The UFC is back in Las Vegas, with the UFC Apex playing host to its first-ever pay-per-view event as the greatest female fighter in history gets set to defend one of her titles once again.
The fight card offers five fights with clear favourites, but there’s still value to be had, including one underdog well worth watching.
Felicia Spencer is tough and raw, but Nunes is a 1/7 favourite for good reason. She’s finished every champion to ever hold UFC women’s titles at 135 and 145 pounds, and she’s finished each and every one of them inside the FIRST ROUND.
Now former Invicta champion Spencer is stepping up to face “The Lioness,” and it’s hard not to see her getting similarly mauled.
Nunes’ punch power is off the charts, just ask former champions Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Cris Cyborg, and Spencer isn’t the sort of slick striker that could pick Nunes apart off the back foot.
The Canadian’s best route to victory is via takedowns, but to do that you’ve got to get in range, and that means walking through Nunes’ sledgehammer punches.
A finish seems likely.
PICK: Amanda Nunes to win by KO/TKO via Punches in Round 1 or Round 2
Former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt is desperate for a win. He’s riding a three-fight losing streak, all by stoppage, and he knows his chances of getting back to the top of the division hinge on a big win this weekend.
He’s facing the tough Brazilian Raphael Assuncao, who has been at the sharp end of the bantamweight division for years, but has suffered due to his lack of finishing ability. He is also in need of a victory, having lost his last two.
Most of Assuncao’s wins at the top level have been on the scorecards, while Garbrandt has used his fast, powerful hands to put away a host of contenders in his career.
Looking at the routes to victory, it seems Garbrandt has much more in his favour, and his heavy hands have proved to be good enough to hurt the best fighters on the planet.
PICK: Cody Garbrandt by KO/TKO
This bantamweight contender matchup is almost a coin-flip fight. Sterling has the experience advantage in the UFC, and is the man in position to earn a title shot – indeed, there’s a strong argument he should be fighting for a belt right now.
But Sandhagen is looking in outstanding form and, even though he isn’t as fashionable a name, the Colorado-based bantamweight is a serious contender at 135 pounds.
Sandhagen is the slight underdog, but arguably has more ways to win the fight than Sterling. Sandhagen holds the striking advantage and is equally adept on the ground. He’s also shown his ability to pace himself through a full three-round fight, with his last two wins coming on the scorecards.
The fight is likely to go all the way to the judges, and Sandhagen may just have enough to edge it and give his in-form team at Elevation Fight Team – home to Justin Gaethje and Drew Dober – another big win.
PICK: Cory Sandhagen by Points