It’s time to set your alarm clocks because this Sunday morning, the UFC will kick off their Rotterdam card quite early. The event starts at 10:30 AM Eastern, so for those of you that have a Saturday night ritual of clubbing or bar-hopping, ya may want to call it a night a little earlier than usual.

The event is your typical Euro fare, with plenty of European fighters to satisfy the locals. There are several interesting match-ups on the card, and despite some seeming blowouts, I think there are points to be earned and money to be made via some careful analysis of the serious underdog potential here. Let’s get started.

Emmett vs. Hein

Jon Tuck is a very live dog. He’s a pretty well rounded fighter who is more than adequate on the ground or standing. He’s very durable, having only two blemishes on his record to very respectable opponents in Kevin Lee and Norman Parke, both by decision. He trains out of the MMA Lab in Arizona with a very accomplished set of teammates (Benson Henderson, Rick Story, Efrain Escudero, Joe Riggs) under the excellent tutelage of John Crouch.

Emmet has a pristine 9-0 record, but a more thorough look shows a fairly padded listing with wins over guys that have mostly losing records (Tony Rios at 1-3, Tremain Smith at 4-14, Noah Schnable at 4-13, Mike Ryan at 1-15, Emilio Gonzalez at 0-4). As a matter of fact, only two of his past opponents have winning records, Cristos Giagos at 11-5 and Rocky Johnson at 20-16.

I feel that Tuck’s experience against much better competition and excellent camp will be the biggest factor here and will net him the victory.

Jon Tuck via TKO

Tumenov vs. Nelson

This fight is going to be a great one. Gunnar Nelson is such a fantastic grappler, and he has a granite chin to go along with it. His striking has improved, although I feel his bread and butter is definitely his ground game.

Tumenov has a seriously dangerous striking game with knockout wins going his way from both punches and kicks. He’s only logged two losses, but the one to Ildemar Alcantara was just an ugly fight that saw him lose the battle, specifically because Alcantara was able to keep him in bottom position or pressed against the cage for a fair amount of time. The other problem I have with Tumenov is he is sometimes slow to capitalize on open opportunities to advance the fight in his favor.
I think Gunnar will make it a priority to get Tumenov to the ground and will have the clear advantage there. Craftiness and the ability to take advantage of openings will be the keys to his victory.

Gunnar Nelson via Decision

Struve vs. Silva

Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva hasn’t looked his best lately, but neither has Struve. Both have been faced with serious medical issues and managed to overcome them, but at a cost to their careers. This fight really isn’t about who looks better, it’s more about who looks the worst for wear and making your choice in the opposite direction. I think Antonio Silva has the better advantage here, and that’s knockout power. Struve definitely has a button, and it’s not that hard to find.

Antonio Silva via TKO

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Overeem vs. Arlovski

Andrei Arlovski was riding a 6-fight streak before losing to the Number 1 contender in the division, Stipe Miocic. One simply cannot count the Pitbull out, especially considering the phenomenal career arc he’s been on for the last three years or so. He has legitimate power, very good grappling, and the mental advantage of Greg Jackson having chosen to corner him rather than Overeem for the fight, despite Overeem being a two-year member at Jackson-Wink MMA.

Overeem is on a three fight streak, but he’s dropped fights that he should have won (Rothwell, Bigfoot, Browne). On the feet, these two seem to have similar KO ability, although I’d give the edge to Overeem there. His defensive game has improved under Jackson’s tutelage, but I feel that Andrei will be able to capitalize particularly on the ground, and that’s where I feel this fight is going to end up, one way or another.

Andrei Arlovski via Decision

There ya have it, this week’s underdog picks and predictions. The onus is on you to get in one of our amazing cash games and take a chance on one or all of these guys to put a little extra cheddar in your pocket.