Sports fans love to make predictions about the outcome of upcoming events. Whether it is based on an educated guess regarding a stylistic matchup or simply faith in their favorite fighters, betting on the action is a common practice that can help kick up your level of enjoyment and also make you some money on the side.
That is, of course, if you bet on the right person.
In the world of mixed martial arts, anything can happen. That variable makes our sport so much more difficult to predict than others. While some fights are fairly simple to predict, there are several pugilists that have a certain X factor which allows them to defy the odds, time and time again.
How you decide to bet is completely your decision, but in hopes of saving you some of your hard earned money, here is a list of six fighters who you should never bet against.
Powerful hands? Check.
Deadly submissions? Check.
Big upsets? Check.
Since competing on The Ultimate Fighter, Joe Lauzon has stepped into the Octagon on twelve separate occasions. During his UFC tenure, J-Lau has amassed an unprecedented 11 UFC Bonus Awards for fight-night achievements.
Perhaps his eternal underdog status is a byproduct of an inability to maintain any momentum. After all, Lauzon has yet to win more than two fights in a row, despite having eight post-TUF wins.
On two occasions, Lauzon has been a heavy underdog yet managed to pull off a first-round upset. In his promotional debut, J-Lau shocked the world by knocking out former lightweight champion Jens Pulver in only 47 seconds.
At UFC 136, Melvin Guillard was nearly a 3:1 favorite when he met Lauzon. Showing the world once again why it's foolish to bet against him, Lauzon dropped Guillard with a punch before cinching in a rear naked choke for the win.
Former PRIDE star Mark Hunt has been an underdog for most of his MMA career. During his days in Japan, that fact wasn't an insult to Hunt as much as it was respect for his opponents.
In his third and fourth professional bouts, Hunt met Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Cro Cop, respectively. Of course those legends of the organization would be deemed a betting favorite, however, Hunt would win decisions against both.
Losing each of his final five bouts with the organization, Hunt devolved into the underdog role once again before joining the UFC.
Were it not for his PRIDE contract being honored in the UFC, Hunt would have likely been released following a UFC 119 loss in his Zuffa debut.
If you tried to cash in against the Super Samoan since that time, your wallet is likely a bit irritated with you. Hunt has gone on to win a trio of fights against escalating levels of competition, including big wins over Ben Rothwell and Cheick Kongo.
When the New Zealander returns, the smart money is not on his opponent.
Let's take a look at how Carlos Condit kicked off his UFC career.
- Split decision loss to unranked Martin Kampmann
- Controversial split decision win over unknown Jake Ellenberger
- Comeback win over Rory MacDonald after two rounds of receiving tremendous damage
When we think about his UFC foundation, it's understandable why some fans don't have tremendous faith in Carlos Condit. His first trio of fights saw him lose, win a decision that he didn't deserve and pulled off a miraculous comeback against a fighter who was kicking his fanny for the majority of the first two rounds.
So when Condit met recent title contender Dan Hardy at UFC 120, it shouldn't have been much of a surprise that Hardy was a betting favorite. Condit knocked out Hardy in the first round.
At UFC 132, undefeated judo player Dong Hyun Kim would be the next in line for Condit. The line was nearly even, but Kim had a small advantage in the eyes of oddsmakers. Condit knocked out Kim in the first round.
At UFC 143, Condit would face the stiffest test of his career, when he battled Nick Diaz for the UFC interim welterweight championship. With Diaz as an 11:4 favorite, Condit once again overcame the odds when he outstruck Diaz to win the fight, the belt and the respect of the world.
Carlos Condit is the underdog once again when he looks to take the UFC welterweight championship from longtime kingpin Georges St-Pierre. I know that my money will not be risked in that bout. If you're smart, yours won't be either.
What is it about Martin Kampmann that makes people think he is going to fail? After a 4-1 stint at middleweight, the Danish kickboxer decided that his frame was best suited for 170 pounds.
Since the move, "The Hitman" has fought 10 times in the Octagon, and has only one loss that isn't considered to be controversial in nature.
Due to a pair of less-than-agreeable decision losses to Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez, Kampmann tumbled from the divisional Top 10 by April of 2011.
I hope those losses didn't cause you to give up on Kampmann. The Dane thrice defied oddsmakers by defeating Rick Story, Thiago Alves and Jake Ellenberger in successive bouts.
The odds for a UFC 154 title eliminator against Johny Hendricks opened at a -115 pick' em, with neither man given an advantage.
When PRIDE closed their doors, dual-divisional champion Dan Henderson was already 36 years old. Many felt that he was a strong challenger for both UFC champions Anderson Silva and Rampage Jackson, but few thought that he had many more years in the game.
Fast forward to the end of 2009. Henderson had just completed his fifth bout since returning to the UFC and was riding a three-fight winning streak. To the surprise of many, the then-39-year-old announced a new contract with Strikeforce.
Critics continued to scream that Henderson was a solid fighter, but too old to make much of an impact in the youth-driven MMA world.
Fast forward to mid-2011, and Henderson could be seen with the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship around his waist, and a knockout victory over Fedor Emelianenko to his credit.
These days, Henderson is trying to cash in on the title shot earned with a UFC 139 victory over Shogun Rua. Many counted Henderson out of his bout with Jon Jones, despite his well-rounded skills and knockout power.
Don't bet against Dan Henderson. People have been regretting it for the last several years.
Frankie Edgar beat Benson Henderson at UFC 150. That is my opinion and that of countless fans and MMA pundits across the globe. Unfortunately for Frankie, two of the night's three judges didn't agree, and Henderson was allowed to keep his UFC lightweight championship.
Although losing isn't something "The Answer" has gotten used to, being counted out certainly is. People swore that Edgar couldn't beat BJ Penn. For good measure, the New Jersey native did it twice.
People screamed that Edgar was too small to defeat Gray Maynard. Not only did Frankie did the win, but he knocked out his nemesis in the fourth round.
Now that Frankie has officially made the move down to featherweight, there is a large faction of fans who have already written him off as the next victim to Jose Aldo.
It's nearly impossible to become champion of a weight class where you are outsized. Edgar did that and defended his belt three times. How dangerous will he be now that he is fighting men who don't considerably outweigh him on fight night?
Jose Aldo versus Frankie Edgar is one of the superfights that we have been dreaming of for years. At UFC 153, we actually get to see it happen.
Andrew Saunders is a featured columnist and reporter for Bleacher Report MMA. Follow him on Twitter because he is awesome and loves you. Follow @SaundersMMA