The UFC Apex in Las Vegas will play host to the latest behind-closed-doors UFC spectacular, with a superb card of fights lined up for Saturday night’s UFC 252 event.
We’ve trawled the markets ahead of fight night to bring you three solid value bets for the three top fights on the card.
Two of the greatest heavyweights of all time will go head to head for all the marbles in the main event as Miocic and Cormier settle their fighting trilogy and cement their legacies in the process.
Cormier won the first encounter by first-round KO, but Miocic came storming back in the second meeting as he finished Cormier in the fourth round to reclaim the title.
Now they’re going head to head again in a fight where both men now know each other VERY well.
Cormier is a narrow favourite as we write this piece, but those odds could easily shift before fight night. It’s a near coin-flip, but I like Miocic’s chances of scoring another stoppage victory.
He’s the younger man, he showed his ability to adapt to Cormier’s style and his striking is better than “DC’s.”
The odds on Miocic taking the victory via TKO looks decent, and we’ll lean towards that outcome as we look for our value pick.
However, if you believe the fight will go all five rounds this time, I think the advantage will swing Cormier’s way. He’ll likely use his wrestling to try to nullify Miocic for periods of the fight. If he avoids Miocic’s power, he could take it on the scorecards. If you like that outcome better, the decision victory for “DC” offers plenty of value, too.
Rising bantamweight star Sean O’Malley is ready to have the rocket boosters strapped onto him as he heads toward the division’s big names, and a big win this weekend should see him gatecrash the top contenders.
He’s facing the seasoned, dangerous Marlon “Chito” Vera, who will offer a solid test of his credentials. Vera has never been stopped in his entire MMA career, but O’Malley’s striking has seen him finish eight of his wins by KO/TKO, and he fancies his chances of repeating the trick here.
O’Malley’s striking is razor-sharp and should see him find the fight-changing breakthrough, but a striking advantage doesn’t necessarily lead to a KO/TKO finish. Often we see fighters stun their opponents, then follow them to the mat and lock up a submission – usually a rear-naked choke – to finish the fight.
While a KO/TKO finish undoubtedly looks more likely (and that’s a solid 6/4 shot), we’re chasing value bets here, and an O’Malley win by submission is available for colossal odds. Whether you simply want a sporting selection, or a cheeky side bet to sit alongside the KO/TKO selection, those odds are too big to ignore.
Make no mistake, Jairzinho Rozenstruik is an out-and-out knockout artist. But former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos is as durable as they come in the UFC’s top division.
The pair have been matched in a bout at 04:00 on Sunday that, on paper, screams knockout finish. But Rozenstruik laboured his way through his fight with Alistair Overeem last year before eventually finding a last-gasp KO, and Dos Santos has a MUCH more reliable chin than “The Reem.”
I like Rozenstruik’s kickboxing-based striking against Dos Santos’ MMA boxing, but the 5/6 available for “Bigi Boy” to win by KO/TKO offers little value.
However, backing him to win on the scorecards after three rounds is a different matter, with Rozenstruik on points available at a tempting price. We like that a lot better for a value selection for this fight
Best bets for UFC 252 on Saturday night
04:00 Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Junior Dos Santos: Rozenstruik To Win By Points
05:30 Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera: O’Malley to win by Submission
06:00 Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier: Miocic to win by KO/TKO
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