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UFC 241: Cormier vs Miocic II Odds and Picks

UFC 241: Odds and Picks

The Honda Center was supposed to host a PPV earlier this year in January but the card was canceled, however, the UFC has put together a big card on August 17 for UFC 241: Cormier vs Miocic II in Anaheim. The reigning heavyweight champion, Daniel “DC” Cormier, is a -145 favorite to remain the titleholder, while former champ Stipe Miocic comes back at +115. I have a breakdown and a pick for all of the fights on the main card.

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Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic

Cormier (-145) makes his second title defense in a rematch over a year in the making. DC made the jump to the heavyweight division in July of last year at UFC 226 and earned a first-round knockout over then-champion Stipe Miocic to win the strap. Cormier hasn’t lost since UFC 182 in 2015 when he fell by unanimous decision to Jon Jones. He also had a knockout defeat at the hands of Jones in 2017 but it was overturned to a no-contest after Jones failed a drug test.

The Louisiana native has a terrific blend of boxing and wrestling. Cormier competed in wrestling in the 2004 Olympics and was team captain in 2008 but was unable to compete that year because of a medical issue. At heavyweight, he has much more power in his punches and despite his small stature, he has a lot of strength for the division.

Miocic (+115) returns to the Octagon for the first time since he lost the title at UFC 226 in July 2018. The 36-year-old had been on a tear prior to that loss, winning six straight fights, including setting a UFC heavyweight record with three title defenses. During that winning streak, Miocic had five knockout victories, four of which came in the first round.

The Ohio native does a good job cutting off the cage and getting in the face of his opponent. He is able to do this due to his confidence in his striking as well as his wrestling. Miocic averages 2.38 takedowns per 15 minutes and although his punches don’t appear to be overly dangerous, he has serious power in them, with 14 of his 18 pro wins ending by knockout.

These two had a spirited, albeit short affair when they met just over a year ago. Miocic looked strong early pressing Cormier against the cage, earned a takedown and had some success with his hands. DC picked up as the first round progressed, letting his hands fly at striking range, basically going shot for shot with Miocic.

The end of the fight came with a well-placed right hook out of the clinch that put the former champ asleep. I think DC was gaining in momentum and confidence as the fight went on and we have seen Stipe slow as fights have progressed. I anticipate a similar outcome this time around.

For more on this fight, check out my odds analysis page.

Prediction: Daniel Cormier (-145) via knockout

Anthony Pettis vs Nate Diaz

Pettis (-130) eyes back-to-back victories for the first time since he won five in a row from 2011 to 2014. “Showtime” has dropped six of his last 10 fights and has been on a win-one, lose-one streak over his last seven bouts. He is coming off a second-round knockout win over Stephen Thompson in March in his UFC welterweight debut, earning his first knockout since he beat Donald Cerrone in 2013 in that manner.

The Wisconsin native is an exciting fighter who has a lot of experience and a well-rounded skill set. Pettis has unorthodox striking with plenty of spinning attacks and flashy kicks, while also having a strong jiu-jitsu game off his back.

Showtime has a good chin, with his two knockout losses both coming in the third round following a ton of damage, and he had a corner stoppage TKO loss against Tony Ferguson at UFC 229 after he broke his hand. He became the first fighter to knock out Stephen Thompson, showing new power at his higher weight class.

Diaz (EVEN) aims to knock off some ring rust as he steps inside the Octagon for the first time since UFC 202 in August 2016. The California native had back-to-back high-profile fights with Conor McGregor in 2016, earning a second-round submission win in the first meeting but losing by a majority five-round decision the second time around.

The Stockton native has fantastic cardio and an in-your-face, all-out style of fighting. Diaz predominantly likes to be a counter-striker and will challenge his opponents by slapping them, swearing at them or giving them the finger, hoping they will engage in a brawl with him. He has a really good chin, having only been knocked out once in his career despite being in some wars.

That being said, he only has five knockout wins to his name as he typically just keeps touching his opponents over and over again, but not with a ton of power. His biggest strength is his ground game where he has 11 submission wins, including the one over Conor McGregor.

These are two very similar fighters who are extremely entertaining with their solid chins, flashy strikes and willingness to engage with their opponent. There is some bad blood between the two as well, dating back to when Pettis defended his lightweight belt against Diaz’s friend and teammate Gilbert Melendez. I think that Pettis tends to load up on his strikes a little more, while Diaz likes to frustrate his opponents and can do so for a long period of time. Pettis’ kicks could be the deciding factor.

Prediction: Anthony Pettis (-130) via decision

Yoel Romero vs Paulo Costa

Romero (-160) is back in action for the first time since his narrow split-decision loss to Robert Whittaker for the middleweight title in June of last year. Since joining the UFC in 2013, “Soldier of God” has been fairly dominant, sporting a record of 9-2 with his only losses coming against the current champ, Robert Whittaker, both by decision. Meanwhile, of his nine victories in the Octagon, seven have been by knockout.

The Cuba native is an extremely patient fighter who doesn’t use a ton of extra energy by dancing around and finding angles. He typically stands just on the outside of his opponent’s range and slowly rocks back and forth until he storms forward with a flurry of punches or a takedown attempt. He only averages 3.28 significant strikes per minute, but when he unloads, it is typically bad news for his opponent. Additionally, his defense is tight, making his foes miss 63 percent of their attempts. 

Costa (+130) lays his perfect record on the line as he is 4-0 in the Octagon and 12-0 overall. “Borrachinha” has made short work of his opponents, having just one fight in his career go further than the halfway mark of the second round and that was his last bout when he knocked out Uriah Hall at 2:38 of the second round. Of his 12 professional wins, 11 have been by knockout and one by submission.

The Brazil native is an aggressive fighter, marching forward from the outset of the bout looking to unload his powerful strikes. Costa is very light on his feet and has good head movement and feints. He has a ridiculous output of 8.83 significant strikes per minute and lands 59 percent of his takedown attempts, while also stuffing 81 percent of takedown attempts against. He does tend to drop his hands in exchanges, which leaves him vulnerable to counters.

What a potential war between two guys who looked like they were cut from granite and have contrasting styles. Costa is all-out aggression looking to put his opponents away in devastating fashion, while Romero is much more patient and more technically sound. Costa has an issue by absorbing 5.79 strikes per minute and against a power puncher like Romero, he could be in some trouble. Lastly, we haven’t seen Costa get dragged into deep waters and Romero has a very good gas tank.

Prediction: Yoel Romero (-160) via knockout

Gabriel Benitez vs Sodiq Yusuff

Benitez (+210) is attempting to pick up his first three-fight winning streak in the Octagon. This is the first time we have seen “Moggly” since May of 2018 when he needed just 39 seconds to dispose of Humberto Bandenay. That victory was Benitez’s first knockout in the UFC and his first since 2013, and he did it in style with a slam.

The Mexico native is an aggressive fighter who storms forward from the outset of the fight with a flurry of punches and kicks. He is quite light on his feet, floating around the Octagon and moving in and out of danger. His punches are very crisp and accurate, seemingly finding his opponent’s chin with ease, and he averages 4.23 strikes per minute.

Yusuff (-270) aims to remain undefeated in the UFC and pick up his fifth straight win overall. “Super” earned a UFC contract with his decision victory over Mike Davis in July 2018 in Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. He has backed up that victory with back-to-back wins in the Octagon, most recently earning a unanimous-decision triumph over Sheymon Moraes in March.

The Nigeria native is a composed fighter who gets in the face of his opponent, often standing just on the outside of striking range. He times his strikes very well, looking for his opportunity to throw combinations, and he averages 6.42 strikes per minute but also absorbs 4.22 strikes per minute. Although he absorbs a high rate of strikes, his defense is quite good with his hands held high and he rolls with punches really well.

Benitez and Yusuff should put on a show in this bout. Moogly is a lot lighter on his feet and constantly bounces around, but he does like to be the aggressor. Meanwhile, Super slowly inches forward and stands a little more flat-footed, sitting down on his strikes with a lot more power.

Prediction: Sodiq Yusuff (-270) via decision

Derek Brunson vs Ian Heinisch

Brunson (+130) looks to get consecutive victories for the first time since he beat Daniel Kelly and Lyota Machida by knockout in 2017. Following that brief two-fight winning streak, the 35-year-old had back-to-back knockout losses to Jacare Souza and Israel Adesanya. His most recent bout was a unanimous-decision victory over Elias Theodorou in May.

The North Carolina native is a patient fighter who takes his time reading his opponent from a long distance while slowly inching ahead until he storms forward with a flurry of punches. His strikes have tremendous power that have led to 11 of his 19 victories ending in knockouts. Six of his 10 UFC wins have ended in that manner as well. However, four of his five losses in the Octagon have also been by knockout, mostly because he’s slow to react to his opponent’s movements and he leaves his head in the same place.

Heinisch (-160) looks to extend his five-fight winning streak and remain perfect in the Octagon. “The Hurricane” earned a UFC contract with his first-round knockout victory over Justin Sumter in July of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. He has won both of his fights in the UFC since earning that contract, with unanimous-decision wins over Cezar Ferreira and Antonio Carlos Jr.

The 30-year-old has a very awkward, somewhat herky-jerky style with stutter steps and lots of feints, looking for opportunities to catch his foe dropping his hands. He sets up a lot of his punches with long kicks and because of his awkward style, he only absorbs 1.37 strikes per minute. That being said, he does tend to dip his head down when he throws his strikes, which leaves him vulnerable to uppercuts and knees.

Brunson has a noticeable power advantage in this fight as he tends to load up on his strikes looking to put his opponents away in the first round. On the other hand, The Hurricane is the more mobile fighter but does have an issue stuffing takedowns as he was brought to the floor nine times in his first two UFC fights. Brunson averages 2.9 takedowns per 15 minutes, including bringing Elias Theodorou – a similar fighter to Heinisch – to the floor four times in his last bout.

Prediction: Derek Brunson (+130) via decision

Here’s a look at the full list of odds for UFC 241: Cormier vs Miocic II:

UFC 241: Cormier vs Miocic II Betting Odds

Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic 
FighterOdds
Daniel Cormier-145
Stipe Miocic+115

Odds as of August 14 at Bovada

Anthony Pettis vs Nate Diaz
FighterOdds
Anthony Pettis-130
Nate DiazEVEN

Odds as of August 14 at Bovada

Yoel Romero vs Paulo Costa
FighterOdds
Yoel Romero-160
Paulo Costa+130

Odds as of August 14 at Bovada

Gabriel Benitez vs Sodiq Yusuff
FighterOdds
Gabriel Benitez+210
Sodiq Yusuff-270

Odds as of August 14 at Bovada

Derek Brunson vs Ian Heinisch
FighterOdds
Derek Brunson+130
Ian Heinisch-160

Odds as of August 14 at Bovada

Devonte Smith vs Clay Collard
FighterOdds
Devonte Smith-750
Clay Collard+475

Odds as of August 14 at Bovada

Raphael Assuncao vs Cory Sandhagen
FighterOdds
Raphael Assuncao+170
Cory Sandhagen-210

Odds as of August 14 at Bovada

Christos Giagos vs Drakkar Klose
FighterOdds
Christos Giagos+145
Drakkar Klose-175

Odds as of August 14 at Bovada

Manny Bermudez vs Casey Kenney
FighterOdds
Manny Bermudez-145
Casey Kenney+115

Odds as of August 14 at Bovada

Hannah Cifers vs Jodie Esquibel
FighterOdds
Hannah Cifers-275
Jodie Esquibel+215

Odds as of August 14 at Bovada

Kyung Ho Kang vs Brandon Davis
FighterOdds
Kyung Ho Kang-205
Brandon Davis+165

Odds as of August 14 at Bovada

Sabina Mazo vs Shana Dobson
FighterOdds
Sabina Mazo-110
Shana Dobson-120

Odds as of August 14 at Bovada