WEC 33 Odds and Analysis

WEC 33 continues the tradition of great shows for Versus on March 26th. Some of the best young fighters can be found in the WEC and we will see several on this show. Brian Stann, Blas Avena, Brock Larson, Marcus Hicks and Ed Ratcliff all have top ten talent.

WEC 33 Odds and AnalysisThe constantly maligned Doug Marshall (+130) will defend his WEC Light Heavyweight Belt against Brian Stann. Despite Marshall’s success (earned in the octagon,) most “experts” continually cast doubts on his ability. Brian Stann (-160) enters this fight as a slight favorite due to his powerful striking. Stann has progressed steadily and appears ready challenge the “Rhino” in what should be a tremendous fight.

I believe the oddsmakers got the line right. Although Marshall is the experienced defending champion, Stann has a clear advantage in the standup. Marshall is a competitor and he will trade with Stann initially. Stann’s punching is crisp, powerful and he’s quicker than Marshall, which will give him an opportunity to hit home with some big shots early on. If you have never seen Brian Stann watch how he commits to his punches, he stays “in the pocket” and delivers his shot better than anyone except possibly Rampage. If you like Stann, -160 is a reasonable price.

Do not discount Doug Marshall! If he can neutralize Stann’s punching advantage and get this fight to the ground, he will retain the title. Stann’s never had to scramble against anyone with the ability of Marshall. Marshall is most dangerous when chaos breaks out during the fight, which is likely considering Stann’s combination of explosiveness and inexperience. Marshall is somewhat of a poor man’s Anderson Silva, he’s demonstrated that he can finish a fight in a variety of ways.

I give the edge to Stann, he’s more talented and its time for him to take a step up in competition. He appears to be the kind of fighter that passes these kind of “incremental” steps. I respect Marshall and will bet on him if he reaches +200. The guy is constantly underestimated and he continually proves his critics wrong. There are better fights to bet on Wednesday night.

The early favorite for Fight of the Night is between two combustible strikers. Ed Ratcliff (-105) and Marcus Hicks (-125) are both undefeated, each with a couple of impressive WEC fights. Ratcliff is a pure striker who has yet to be tested on the mat, he’s efficient, accurate and deadly. Marcus Hicks is high intensity bowling ball with two bomb-throwing fists. Hicks has proven to have some ability on the ground, albeit against inexperienced opponents. Ratcliff will have to do some serious damage as Hicks rushes in. If Hicks gets to Ratcliff’s chest, it will be all over. Whichever guy wins this fight will be a serious contender to challenge Faber.

clubber LangI like Hicks in this fight. He’s a better all around fighter who should be a bigger favorite. Ratcliff and Hicks are both very effective strikers, although they are completely different. Ratcliff is elegant and technical perfection, while Hicks is a menacing fury similar to Clubber Lang. Bottom line is Hicks has more ways to win this fight and I see him imposing his style in the ring. FWIW, this matchup is similar to KJ Noons vs Crazy Horse (Hicks is much better than Bennett.)

Chael Sonnen (-365) is set to fight Bryan Baker (+275), after Filho dropped out. Everyone saw Sonnen dominate Filho before getting caught in an arm-bar, so obviously he will dominate the no-name Baker who is taking the fight on short notice. Not so fast my friend, Baker was scheduled for this card all along so his training is a non-issue. Baker is somewhat inconsistent, but he’s got some explosive power to go along with a little wrestling game. Sonnen is a plodding striker that can look good against a submission specialist, but I think Baker can dominate Sonnen on his feet. This fight could be tailor-made for Baker to show his skills. I’m not guaranteeing a win, Sonnen might control the action and smother Baker for 3 rounds but at nearly 3-1 Baker offers great value. Only an idiot would play Sonnen at this price, Baker is the only bettable fighter in this contest.

I’d bet my life Brock Larson (-270) is going crazy right now (Tuesday afternoon,) if he can contain himself long enough to get into the ring it will be bad news for John Alessio (+210). Larson is simply better at all aspects of MMA than Alessio, he is stronger, faster, strikes better, grapples better, etc…

Larson’s a top ten talent who let a big opportunity escape him when he lost to Condit. Tomorrow night he will show everyone it was a fluke. Larson will work his way in close to Alessio, take him down and beat him up. Alessio will be reduced to waiting for a mistake and trying to capitalize. Fat chance, Larson’s learned the lesson. Most likely winner of the night.


Baker (+275)
Larson (-270)
Hicks (-125)

Check out the current odds at the MMA Betting SuperPage.

WEC 31 Notes – Postfight

Urijah Faber– probably gets even better after this fight.  Curran gave him so needed competition and put him in some bad spots, but Faber showed some real good submission defense until he got it turned around and did his thing.

Jeff Curran– fought better than I expected.  He’s a win some, lose some kind of fighter when faced with equal opposition. He got the better of Faber on the ground for the first round but did not have the strength to put him away.

Charlie Valencia-quick and crisp punching set up everything for him.  He is exactly the type of fighter that could threaten Beebe.  Did not learn much about his TD defense which will be huge against Beebe.

Ian McCall– maybe a little outclass by Valencia, but he was not afraid to stick his head in an throw his shots.  No flinching or nothing, Valencia just hit his mark first.  He could be dangerous against most fighters

Doug Marshall- Took a couple shots but ended up arm barring Gandulla.  The fight was pretty short but Marshall showed he may not be as one dimensional as most portray him. Gandulla got home with a couple punches which sends up a few red flags, but all in all Marshall showed continued improvement.

Ariel Gandulla- still needs lots of work, at 39 years old, big improvement is unlikely.

Paulo Filho– looked very slow, almost lethargic, for a second consectutive fight.  He is going to have big trouble against a good clean striker,  Nobody with any sense will go the ground with him though.  Iron grip. Very shaky as a big favorite, overrated.  He did overcome some real dangerous situations in this fight.  

Chael Sonnen – Almost finished Filho, but his punching was sloppy and slow.  He did not push the pace when he had Filho in trouble and after dominating stand up he reverted back to his wrestling, which led to his demise.  He appears to be very susceptible to submissions.

Jens Pulver– not much can be learned from such a quick fight.

Cub Swanson– put himself into a terrible position, tap the breaks a little.  He should get better off this fight.  plenty of training and a big dose of common sense.