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The UFC heavyweight title is on the line when the Octagon sets up shop at Madison Square Garden this Saturday as Daniel “DC” Cormier makes his first heavyweight championship title defense against Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis. The current titleholder, Cormier, is a -700 favorite with the challenger, Lewis, coming back at +450. I have a breakdown and pick for each fight on the main card for UFC 230.

Scott Hastings’ 2018 Prediction Record To Date
Straight Up Picking Favorites Picking Underdogs
27-18 22-12 5-6

Daniel Cormier vs Derrick Lewis

The odds for this main event are a little outrageous, in my opinion. Yes, Cormier is making a case as one of the pound-for-pound greatest fighters in UFC history and will be the first guy to enter the Octagon holding titles from two different weight divisions simultaneously. But he is facing a much larger man in Derrick Lewis who has ridiculous fight-ending power. Cormier is the better fighter with terrific wrestling and outstanding cardio, however, at -700 there’s no value and one landed punch from Lewis would end this fight.

Cormier (-700) is an Olympic wrestler with an endless gas tank and at heavyweight, he has knockout power too as was on display when he finished Stipe Miocic in the first round to win the heavyweight belt. “DC” is very strong, which was evident when he tossed Josh Barnett through the air like a pizza in 2012. The Louisiana native has just one career loss to Jon Jones and had his knockout loss to Jones overturned after Jones tested positive for performance enhancers.

Lewis (+450) has tremendous heart and resiliency combined with scary knockout power. “The Black Beast” is a true heavyweight, needing to cut weight to make the 265-pound limit, and 18 of his 21 wins have come via knockout. The 33-year-old has frequently been losing a fight but has the ability to dig deep and land his vicious right hand to put his opponent in a bad way and earn a come-from-behind victory. Most recently, Lewis was outstruck 133-40 in his bout with Alexander Volkov at UFC 229, but he earned a knockout with 11 seconds remaining in the fight for his ninth win in his last 10 scraps.

Cormier should be the dominant fighter in this bout, being able to drag Lewis to the mat at will and tire him out. However, the threat always looms that if the Black Beast unloads one of his punches and it lands, DC is in deep trouble. I expect Cormier to bring this fight into the later rounds when Lewis is trying to get his breath and the champ will look to put him away at that point.

Prediction: Daniel Cormier (-700) via submission

For more of an odds analysis breakdown of this fight, check out the UFC 230: Cormier vs Lewis betting odds article.

Cormier vs Lewis Fight Center

Chris Weidman vs Ronaldo Souza

Weidman (-185) enters the Octagon for the first time since July of last year when he ended his three-fight losing slide with a third-round submission of middleweight title challenger Kelvin Gastelum. After defending his title three times, the former champion stumbled with three straight knockout losses, then after breaking out of the slump, he dealt with injuries to his hand that took a long time to heal.

The New York native is an aggressive wrestler, averaging 4.01 takedowns per 15 minutes, but also has power in his hands as six of his 14 career wins have come via T/KO. Weidman was supposed to fight the man who took his belt at UFC 194, Luke Rockhold, but he had to withdraw from the card with an injury.

Souza (+150) is a dangerous high-level jiu-jitsu practitioner who has finished 14 of his 25 career victories by submission. The Brazil native has lost two of his last three fights, one via TKO to current middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and the other to the next challenger, Kelvin Gastelum, in a split decision. “Jacare” also has seven T/KO victories to his name but his main plan of attack is to get the fight to the mat and secure a fight-ending submission.

This is the first time in Souza’s 11-fight UFC career that he has been an underdog as he has closed as an average -428 favorite. The 38-year-old has an 8-3 record inside the Octagon, with his only losses coming against fighters at the top of the division, including split-decision losses to current challenger Gastelum and former challenger Yoel Romero.

This is an exciting fight as Weidman will want to keep the bout standing and fighters that have had success against Souza were guys who pressured him, but in doing so they are at risk of getting taken down where he can use his jiu-jitsu. Weidman prefers to use his wrestling to beat his foes but again, he doesn’t want to go to the mat with Jacare because of the weapons Jacare possesses.

Prediction: Ronaldo Souza (+150) via submission

Weidman vs Souza Fight Center

David Branch vs Jared Cannonier

Branch (-370) is a well-rounded fighter who has explosive speed with power in his hands and an underrated submission game. The New York native is coming off a first-round knockout of Thiago Santos earlier this year for his second win in three fights since returning to the UFC after a six-year hiatus. The 37-year-old had a stint in the UFC from 2010 to 2011 when he went 2-2, winning two fights by decision while being stopped once by knockout and once by submission.

After leaving the UFC, Branch went 12-1 with his only loss coming via unanimous decision to former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Johnson. He averages just 1.66 significant strikes per minute but doesn’t need many punches to put his opponents away and he typically blitzes his foes fast and furious in the first round.

Cannonier (+280) is making his middleweight debut after spending much of his career at heavyweight and his last five fights came in the light heavyweight division where he held a 2-3 record, including losing his last two bouts. “Tha Killa Gorilla” likes to stand and trade with his foes as he has good footwork and big power with five of his 10 career wins coming via knockout.

After Jacare stepped up to fight Weidman, with Rockhold being removed from the card with his injury, Cannonier took the Branch fight on just two weeks’ notice. This may be an issue for Branch, who has been training for a dangerous ground specialist and is now taking on a brawler. It will be interesting to see how Cannonier looks on the scale as he weighed in at 241 at heavyweight prior to dropping to light heavyweight.

Prediction: David Branch (-370) via decision

Branch vs Cannonier Fight Center

Karl Roberson vs Jack Marshman

Roberson (-275) has impressive power that can come from anywhere and this was on full display when he knocked out Ryan Spann in 15 seconds in Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. That knockout victory came from the clinch when “Baby K” landed a couple of short elbows that resulted in him earning a UFC contract. The New Jersey native earned a win in his first UFC fight with a first-round submission in an impressive performance vs Darren Stewart, but he lost via first-round submission in his last fight vs Cezar Ferreira.

Marshman (+215) is a heavy-handed fighter who has no intentions of taking the fight to the floor. “The Hammer” has never attempted a takedown in the UFC and 13 of his 22 career victories have come via T/KO. The Wales native lands an average of 3.49 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 4.42 significant strikes per minute. Marshman is 2-2 inside the Octagon and is coming off a first-round submission loss to Antonio Carlos Junior a year ago.

This is going to be a standup battle between two guys who have true knockout power. I wouldn’t be surprised if Roberson looks to try to get the fight to the mat to avoid Marshman’s devastating knockout power. But if he elects to keep it standing, don’t blink when this fight begins because it could be over before you know it.

Prediction: Karl Roberson (-275) via knockout

Roberson vs Marshman Fight Center

Derek Brunson vs Israel Adesanya

Adesanya (-335) is an extremely creative and dangerous fighter who has a brilliant ability to judge distance and pick his opponents apart. “The Last Stylebender” is 3-0 since he joined the UFC earlier this year and is 14-0 overall. He was absolutely dominant through his first three fights in the Octagon, earning two wins by decision with his first fight being a knockout triumph, and he has outstruck his opponents 284-141 in those bouts. The 29-year-old avoids 71 percent of opponent strikes, absorbing just 2.22 significant strikes per minute while he lands 4.69 significant strikes per minute.

Brunson (+255) has true one-punch knockout power and he looks to put opponents on dream street shortly after the fight begins. Of Brunson’s 18 professional wins, 11 have come via T/KO with each of those knockouts coming in the first round, but he is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Ronaldo Souza in January of this year. The 34-year-old does have an underrated wrestling game, averaging 2.88 takedowns per 15 minutes, and he was able to drag Yoel Romero, a former Olympic wrestler, to the mat three times in their bout in 2014.

Adesanya is so elusive and creative that his opponents have a hard time figuring him out. However, Brunson doesn’t waste a lot of time trying to analyze his foes as he elects to use his speed and power to swarm them and put them to sleep. But this reckless style has resulted in him being knocked out four times in his career and Adesanya has won 12 of his 14 pro fights via T/KO.

Prediction: Israel Adesanya (-335) via knockout

Adesanya vs Brunson Fight Center

Here’s a look at all the odds for UFC 230:

UFC 230: Daniel Cormier vs Derrick Lewis
  • Daniel Cormier -700
  • Derrick Lewis +450
Odds as of November 1 at [custom:bovada-link]
  • Chris Weidman -185
  • Ronaldo Souza +150
  • David Branch -370
  • Jared Cannonier +280
  • Karl Roberson -275
  • Jack Marshman +215
  • Israel Adesanya -335
  • Derek Brunson +255
  • Jason Knight -270
  • Jordan Rinaldi +210
  • Sijara Eubanks -500
  • Roxanne Modafferi +350
  • Julio Arce -360
  • Sheymon Moraes +270
  • Lyman Good -650
  • Ben Saunders +425
  • Lando Vannata -300
  • Matt Frevola +230
  • Shane Burgos -300
  • Kurt Holobaugh +230
  • Montel Jackson -135
  • Brian Kelleher +105
  • Adam Wieczorek -230
  • Marcos Rogerio De Lima +180