The UFC is heading back to Vegas to conclude an 8 week streak of events culminating with this weeks UFC 222 card. The original main event for this PPV was Max Holloway defending his featherweight belt against top contender Frankie Edgar, but unfortunately Holloway was forced to pull out of the fight with an injury and the UFC brought in Cris Cyborg to headline the card by defending her women’s featherweight belt in another showcase fight against a low level opponent. Edgar will still be on the card in the co-main event, but now faces Brian Ortega in a top contenders fight to keep his spot as next in line for Holloway. It will be interesting to see just how big a draw Cyborg really is and if she’s able to somewhat save this card that will be one of the weaker PPV’s of the year.
The card will get underway at 6:30pm EST with the first three fights on UFC Fight Pass. The prelims will then take place at 8pm with the PPV portion of the card getting underway at 10pm EST.
All of the odds below are taken from BetOnline.ag, our top rated betting site for MMA. Here’s our full BetOnline review for you to check out if you’re interested in opening an account and placing some bets.
Cris Cyborg vs Yana Kunitskaya
It’s strange. Cyborg always complained about the UFC not giving her enough quality opponents, but now that the UFC wants to set up a Cyborg vs Nunes champion vs champion fight, Cyborg doesn’t seem interested. It’s not a good look for Cyborg, but she gets what she wants once again and will be taking on another low level fighter who has made a career fighting at 135 pounds.
This should be a walk in the park for Cyborg, but at these odds I can’t advise betting her to win. Kunitskaya does have knockout power and if she is able to catch Cyborg with something I guess it’s possible she pulls off the upset.
Lean: Cyborg -1650
Frankie Edgar vs Brian Ortega
Ortega is an absolute killer with ridiculous submission skills, but this is another massive step up in competition for him against the super experienced and tactical Frankie Edgar. Frankie should have the advantage on the feet and also be able to get this fight to the mat when he needs to. The only way I really see Ortega winning this fight is by submission and Edgar has never been submitted (or finished at all for that matter) in his entire 22-5-1 MMA career.
If anyone is going to change that it has to be Ortega, but I just think that Edgar is too crafty of a veteran to get caught or to fall into Ortega’s traps. The fact that this is only a 3 round fight should also benefit Edgar because it’s 10 fewer minutes he has to survive while working for a decision.
Edgar should easily win the rounds in this fight and I expect him to be the first to survive to a decision in Ortega’s UFC career.
Play: Edgar -175
Andre Soukhmthath vs Sean O’Malley
Sean O’Malley is an exciting, dynamic fighter who I think has some real potential to do damage in the UFC’s bantamweight division. He KO’d his opponent on Dana White’s Contender Series in July of last year to earn his spot on the roster and then came out and put on a striking display landing 141 significant strikes on Terrion Ware in his UFC debut. What impressed me most was the stamina that O’Malley showed in the third round. It looks like he might be slowing down in that fight, but he really turned it up in the third landing 51 significant strikes in that round including all 3 of his takedowns. O’Malley is a flashy guy with KO power, but the stamina to continue throwing large output over 15 minutes is key if he cannot get the early finish.
Soukhamthath is a guy that is the opposite in terms of activity. He sits back and counterstrikes, while really waiting and picking his spots. This style cost him his first two UFC fights, which were both razor close split decision losses. In his recent fight the strategy paid off with him able to catch Sanders coming in to earn a second round knockout, but he still only landed 20 significant strikes in the fight.
O’Malley is going to bring the action, which could play into Soukhmthath’s hands, but I think the variety of attacks and the relentless pressure of O’Malley should be enough for him to get this win. I do not see Soukhmthath winning a decision based on each guys normal output, so he really needs to land a finishing blow to win this fight. I’ll take plus odds on the dog when he likely only has to fight his own style and avoid a KO any day.
Play: O’Malley +105
Stefan Struve vs Andre Arlovski
Arlovski looked decent in his last fight against Junior Albini, where he won a decision. We know what we’re going to get with Arlovski and that is a solid, technical stand up fighter who doesn’t have chin that he used to. That said, I do not think that Struve is as dangerous as some people seemed to think after his two wins in 2016. Those finishes were over Bigfoot Silva and Daniel Omielanczuk, neither guy of UFC calibre. In his recent fight with Alexander Volkov he was outclassed and knocked out in the third round.
In this fight I believe Arlovski will have the advantage on the feet. If he can keep this fight standing I think he will be the more active striker and I actually think he will be able to knockout Struve.
Play: Arlovski +190
Cat Zingano vs Ketlen Vieira
I’m picking Cat Zingano in this fight. I’m just not completely sold on Ketlen Vieira. The fact that Sara McMann once again quit in her fight this past weekend tapping to a triangle choke from Marion Reneau. McMann is simply a quick tapper so I’m not as impressed with Vieira’s victory over the Olympian and I still don’t really know how good Vieira is.
That said, Zingano has not won since 2014, but she had some big wins over top fighters such as Pennington, Tate and even current champ Amanda Nunes in her UFC career. Zingano generally only fights once a year and she took last year off, but I still believe she has the ability to be a top fighter in the women’s bantamweight division.
This is a dog or pass spot for me and if I do bet on this fight it will be a small stab on Zingano.
Play: Zingano +115