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The UFC holds its last event of 2017 when it sets up the Octagon for UFC 219 in Las Vegas on December 30. The main event will see the dominant Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino put her UFC featherweight title on the line against Holly Holm.

There is plenty to love beyond the stellar main event with the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Edson Barboza, Carlos Condit and Marc Diakiese on the card.

Cyborg vs Holly Holm

We watch Cyborg (-360) because she has made a career out of destroying her opponents. Cyborg has always been one of the most aggressive fighters in the business but the former Invicta featherweight champion has learned to harness that thanks to her time with Rafael Cordeiro. The real meat to her game is the jab, as Cyborg will relentlessly throw the jab out until an opponent feels the need to fire back – then she will counter with quick, fight-ending intentions.

Cyborg is a massive fighter who possesses huge strength for tough clinch battles – though she is also technically well served in this area as well. Her natural balance and core strength make takedown attempts typically ineffective.

Holly Holm (+270) is at her best when she can dictate the space and pace of the fight. The former pro boxer is great at picking away at her opponent from a distance thanks to her clean, smooth footwork. At this distance, “The Preacher’s Daughter” tends to throw a steady diet of lefts and wait for her opportunity to counter. Though boxing was her first sport, Holm has done a great job adding kicks to her repertoire with the infamous Jackson-Wink oblique kick playing an important part. When a fight gets dirty or she tries to move forward, the former bantamweight champion is much more hittable.

In terms of grappling, Holm is solid in the clinch and possesses great takedown defense. However, if an opponent can get Holm to the mat, she doesn’t offer much.

Holm is the stiffest challenge Cyborg has faced since Gina Carano eight years ago. Holm has the ability to possibly frustrate Cyborg with her movement and distance control. Eventually, Cyborg’s aggressive style will neutralize these advantages.

Prediction: Cyborg (-360)

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Edson Barboza

Khabib Nurmagomedov (-285) might be the best grappler in MMA. If “The Eagle” can get his hands on his opponent, the mixture of techniques, tenacity and raw strength means it is only a matter of time before the fight is on the mat. Once Nurmagomedov gets top control, the fight is all but over. His combination of passes, strikes and submission attempts grinds his opponent into a fine dust. Striking is Nurmagomedov’s obvious weak link but he has developed a smart game plan to mix his strikes and takedown attempts.

Edson Barboza (+225) is a physical specimen who is easily one of the most explosive in the UFC. The striking expert wants to work at a distance in the striking game, which allows him to use some of the deadliest kicks in the game today. The biggest issue has always been pressure. Barboza’s striking game requires space and someone who can keep him trapped can get after him. That being said, his footwork and speed make that a difficult task for opponents.

Can Barboza land the flash KO? Yes. His career is filled with them. But Nurmagomedov is a monster. Expect yet another potent striker to be dragged into hell by Nurmy.

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov (-285)

Cynthia Calvillo vs Carla Esparza

Cynthia Calvillo’s (-260) top skill is easily her work in the scramble. The Team Alpha Male product is adept at finding the back in a scramble and using her submission skills to lock in a rear naked choke. However, she only rarely shoots for the takedown, as Calvillo has seemingly been happy to fight standing up. Her striking game is still fairly blasé with Calvillo mainly conserving energy then bursting forward with a quick combination.

Carla Esparza (+200) can be frustrating to watch. When she is on, we see the fighter who once held UFC gold, as Esparza is a powerful wrestler who mixes fluid striking into takedowns. When she is not on, Esparza sort of just walks around the Octagon with little activity. If “The Cookie Monster” can explode into takedowns and get top control, she is hard to shake off.

This fight could very well turn into a bit of a staring contest but I expect Esparza to be motivated. Esparza lands takedowns and controls an overwhelmed Calvillo.

Prediction: Carla Esparza (+200)

Carlos Condit vs Neil Magny

Carlos Condit (-165) is one of the most prolific finishers in the sport today with 28 of his 30 victories coming via stoppage. “The Natural Born Killer” combines an aggressive pace with brilliant technical striking skills to wear down his opponent. Though he wants to push the action, Condit is great at reacting to what his opponent gives him. He is just as aggressive from the mat, which is probably good because his takedown defense is not good.

Neil Magny (+135) is massive for the welterweight division, standing six-foot-three with an 80-inch reach. He sometimes fails to use this to his advantage but when he does, Magny is one of the more frustrating fighters to match up in the Octagon. This is likely because Magny is at his best when grappling, whether that be in the clinch or on the ground. His length allows him to leverage his opponent in the clinch and throw a barrage of knees. Magny has good wrestling skills but will need to be careful with the skilled jiu-jitsu of Condit.

This is one of the tougher fights on the card to predict. Both fighters can compete in all facets but Magny has had some issues with fighters who push the pace and can keep it up. Condit wins this one unless it turns out he is completely shot.

Prediction: Carlos Condit (-165)

UFC 219: Cyborg vs Holm Betting Odds
  • Cris Cyborg -360
  • Holly Holm +270
Odds as of December 27 at [custom:bodog-link]
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov -285
  • Edson Barboza +225
  • Cynthia Calvillo -260
  • Carla Esparza +200
  • Carlos Condit -165
  • Neil Magny +135
  • Khalil Rountree -300
  • Michal Oleksiejczuk +230
  • Dan Hooker +150
  • Marc Diakiese -185
  • Myles Jury -260
  • Rick Glenn +200
  • Louis Smolka +235
  • Matheus Nicolau -305
  • Tim Elliott -225
  • Mark De La Rosa +175
  • Marvin Vettori -225
  • Omari Akhmedov +175