After going three for three on my picks at UFC Calgary, I’m looking to keep the hot streak rolling into a fun UFC 227 card. The main event is a rematch between TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt for the bantamweight belt, and the bad blood between these two makes this must watch TV. Demetrious Johnson, arguably the most talented MMA fighter in the world, is also on the card to defend his flyweight belt in a rematch with Henry Cejudo and the Cub Swanson vs Renato Moicano fight will interest the hardcore fans. After these three fights though the card falls off considerably.
I’ve given my picks for the three big fights below. All of the odds 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.
TJ Dillashaw vs Cody Garbrandt
These are two extremely high level bantamweight fighters. I didn’t personally think that Garbrandt deserved an immediate rematch after getting knocked out and never defending his belt, but without many other viable options at bantamweight and the bad blood between these two caused this fight to fall into place.
I think this fight will play out similar to the fight fight. This should be a stand up fight and the first guy to land a flush full power strike should be able to get the finish. Garbrandt knocked down Dillashaw at the end of round one in the first fight, and of course Dillashaw earned the TKO in round 2. I personally think Garbrandt has more power in his hands, but TJ has greater variety of attacks and the better chin.
But like I said above, these guys are so evenly matched it will simply come down to who lands the power shot first. I’m leaning towards Garbrandt getting the job done this time. He has a lot to prove and he showed at the end of round 1 that his hands can find TJ’s chin. Dillashaw is kind of playing with house money going into this fight with him expected to earn a rematch himself for a trilogy fight if Cody wins this time. I think that could affect his mindset heading into this fight and Garbrandt could take advantage of a Dillashaw who doesn’t have his back against the wall, which is how he fights his best.
This fight could go either way, but I’ll take Garbrandt to even the series between these guys 1-1.
Play: Garbrandt 1.94
Demetrious Johnson vs Henry Cejudo
Cejudo looked very good getting wins over Wilson Reis and Sergio Pettis in his two fights since losing a razor tight split decision to Joseph Benavidez after his DJ loss in 2016. That said, both Reis and Pettis are very one dimensional fighters and Cejudo is going to have to put everything together perfectly to have a chance against Demetrious.
DJ is simply on another level to the other flyweights in the UFC. I don’t expect him to roll through Cejudo in two minutes like he did in their first fight, but I still think he will be the better fighter everywhere and he should cruise to a late finish.
Play: Johnson 1.21
Cub Swanson vs Renato Moicano
Moicano is a massive favorite in this fight against UFC veteran Cub Swanson, and the vast majority of UFC touts are extremely high on Moicano. Yes, Moicano looked great against Calvin Kattar in his recent fight and his big win over Jeremy Stephens put him on the map, but those are his only two big wins in the UFC. Yes, Moicano was beating Ortega before shooting for an ill timed takedown in the third round and getting submitted, but that’s how every single one of Ortega’s fights went in his lead up to his title shot, so I don’t give him a ton of credit for getting the better of Ortega early in their fight.
I think Cub Swanson is being overlooked in this spot. When Cub loses it’s usually because he got caught in a submission attempt, but Moicano isn’t known for his submission skills. His last three wins have all come via decision with him outstriking his opponents. Cub is a difficult guy to beat on the feet. He pushes the action, throws a ton of strikes and doesn’t mind getting into a war.
Yes, Moicano likely has the more technical striking of the two and he should be able to keep distance and pick Cub apart on the feet, but that’s easier said than done. Moicano was able to beat another very technique oriented stand up fighter in Kattar in his last fight, but Swanson is an entirely different animal who throws a lot of unorthodox strikes and just keeps the pressure on.
I agree that Moicano should be the favorite in this fight. Maybe even a 2-1 favourite, but at these odds I think there is some value on Swanson.
Play: Swanson 4.35