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UFC 238: Cejudo vs Moraes Odds and Picks

The UFC returns to the United Center in Chicago for the first time in a year and the card is headlined with a pair of title fights. Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo is moving up to bantamweight to fight Marlon “Magic” Moraes for the title in the main event. Cejudo is a slight -105 underdog with Moraes coming back at -125 and I have a breakdown and a pick for each fight on the main card.

Shark Bites
  • Henry Cejudo is an Olympic gold medalist and the UFC flyweight champion.
  • Marlon Moraes has won his last four fights.
  • Henry Cejudo is 8-2 in the UFC.
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Cejudo vs Moraes Fight Center

Henry Cejudo vs Marlon Moraes

Cejudo (-105) is aiming to collect his fifth straight win and first in his new division. The Messenger has pulled off back-to-back upsets in his last two fights, earning a split-decision triumph over Demetrious Johnson – arguably the pound-for-pound king at the time – to win the flyweight belt and following that up with a first-round knockout over T.J. Dillashaw in January of this year.

The 32-year-old struck gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in wrestling and burst onto the MMA scene with 10 straight wins before his first fight with Demetrious Johnson. Cejudo averages 2.3 takedowns per 15 minutes and has landed multiple takedowns in five of his last nine fights. He also has two knockout wins over his last four bouts, including one against former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw in January.

Moraes (-125) is also seeking a fifth straight win, after dropping his UFC debut to Raphael Assuncao in June 2017. That defeat came via split decision and since then, he has rattled off four consecutive wins, including three fights in a row that have been first-round finishes. His most recent fight was a rematch with Assuncao and he won that via first-round submission.

Magic is a very active fighter, constantly moving around, and has his hands moving around to judge distance and feint to open opportunities. He also has really good kicks that have tremendous power behind them. Due to his speed, he only absorbs 2.6 strikes per minute and makes his opponents miss 65 percent of their strikes.

Leg kicks could be a key factor in this game as Cejudo tends to have a bit of a sideways stance and is heavy on his lead leg, and Moraes has really good kicks that could slow down Cejudo’s movements. Magic does tend to load up on his strikes and if the Messenger reads it quickly enough, he may find success getting the fight to the floor.

Prediction: Henry Cejudo (-105) via decision

Cejudo vs Moraes Fight Center

For more on this fight, check out my odds analysis article

Valentina Shevchenko vs Jessica Eye

Shevchenko (-1100) is making her first title defense since winning the strap against former strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk. “Bullet” was 3-2 in the bantamweight division with her two losses coming against current bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes, with one defeat by unanimous decision and the second by split decision.

The 31-year-old has tremendous striking, averaging 3.36 strikes per minute, and lands 51 percent of her strike attempts while making her opponents miss 61 percent of their strikes. She had a fantastic kickboxing career with a 56-2 record before transitioning to MMA, where she now has a 16-3 record. In addition to her great striking, she also averages 2.06 takedowns per 15 minutes and has landed multiple takedowns in five of her seven UFC fights.

Eye (+650) is on her best streak in the UFC, winning three straight fights, and has parlayed that into a title shot. Things didn’t go as planned in the early stages of her Octagon career as “Evil” went 1-5 with one no contest at bantamweight, but at flyweight, she is undefeated in the UFC at 3-0. Her last seven bouts have gone to the judges’ scorecards.

The 32-year-old is an aggressive fighter who likes to take the center of the Octagon and back her opponents down. She tends to throw wild overhand punches and that results in her landing just 36 percent of her strikes. That being said, she does have pretty good head movement, making her opponents miss 60 percent of their strikes, but she still absorbs 3.43 strikes per minute.

Shevchenko is typically more of a patient, counter-striking type of fighter, slowly inching forward and planting herself just out of range of her opponent while waiting for them to throw before she storms forward. Meanwhile, Eye likes to be the aggressor and get in her opponent’s face so it’s a perfect stylistic match for Bullet, and if she does feel any pressure on the feet, she has the ability to drag the fight to the floor.

Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko (-1100) via decision

Shevchenko vs Eye Fight Center

For more on this fight, check out my odds analysis article

Tony Ferguson vs Donald Cerrone

Ferguson (-155) aims to pick up his 12th straight win as he is back in action for the first time since his wild fight with Anthony Pettis at UFC 229 last October. “El Cucuy” won the interim lightweight title against Kevin Lee at UFC 216 in October 2017 and was set to unify the belts against Khabib Nurmagomedov last April but injured his knee. Overall, Ferguson is 14-1 in the UFC with 10 finishes.

The 35-year-old is a very unorthodox fighter with creative strikes and a wide array of skills to defeat his opponents. He is very active, landing 5.51 strikes per minute, and makes his opponents miss 63 percent of their strikes. Ferguson doesn’t seek the takedown very often, having not landed a takedown since 2015, a span of six fights. However, he works extremely well off his back with eight submissions.

Cerrone (+125) looks to continue his push for another lightweight title shot and extend his current three-fight winning streak. “Cowboy” had an eight-fight winning streak from 2013 to 2015 that earned him a title fight against Rafael dos Anjos, but he was knocked out in the first round of that fight. He then moved up to welterweight, where he had a 6-4 record before dropping back down to lightweight. He has won two fights in a row in that division.

Cowboy holds several UFC records, such as most wins and most finishes, as a true veteran of the sport but he is by no means a gatekeeper. He is a smart fighter who has no problem getting in a brawl on the feet or having a jiu-jitsu war on the floor. Of Cerrone’s 36 wins, 27 have been finishes, 10 by knockout and 17 by submission.

This is the people’s main event and has all the makings of a fight of the night. The only complaint I have about this bout is that it’s scheduled for just three rounds. I think that duration favors Ferguson because his movements are often difficult to figure out, but he is susceptible to eating leg kicks, which may slow him down quick enough for Cowboy to capitalize. Tough fight to call.

Prediction: Donald Cerrone (+125) via decision

Ferguson vs Cerrone Fight Center

Jimmie Rivera vs Petr Yan

Rivera (+265) is looking to avoid his first-ever losing streak as he returns to the Octagon following his unanimous-decision loss to Aljamain Sterling in February. “El Terror” has just one other loss in his UFC career, falling in the first round by knockout to bantamweight title challenger Marlon Moraes. Rivera was 5-0 in the Octagon before that loss and he is 6-2 overall in the UFC.

The 29-year-old has really good footwork but is hesitant to let his hands fly. Of his 22 pro wins, only six have been finishes, four by knockout and two by submission. He is a patient fighter who has really good speed on his counters but typically stays on the outside throwing kicks and waiting to explode forward after his opponent throws a strike. He has a perfect 100 percent takedown defense that could be crucial in this fight.

Yan (-350) aims to remain undefeated in the UFC and take his record to 5-0 in this organization. “No Mercy” stormed onto the scene last year with three wins in six months, two by knockout, and continued his winning ways with a decisive unanimous-decision win over John Dodson in February.

He likes to stalk forward and find opportunities to throw his hands. Many times, he throws his kicks and leaves them out there too long, which can result in him being brought to the floor. Yan is the aggressor in his fights, always looking to close the distance so that he can set up combinations or attempt a takedown. He averages 1.73 takedowns per 15 minutes.

Rivera had some issues with the forward pressure of Aljamain Sterling when they fought in February, but Sterling fights very long and varies his attack well. Yan will definitely march forward against Rivera but he doesn’t typically have diverse striking, which may favor El Terror, who counters well. Additionally, Yan does his most damage when he gets the fight to the floor, but Rivera has never been taken down.

Prediction: Jimmie Rivera (+265) via decision

Rivera vs Yan Fight Center

Tai Tuivasa vs Blagoy Ivanov

Tuivasa (-140) is looking to get back in the win column after suffering his first career loss his last time out in December. “Bam Bam” began his UFC career with three straight wins, two by knockout, but ran into former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos in December and suffered a second-round knockout loss.

The Australia native is a fast starter, closing the distance quickly so that he can get into striking range, where he can land his heavy hands. Seven of Tuivasa’s eight pro wins have come by knockout, while his only loss came in the same fashion. Only once has Bam Bam gone to the judges’ scorecards, when he beat former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski at UFC 225 last June. For a true 265-pound fighter, Tuivasa moves well and his hands are fairly fast. He has never been taken down in the UFC either.

Ivanov (+110) is seeking his first winning streak in the UFC after topping Ben Rothwell in March for his first win in the Octagon. “Baga” had a tough draw in his UFC debut, fighting former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos in a five-round main event. Ivanov was on the losing end of that bout that went to the judges’ scorecards.

The 32-year-old is a counterpuncher, with his first instinct being to step backward rather than march forward. He loads up his left hand hoping his opponent makes a mistake so he can let it fly. Of his 17 wins, 12 have been finishes, six by knockout and six by submission, and he has never been knocked out in his pro career.

Tuivasa is surprisingly fast for the heavyweight division and it’ll be interesting to see how a counterpuncher like Ivanov will handle this speed. Baga’s last victory came against big Ben Rothwell, who stalked forward the entire time but would only throw hands when he backed Ivanov in a corner, while Bam Bam is a little wilder and more active. Great fight to kick off the main card.

Prediction: Tai Tuivasa (-140) via decision

Tuivasa vs Ivanov Fight Center

Here’s a full list of odds for UFC 238: Cejudo vs Moraes:

UFC 238: Cejudo vs Moraes

Odds as of June 6 at Bovada

  • Henry Cejudo -105
  • Marlon Moraes -125
  • Valentina Shevchenko -1100
  • Jessica Eye +650
  • Donald Cerrone +125
  • Tony Ferguson -155
  • Jimmie Rivera +265
  • Petr Yan -350
  • Tai Tuivasa -140
  • Blagoy Ivanov +110
  • Tatiana Suarez -850
  • Nina Ansaroff +525
  • Aljamain Sterling -135
  • Pedro Munhoz +105
  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz -125
  • Alexa Grasso -105
  • Ricardo Lamas +125
  • Calvin Kattar -155
  • Yan Xiaonan -170
  • Angela Hill +140
  • Bevon Lewis -205
  • Darren Stewart +165
  • Katlyn Chookagian -115
  • Joanne Calderwood -115

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