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UFC 102 Odds - Big Nog will bring down The Natural

Posted by Jack "The Hammer" Howard on 4/25/2012 10:06:48 AM
UFC 102 oddsThe UFC 102 odds are posted as the MMA juggernaut gets set for its second pay-per-view event this August. Hall of Famer Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo Noegueira headline the card as both fighters are looking to bounce back from some ugly knockout losses. Here’s a preview of the entire UFC 102 fight card:

UFC 102 odds: Couture's comeback will be stalled

  • Big Nog’s ground game too much for Captain America
  • Aggressive Silva a handful for Jardine
  • Maia to have toughest test to date

Couture vs Nogueira odds
Jardine vs Silva odds
Leben vs Rosholt odds
Marquardt vs Maia odds
Vera vs Soszynski odds
Herman vs Simpson odds
Gonzaga vs Tuchscherer odds
McCully vs Russow odds
Hague vs Duffee odds
Catone vs Munoz odds
Aurelio vs Dunham odds

Couture vs Nogueira odds

Randy Couture (16-9)
Randy Couture will look to bounce back after his crushing loss to Brock Lesnar, but a lot of people are wondering if he should just retire. Couture is a legend in the sport of MMA and a Hall of Famer to boot, but nobody wants to see him stick around one fight too long. He actually held his own early on with Lesnar before taking an eventual beating, but in this fight against Nogueira, he should be much more evenly matched. Couture is just 2-3 in his last five fights, and with a bounce back win, he could be in line for another shot at Lesnar. With a loss, retirement questions will surface.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (31-5-1)
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is also in a similar spot as Couture, but he’s the underdog in UFC 102 odds. Big Nog is also off an ugly loss - he was knocked out by Frank Mir. While many people were surprised by that result, some people forget that Big Nog was in the hospital just 20 days earlier with a staph infection. The UFC 102 betting crowd is expecting a much better performance from him.

What Will Happen: Couture has the short end of the stick here even though he’s the favorite on the UFC 102 odds. He probably doesn’t have the power to knock out Big Nog, but he has a better chance of winning this fight standing up. But the fight is likely to hit the ground at some point – early and often, if Nogueira has a smart game plan – and at that point, Nogueira should have the edge. Look for him to find a way to submit The Natural in the second round.

UFC betting pick: Nogueira

Jardine vs Silva odds

Keith Jardine (14-5-1)
The “Dean of Mean” has alternated wins and losses in his last six fights, and his most recent bout was a decision loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 96. However, Jardine has some high-profile victories under his belt, including Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, both former UFC light-heavyweight champions. Jardine is as tough as they come and doesn’t go down easily, although he was knocked out in 38 seconds by Wanderlei Silva. He’s a solid striker and his ground game is underrated, but he’s a bit slow inside the octagon.

Thiago Silva (13-1)
Silva lost for the first time in his professional MMA career at UFC 94, when he was knocked out by Lyoto Machida at the end of the first round. That was a change for Silva, who is usually the one knocking people out. Silva was trained at Chute Boxe Academy, home of Anderson Silva and Wanderlei Silva (no relation to either), and Thiago lists Wanderlei as his hero, which tips you off to his fighting style. He comes at you like a rabid dog and doesn’t stop, although it could leave him open to a counterattack.

What Will Happen: Sportsbook odds are backing Jardine at -169 in this light-heavyweight belt, and one thing is for sure: this will be a very exciting fight with two guys standing up and throwing haymakers. Jardine may have the edge due to his experience, and he’s a smarter fighter than people give him credit for. For example, against Liddell, he came in with a game plan, stuck to it, and got a split decision. However, Silva is hungry and eager to show that his first-round loss to Machida was a bit of a fluke. This will be a close one, but go with the underdog here.

UFC betting pick: Silva

Leben vs Rosholt odds

Chris Leben (18-5)
One of the more colorful and controversial fighters in UFC betting, Chris Leben is, at the very least, consistently entertaining. He’s a fearless brawler with true knockout power and he tends to keep fights standing. Whether he wins or loses, he usually eats plenty of blows too and ends up bloodied or dazed. Leben hasn’t fought since UFC 89 in October 2008. After losing to Michael Bisping in the main event, he tested positive for steroids and was suspended until this past July. It’s likely, then, that Leben will be a bit rusty against Jake Rosholt.

Jake Rosholt (5-1)
It was a disappointing debut for powerful Jake Rosholt at UFC Fight Night in February, when Dan Miller easily choked him out in the first round. Give Rosholt a mulligan; he was still a bit raw. He actually has some decent ground skill, at least when he’s on top, thanks to his wrestling background. Rosholt is a hard hitter who demolished four of his first five opponents via knockout, so you can bet his battle with Leben won’t go the distance.

What will happen: Leben is the favorite in the UFC 102 odds, but that’s only because of name recognition and the experience advantage. Based on matchups, Rosholt is just the type of fighter who gives Leben trouble. Leben is a smallish middleweight at 5’11” and 185 pounds. Tall, rangy guys like Anderson Silva, Michael Bisping, Jason MacDonald and Kalib Starnes have picked him apart using their reach advantage or manhandled him on the ground with their superior strength. At 6’1”, Rosholt fits that same bill, able to keep Leben at bay with jabs or mount him and dictate the pace. Consequently, Leben is nothing like Dan Miller, the submission specialist who beat Rosholt. He’s not a particularly tough matchup for Rosholt based on his past. Go with Rosholt to pull off a minor sportsbook upset over the more seasoned Leben.

UFC betting pick: Rosholt

Marquardt vs Maia odds

Nate Marquardt (28-8-2)
The term may not be familiar to UFC betting fans, but Nate Marquardt is what some sports experts would call a “post-hype All-Star.” He was a rising star earlier in his MMA career before Anderson Silva flattened him in a middleweight title bout. Since then, however, Marquardt has matured into a different fighter – perhaps the most versatile and physically imposing contender in the middleweight division today. Early in his career, Marquardt was more of a ground fighter, using a wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu background to gain position on the ground and submit opponents. Now, he’s added some lethal punches and kicks to his repertoire, as he showed in his last two fights when he obliterated Martin Kampmann and Wilson Gouveia.

Demian Maia (10-0)
Minotauro Nogueira. BJ Penn. Royce Gracie. Demian Maia. OK, so Maia isn’t quite in their company yet, but his Jiu-Jitsu proficiency could make him a legend someday. There may be no better ground fighter in the world right now. The undefeated Maia doesn’t profess to be a striker, but that hasn’t hurt him so far. He’s managed to get his opponents to the ground and has submitted eight of his 10 opponents. He’s an expert in passing the guard with his snake-like movements.

What Will Happen: As good as Maia looks, he’s a risky UFC 102 odds pick, as he hasn’t faced anyone close to Marquardt’s caliber or style. Nate Quarry, Jason MacDonald, Chael Sonnen – all solid fighters, but all are ground guys before strikers, so Maia had an obvious advantage. For the first time in his UFC career, Maia will get hit – hard. Marquardt is the biggest fighter at middleweight and should overpower Maia. Even on the ground, Marquardt is more than capable. Maia is a world-class fighter, but his lack of versatility will be exposed in UFC 102 betting.

UFC betting pick: Marquardt

Vera vs Soszynski odds

Brandon Vera (10-3)
Vera was an excellent wrestler in high school - and with the Air Force before an elbow injury cut that short - so he moved to MMA, where he has a background in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The 31-year-old won the first eight fights of his career, but he’s dropped three of his last five since, and he was even relegated to the preliminary card at UFC 96, where he stopped Mike Patt with leg kicks in the second round. Vera is known as a talented fighter, but sometimes he suffers from a lack of focus and motivation, and maybe being sent to the prelims was the kick in the pants that he needed.

Krzysztof Soszynski (18-8-1)
Soszynski was born in Poland, grew up in Winnipeg, and now fights out of California, so he’s a well-travelled person who doesn’t get flustered by much. He’s a top-notch submission artist and he’s won “Submission of the Night” in two of his last three bouts. Soszynski is also a very well-conditioned athlete, so going for 15 minutes doesn’t bother him. He also has momentum on his side with six straights wins. If there is a knock on Soszynski, it’s that four of his eight losses have come via knockout.

What Will Happen: Soszynski could be the favorite here when you’re betting online, due to his streak and Vera’s recent struggles, but that could work in Vera’s favor as he seems to fight better when people go against him. Vera was cruising along, even earning a knockout win over former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, but that may have gotten his ego out of control. Vera will be Soszynski’s first big test in the UFC, but Vera has his eye on getting back to his former level. Go with the fighter that has a chip on his shoulder.

UFC betting pick: Brandon Vera

Herman vs Simpson odds

Ed Herman (15-7)
Herman, nicknamed the “Short Fuse”, has a background in wrestling and is an aggressive ground-and-pound type of fighter. He made his UFC debut at the finale of the “Ultimate Fighter 3”, and was offered a contract despite losing to Kendall Grove. Since then, his UFC career has been a bit of a rollercoaster, as he won three straight fights then dropped back-to-back bouts before winning a decision over David Loiseau at UFC 97.

Aaron Simpson (5-0)
Simpson just began his MMA career in 2007, and all of his five wins have come by knockout, including four in the first round. However, his real background is in wrestling, where he was a two-time All-American at Arizona State. Simpson came over to UFC from WEC, and this is his first time on a PPV card. His debut came at UFC Fight Night 18 in April, where he knocked out Tim McKenzie.

What Will Happen: This fight has gone through many incarnations, with fighters getting various injuries and dropping out. Simpson looked very impressive in his first fight, and he is looking to work his way up the 185-pound ranks, so he should be the betting favorite. Herman should have the crowd on his side, as he was born in Washington but fights out of Portland. However, even though Simpson is a late beginning at age 35, his aggressiveness combined with his world-class wrestling should be enough to get by Herman, the UFC’s version of a journeyman.

UFC betting pick: Simpson

Gonzaga vs Tuchscherer odds

Gabriel Gonzaga (10-4-0)
The UFC 102 betting crowd knows that Gabriel Gonzaga isn’t exactly heading into this card on a high. Gonzaga, who was once the No. 1 contender in the heavyweight division, has now lost three times in his last five fights. All three losses were via knockout. Gonzaga’s last loss was an ugly one to Shane Carwin. Early on in the fight, it looked like Gonzaga was dominating until he caught a short punch on the chin that ended the fight. This is really a crossroads fight for Gonzaga. With a win, he can stay in the mix among the second tier heavyweights. With a loss, he’ll continue to fade – possibly out of the UFC.

Chris Tuchscherer (17-1-1)
The UFC 102 odds list Chris Tuchscherer as a big underdog in his UFC debut and the reasoning is clear. For starters, this will be his first fight in the Octagon and he’ll be up against a very experienced heavyweight. Secondly, Tuchscherer may not even be ready to fight in the Octagon as he was going to apply for The Ultimate Fighter 10 when he got noticed in the tryouts. Tuchscherer does have a win against Krzysztof Soszynski, who is also scheduled on the UFC 102 fight card, but outside of that, he doesn’t have a decorated track record.

What Will Happen: Most fighters have a rough first time when they make their debuts in the UFC and Tuchscherer won’t be any different. Although Gonzaga couldn’t keep Carwin under control, he is still a very good heavyweight and could be a No. 1 contender again if he got his cardio under control. This will be a battle of two big heavyweights, so look for experience to be the difference in this bout.

UFC betting pick: Gonzaga

McCully vs Russow odds

Justin McCully (9-4-2)
Nicknamed “The American Fedor,” Justin McCully is a Sambo-oriented fighter who does all his damage on the ground. He has no knockout victories compared to five submission wins. At 6’2” and 240 pounds, he’s not used to being the smaller guy in the Octagon, and he’s used his strength to topple some solid fighters, including up-and-comer Antoni Hardonk. McCully sometimes struggles when he faces versatile, polished fighters. Both Evan Tanner and Gabriel Gonzaga disposed of McCully via first-round submissions.

Mike Russow (11-1)
Mike Russow isn’t a household name in the UFC 102 odds chatter, but we shouldn’t underestimate him just because he’s making his debut. His track record shows that he’s a finishing machine. Of his 11 wins, eight have come via submission and two via knockout. He’s a heavy guy – listed at 265 pounds – and can lean on opponents to tire them out and set up various submissions (usually chokes).

What Will Happen: Many sportsbook bettors will flock to McCully simply because they’ve heard of him, but Russow may be worth a flier. His MMA career looks impressive outside the UFC and he seems to have the developed ground skills necessary to beat McCully. Bet on Mike Russow to start his UFC career in style.

UFC betting pick: Russow

Hague vs Duffee odds

Tim Hague (10-1-0)
Tim “The Thrashing Machine” Hague will be in one of the two heavyweight fights on the UFC 102 betting undercard, and he’s definitely not a known name quite yet. Hague has just one fight in his UFC career but he passed it with flying colors when he choked out veteran Pat Berry in under two minutes. Hague is a very big heavyweight at nearly 265 pounds and he’s an up-and-comer in the sport. With another impressive win, he can climb the heavyweight ladder.

Todd Duffee (4-0-0)
Todd Duffee is a UFC rookie and he’s had a lot of time to prepare for his first fight. He signed almost eight months ago but the buildup and preparation for his first fight has been slow. Duffee is one hard-hitting heavyweight, and nowadays, knockouts are what sell in the UFC. Although this will be his UFC debut and fighters typically struggle in their first fight, Duffee could put those struggles to bed with one punch.

What Will Happen: The UFC 102 betting community may not recognize either of these fighters, but both have plenty of potential. Duffee has very good power as evidenced by his knockout of Assuego Silva, and Hague is one of the biggest heavyweights in the division. Hague’s game is a little more well-rounded, and that will likely be the difference. Also, if you can bet on this fight not going the distance, that would also be a good play as this fight won’t last the full three rounds.

UFC betting pick: Hague

Catone vs Munoz odds

Nick Catone (7-1)
The UFC 102 odds represent the third fight of Nick Catone’s UFC career, though most fight fans probably don’t realize that, as he’s used to fighting on undercards. A former high-school wrestling standout, Catone is more than just a ground grappler. He uses his strength and takedown skills to set up ground-and-pound but can also submit fighters and has heavy enough hands. Though he’s clearly competent on the ground, Catone remains a bit raw eight fights into his career, as he showed when Tim Credeur submitted him via guillotine choke at UFC Fight Night in April.

Mark Munoz (5-1)
Munoz had a decent amount of hype entering his last fight against Matt Hamill at 205 pounds. A standout NCAA wrestler, the “Filipino Wrecking Machine” powered his way through the WEC with a pile of knockouts. In his UFC debut against Hamill, though, Munoz disappointed. He looked small against Hamill and got dropped with a vicious head kick.

What Will Happen: Now that Munoz moves down to 185 pounds, he should gain his strength advantage back. Though he’ll be more susceptible to a submission against Catone, Munoz won’t have the punching power disadvantage like he did against Hamill. Give Munoz, who has a stronger pedigree, a chance at UFC betting redemption.

UFC betting pick: Munoz

Aurelio vs Dunham odds

Marcus Aurelio (17-6)
Aurelio, who is filling in for an injured Matt Veach, practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and made his MMA debut back in 2002. His last appearance in the UFC came in 2008 at UFC 90, when he lost a decision to fellow Brazilian Hermes Franca. He’s a submission artist (10 of his 17 wins have come via submission), and he’s never suffered a TKO. In fact, four of his seven career losses have come by split decision. This could cause a dilemma when you’re betting online.

Evan Dunham (8-0)
Dunham fights out of the Xtreme Couture camp in Las Vegas, and he’s yet to lose in his relatively short MMA career. He made his UFC debut at UFC 95, when he knocked out Per Eklund, however, he’s more known for his submissions as he’s ended five of his eight fights in that fashion. Dunham has only gone the distance once, and that was in his first fight, as he’s ended four of his bouts in the first round.

What Will Happen: Dunham made a splash in his UFC debut, but he’ll have his hands full with the experienced Aurelio, who poses a much bigger threat than Veach. If you’re a fan of ground and submission technique, this is the fight for you. After losing a pair of decisions, Aurelio fought a couple of fights outside of the UFC to regroup, and will come back with fire. However, Dunham is younger, and being touted as one of the up-and-coming fighters in the lightweight division currently owned by BJ Penn. Also, one of his trainers at Xtreme Couture, Tyson Griffin, just beat Aurelio at UFC 86, so you can bet that Dunham has picked Griffin’s brain.

UFC betting pick: Dunham

For more MMA odds and other sports betting tips, keep reading the Betting Edge at

Jack “the Hammer” Howard is new to the MMA handicapping game, but his roots in the sport run deep. He enjoyed a brief amateur career in mixed martial arts and also has some boxing experience under his belt, making him an authority on the subject. Thoughts or questions?

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