UFC Fight Night Betting Pick: Rivera vs Stamann

Quick turnaround, guys!

I am still hungover from a heck of an event Saturday night.

UFC 251 was, without a doubt, a success.

The main event was a little anticlimactic but most of us predicted that.

I suppose a bet on Kamaru Usman wouldn’t have been a terrible idea but I wanted to have my betting night finished before the final fight.

There is another event this Wednesday night on Fight Island in the sweltering Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Headlining the card will be boxing specialist Kalvin Kattar taking on another UFC Featherweight with nice hands, Dynamite Dan Ige.

Dan will likely have a hand speed advantage. The spark plug is absolutely electric with his shots.

Kattar is one of the best boxers in the entire organization, though, is bigger, and has stellar takedown defense.

The odds are a bit wide, though, with Kalvin over a 3 to 1 favorite.

I think he will probably win but if the money keeps coming in on him, Dan Ige’s betting line could all of a sudden look rather tasty.

Not the co-main event but it should be, Cody Stamann vs Jimmie Rivera, is the fight I want to break down today.

Two stocky Bantamweights are taking this fight on very short notice so they both agreed upon 145 being the weight limit so this is officially a Featherweight fight.

Who does this help more?

I’m not sure. I would think it would benefit Jimmie because even though he is 2 inches shorter than the well built Cody Stamann, I think Rivera walks around heavier.

He is a bull.

BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for this fight.

Before we jump into this one, let’s recap what was a very successful betting performance on Saturday, thanks to a few parlays, that is.

UFC 251 Betting Recap

  • Our first pick was Jiri Prochazka and Volkan Oezdemir to go over 1.5 rounds for a (-145) payout.
  • That did not hit as the Pole slept the veteran Volkan early in the second. I was banking on some clinch time by Oezdemir to slow the big man but they just threw down from the start and a sudden end was imminent.
  • Next up, our #1 pick Makwan Amirkhani breezed through Danny Henry for the first round anaconda submission. Only (+200), though.
  • We took the undefeated Russian debutant to upset the Brazilian Leo Santos with strong wrestling and top control at (+150). No dice here. Santos looked a weight class larger than his opponent.
  • Very tough test for a UFC debut with just 10 fights. If he comes back at 145, Bogatov could be a problem for people.
  • Our only other straight pick was Alexander Volkanovski to get the nod over Max Holloway in their second fight.
  • Holloway looked great over the first two rounds but still not enough to warrant a 10-8 in either stanza
  • Starting in the 3rd round, I think Max took his foot off the gas and allowed the champ to get back in the fight.
  • That round was very close with Max landing slightly more volume but Volk had the center of cage longer and his kicks had more pop on them
  • Alex won 4 and 5 and that was a wrap. People were mad about the decision but under the current scoring criteria, Max lost.
  • This was absolutely massive for us because we had Alex at (+115) to win a decision.
  • We also had him on a two-leg parlay with Rose that hit for (+129) and in a 4-legger with Amirkhani, Rose, and Yan for a (+410) payout
  • Lastly, we hit a 2-leg with Yan and Amirkhani for (+125)
  • 00 dollar bettors on each of the 8 wagers finished the night up $530.00

I realize we were quite fortunate but it was still refreshing to have our strongest week in a month.

Jimmie Rivera (-135) vs Cody Stamann (+115)

This is quite the interesting matchup.

Both guys are built like fire hydrants so something has to give.

Cody Stamann most recently competed against Brian Kelleher at UFC 250 on June 6th.

We picked him to win by decision I believe because he was a 3 to 1 favorite.

It was a fairly comfortable cruise for Cody.

This happened on June 6th.

Cody’s 18-year-old brother died just more than a week prior to this fight.

It was obviously a tremendously emotional night for the Michigan-native.

This is a very quick turnaround, though. With his current emotional state along with the fact that most fighters coming back after just a few weeks from a previous fight are losing.

Stamann will have had 5 weeks off by fight time.

Let’s not be a “Narrative Nancy”, though, before we break down the x’s and o’s.

We can’t let the narrative drive us. That is salt and pepper stuff, not meat and potatoes.

Let’s finish up with Cody.

  • Very good blast double leg
  • Solid cardio
  • Despite being primarily a ground fighter, Cody only has 2 submissions in over 20 fights and they came early in his career outside of the UFC.
  • He has little t-rex arms and not the broadest shoulders
  • 5’6 with a 64” reach
  • I like his use of the inside leg kick to open up defenses for his hands.
  • If he had to rely solely on his boxing without the threat of the takedown, he will likely struggle against top competition
  • 5-1-1 in his UFC career. Tapped to #1 ranked Aljamain Sterling to a nasty Suloev Stretch knee-bar as he slid off Cody’s back-most people attack the arm in this situation, but Aljo attacked the leg beautifully
  • Not much power in his hands BUT not cutting all the weight to 135 might change that

Jimmie Rivera.

  • Even shorter and stockier but longer
  • 5’4” tall with a 68.5-inch reach
  • Massive back
  • He has lost 3 of 4 fights but one was the aforementioned Sterling, Petr Yan who we saw win the belt this past weekend, and Marlon Moraes who beat Sterling and Aldo
  • Those are the top 3 guys in the division
  • Jimmie is more of a pure striker than Cody. He is longer as I said and has the harder low kicks
  • Loves the at times immobilizing and game-changing calf kick
  • Solid footwork, good head movement
  • 95% takedown defense!
  • Petr Yan took down Jimmie once and that is the only time it’s happened in his UFC career
  • Aljamain Sterling was 0-7
  • Pedro Munoz was 0-7

How will it play out?

Let me start with this.

I don’t know.

Neither do you and neither does anybody else on the internet.

Much like the higher levels of academia, speaking in absolutes just makes you look like an amateur and you lose your colleagues’ respect from the start.

The first thing I did to pick this fight was read the names of the two competitors.

That’s it.

I am quite familiar with both fighters so I naturally have what we call a “lean” towards one fighter.

In this case, it was Jimmie Rivera.

My first thought was Cody likely won’t be able to take him down and I think Rivera has a length and skill advantage on the feet.

Now, I have to resist the urge not to look at the betting line until I have researched and taped both fighters and “handicapped” or made my own betting line.

How I do this is important. I have to accept the fact that I don’t know who is going to win this particular fight this particular day.

For Example:
I can say, though, that I believe fighter-A will get 6 wins if these guys tangle 10 times.

That is an easier call to make in your head than just scrambling your thoughts until you’re tired and still end up making an impulsive decision.

The 6 out of 10 time thing also helps with your confidence because you are going to lose. If you have the knowledge, time, hard work, and skill to handicap these fights consistently and effectively, then over time, you are going to make money.

That is provided your bet sizes are responsible but we will save that convo for another day.

Losing sucks but without it there wouldn’t even be a game to play.

Understanding that maybe the pick you lost was the fighter who wins 3 out of 10 times, just happened to be one of those 3.

I think Volkanovski beats Max 6 out of 10 times. He has beaten him twice now back-to-back, though, but if Max wins a potential third matchup, our prediction wasn’t that far off.

Back to the process. You have your number now.

I say Jimmie beats Cody 6.5 out of 10 times.

My biggest worry isn’t Stamann’s takedowns. It is him going up in weight and having power in his punches he has never had at 135.

Rivera has been dropped a few times in his UFC career and that is a possibility over 3 rounds of what will probably be a striking match.

Other than that, though, I see this one playing out on the feet and the longer more-skilled striker winning a decision.

I take my cap of Rivera at 6.5 out of 10 and turn that into a betting line of roughly (-200).

Then I simply compare my line with the actual odds and I see that there is a significant difference.

(-135) denotes a 57% chance of victory.

Jimmie has fought better competition but they are the same age with similar records.

95% takedown defense for the Jersey native, Rivera.

Rivera has great calf kicks and 4 inches of reach in the arms along with 3 in the legs.

We have what we need to make a good play here.

Cody could come out and be more powerful than ever not having to cut the hardest 10 pounds, and starch Rivera in the first minute.

That doesn’t mean we suck at picking, though. If it happens consistently, then we might have a problem.

Who is to say that Rivera doesn’t jab and leg kick his way to victory in the next 4 hypothetical fights between the two?

I’m not trying to confuse you guys but I want you to think about each matchup like that.

Stay away from absolutes.

Masks aren’t going to absolutely protect you or those around you from COVID.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t helping, though.

I tell my Muay Thai students all the time that the words “hate, can’t, always, and never” are all unacceptable in class.

Hate and can’t are generally bad words in life and I always stress them hard with the kids.

Always and never are always being used. Never a day goes by where I don’t always say something and never say something else.

Please Note:
You have to let some of it run off your duck’s back because we are all human but if you keep hearing “always and never” from your coach, it might be time to look elsewhere.

Always give 100% and never quit are the exceptions but you guys understand what I’m saying.

The same goes for betting purposes.

If you thought Volkanovski beats Max 6 out of 10 times like I did, then a bet on him at (-220) is silly because the sportsbooks have a massive edge.

Due to the insane durability of Holloway, I had the confidence to pick the (+115) method of victory for a Volkanoski decision win.

You saw how close it was and how many people are now screaming robbery?

If I didn’t have the (+115) and bet the (-220), even though it hit, it would have been a TERRIBLE bet.

Conversely, we could have made a smart play on a guy like Holloway at (+180) denoting a 35% implied probability to win.

This could have been even better taking a decision win as he isn’t a finisher and Volk is durable.

We still had a 5% edge on Max who lost but I will take (+180) or (+200) on a coin flip all day!

You see how that works?

It is a lot of fun but requires an incredible amount of discipline at all times.

I think Jimmy wins 6.5-7 times out of 10. So let’s say 2 out of 3.

His betting odds have him at 57% but we believe it’s more like 67%.

As far as bet sizing goes, 1 unit is 1% of your bankroll. This rewards you with compound interest when you’re winning and protects you with smaller bet sizes when you’re losing.

For every 5% edge I am getting on the sportsbook, I will generally wager 1 unit.

It is rare to see more than a 12-15% edge, so I usually stay with bets of 1-2 units.

I would put a cap on units wagered per event, though.

In the beginning, maybe 8 but rarely more than 10 or 12.

Nobody is going to get rich quickly this way but over time, we watch our payouts grow as the size of the bankroll increases.

My Pick
Jimmie Rivera

In Conclusion

Okay, enough of my ranting, guys.

I want us all to grow this thing together.

Because of my big lecture, Jimmie Rivera is probably going to catch COVID mid-fight and get disqualified or a fresh and heavy Cody Stamann knocks him out.

Nah, Jimmie can box. The calf kicks should help minimize the mobility and explosion of Stamann.

That will lead to Rivera either pressing forward or circling effectively with the jab.

I hope the information I gave you guys today is helpful.

  • The sportsbooks aren’t the big bad wolves people make them out to be.
  • They are made up of humans and have strengths and weaknesses like all of us.

They make so much money off of sports like basketball and football along with the general public continually throwing money at betting lines completely devoid of value that they can get beat by a few disciplined baseball, hockey, and MMA bettors and still flourish.

That’s where we come in.

MMA has so few variables. Round scores are 10-9 one way or another more than 90% of the time. There is a ref but they rarely affect the outcome of a fight.

I could go on forever but you get the point.

Thank you for reading today.

We have to keep learning.

The new weight class could change things a bit but it could very well change things in our favor as well. I like this pick a lot.

Get your bets in now and definitely before fight time on Wednesday night!

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.