UFC 252 Betting Preview

Two of the best heavyweights to ever step into the Octagon will meet for the third time in the main event of UFC 252. This will be the rubber match between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier, and the UFC heavyweight title will be on the line. Cormier knocked out Miocic at UFC 226 two years ago, and Miocic returned the favor almost a year ago to the day at UFC 241. The preliminary card for UFC 252 will be broadcast on ESPN, but the main card will be shown on PPV through ESPN Plus. It is slated to start at 10 p.m. ET.




It hasn’t been easy to find long-term success at heavyweight in the UFC, but Miocic has been one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport for the last five years. He first claimed the UFC heavyweight belt with a first-round knockout of Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198, and he defended his belt with a first-round KO of Alistair Overeem four months later. Miocic picked up his fourth straight first-round KO against Junior dos Santos, and he set a new record for successful title defenses at heavyweight with a unanimous decision victory over Francis Ngannou at UFC 220 prior to his two bouts with Cormier.

Cormier is an MMA legend. He held the heavyweight and light heavyweight championships simultaneously in his prime, and the only two losses of his career came against Jon Jones and Miocic. Cormier is a superb all-around fighter with the ability to win by knockout or submission, but he doesn’t have the same gas in the tank at the age of 41. His last six fights have failed to go the distance, so the MMA betting odds believe it’s unlikely that this bout goes five rounds. Look for Cormier to try to go to the mat since Miocic has yet to submit an opponent, but Miocic is the better play at these odds given his relative youth.



The undefeated Sean O’Malley is one of the biggest favorites on the card. O’Malley is 12-0 entering his fight with Marlon Vera, and he has moved up to No. 14 in the UFC bantamweight rankings. He has been electric since returning from a doping suspension, earning Performance of the Night with his first-round knockouts at UFC 248 and UFC 250.

Vera had a checkered start to his UFC career. He was 4-3 after his first seven fights with the promotion, but he won five straight bouts before a tough loss to Song Yadong in Jacksonville back in May. Vera has yet to be knocked out or submitted as all his losses have come by decision, while 12 of his 15 wins didn’t have to go to the judges’ scorecards.



It will be interesting to see how Rozenstruik looks after the first loss of his career. Rozenstruik was knocked out in 20 seconds by Francis Ngannou at UFC 249, suffering the fate he bestowed upon others until that point. Four of his last six bouts were decided within 30 seconds, so this fight should be explosive and decided early.

Former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos has essentially alternated wins and losses since losing the title to Cain Velasquez at UFC 155. He is 6-6 since that defeat, but his previous victories over Miocic and Derrick Lewis show that he is still dangerous. However, dos Santos will be looking to bounce back after suffering consecutive defeats for the first time in his career. This fight is unlikely to last more than a round, so the ‘under’ is a solid option here.



The oddsmakers disagree with the UFC Rankings in a big way in this bout. John Dodson is ranked three spots ahead of Merab Dvalishvili in the bantamweight division, but the Georgian is a considerable favorite per the UFC betting odds. Dodson has not fought for a belt since his loss to Demetrious Johnson at UFC 191. He is 4-4 since that point, but two of his losses were by split decision.

Dvalishvili is making his main event debut. He has only been on lesser promotions before this weekend, but four straight victories at UFC Fight Night events led to a number by his name and more exposure. All four of those victories came by unanimous decision, so look for him to control the fight.



This is a rematch of a fight back in February. In that tilt, Ankalaev won by first-round KO, but that decision was mired in controversy as referee Kevin MacDonald stopped the bout way too early. Cutelaba immediately protested the stoppage, so the UFC decided to run it back. The earlier result has certainly influenced the MMA betting odds for this fight.

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