Besides the fighters and their families, those with the most at risk at PRIDE 33 will be the sportsbooks. Who do these professionals think will be winning the matches? How much money are they willing to wager on each fighter? We'll break down the official betting odds for the event to be held Saturday night February 24, live on PPV from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
How to Read a Line - The fighter with the greater negative number is the odds-makers' favorite to win the match. All numbers are based on a $100 increment. A negative number means you would have to wager the amount of the negative number (in positive dollars) to net a $100 profit. A positive number means you could wager $100 to profit the amount of the positive number. The Return on Investment (ROI) is the percentage of your bet amount that you would gain for winning.
Underdog (-200) = 50% ROI
Simon Barsinister (+300) = 300% ROI
In this example bout, Underdog is favored to win. A winning $200 bet on Underdog would net a $100 profit, or a 50% return on investment. A winning $100 bet on Barsinister would net a $300 profit, or a 300% return on investment. A losing bet, in either case, would result in a 100% loss of investment. In both cases, a winning payout would include the original amount of the bet along with the profit.
In this article, we'll use a $100 bet as an example to illustrate the ROI. You can bet any amount you want, depending on the limits set by your sportsbook. The profit on any bet amount can be determined by multiplying the amount of the bet times the percentage of ROI. Using the example bout -- a $50 winning bet on Underdog would net a $25 profit ($50 X 50% = $25), while a $50 winning bet on Barsinister would net a $150 profit ($50 X 300% = $150).
Okay, enough with the math already, let's get to the bettin'...
PRIDE 33: THE SECOND COMING
Joachim Hansen (-881) = 11% ROI
Jason Ireland (+801) = 801% ROI
Joachim "Hellboy" Hansen is 14-5, with 6 wins by KO and 2 wins by submission. Hansen has lost 3 times by submission. Hansen is 3-2 in PRIDE, with a loss in his last outing to Shinya Aoki via an amazing gogoplata submission.
Jason Ireland is 16-6, with 9 wins by submission and 4 wins by TKO. Ireland has lost 3 times by submission and once by TKO. Over the past couple of years, Ireland has lost to Mac Danzig, Dustin Hazelett and Jorge Gurgel.
What a line here, eh? Hansen is a top fighter coming off a loss. Ireland hasn't matched up well against top talent so far, and you know Hellboy is going to be pissed. Ireland seems to have gotten this spot for talent enhancement purposes. Ireland didn't fight in 2004, and since 2005 he's gone 3-3 in the minor leagues -- with wins over less-than-stellar opponents and losses to fighters much less talented than Hansen. Hansen, meanwhile, has been going toe-to-toe with some of the best PRIDE Bushido fighters. Alas, though, the odds are teetering into bet-on-a-miracle territory here. A $100 bet on Hansen would yield an $11 profit. Anything short of Hansen fighting an inanimate object, and I'm not taking these odds on him ever. A $100 bet on Ireland, on the other hand, would yield a staggering $801 profit. If you're familiar with Ireland and want to root for him, this wouldn't be a bad spot to risk some insignificant cash. Ireland, undoubtedly, will be trying to win. At least you'll have that.
Light Heavyweight Bout
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (-2001) = 5% ROI
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (+1601) = 1601% ROI
Antonio Rogerio "Minotoro" Nogueira is 12-2, with 5 wins by submission and 1 win by TKO. Both of Nogueira's losses have been by decision. In his last two PRIDE matches, Nogueira has beaten Alistair Overeem and lost to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou is 2-1, with 1 win by TKO and 1 win by split decision. Sokoudjou's loss was by TKO to Glover Teixeira. Exactly.
How on earth did this one get by the Nevada State Athletic Commission sanctioning body? They rejected Butterbean vs. Mark Hunt because of the disparity in fighting experience, but they allow a fighter with less than a handful of official MMA bouts under his belt to have at it with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira?!? I can hear the chants now -- "Lil' Nog is gonna kill you...Lil' Nog is gonna kill you..." This is a match-up of the super-long names and some super-long odds. A $100 bet on Nogueira would yield a pathetic $5 return. Seriously folks, go out to the street and ask people for money -- you'll likely make a lot more, and you won't have to risk any of your bankroll. I can't really see how even the universes could conspire together enough to conjure up a Sokoudjou win in this spot. A $100 bet on Sokoudjou would yield a $1601 profit, which would make for a spit-take size payout should a miracle occur here. There's huge money to be made on Sokoudjou, but it'd be like going into a burning building to try to collect money. Chances are you're going to burn to death. Sorry for the gruesome analogy, but it's necessary to project the actual level of devastation that is about to befall the African warrior Sokoudjou here. For his sake, hopefully it's quick. For your sake, bet on Sokoudjou only if you dislike the actual money you are going to wager.
Light Heavyweight Bout
Mauricio Rua (-451) = 22% ROI
Alistair Overeem (+411) = 411% ROI
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua is 15-2, with 12 wins by KO and 1 win by submission. Rua has lost once by submission and once by TKO due to a broken arm. Rua is often regarded as the best light heavyweight fighter in the world.
Alistair "Demolition Man" Overeem is 24-9, with 13 wins by submission and 10 wins by KO. Overeem has lost 4 times by KO and twice by submission. Overeem has lost his last two PRIDE matches, against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona.
Overeem has always been the guy who is tougher than almost everyone out there, but unfortunately, he almost always loses to the cream of the crop fighters. Rua is almost always near the tippy-top of any list of the best fighters on the planet. Frankly, the odds being offered here for Rua are pretty decent considering his pedigree. Overeem is surprisingly getting a lot of respect. A $100 bet on Rua would yield a $22 profit. Rua is one of a few select fighters on whom I'd be willing to take these odds. If Overeem could get lucky somehow, he'd be perfectly capable of taking advantage of a situation and finishing. A $100 bet on Overeem would yield a $411 profit. In my mind, I can't see how Rua loses here. Thankfully the fight isn't taking place in my mind. A bet on Rua wouldn't be horrible, but it wouldn't be all that profitable either. Overeem is providing a nice payout, but who in their right mind bets against Shogun?
Kazuo Misaki (-330) = 30% ROI
Frank Trigg (+280) = 280% ROI
Kazuo "Grabaka Hitman" Misaki is 18-7, with 8 wins by decision, 7 wins by submission and 3 wins by KO. Misaki has lost once by submission and once by TKO due to a broken arm. Five of Misaki's losses have been by decision. Misaki won the PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix in his last PRIDE match with a split decision victory over Denis Kang.
Frank "Twinkle Toes" Trigg is 14-5, with 8 wins by KO and 5 wins by submission. Trigg has lost 4 times by submission and once by TKO. In his last two matches, Trigg beat Jason Miller and lost to Carlos Condit
Trigg will be pulling double-duty at the PPV, competing in this match and then joining the broadcast crew for the remainder of the show, which might be the incentive Trigg needs to win -- so he can avoid having to talk about how he lost. Trigg's most blatant vulnerability has proven to be submissions. Misaki specializes in submitting people, and usually if he hasn't been able to make his opponent tap out, he has beaten them up enough to earn a decision victory. Trigg will have his hands full here, but Misaki has been KO'd before, and Twinkle Toes knows a thing or two about delivering KOs. A $100 bet on Misaki would yield a $30 profit. Trigg is a lot tougher than he's being given credit for here. A $100 bet on Trigg would yield a $280 profit. Given how the earlier matches on this card haven't been all that spectacular so far as betting, this one looks like a decent spot to gamble.
Hayato Sakurai (-586) = 17% ROI
Mac Danzig (+536) = 536% ROI
Hayato "Mach" Sakurai is 29-7, with 12 wins by decision, 10 wins by submission and 7 wins by KO. Sakurai has lost 3 times by KO and once by submission. Over the past couple of years, Sakurai has defeated Luciano Azevedo, Joachim Hansen, Jens Pulver and Shinya Aoki. Sakurai's last loss was to Takanori Gomi via KO in 2005.
Mac Danzig is 16-3, with 8 wins by submission and 4 wins by TKO. All three of Danzig's losses have been by decision. Danzig won 12 straight fights before losing to Clay French via split decision in his last outing.
Don't get me wrong here -- Sakurai is really tough, but Danzig seems to be getting severely underrated. Granted, Danzig hasn't fought near the level of competition that Sakurai has, but also -- Danzig has never been finished in almost twenty fights. Danzig has lost a few judges' decisions, but he has yet to be stopped. Danzig has studied well, but now he must take the biggest test of his career against Sakurai. A $100 bet on Sakurai would yield a $17 profit. Danzig is no punk, so these odds seem a bit silly. A $100 bet on Danzig would yield a $536 profit. Something tells me there are going to be a lot of new Mac Danzig fans going into this weekend.
Catchweight (160) Bout
Takanori Gomi (-347) = 29% ROI
Nick Diaz (+317) = 317% ROI
Takanori "the Fireball Kid" Gomi is 27-3, with 12 wins by decision, 9 wins by KO and 6 wins by submission. Gomi has lost twice by submission and once by decision. Gomi is the current PRIDE Lightweight Champion. Gomi won 10 in a row, before losing to Marcus Aurelio via submission. Gomi has won 3 in a row since his loss, including a split decision victory over Aurelio in a rematch.
Nick Diaz is 14-6, with 7 wins by KO and 5 wins by submission. Diaz has lost 5 times by decision and once by TKO to Jeremy Jackson. Diaz has won his last three matches, after losing three in a row in the UFC to Diego Sanchez, Joe Riggs and Sean Sherk.
This is the match that I am most anticipating seeing on this card. This is a dream match-up and should be an explosive affair. Really, this is the closest we've gotten in quite a while to a legitimate PRIDE vs. UFC match. It'll be interesting to see how Diaz is able to compete with the hyperactive Gomi. A $100 bet on Gomi would yield a $29 profit. Gomi is good, and maybe he's that good, but against Diaz -- I just don't know. A $100 bet on Diaz would yield a $317 profit. I could root against Gomi for these odds. There's always the chance Diaz could control Gomi for the duration of the match and win a decision. Gomi really doesn't lose, though, so it'll take Diaz having his shitkickers on for an upset here. I’m giddy with excitement for this one, the highlight of a really stacked PRIDE card.
Middleweight Championship - (Light Heavyweight) Bout
Wanderlei Silva (-266) = 38% ROI
Dan Henderson (+246) = 246% ROI
Wanderlei "the Axe Murderer" Silva is 31-6, with 21 wins by KO and 4 wins by submission (3 of which were due to strikes). Silva has lost 3 times by KO and 3 times by decision. Silva is the current and defending PRIDE Middleweight Champion.
Dan "Hollywood" Henderson is 21-5, with 11 wins by decision, 9 wins by KO and 1 win by submission due to strikes. Henderson has lost 3 times by decision and twice by submission. Henderson is the current PRIDE Welterweight Champion.
Only in PRIDE do we get the Middleweight Champion versus the Welterweight Champion in a Light Heavyweight match for the Middleweight Championship!?! It's a title match, though, which are rarely seen in PRIDE, so we ought to quit asking questions, and just enjoy the offering. Personally, Silva is the single scariest fighter in the world to me, just above Fedor Emelianenko, only because Emelianenko seems to be a legitimately nice guy. Silva, I'm not so sure of -- he's almost more animal than man, like a werewolf. Mirko Cro Cop did manage to take down Silva with a lethal high kick of a silver bullet. Although Henderson isn't regarded as fearsome a striker as Cro Cop, Henderson has made a good living, and compiled an impressive record, using his fists. Henderson uses his superior grappling to deliver lethal striking, and seems to be the type of fighter that would have the best chance against Silva. Henderson has fought many of the best fighters in the world, and has never been knocked out. To the contrary, Silva has knocked out many of the best fighters in the world. Something will have to give in this match. A $100 bet on Silva would yield a $38 profit. A $100 bet on Henderson would yield over 6 times as much, with a $246 profit. I don’t know, I’ve doubted Henderson several times in the past only to be surprised. But against Silva? This just seems too tall a task. Silva has fought most of the top heavyweights in the world, while Henderson holds a title which is two weight classes below where he'll be competing in this match. Seemingly Silva will overwhelm Henderson, but maybe I’m underestimating Henderson again. Surely Henderson will have more of a chance against Silva than Mark Coleman did against Fedor Emelianenko. Perhaps this time the American will even have the home crowd on his side against this foreign invader.
According to Odds-makers
Most Favored to Win -- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Least Favored to Win -- Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
Closest Fight -- Dan Henderson vs. Wanderlei Silva
In My Humble Opinion
Best Long-Shot Bet -- Mac Danzig
Safest Bet on a Fighter Favored to Win -- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Sleeper Bets -- Frank Trigg or Nick Diaz
Worst Bet on a Fighter Favored to Win -- Joachim Hansen
Worst Bet on a Fighter Favored to Lose -- Alistair Overeem
FINAL ANALYIS: There are actually a lot of potentially good bets on this card. Decent odds have been laid for almost all of the underdogs. On the flip side, though, all of the fighters favored to win are pretty far away from the line. The best payout for a fighter favored to win on this card is for Wanderlei Silva. If everything goes as expected, there will be a lot of money lost on this event by gamblers because of the incredible amount of potential longshot bets. As is MMA, though, the unexpected can be expected, so there’ll have to be a crack in the dam somewhere. The skill will be figuring out where best to spread your bankroll across the various options. Dan Henderson is a possible sleeper bet. Jason Ireland and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou are offering sick payouts. Surely extreme betters will be chasing the dragon on these two risky endeavors. Then there’s always Alistair Overeem, who could come in and steal a victory under the radar.
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Comments, questions, concerns and the like can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The gambling odds in this article have been provided by pinnaclesports.com. Lines are current as of 2/21/06 at 5:00 am EST. Only PRIDE 33 bouts that have current odds have been included in this article. All MMA records referenced in this article are according to the sherdog.com. MMA records as announced by PRIDE may be different due to different calculating factors.