It could be Rotterdam, or anywhere… Liverpool or Rome. It is Rotterdam though, the Ahoy to be exact. Host to many a legendary Dutch kickboxing and Free Fight supercard of years past, this Sunday the Ahoy will be home to the UFC’s latest Sunday Funday: Fight Night Rotterdam.
In this new regular offering, Team Sprawl are on hand and ready to lose the shirt off their collective back for your reading enjoyment.
£10. Thanks to our behemothic retainers from The Sprawl, such paltry sums mean nothing to us. So in the words of the millennials’ favourite slasher villain, I want to play a game…
Here’s the deal: Ten pound buy in, make it last as long as you can. To save the overeager and overconfident among us blowing our wads like a 14-year-old that just founds his old man’s jazz mag collection, players were limited to half their bankroll for the first few cards and whatever the weather, at least one bet per UFC card is mandatory.
Winner is the last man man standing, or the biggest bankroll at the end of the calendar year.
Holland is the second-largest kickboxing nation on earth, but MMA’s pace of growth has been more ‘stepping gingerly’ than ‘sprinting for the finish’. The cage was illegal for many years following bad press from some horrific late-90’s experiments gone wrong, but there was a budding Free Fight scene around the turn of the century with 2Hot 2Handle and It’s Showtime leading the charge.
Live combat sports events in Amsterdam have had the brakes put on them in recent years due to the kickboxing scene’s links to organised crime, but with Fox Sports having a big presence on Dutch TV and the UFC’s commitment to Europe, the Octagon has finally landed.
Alistair Overeem fights in Rotterdam for the first time in over a decade in the evening’s main event. He was a lynch-pin of the Dutch Free Fight scene in its heyday, famously competing on the same cards as brother Valentijn, where the pair would bet on who would finish their opponent fastest. He’s had his ups and downs, but with three wins in a row and a thread-bare division with a round-robin of wins and losses between top contenders, The Reem and his sexy muscles could be within a whisker of a title shot should he fell the brilliant but flawed Andrei Arlovski on Sunday.
Elsewhere on the bill, Gunnar Nelson and Albert Tumenov throw down in the night’s best-matched fight. There’s sleepers like Seery vs Horiguchi and a legitimate Dutch kickboxing legend in Germaine de Randamie facing hot prospect Anna Elmose. Hilarity will no doubt ensue when handbag thieving lunatic Reza Madadi takes on Yan Cabral, while Bigfoot Silva and Skyscraper Struve engage in a battle of guys who’ve probably been dinged one too many times.
Like so many of the UFC’s smaller, regional events, what UFC Rotterdam lacks in relevance it makes up for in unpredictable, well-matched bouts.
Got it? Good. Here then, are the fools so easily parted from their money and where (and why) they’ve laid their coin.
All bets are ‘to win’ unless otherwise denoted.
JJ Saddington: Saddington has given it the big’un, dropping every penny of his allowed bankroll on the very first event.
Kowalkiewicz/De Randamie double – 50p
McLellen – 50p
Overeem – £2
Tumenov – £2
The method behind the madness: “At the start of the year I predicted Overeem will wear UFC gold. Money, meet mouth. I love Gunnar – in every possible way – but Tumenov is a killer. Sorry Gunni. Garreth McLellan for his cavalier spelling of ‘Gareth’. That and Becky quite fancies him.
Because KK is destined to fight JJ in the big alliteration war, and Elmose has been stitched up big time with this debut.”
Ben Heather: Heather has dropped a couple of naughty one-pound specials; low risk, high reward.
Nelson by sub/Overeem to finish double – £1
Elmose and Seery – £1
The method behind the madness: “This week I’m opening the competition with a hit and hope approach. I wasn’t overly confident on any bets that were worth betting on with only £10 to play with, so I settled for these.”
Martin Ives: Legend has it that Mr Ives backed both Holly Holm and Nate Diaz when it mattered. It’s balls out of the bath time again, as he drops a massive £5 on his first go.
Kowalkiewicz – £5
The method behind the madness: “I’m a sucker for a good head of hair, and this bout is the mane attraction at UFC Rotterdam.”
Chris Scadden: Scadden, the bloody legend, isn’t down with this new-fangled internet. Thankfully he’s the only member of The Sprawl manly enough to walk into an actual betting shop to do the business.
Overeem/Silva/Nelson treble – £3
The method behind the madness: “Didn’t want to go all in on the first event. Hoping Reem’s gas lasts longer than Arlovski’s chin.”
Brad Wharton: Brad Wharton doesn’t like talk about himself in the 3rd person, but he does like taking a conservative approach to gambling, because he’s terrible at it.
Overeem by KO – £3
Cabral/Kowalkeiwicz/Khabilov treble – £1
The method behind the madness: “Doesn’t Arlovski look funny when he gets chinned?”
Lloyd Wharton: He’s here through nepotism.
Overeem – £3
Kowalkeiwicz – £1
The method behind the madness: “Overeem for the win and ‘that Polish chick’ to smash Heather.”
Thom Young: Young is actually a bit sensible when it comes to this betting lark. While that’s undoubtedly good for his pocket, the entertainment value is sorely lacking. He also likes Nickleback.
Overeem/Arlovski over 1.5 rounds/Krylov to win double – £5
The method behind the madness: “It’s not like you to say sorry, I was waiting on a different story. This time I’m mistaken, for handing you a bet worth makin’”
That’s the bets for the 1st event of The Sprawl’s ‘Fools and Their Money’; check back before each UFC card to laugh at our losses, marvel at our wins and lose your child support trailing our likely hapless wagers!