The UFC is back in Vegas for UFC 252 which will be headlined by the trilogy fight between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic for the UFC heavyweight belt.
I have picks for the five main card fights below with the odds from BetOnline.ag.
Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic
Cormier gassed in the last fight and allowed Miocic to tee off on him in the fourth to finish the fight. I think Cormier will have fixed any conditioning issues in this trilogy fight, and will lean more on this wrestling this time around to grind on Stipe.
Cormier was content to fight a striking battle in the rematch, which he was winning until the fourth round, but he needs to get back to his wrestling roots and go to work grinding out a victory over Miocic.
I like Cormier to win the title and ride off into the sunset.
Play: Cormier -113
Sean O’Malley vs Marlon Vera
O’Malley continues to impress. This guys striking is no joke. He’s able to set up angles and generate a lot of power from short, fast strikes. This is a step up in competition for O’Malley, but I think he will be able to outclass Vera on the feet and earn another finish.
Play: O’Malley -300
Junior dos Santos vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik
This fight should stay on the feet and I think Rozenstruik has the more explosive, fight finishing power. JDS is coming off of two TKO losses and I think he is in for another short night on the wrong end of a Rozenstruik KO.
Play: Rozenstruik -150
John Dodson vs Merab Dvalishvili
John Dodson is one of the toughest outs in the bantamweight division. He’s not very active, but he’s explosive and he makes it difficult for opponents to look good against him. He’s coming off a knockout win over Nathaniel Wood that shows he still has power in his hands that can change a fight.
I will take Dodson as a +160 underdog against unproven fighters like Dvalashvili all day long. Yes, Dvalashvili is on a 4 fight winning streak, while winning fights in dominant fashion, but this is still a major step up in competition and I don’t think he’s fought anyone with the knockout power that Dodson has that can force Dvalashvili to be more tentative when coming in for his takedowns.
Give me the veteran with knockout power in this spot.
Play: Dodson +160
Ion Cutelaba vs Magomed Ankalaev
Cutelaba and Ankalaev are going to run back one of the worst stoppages in UFC history, when Akalaev landed a couple big shots on Cutelaba and Cutelaba played possom and pretended to be hurt on his feet, which brought in the referree too soon.
I think these guys are going to bang on the feet again, and I don’t think Cutelaba looked that outclassed in that last fight. He should be an underdog, but I think the +150 closing line from the last fight was accurate. For this reason I’m willing to take a shot on Cutelaba at +250.
Play: Cutelaba +250