- Cormier Has Slight Edge Over Miocic
- Vera Primed For Upset Over O'Malley
- Rozenstruik Gets Past Dos Santos
- Watch On UFC Fight Pass, ESPN, ESPN+ and Pay-Per-View
UFC 252 betting players should have had this event circled on their calendar for a while now. This event, which will be held on Saturday night at the APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, will culminate in the end of arguably the greatest heavyweight trilogy in the history of the UFC (with all due respect to Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez). Stipe Miocic will aim to defend his belt against former champion Daniel Cormier. Cormier, who is also the former light-heavyweight champion, has stated that this will be his final bout.
Elsewhere on the card, Sean O’Malley and Marlon Vera will go head-to-head in a bantamweight clash. Elsewhere, the aforementioned Dos Santos takes on Jairzinho Rozenstruik at heavyweight.
As per usual, ESPN and ESPN+ will feature the early prelims at 6:00 PM ET, along with UFC Fight Pass. The prelims continue on ESPN and ESPN+ at 8:00 PM ET. The main card will be on pay-per-view and ESPN+.
All UFC 252 betting odds from Bovada Sportsbook.
Stipe Miocic (-110) vs. Daniel Cormier (-120) – Heavyweight
Miocic (18-3) was stopped by Cormier (22-2, 1 NC) in their first meeting in July 2018 by punches. However, it was somewhat controversial as Cormier poked Miocic in the eye a few times prior to that. Miocic got his revenge in August 2019 after softening up Cormier with body blows, then going to the head. However, Miocic had to get surgery after more eye pokes from Cormier. That is something to watch heading into this fight (for the record, Cormier has stated that the pokes were not intentional).
Both fighters know each other very well, so there won’t be much that they won’t expect from the other. Miocic is a strong wrestler, but he is a better boxer. Cormier is an elite wrestler, but he can handle himself standing up and has KO power. He will look to get inside and clinch Miocic, who can counter with body blows once again. The biggest change for this meeting is that the UFC will be using a smaller cage at the APEX facility. This cage is five feet smaller than the normal octagon. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when it comes to Cormier’s wrestling ability, it should make the difference in this bout.
Cormier will eventually wear Miocic down and go out with a win as one of the greatest fighters not only in UFC history, but in MMA history.
UFC 252 Betting Pick: Cormier
Sean O’Malley (-310) vs. Marlon Vera (+240) – Bantamweight
O’Malley (12-0) is looking to move into the upper ranks of the bantamweight division after a stunning one-punch knockout of Eddie Wineland in June. Vera (15-6-1) had a five-fight win streak snapped at the hands of Song Yadong via unanimous decision in May. However, many believe that it was Vera who actually won the fight. Even though he isn’t technically in the top 15 of the UFC rankings, you could definitely argue that Vera, who won all five of those fights during his streak by stoppage, should be among those names. He definitely should be if he defeats O’Malley.
O’Malley has some flashy stand-up and that is where he has the edge, but Vera has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and if he wants to win, he needs to get the fight to the mat. Vera can hold his own standing up, but it would be dangerous to stand and trade with O’Malley, who has eight knockout wins. Vera has five knockout wins, but he has eight submission wins to one for O’Malley. If O’Malley can control this fight on the mat, he has the edge in what would be a sports betting upset.
UFC 252 Betting Pick: Vera
Junior Dos Santos (+110) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-140) – Heavyweight
Dos Santos (21-7) has lost his last two fights via TKO to Francis Ngannou in June 2019, and then to Curtis Blaydes in January. He had won three prior to that, and the former champion is looking to avoid dropping down into gatekeeper status in the heavyweight division. He might already be there as he faces Rozenstruik (10-1), who was rolling through the UFC until he ran into Ngannou, who put him down after just 20 seconds. But Ngannou is next in line to fight for the belt. Meanwhile, Blaydes called out the surging Derrick Lewis after Lewis knocked out Aleksei Oleinik. Dos Santos and Rozenstruik are fifth and sixth in the UFC heavyweight rankings, respectively. Therefore, this is a massive match in terms of stakes.
The biggest upset of the night at UFC 252 would be this fight going the distance. In Dos Santos’ last 12 matches, he has gone the full fight just four times and his last four matches haven’t gotten out of the second round. Rozenstruik has gotten to the final bell just one in his career. That said, he knocked out Alistair Overeem with just four second left in their five-round fight in December. Rozenstruik is a kickboxer, while Dos Santos is a boxer. The only time that these two hit the mat is when one of them goes down. I’m going with Rozenstruik, simply because Dos Santos has taken a lot of punishment in his career. If he can stay away from Rozenstruik, Dos Santos can extend the fight, but Rozenstruik should get the win.