(In the main event, actor Ryan Reynolds defends his belt against a 100% Asian version of Ben Henderson. Plus, Rampage Jackson faces off against a prime Wes Sims. The referee for this evening will be Dan Miragliotta.)
The UFC’s return to Japan this weekend features plenty of attractive opportunities to earn money without working for it. So where do the edges lie? How much better will the UFC’s Japanese stars look on their home turf? And should you really be betting money with tax season coming up? (Just kidding, that one was a trick question.) Complete UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson odds are below, via BestFightOdds, followed by our occasionally-helpful betting advice. Check it out, and be sure to come back to CagePotato Saturday night for our liveblog of the fights, starting with the FX prelims broadcast at 8 p.m. ET.
Frankie Edgar (-125) vs. Ben Henderson (+115)
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (-237) vs. Ryan Bader (+220)
Cheick Kongo (-270) vs. Mark Hunt (+270)
Jake Shields (-300) vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama (+269)
Yushin Okami (-331) vs. Tim Boetsch (+300)
Hatsu Hioki (-167) vs. Bart Palaszewski (+155)
Anthony Pettis (-220) vs. Joe Lauzon (+220)
PRELIMINARY CARD (FX)
Takanori Gomi (-200) vs. Eiji Mitsuoka (+175)
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto (-288) vs. Vaughan Lee (+275)
Riki Fukuda (-300) vs. Steve Cantwell (+258)
Takeya Mizugaki (-200) vs. Chris Cariaso (+172)
PRELIMINARY BOUT (Facebook)
Tiequan Zhang (-250) vs. Issei Tamura (+250)
The Main Event: At this point, we shouldn’t have to tell you not to bet against Frankie Edgar when a belt is on the line. The question is, do you put money on him at these odds, or awkwardly back out of the room? I have faith in Edgar’s tenacity, but Henderson has looked so outstanding in his 3-0 UFC stint that at the very least, it’ll be a dogfight decided on the slimmest of margins. I’m not leaving my money in the hands of the judges, and the smartest bet here is no bet at all.
The Co-Main Event: You have to understand how much this fight means to Quinton Jackson. His future is on the line, following his failed title challenge against Jon Jones last September. He’ll be fighting in front of his family, and the Japanese fans that made him a star in the first place. In short, motivation will not be an issue. Meanwhile, Ryan Bader will be stepping into Rampage’s world on Saturday night, and the enormity of the fight and the Saitama Super Arena crowd might be overwhelming. I think this is a favorable matchup for Rampage, as long as he can dodge Bader’s power-punches and stuff most of his takedowns. A modest bet on the favorite makes sense.
The Good ‘Dogs: Didn’t we learn our lesson when Joe Lauzon was marked as a 4-1 underdog against Melvin Guillard? Never sleep on J-Lau. Once again, the oddsmakers have set Joe up as the underdog, even though Pettis hasn’t quite lived up to his hype since coming over to the UFC. As soon as the fight hits the mat, the odds shift dramatically in Lauzon’s favor. I’m also leaning towards Bart Palaszewski over Hatsu Hioki — simply based on their Octagon debuts at UFC 137, in which Bart destroyed Tyson Griffin and Hioki barely got past George Roop. I’d also point out that Kid Yamamoto is a strong favorite only because he’s got home-field advantage; it’s certainly not based on his performance in the UFC.
The Reader-Submitted Parlay: “Shields, Kongo, Edgar pays out 108 on a 50 dollar bet. Simple, easy and a lock.” (Aaron B.)
We say: Shields and Kongo, sure. But again, I’m staying away from wagering on the main event. So how ’bout…
Official CagePotato Parlay: Kongo + Shields + Okami + Zhang. $10 gets you a $17.38 profit. I know, that barely covers bus fare, but you’ll want to play it safe if you’re chasing underdogs with the rest of your money.
Suggested wager for a $50 stake
– $20 on Jackson
– $10 on Lauzon
– $10 on Palaszewski
– $10 on the parlay