Heavyweight titans Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic headline a stacked UFC 241 card in Anaheim this weekend. Find our UFC tips and previews for each of the main card fights below.
UFC Tips & Preview: Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic
- Cormier 22-1-1 (Including 10 by KO and 5 by Submission)
- Miocic 18-3 (Including 4 by KO)
- Cormier defeated Derrick Lewis (Submission)
- Miocic was defeated by Cormier (KO)
Analysis: One of the most storied Mixed Martial Artists of all time, Daniel Cormier is part of a rare group to hold two different UFC titles at once. He is as well-rounded as they come in the UFC, dominant as both a wrestler and a striker.
He enters this bout in excellent form, unbeaten in 8 fights since his only professional loss in 2015. His first round KO of Miocic last year was incredibly impressive, as was his title defence over Derrick Lewis.
Miocic has also had a very stellar career to date, competing in the UFC for 8 years and going 12-3 in the promotion. His upset of Fabricio Werdum in 2016 on Brazilian soil will live long in the memories of most UFC fans.
His run as the champion was equally impressive, getting first-round knockouts against both Overeem and Dos Santos, before beating Ngannou by decision. As more of a pure striker, he could struggle if this fight goes to the ground.
Ultimately, I think Cormier is the more well-rounded of these two fighters and has more tools in his arsenal to secure the win. He can hang with Miocic in a striking battle and has a huge edge in both the clinch and on the ground.
Having adjusted to Heavyweight for well over a year now, Cormier is in a much better position to defend his title here. I can see the win coming by any of the three major methods, meaning the win market at $1.73 is the safest on the board.
UFC Tips & Preview: Anthony Pettis vs Nate Diaz
- Pettis 22-8 (Including 11 by knockout and 7 by submission)
- Diaz 19-11 (Including 12 by submission and 4 by knockout)
- Pettis def Thompson by KO
- Diaz def by McGregor (Majority Decision)
Analysis: Despite being a former UFC Lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis has had a relatively lean last 5 years. He is 4-5 since his initial title defence, struggling to maintain weight and to recapture his magic.
That said, a move to Welterweight and dominant KO of Stephen Thompson earlier this year may have just turned the tide for Pettis. With 18 of his 22 career wins coming via finish, Pettis has a diverse game that can capitalise on his individual opponents’ weaknesses.
— Ryan Evans (@RyanEvans87) August 14, 2019
On the flipside, Nate Diaz has been in almost all the headlines this week after hardly being seen for the last 3 years. Most fans remember the two absolute wars he had with Conor McGregor, the last of which ended in a majority decision loss.
Diaz appears to have been training hard in the years since and looked very fit in the UFC open workouts. I don’t see him having an advantage over Pettis on the feet, however his strong ground game could prove fruitful.
— Kevin Thang (@Skip2MyJays) August 15, 2019
With 7 fights under his belt since Diaz was last in the UFC octagon, I think Pettis has a strong edge in this one. As it is only a 3-round fight, neither of these men will be afforded too much of an adjustment period.
The scars around Diaz’ eyes make him vulnerable to Pettis’ vicious strikes and I can see the blood flowing early. Getting effectively even money for the Pettis KO/Points double chance looks like the best early value on the board.
UFC Tips & Preview: Yoel Romero vs Paulo Costa
- Romero 13-3 (Including 11 by KO)
- Costa 12-0 (Including 11 by KO and 1 by Submission)
- Romero def by Whittaker (Split Decision)
- Costa def Uriah Hall (KO)
Analysis: One of the most intimidating UFC fighters of all time, Yoel ‘Son of God’ Romero is still going strong after recently turning 42. He has had two recent narrow defeats to Aussie Rob Whittaker that both comfortably earned Fight of the Night honours.
These were sandwiched in between a series of excellent victories that saw him beat Machida, Souza, Weidman, and Rockhold. An inability to maintain weight has plagued him of late, weighing in above the limit in his previous two fights.
His opponent, Brazilian Paulo Costa has had a very strong 12-0 start to his career. Currently 4-0 in the UFC, his last two knockouts over Johnny Hendricks and Uriah Hall were particularly impressive. He does possess a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which could come in very handy if he takes this fight to the ground.
Ultimately, I think Romero is just too much of a step up for Costa at this point in time. Aussie UFC fans know just how good Rob Whittaker is and Romero pushed him to the brink twice.
I expect Romero’s speed and power to prove too much here, with his ability in the clinch also providing a clear edge. A knockout is the most likely result, although $1.66 for the outright win still represents strong value.
UFC Tips & Preview: Gabriel Benitez vs Sodiq Yusuff
- Benitez 21-6 (Including 10 by Submission and 7 by KO)
- Yusuff 9-1 (Including 5 by KO)
- Benitez def Bandenay by KO
- Yusuff def Moraes by Decision
Analysis: Veteran Mexican Gabriel Benitez has had a solid stint in the UFC, going 5-2 since signing for the promotion in 2014. He is first and foremost a submission specialist, typically opting for the guillotine.
Don't sleep on Gabriel Benitez at #UFC241 this weekend!
He has 13 first round finishes in his career, including this beauty from his last fight in May 🔥pic.twitter.com/lkHQVUNNwc
— Watch #UFC241 live on BT Sport 1 HD (@btsportufc) August 15, 2019
His striking defence is also excellent, 3rd in the UFC all time in defending 73.2% of opponent strikes. Even at just 26 years of age, his opponent Sodiq ‘Super’ Yusuff has already begun to flash on the UFC stage.
He was awarded a UFC contract after impressing in Dana White’s Contender Series and has gone 2-0 since his arrival. He is certainly more of a striker than a wrestler and could struggle if this fight goes to the ground.
Yusuff has impressed hugely in relatively limited action so far. Benitez does have the edge if this fight goes to the ground, but Yusuff’s elite striking ability and takedown defence mean an early KO is definitely a strong possibility.
UFC Tips & Preview: Derek Brunson vs Ian Heinisch
- Brunson 19-7 (Including 11 by KO and 3 by Submission)
- Heinisch 13-1 (Including 4 by KO and 2 by Submission)
- Brunson def Theodorou by Decision
- Heinisch def Carlos Jr by Decision
Analysis: Despite consistently hovering around the top 10, Middleweight veteran Derek Brunson has never really been close to a title shot. He has certainly struggled against top UFC opponents, suffering recent losses to Whittaker, Silva, Souza, and Adesanya.
Known for his very reckless fight style, 9 of his last 11 bouts have ended during the first round. Despite typically opting for a striking battle, Brunson is a 3-time All-American wrestler, which could come in handy here.
Ian ‘The Hurricane’ Heinisch has quietly had a very strong start to his MMA career. He is another alum of Dana White’s Contender Series, sitting 13-1 overall and 2-0 since joining the UFC.
One criticism is his lack of finishing ability, with the majority of his wins coming via decision. Brunson is also clearly a step up from the UFC competition he has faced so far.
— UFC News (@UFCNews) August 14, 2019
This has the makings of a close fight on paper, although I see some real stylistic advantages for Brunson. He is clearly the more experienced of the two fighters and I think he represents a real step up in opponent quality for Heinisch. As long as he isn’t too reckless to early, I like him to cause a mini upset at $2.28.