MMA Stock Projection for March: Who to Bet On, Who to Avoid

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2013

MMA Stock Projection for March: Who to Bet On, Who to Avoid

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    March has five top-level MMA cards coming your way in March. The UFC brings you the first this Saturday from Japan.

    Bellator will chime in with three more of their weekly events, and the highlight of the month will be UFC 158.

    Oddsmakers will be busy setting lines for the list of fights hitting this coming month. Some fighters may be worth taking a gamble on, and some of the favorites will be who you will want to avoid laying your money on.

    Here are some fighters to bet on and some to avoid.

AVOID: Hector Lombard

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    Against most other middleweights I would encourage you to bet on Hector Lombard. Yushin Okami, however, is one of the top 185-pound fighters in the world and a significant threat to Lombard.

    Tim Boetsch was able to keep moving and avoid being caught by Lombard. He earned a split-decision win—Okami has the ability to do the same. Also, as one of the strongest in the division, he can potentially work better in close quarters against Lombard.

    I still expect Lombard to be able to do enough to pick up the win, but Okami is simply too good a fighter to surely bet against.

    It's best to just avoid this fight altogether and focus on other fights.

BET: Stefan Struve

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    Stefan Struve will enter as the favorite against Mark Hunt on Saturday. Surprisingly, he is not a big favorite. He should be.

    Hunt's submission defense is atrocious. Also, we just saw what Struve does to hard-hitting strikers who cannot defend the submission. This fight should look a lot like the Lavar Johnson fight.

    Struve is currently under -200 on all major books. You can pick up some easy money on this fight.

    If Struve stands with the former K-1 champion, he will get knocked out, but he is starting to mature as a fighter and employ smart tactics. He will use his submission skills to easily defeat Hunt and pick up another victory in the heavyweight division.

BET: Wanderlei Silva

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    Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann should really be a pick-'em fight. Yet, you can currently get Silva at over +200 on many books.

    That's pretty good value.

    If Silva can harness some of his old magic while he is over in Japan, then he can put some green back in your wallet. Stann is not someone who should be that big of a favorite over him. Both fighters have big deficiencies.

    Silva can easily end this with a first-round knockout, and at his current odds, it is worth a few of your dollars.

AVOID: Ben Saunders

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    Ben Saunders will get another crack at Douglas Lima in the Bellator Welterweight Tournament Finals in March. He was knocked out the first time.

    Saunders may avoid being KO'd this time around, but Lima is still the clear favorite for the encounter.

    Perhaps I'd feel differently if he wasn't finished so definitively in the last go around, but I do not see another outcome other than Lima getting his hand raised. Saunders will come up short again.

    Save your money. Don't bet on Saunders.

BET: Carlos Condit

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    The odds for Carlos Condit vs. Johny Hendricks are virtually dead even right now, and that should continue up through the fight. This is a close matchup between the two top contenders in the division.

    Why do I say to bet on Condit? He is one of the best at using gameplans in his fights. That will come in handy against Hendricks at UFC 158.

    If Condit enters with a blueprint that keeps Hendricks off the attack, he will win the fight. He defeated Nick Diaz by having better tactics. Condit is a brilliant fighter with an excellent camp behind him.

    The former Interim UFC Welterweight Champion is the more well-rounded fighter in this match-up. He has more ways to pick up the victory. Condit is the one to bet on.

BET: Nick Diaz

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    GSP is a terrible match-up for Nick Diaz. This we know. However, do not sleep on Diaz completely.

    More importantly, Diaz's odds make him worth betting on. He is over +350 on most lines currently out there. It's worth a shot.

    GSP wants this fight badly, and he wants to hurt Diaz. Will he employ the safest route possible? That unknown gives Diaz a possible chance to catch the UFC Welterweight Champion and dethrone him. At +350, it is worth the risk.

    Diaz could easily catch GSP in much the same manner Matt Serra did, especially with his reach. I would not suggest betting the farm on Diaz, but if you have a few extra dollars, you can take the risk.

AVOID: Georges St. Pierre

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    GSP enters as a big favorite. -500 currently at He's just not worth it.

    Minimal gain.

    That is really the only reason to avoid GSP. He is a terrible match-up for Diaz, and if he is smart he will show exactly why at UFC 158. However, in grudge matches anything can happen—all it takes is one mistake.

    Essentially, you should just avoid GSP because the odds are worth it for you. Some of the smaller fights will have more sure outcomes without the fighter entering as such a big favorite. Making pennies on the dollar simply isn't worth the risk of GSP getting clipped.