UFC Fight Night 103 Phoenix BJ Penn Yair Rodriguez
UFC Phoenix Poster

With a brand new year comes a brand new MMA Plus Betting Guide as we have adopted a brand new look and strategy to put money in your pockets during each and every UFC event. The year starts with the return of BJ Penn who faces heavy favourite Yair Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night 103 at the Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.

Main Event

Yair Rodriguez (9-1) 1/4 vs. BJ Penn (16-10-2) 16/5 – Featherweight

UFC legend BJ Penn returns to the octagon this weekend after a three-year absence to face top prospect Yair Rodriguez. The odds completely reflect the feeling around this fight within the MMA universe as fans the world over hope that the returning Hawaiian can at least look competitive in this fight.

Penn may have been a great fighter in his day but with the sport evolving at a tremendous pace, I just can’t see him keeping up with the relentless energy and volume that his younger Mexican opponent will bring into the bout. Although people are expecting an early knockout, Penn’s as tough as old boots and I feel there’s value to be found in backing one last courageous display from “The Prodigy” so stay on the overs markets.

I like “El Pantera” to control the pace and test his 38-year-old opponent’s stamina by taking him into the deep waters before overwhelming a worn down but stubborn Penn in the latter rounds.

Main Event Tip: – Yair Rodriguez to win in Round 3, 4 or 5 at 16/5


Main Card

Joe Lauzon (26-12) 5/6 vs. Marcin Held (22-5) EVS – Lightweight

Court McGee (18-5) EVS vs. Ben Saunders (20-7-2) 5/6 – Welterweight

Sergio Pettis (14-2) 2/3 vs. John Moraga (16-5) 5/4 – Flyweight

Looking at the rest of the main card, I actually like all three underdogs in this spot. Marcin Held is a much better fighter than was seen on his debut and I feel a lot can be attributed to short notice and the fight taking place in Mexico City. He’s a serious prospect who could easily upset fan favourite Joe Lauzon who’s entertaining but not the most technical fighter in the division. With both guys holding black belts in BJJ a look into the submissions market wouldn’t be the worst idea.

Looking at Court McGee and Ben Saunders, I see two guys who struggle for consistency and I don’t really trust either with my hard-earned cash. I would have to go for underdog or pass in this situation with McGee offering the kind of style that’s troubled Saunders in the past but “Killa B” is dangerous off his back and my Irish colleague’s week long rantings about his BJJ skills haven’t gone unnoticed.

That brings us to John Moraga who’s the slight underdog in this matchup with Sergio Pettis. Moraga is from Phoenix and I always like a fighter in front of his home crowd and more importantly favourable judges. This is especially true when your opponent is the underwhelming Pettis who has never quite lived up to his potential and can’t finish his dinner never mind his fights. Moraga is coming off two losses and needs this win and I like him to do the business.

Main Card Tip: Held, Moraga and McGee all to win at 8/1



Frankie Saenz (10-4) 20/33 vs. Augusto Mendes (5-1) 27/20 – Bantamweight

Aleksei Oleinik (50-10-1) 7/10 vs. Viktor Pesta (10-3) 6/5 – Heavyweight

Tony Martin (10-3) 4/7 vs. Alex White (11-2) 29/20 – Lightweight

Devin Powell (8-1) 2/1 vs. Drakkar Klose (6-0-1) 2/5 – Lightweight

Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger (6-3) 5/4 vs. Nina Ansaroff (6-5) 2/3 – Women’s Strawweight

Walt Harris (8-5) 3/4 vs. Chase Sherman (9-2) 11/10 – Heavyweight

Joachim Christensen (13-4) 5/12 vs. Bojan Mihajlovic (10-4) 39/20 – Light-Heavyweight

Cyril Asker (7-2) 4/5 vs. Dmitry Smolyakov (8-1) 21/20 – Heavyweight

Looking at the Fight Night 103 prelims line-up, there’s not a lot of value going around this week however a fighter I believe to be massively underpriced is Cyril Asker. The big bearded Heavyweight has looked impressive in previous outings and Smolyakov had a horror show against Luis Henrique on his debut. It wouldn’t be the worst idea to back the Frenchman to get the KO/TKO finish and double your money.

The line on Alex White has tumbled considerably this week showing money being put on “The Spartan” from all over but he doesn’t have me convinced. I prefer the close to evens money on Nina Ansaroff after having trained with one of the best collection of women fighters at American Top Team in her year out. I expect to see improvement and hopefully she’s found a killer instinct or she could leave me red-faced.

Augusto Mendes was never given an opportunity to show what he had to offer on his debut as he was quickly dispatched by Cody Garbrandt however that loss looks less significant with Garbrandt now being king of the division. Mendes has serious BJJ and against a tough Frankie Saenz may spring a shock with his technical prowess.

Tip: Mendes, Ansaroff, Asker and Christensen all to win at 9/1