Believe it or not, there are fights out there that don’t take place in a UFC Octagon. Our new weekly series will do for other combat sports what our weekly Deep Dives do for the UFC, to wit, provide the best betting advice we can on everything from Bellator to GLORY Kickboxing to the WWE to the odd super-fight boxing match. If it involves punching and it doesn’t take place in an eight-sided ring, it’s liable to be covered here, hence the name “The Noctagon.”
Tonight sees Bellator return to the UK with Bellator 191 in Newcastle, England (available on Spike TV). Unfortunately, it’s a lackluster card that doesn’t really give bettors much spice. There aren’t really any underdogs worth betting on, and a lot of favorites have odds that aren’t worth playing unless you work them into a parlay.
But we can definitely play it safe and still come out ahead.
Valerie Letourneau (-110) vs. Kate Jackson (-110): Flyweight
Former UFC strawweight title contender Valerie Letourneau (8-6) is making her Bellator debut against Kate Jackson (9-2-1) who is on a five-fight winning streak.
At first glance, you might think Jackson should be favored going into this bout. Not only will Jackson, a Cornwall native, have the home crowd on her side, but she has also been more active having just picked up her first Bellator win back in August. Meanwhile, Letourneau hasn’t fought in a year and is coming off a tough split-decision loss against Viviane Pereira at UFC 206. But Letourneau has faced tougher competition, which includes one of the world’s best in Joanna Jedrzejczyk, whom she took the distance at UFC 193. She is also the more well-rounded fighter, despite being on the downswing of her career.
Jackson is simply not on the level of the Canadian’s former opponents, and most sportsbooks recognize that, positioning Letourneau as the favorite. But you can still get her at close to even money on a few sites for this title eliminator bout, which I see her winning via decision.
My bet: $25 on Letourneau at -110
Potential payout: $22.73 profit
Michael McDonald (-550) + Valerie Letourneau (-120)
Like Valerie Letourneau, Michael McDonald (17-4) is making his Bellator debut and hasn’t fought for over a year. He was once regarded as a can’t-miss bantamweight prospect in the UFC, but injuries and inconsistency have dogged the 26-year-old. That said, his overall skill set and the fact he has faced tougher competition makes him the overwhelming favorite over Peter Ligier (8-1-1).
There isn’t a lot going on from a betting standpoint on this card, but I do like a parlay play of Michael McDonald + Valerie Letourneau.
My bet: $50 on Michael McDonald at -550 + Valerie Letourneau at -120
Potential payout: $58.35 profit
As I write this, Ryan Bader is at +280 to win the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. Jump on that! As long as he is healthy, he is a strong favorite to win that eight-man tournament. The current Bellator light-heavyweight champ is still basically in his prime, which is a great deal more than you can say for most of the fighters in the Grand Prix, which also features Chael Sonnen, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Frank Mir, and Fedor Emelianenko, four fighters who are nearing 40 or already on the wrong side of that number.
The other decent bet for the tournament is Matt Mitrione (a true heavyweight), who has +225 odds to win.
The way the bracket is laid out, Bader and Mitrione would face one another in the semi-finals. The victor will be the odds-on favorite to win the whole thing.
My bet: $50 on Ryan Bader to win the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix at +285
Potential payout: $140 profit
My bet: $50 on Matt Mitrione to win the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix at +225
Potential payout: $112.50 profit
Let's have fun and keep it civil.