate to do this to you, but I have been struggling with this match ever since it was released.  I slept on it, and my gut is telling me to stay with McFedries, my initial pick.  So, one day before fight time, I am going to switch this pick back to McFedries who will win by knockout.  I think yesterday I was just surprised to see him come out as the underdog, but I am ok with it.  Go McFedries.


Brock Larson*     vs     Mike Pyle

Larson: SB-290 (74%)  (5/21/09)


I saw Chris Wilsons last fight against John Howard which he lost by split decision.  However, I wasn’t too impressed.  I haven’t seen Larson fight, but everything I read is very positive.  Two of his losses have come to quality opponents (I don’t know who is first loss was to) in Carlos Condit, and John Fitch.  Wilson also has a loss to John Fitch, and I think that Wilson would probably lose to Condit too.

My pick is for Larson, but don’t ask me how or when, this could go to decision, be a submission, or even a knockout.


Added 5/21/09

Still sounds good to me.


Added 5/23/09

Well Mike Pyle has replaced Chris Wilson as of Friday 5/23/09.  My pick is still for Larson, however I don’t really know very much about Pyle. 


Dan Miller*    vs     Chael Sonnen

Sonnen: SB+125 (44%)  (5/21/09)

Miller: SB-155 (61%)  (5/21/09)

Another tough fight to pick.  I haven’t seen either one fight yet, but I think Sonnen might have the edge.  Miller is a tough and good up and coming fighter in the UFC, but has yet to fight any real talent in the UFC.  Sonnen on the other hand has more experience, and has faced some better competition than Miller.  This is really a good test for Miller Sonnen is a fighter from the next level up, but I don’t know if Miller is ready or capable of moving up a level.  Las Vegas odds will favor Sonnen I think, but this fight is a good measuring stick for Miller more than Sonnen.  Expect Miller to bring it, and achieve a possible upset.


Added 5/21/09

Well, I was wrong, Miller is the favorite for the fight.  Also, I have seen a Sonnen fight now, I saw where he fought Paulo Filho.  He did win the fight, but in less than spectacular fashion.  He is a good wrestler, but his standup is lacking.  Sonnen is still going to be a tough test for Miller, and yes, I am going to change my pick.  I was not impresed with the Filho fight, and I expect Miller being more than capable of taking Sonnen down.

Sean Sherk*     vs     Frank Edgar

Sherk: BU-275 (73%) SB-295 (74%)  (5/13/09)

               BU-300 (75%) SB-365 (78%)  (5/21/09)

Edgar: BU+190 (34%) SB+235(30%)  (5/13/09)

                BU+200 (33%) SB+285 (26%)  (5/21/09)

Sherk has great wrestling, but I have yet to see much more than that.  He enjoys ground and pound, but like some wrestlers I think he feels he needs to get that big knockout under his belt.  Sherk has been working his boxing, and it’s pretty good, but he has yet to finish anybody with it, so as of right now, I don’t think too much of it. 

The two both have wins over Tyson Griffin, and Hermes Franca by decision.  Sherk has losses to Matt Hughes, BJ Penn and Georges St.Pierre all of whom are of the highest level.  Edgars only loss has come to Gray Maynard, who many feel could be competing for the lightweight title in the future. 

I think that experience is whats going to win this fight, and Sherk simply has more of it.  I am willing to bet this will be mostly fought on the mat, and that it will go to decision.  However, with that said these may be two ex-wrestlers who want to prove themselves on their feet, so there is a slight chance it might stay standing. Look for Sherk to win, possibly even by Split-decision, I think it will be that close.


Added 5/21/09

Well, Sherk is climbing as a favorite.  Sherk is and should be the favorite, but I just don’t see him being that clear cut of one.  This could definatley be a good fight to throw down a couple dollars on Edgar for an upset.


Pat Barry     vs     Tim Hague

Barry: BU-350 (77%) (5/13/09)

               BU-330 (77%) SB-500 (83%)  (5/21/09)

Hague: BU+225 (31%)  (5/13/09)

                 BU+220 (31%) SB+300 (25%)  (5/21/09)

I haven’t had the opportunity to see either of these guys fight, but I will go with Vegas on this one.  Barry has a win in his only UFC appearance, against Dan Evensen, while Hague has yet to fight in the octagon.  Hague’s measureables that they have on his bio on the UFC website are impressive to read.  He is 6’4” and weighs 265, while Barry is 5’11” at 235.  Barry is 4-0 while Hague is 9-1.  By reading these stats, one might think Hague should be the favorite.  Barry is from the US and Hague is from Canada, maybe he is getting that foreign fighter disrespect, and maybe just isn’t as popular as Hague in the US so he’s the underdog.  I guess Vegas knows something I don’t though.  I am not picking this one yet, I want to see the weigh-ins.


Added 5/21/09

Man, Barry is a heavy favorite in this fight still.  I haven’t seen either one ever fight, and with the shear size advantage of Hague its still hard to believe Barry can be such a favorite.  I read an article that said that Barry although small has speed and power like (not the same as) Mike Tyson had.  Barry has very good punching power for the division.  I’m still gonna wait for the weigh ins.


Added 5/23/09

Ok, because I have to make a pick I will go with Barry, apparently he has very good leg kicks and will be able to chop the taller Hague down.  Hague has said that he plans to slug it out with Barry, and that’s Barry’s specialty.  Barry by knockout.


Phillipe Nover*     vs     Kyle Bradley

Nover: BU-400 (80%) SB-365 (78%)  (5/13/09)

                BU-330 (77%) SB-500 (83%)  (5/21/09)

Bradley: BU+250 (29%) SB+285 (26%)  (5/13/09)

                   BU+220 (31%) SB+300 (25%)  (5/21/09)

Well, one sportsbook has Nover as an extreme favorite, another has it closer.  Nover is definitely the favorite, but probably not by as much as everyone thinks. 

Nover was featured on The Ultimate Fighter tv show, and Dana White (the President of the UFC) made a very flattering comparison between Nover and Georges St.Pierre.  I think this has created over-hype for Nover.  Nover is a good fighter, no doubt about it, but he did lose in the finale of the show. 

Bradley has lost his only two UFC fights, but they were to two very respectable opponents in Chris Lytle, and Joe Lauzon.  I think Nover would lose to both of these fighters as well.  This fight is definitely a good litmus test for Nover.

I think Nover will still get the win, but I would say he wins about 60-65% of the time in this fight.  Also, I believe the UFC wants Nover to win, so they gave him a matchup that he should win.


Added 5/21/09

Well, Nover went up in one sportsbook and down in the other.  Perhaps Nover does win this fight more than 60-65% of the time, but no more than 70%.  I still think the sportsbooks have him rated too highly.  But, he will still win this fight.




Krzysztof Soszynski*$   vs     Andre Gusmao

Soszynski: SB+125 (44%)  (5/21/09)

Gusmao: SB-155 (61%)  (5/21/09)

 I am going to refer to Soszynski as KS his name is too big of a pain in the you know what to spell.  KS is going to win this one.  KS is a very good fighter, and has gotten better since coming off the Ultimate Fighter TV show.  He lost during the show, but my understanding is that he was hurt.  KS has since then had two very impressive performances in the UFC.  KS has fought very recently though, but he did not take much punishment (if any) and unless there was an injury that we don’t know about he should  be in good health.

Gusmao lost in his UFC debut, but I bet he is a better fighter than some might give him credit for.  His loss came to a very athletic and exciting fighter in Jon Jones.  I know Gusmao is looking to get things on the right track in the UFC, and KS is a good test for that.  Gusmao definitely has a good chance against KS.  However, KS has just been on fire lately and I just don’t see Gusmao taking it.


Below was Added 5/21/09

I wrote the upper part before the odds were released, Guamao is actually the favorite to win this fight.  I still stick by what I have written though, I think that KS will still win, and with him being the underdog this has now turned into a $bet.  GO KS.


Dave Kaplan     vs     George Roop^$

Kaplan: BU+110 (48%)  (5/13/09)

                 BU+110 (48%) SB+135 (43%)  (5/21/09)

Roop: BU-150 (60%)  (5/13/09)

              BU-150 (60%) SB-165 (62%)  (5/21/09)

Both of these fighters were on the Ultimate Fighter TV show, Roop was surprisingly resilient, while Kaplan was surprisingly over-confident.  Roop has a long frame and if he has developed since the show should beat Kaplan by decision.  Roop doesn’t have any knockout power, and I don’t recall how good his ground game is.  Kaplan however thinks he has an iron chin, and he wants to go out there and bang.  Also, Kaplan is very short for the division and really should be fighting as at 145lbs.  I look for Roop to use his reach, and take Kaplan down and get the W in less than spectacular fashion.


I think this is a good bet, personally I see Roop winning this fight about 65-70% of the time.  With the odds given, I would bet on Roop.

5 Responses to “UFC 98: Evans vs Machida (5/23/09) (Predictions)”

  1. Hey Max, I agree with Evans being alighted. Although I have not been paying close attention lately, and am not too familiar with the other fighter, Evans has proved himself already in the ufc by leaving a wake of respected fighters in his path.

  2. theconsensus Says:

    Interesting take on the Machida-Evans fight. But I think you’re really underestimating Machida’s take down defense. I remember Ortiz had a LOT of trouble trying to take Machida down, and Machida simply picked him apart and took him down instead or controlled and threw Ortiz around with ease. Ortiz did so much better against Evans. I don’t think Evans will be able to take Machida down so easily. If anything, I’d say Machida might counter it by taking Evans down, and then Evans is in trouble. I don’t know how good Evans is on his back. Then Machida’s BJJ might give him the victory.

    I don’t know.. I’m going with Machida. Whatever the result, it’s gonna be a great fight.

  3. theconsensus Says:

    I’ve actually just written my analysis of the fight (for whatever that’s worth) as well. I’m not some authority in this, or that educated in terms of MMA. I just enjoy watching it time to time. It’s pretty fun to study all these fighters. I’m sure you know more about it and can see the technical aspects better than I do.

    That’s just my take on it… Let’s see.

  4. Maxwell Destree Says:

    In response to theconsensus.

    I really appreciate your comment, I wish more people were willing to voice their opinion. You bring up a very good comparison between the Lyoto/Ortiz fight and the Evans/Ortiz fights.
    First, I only do this as a hobby as well, I’m not claiming to know everything, and I would be very interested in seeing your analysis of the fight, do you have a blog or a website I could visit to see it?
    Second, Evans is probably a better wrestler than Ortiz was, Evans was a collegiate wrestler for a division one school. Also, I would argue that Evans has developed as a fighter since he last fought Ortiz, evidenced by him beating Griffin. The Evans that fought Ortiz was not the same Evans that beat Griffin. Laslty, Ortiz claims that he was only 80% when he fought Machida, for whatever thats worth. I think we all know that Ortiz has always got an excuse, but maybe he wasn’t 100% which helped showcase Machida even more.
    I appreciate the comments, keep them coming!

  5. theconsensus Says:

    I agree with you that Evans is a FAR better fighter now than he was when he fought Ortiz. Evans just keeps getting better with each fight and even though I think Machida will win the fight, I won’t be too surprised if Evans ends up putting the dragon to sleep. Can’t count Evans out.

    My blog is…


    I’ll be visiting your page more often…

    Take care.

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