With no UFC event this weekend, some other organizations had a chance to put their best foot forward to MMA fans and it was a surprising weekend in many respects. On Friday morning, ONE FC 15 was the most relevant event the organization has put on in the last twelve months. Bibiano Fernandes (16-3) defended his bantamweight title with a dominant decision victory over Masakatsu Ueda (18-3-2). Fernandes was a massive -900 favorite (bet $900 to win $100) with the comeback on Ueda at +500 (bet $100 to win $500) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. This was the first time odds have been offered on ONE FC since May 31st, 2013 and it could be a sign of good things to come for bettors who follow the likes of Fernandes and Ben Askren. The other bout that featured odds on the ONE FC card was between longtime Japanese lightweight Kotetsu Boku (21-10-2) and Eduard Folayang (14-4). From the very beginning of this fight the physical advantages of Folayang were extremely apparent as he was massive next to Boku. The Filipino fighter used this advantage to control the grappling exchanges throughout the bout and take the decision on all judges cards as +110 underdog. It was the biggest win of Folayang’s career, and the fighter seems to be taking the proper strides to move forward in his career. The MMA scene shifted to Europe on Saturday for a pair of cards. Cage Warriors has expanded far beyond being a regional promotion at this point, as they should be considered a top five MMA organization based on the talent they produce as well as the frequency, level and consistency of their shows. Cage Warriors 68 was no exception. The six fight main card featured six stoppages, and despite some mishaps on the scale that day before the event was considered a success. In the main event, Danny Roberts (11-1) moved one step closer to signing with the UFC, as he knocked out Jim Wallhead (25-9) in the first round. Wallhead controlled the bout early, having Roberts mounted for a good portion of the round before the fighters scrambled back to their feet. When there, Roberts landed an overhand right that dropped Wallhead and finished him off with some well placed hammerfists. Roberts opened at +100, but money came in on him and he closed at -135, so bettors made a solid play. The co-main event saw a surprise, as Marcelo Costa (9-2-1) submitted Ronnie Mann (23-7-1) in the second round of their bantamweight bout. Costa closed as a +250 underdog, and with consecutive wins over Mann and Damacio Page he’s starting to make some noise in the bantamweight division. An equally big underdog triumphed in the third bout on the docket, as Mauro Chimento (16-10) blitzed Matt Inman (13-6) from the opening bout and ended up finishing him with a barrage of strikes to pay out at +250 as well. Another underdog came through at middleweight, as Matt Hallam (5-2) used his massive size and striking advantages to put Steve Dinsdale (6-2) away in the second round of their bout. Hallam was +125 at post. Finally, in the first bout of the evening with odds, Che Mills (16-7, 2 NC) rebounded from a three fight winless streak to defeat Leeroy Barnes (12-14, 1 NC) via first round submission. Mills looked as good as he has since his UFC debut against Chris Cope in November 2011, and seemed worth every cent of his -445 price tag. The other card for bettors to take a look at this weekend took place in Sweden with Superior Challenge 10. There were fewer surprises on this card than Cage Warriors, but it was still a bit of a shock to see longtime veteran Daniel Acacio (30-15) knocked out by Alan Carlos (11-8) in 36 seconds. Acacio has always had a stout chin, and Carlos has never shown any measurable punching power, but this just points to the unpredictability of MMA sometimes. The only other slight upset was UFC veteran David Bielkheden (19-12) picking up a decision over another UFC vet in Besam Yousef (6-4). Bielkheden cashed at +105, as he spent the better part of the bout in Yousef’s half guard, racking up points with ground and pound. On the remainder of the card, a trio of favorites just over 2-to-1 all came through as expected. Efrain Escudero (22-8), Joachim Christensen (10-3) and Yosef Ali Mohammad (4-1) all picked up Superior Challenge title belts on Saturday evening and provide a solid base of fighters for the promotion to move forward with. In the twelve regional MMA bouts from this past weekend six favorites and six underdogs came through, which is surprising for lower level MMA where favorites are usually successful at a higher clip. It will be interesting to see how upcoming regional events like MFC 40 play out, and if there’s some value on underdogs there as well.
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