Posted 03/15/2014 by McKinley Noble in UFC

UFC 171 Long Odds: The $1 Bet That Can Win $44,000

If you listen to my fellow MMA Owl writer Mike Fagan, he’ll give you a handful of common sense rules for UFC & MMA betting: maximize your profits, spread around your money, pace your bankroll, don’t pay for picks, and stop betting parlays.

Fagan’s a smart guy, and his advice is rock-solid. But I enjoy betting parlays.

True, parlays are some of the riskiest bets you can make for UFC or MMA events, and you’re bound to lose money on most of them. That’s especially true in MMA, where the very nature of the sport makes some matches patently unpredictable. But I like parlays because of one simple reason—low risk, insanely high reward.

While it’s reasonably easy to make a straight bet on a valuable fighter as a +250 underdog (Lyoto Machida over Chris Weidman, for example), it’s a lot harder to try and predict how the majority of a full UFC card will play out.

However, there’s always the occasional event where the smallest bet pays out huge money.

UFC 171 is one such example, with tons of matches that are close enough to go either way, yet far apart enough on the betting books that the value skyrockets if you play them right.

So, I’m burning a $1 bet at Bovada on a 12-fight parlay that’ll cash over $44,000 if it wins:

UFC 171 Parlay

There you have it.

That’s exactly 10 underdogs and two favorites, and all the picks are actually pretty reasonable: Robbie Lawler, Tyron Woodley, Diego Sanchez, Jake Shields, Nikita Krylov, Rick Story, Raquel Pennington, Jimy Hettes, Alex Garcia, Justin Scoggins, Bubba McDaniel, and Robert Whiteford.

It’ll be a miracle if this cashes, but if it does, it’ll definitely be worth that betting dollar.

Let’s recap:

Robbie Lawler — Everyone’s completely passing on Lawler as a threat, but he’s definitely got some tools in the shop here. His punching power is pretty scary, he’s got the experience edge, and his overall striking is more diverse than Johny Hendricks’ arsenal. Sure, Lawler could get outwrestled, but Hendricks is in love with his hands right now.

(Side note: Hendricks also came super-close to missing weight, and he looked sucked-out on the scale. That’s usually not a good sign.)

Tyron Woodley — Wrestling is a huge weakness for Condit, and he gives up takedowns pretty easily. Woodley is no Georges St-Pierre or Hendricks, but his style and fast boxing can put him ahead on points. He just has to avoid gassing out in the third round.

Diego Sanchez — Myles Jury is a better technician than Sanchez in every facet of the MMA game, but Sanchez is a buzzsaw.

Jake Shields — Shields wins a lot of fights that he should lose, and Lombard has lost a couple of fights (Yushin Okami, Tim Boetsch) that he really should’ve won. It’s a bad style match-up for Shields, but he specializes in making other people look bad. If he wins with crappy-but-busy striking and bit of grappling pressure, it wouldn’t be the most shocking upset.

Nikita Krylov — He looked good at the weigh-ins, and he’s a finisher. Ovince St. Preux’s no slouch, either, but he’s fringe-elite at best. This is the riskiest pick in the pack.

Rick Story — Kelvin Gastelum is the favorite here, and that’s terrible. His best win to date came against the overrated Uriah Hall, and it was a close decision. Story, on the other hand, is a proven commodity against Top 10 fighters. Also, he looked way better at the weigh-ins. Gastelum looked like a zombie.

Raquel Pennington / Jimy Hettes / Bubba McDaniel / Robert Whiteford — Let’s run down the line. Pennington is enormous compared to Jessica Andrade, with a five-inch reach advantage to boot. Jimy Hettes is an underrated submission finisher, while his opponent once lost three straight fights by submission. Bubba McDaniel is a rangy Greg Jackson’s MMA veteran facing a UFC newcomer. Robert Whiteford is a decent-enough prospect with a slight size advantage against a seasoned-but-flawed Daniel Pineda.

Alex Garcia / Justin Scoggins — These guys are the favorites to win their respective bouts, and they’re monsters. Garcia and Scoggins will likely put their opponents in coffins. Or ambulances.


McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVisionBleacher Report, PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania and The L.A. Times. Follow him at @KenTheGreat1 on Twitter.

McKinley Noble