There isn’t much money to be won on Cariaso based on the competitiveness of his clash with Iliarde Santos but profit is profit. Cariaso experienced some decent success at 135 pounds, hanging with opponents like Michael McDonald while beating others including Vaughan Lee and Takeya Mizugaki. While he’s lost both of his last fights, Cariaso’s grappling and technically sound striking should be enough to earn him a decision nod against Santos. It’s somewhat surprising odds-makers see Assuncao as an underdog to T.J. Dillashaw. However, Dillashaw has been hot as of late with finishes in his last three tilts, so it’s likely his presence in the pairing has overshadowed the seasoned Brazilian’s reputation for excellence. Regardless, Assuncao has been solid for years and owns some truly impressive wins such as those over Mike Easton, Jorge Masvidal, and Joe Lauzon. His submissions are second to none in the division and he also possesses underrated stand-up. There’s no doubt Assuncao can outpoint Dillashaw, though he might even end up surprising a few folks by finishing the Team Alpha Male staple with a slick choke or Armbar. If Beltran was facing a grappler he might be in trouble but instead he’s taking on a man with skills similar to his own, Fabio Maldonado. Beltran’s toughness should allow him absorb most of the shots Maldonado throws his way. Of course, the same can be said in reverse of Maldonado, so things might be a push in that regard. Overall, it’s a coin-flip of a fight, and that’s definitely better than the losing assessment bookmakers have handed Beltran. There’s no question Hamill will end up taking an unexpected nap if he tries to stand with Thiago Silva. Hopefully, “The Hammer” will take a smarter approach to the outing, aiming to score takedown after takedown while pounding on Silva from above. His strength and wrestling technique have given plenty of foes fits in the past and there’s no reason to think the same can’t be true when it comes to Silva. It might be ugly, but Hamill is definitely a threat to win and make adventurous betters some solid cash in the process. Sure, Demian Maia is 3-0 since dropping down to welterweight and he’s looked great in all three efforts. However, you can’t discount Shields’ skills when it comes to their main event match-up. The former Strikeforce champion has beaten a number of tough opponents including Carlos Condit, Yushin Okami, and Dan Henderson. His takedowns are top notch and he’s got the BJJ knowledge to deal with anything Maia throws his way. Maia has struggled in the past against wrestlers unless able to secure a submission from the bottom and Shields isn’t likely to get caught.
Mixed Martial Arts is as unpredictable as athletic endeavors come based on the nature of fighting. One perfectly-placed punch or a split-second error in judgment on the ground can lead to a loss, making the sport extremely difficult to bet on. For example, take a look at this week’s lineup for
where there are definitely a few underdogs who could end up exiting their efforts with a hand raised. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) UFC Fight Night 29