UFC 252 Preview and Picks

UFC 252 Preview and Picks

Last Week

As tipped by OddsBoom last week, Derrick Lewis managed to get the job done via KO over Aleksei Oleinik.

Lewis v Olenik UFC

Lewis, the fourth-ranked Heavyweight has now put himself back into contention in the Heavyweight picture.

He could well be in line for a title shot, facing off against the winner of this week’s epic main event – the trilogy fight between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic, should neither man retire.

In the co-main. Chris Weidman got his own UFC back on track with a closely fought decision win over Omari Akhmedov.

It is unclear where Weidman will head next, but he will have aspirations to take a shot at the Middleweight title in the future. 

Sean O'Malley v Marlon Vera

O’Malley comes into this as the strong betting favorite, and for good reason. He has set the UFC alight since his debut and looks set to be one of the organisations next superstars.

The prices look to be accurate as O'Malley has won his last two bouts with incredible first-round finishes, and is one of the hottest names in the game right now.

O'Malley

Marlon Vera comes into this fight against the 14th ranked O’Malley on the back of a loss to Song Yadong, and will do very well to get back into the win column here. 

Although O'Malley has shot up the Bantamweight rankings, he has not yet fought anyone of note. Wins over Eddie Wineland, José Alberto Quiñónez and Andre Soukhamthath were visually impressive, but those three opponents have 26 combined career losses. ‘Suga’ takes a step up here this week in fighting the very experienced Vera. 

O’Malley has shown that his striking game is as sharp as anyone else in the division. He connects with well over 55% of his power strikes – and with accuracy like that, he is able to pick his opponents apart at will.

Couple his excellent striking with superb footwork, and he does look to possess all the tools to make a real name for himself in the division. 

Marlon Vera

In his past fights, Marlon Vera has also showcased some impressive striking – he fights on the front foot and likes to keep pressure up on his opponents. However, this is likely to be the wrong approach to take against O’Malley. ‘Suga’ is not a power puncher, but is a creative striker – able to craft angles opponents often do not see coming. If Vera simply tries to walk him down then he is likely to get picked apart by O’Malley’s creative striking. 

Despite O’Malley not having fought anyone of Marlon Vera’s caliber before, we feel that he will manage to step up his game and get the job done – most probably in spectacular fashion.

Love him or hate him, O’Malley looks like he is here to stay – and will no doubt be talked about as a Bantamweight contender after this. 

This fight is sure to receive a great deal of attention. O’Malley likes to talk – and has a huge social media presence. Up until now, he has always been able to back up his talk with impressive wins. He should be able to keep the momentum going here this week against Marlon Vera.

With O’Malley such a strong favorite, there is no value in simply taking the moneyline odds on him to win – instead boost the odds by taking him to win by way of KO. 

Pick – Sean O’Malley to win by KO

Daniel Cormier v Stipe Miocic 3

The trilogy between Daniel Cormier (22-2-0) and Stipe Miocic (19-3) comes to a head.

With each man taking one win from their first two fights, the Heavyweight title is once again on the line in Las Vegas Saturday night.

This is undoubtedly one of the biggest Heavyweight fights of all time, and is sure to be a huge betting event.

Cormier and Miocic cannot be split by oddsmakers – this fight is a true pick ‘em matchup. Each man has his strengths – and with history showing that each man can win, it is likely to be a very closely fought affair here. 

Cormier Miocic UFC 226

The first fight between these two came at UFC 226, where DC was able to score a first-round KO to become a two-division UFC champion. The pair rematched at UFC 241, where Miocic was able to stop Cormier in the fourth round. So each man has shown they possess the ability to stop their opponent. 

Miocic has not fought since UFC 241, almost exactly a year ago, having undergone surgery on his eyes after they were damaged by illegal eye pokes from DC.

Like his opponent, Cormier has also been out of action since UFC 241 - concentrating on his media career. He has publicly stated that he intended to retire from the fight game by 40, so at age 41 this could well be his last fight in the UFC octagon.

Stipe Miocic has a significant height and reach advantage – and likely has the better cardio game too. He has lobbied the UFC to install the usual 30-foot octagon for this bout, but that change has not transpired and the smaller 25 cage will once again be used. Clearly, the smaller cage benefits Cormier. 

Doubts have been raised over Cormier’s conditioning and cardio before each of the first two bouts. With neither of the fights going the distance – he was not able to prove any doubters wrong.

The fact that Miocic has campaigned for the larger cage speaks volumes though, and he will be unhappy that the UFC has seemingly handed DC an advantage by insisting the smaller cage be used. 

In each of the first two fights, Cormier has managed to outstrike his opponent. Despite being stopped by Miocic last time, DC had outstruck his opponent by 181-123 before the stoppage came. That stoppage looked to be a result of overconfidence by Cormier.

He had made a successful start to the fight and looked to drop his hands in the fourth round. Miocic pounced on this and got to work on Cormier’s body – forcing the stoppage. 

It is unlikely that DC will make the same mistake again. Many expect him to come into this fight in far better shape – and that could make all the difference. In an attempt to negate the 8-inch reach advantage, expect Cormier to shadow Miocic around the smaller cage – probably utilizing vicious leg kicks when in close. This tactic looked to work in each of the previous two fights, with Miocic struggling to check any of the kicks DC unleashed. 

We believe that Daniel Cormier will triumph, in what could be an all-time classic this weekend.

It could be the last fight in the UFC for both men, and neither will go down without a fight. Whilst the oddsmakers cannot separate them, we believe that the smaller cage will significantly play into Cormier’s hands, and he will use this advantage to score a KO win over Stipe Miocic.

Picks – Daniel Cormier to win by way of KO. Cormier to win in round 3. 


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