UFC 144 Free Picks – Edgar and Kongo In Action
UFC 144 Free Picks

Frankie Edgar -125 over Benson Henderson -105
Sometimes a Mixed Martial Arts Fight can presents us with two pretty good bets. Edgar vs. Henderson, who will headline this weekend's UFC event in Japan, is one of those fights. Simply put, taking either man is a pretty good bet.

If you follow the sport, then you know Frankie Edgar. The tough chinned champion is as good as anyone in MMA betting, and only one man in the lightweight division has ever been able to slow Edgar down to a crawl. In his last fight at UFC 136, Edgar was able to silence the Gray Maynard fan club with just his third knockout over his 14-1-1 SU career.

Edgar has earned most of his wins by wearing down opponents mentally, physically and emotionally. Finishing isn’t part of Edgar’s game plan, which is pretty mainstay in the lightweight division. He tests you to go the full 25-minutes with him. In fact, he dares you. Usually nobody can keep up with what seems like an endless gas tank. He won’t have that advantage against former WEC lightweight champ, Ben Henderson.

Henderson lost his final fight in the WEC to Anthony Pettis, but since moving to the UFC he is 3-0 SU and has beaten big names in Mark Bocek, Jim Miller and Clay Guida. In my opinion, he and Edgar are two of the “can’t miss” talents in all of the UFC. The fact that they’re in the octagon together is a dream for fans.

That being said, most fans have a bad habit of pigeon holing fighters. Boxing has undoubtedly been the cornerstone of Edgar’s regime thus far, but he is also a stout wrestler – something he proved in winning and defending the title against Penn. As much as I like Henderson as a fighter, I think that Edgar still has some tricks to show his growing legion of followers.

Ryan Bader +190 over Rampage Jackson -240
Both men were submitted by the champion of their division with guillotine chokes. Both know that losses will derail their careers. For Rampage, a loss here will mark the first time in his career where he’s notched back to back defeats.

Still there are some concerns about Rampage, who gets the nod as a favorite for a few reasons. The first is name value, and the second is that his comfort level in Japan (where he earned his initial fame in Pride) will be through the roof. Fans of Japan will know who he is and will undoubtedly be excited to see him.

Bader is coming off a first round knockout victory over Jason Brilz which caused nobody to get excited. At 13-2 SU, the win over Brilz comes after Bader was considered by many to be a rising star in the UFC after propelling himself to stardom in The Ultimate Fighter in 2008. A loss to Jones, and a subsequent upset against Tito Ortiz didn’t do much to keep that momentum.

Let’s get a few things straight here. First, Bader is still just 28 years old. He has plenty of time to improve and is entering his physical prime. Second, the loss to Tito Ortiz was an upset. Those things happen.

The last is that while Rampage is as much of a household name as the UFC has, he may be entering the twilight of his illustrious career at 33 years old. Rampage has almost too much to prove in this fight, and while all the odds are in his favor, I expect Bader to march in to Japan with a game plan to win via decision while keeping an overzealous Rampage at bay.

For Bader, we thought his time had come and we were probably just a bit early on that call. Rampage, on the other hand, has too much pressure with his time about to pass. Go with the young dog in this one.

Cheick Kongo -350 over Mark Hunt +250
I still don’t see what the hell the point of this fight is. Is a 37 year old K-1 veteran who is 30-13 SU in his career really the best matchup for a guy like Kongo? Seriously?

Anthony Pettis -220 over Joe Lauzon +175
Lauzon wasn’t supposed to beat Melvin Guillard, but was able to catch him with a rear naked choke in the first round at UFC 136. His reward is matching up against Anthony Pettis, one of the best lightweights in the world. I love the evolution of Pettis a young fighter. Known for his highlight reel knockouts, like the one of Ben Henderson, he has proven in recent fights that he can be both patient and strategic while using a more all-round game. He won’t take Lauzon lightly like Guillard and he’ll edge out a victory and prove he belongs in the UFC with the rest of the best.

Check out the rest of the fight card, which will feature Yushin Okami, and Yoshihiro Akiyama against Jake Shields in the BetUS sportsbook.