Tyler Monahan previews Saturday’s mouth-watering UFC 252 Fight Card, including Miocic vs. Cormier, and shares his predictions and picks ahead of the event.
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One of the most anticipated pay per views of the entire year commences this Saturday in Las Vegas. UFC 252 is highlighted by the final fight in the trilogy between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier, the greatest rivalry in heavyweight history. Just that fight is worth the price of the entire pay per view by itself, and when you look at the rest of the card we could be in for an incredible night.
All odds are from FoxBet Sportsbook.
UFC Record: 6-3
Junior Dos Santos vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik
UFC 252 has a chance to have two of the better heavyweight fights on a card in recent UFC memory. Obviously Miocic vs Cormier is a big ticket fight but the Dos Santos and Rozenstruik matchup is nothing to turn your nose up at.
Rozenstruik comes into this fight as the favorite, in his 10 career wins nine have come from knockout and only one of his 11 career fights he has failed to end the fight early only once. On the other side Junior Dos Santos comes into this one looking to add to his legacy that has seen him finish 15 of his 21 career wins by knockouts. He has fought some of the biggest names in the sport including Stipe Miocic and Cain Velasquez but it also seems like Father Time may be catching up to him as he has dropped his last two fights. The question isn’t if he has enough in the tank, he has looked competitive even in those two losses, the question is if his chin can hold up against another hard hitter like Rozenstruik.
This fight isn’t going to be a technical showdown, it’s going to come down to which man can land the most vicious punches the fastest because it is obvious they will both be looking for a quick knockout. Junior Dos Santos doesn’t end up as the underdog often and in a fight with someone who still has a lot to prove in the division in Rozenstruik I like betting on the veteran.
Pick: Junior Dos Santos Moneyline +115
Pick: Fight Will Not Go The Distance -275
Sean O’Malley vs Marlon Vera
One of the hottest fighters in the game right now, Sean O’Malley will look to continue his incredible run against a very game fighter in Marlon Vera. O’Malley comes in to this fight fresh off of two knockouts back in March of José Alberto Quiñónez and June of Eddie Wineland after being out of the game for two years due to failed drug tests. The new and improved striker has looked to finish fights quickly which is what makes Marlon Vera such an interesting matchup because of the difference in style.
Vera is a submission specialist as seven of his 15 wins have come by tap out, and yet he can still strike with the best of them. He doesn’t go to that bag of tricks often but he still has five knockout wins in his career. This isn’t going to be the old fashioned fight in a phonebooth brawl we might see in the heavyweight fights on this card, but if Vera doesn’t get O’Malley to the ground early we might be watching a knockout from either side.
Pick: Either fighter by KO, TKO or Disqualification +115
Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier
This rivalry has been built up over the years and is now looked at as one of the greatest rivalries not just in the heavyweight class, but in UFC history.
Both Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier have gotten one over on the other in their previous two fights, most recently was Miocic regaining the heavyweight title back in August. In that fight Cormier got too comfortable and let his guard down in the fourth round, Miocic targeted the body throughout the fight and it eventually caught up to Cormier leading to him being unable to stay on his feet and eventually getting knocked out.
If Cormier wants to regain the heavyweight championship he’s going to need to adjust his approach and not be willing to go in for the kill as often as he usually does which is why I expect this match to last past the first few rounds.
In all of the leadup to this fight Daniel Cormier keeps hinting that this could be his final fight and he wants to “go out on top”, this could play a major role in this fight even if Cormier doesn’t want you to believe it. He doesn’t want to get knocked out in his final career fight so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fight a more reserved style and since Miocic can pack a punch this fight could end up on the ground to negate that power.
In the end I think Miocic’s power could be too much and even if this fight doesn’t end with a knockout just a few heavy hits that result in a knockdown could give Miocic the edge.
Pick: Stipe Miocic Moneyline -110
Pick: Total Rounds Over 2.5 -150
BONUS PICK: Stipe Miocic to win by majority or split decision +1600
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