Herbert Burns vs. Daniel Pineda (Featherweight)
Both of these fighters utilize submissions heavily and have black belts in Jiu Jitsu. Burns has won his last 4 fights in the first round with 3 of them being by submission. Pineda hasn’t fought in the UFC since 2014, but hasn’t tapped since 2012. Neither are known for their striking but Burns can do damage with his hands by attacking at the right moments. Most think Burns will win by submission (-150) but I believe Pineda’s ground game is too good to lose that way.
Value Play: Burns by KO/TKO (+650), Burns by decision (+650)
John Dodson vs. Merab Dvalishvili (Bantamweight)
Dvalishvili is considered a rising star in the Bantamweight division with how he “manhandles” his competitors. He is great at takedowns but isn’t impressive on the ground. Majority of his wins are by decision and if this fight goes the distance he will add another “W” to his resume. Dodson has fought the best of the best and in his last fight beat (by TKO) up and comer Nathaniel Wood. Dodson is much older and has lost some of his elite athleticism, but stylistically I like his chances in this fight. He is a much better striker and has great takedown defense. Expect a lot of takedown attempts from Dvalishvili but this will lead to him absorbing a lot of damage.
Value Play: Dodson by KO/TKO (+450)
Junior Dos Santos vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (Heavyweight)
Dos Santos is coming off back to back losses against 2 of the best in this division in Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou. He showed some flashes in the Blaydes fight but missed way too many punches and was very hesitant throughout. This hesitation was due to Blayde’s elite grappling which shouldn’t be a factor in this fight. In that regard Dos Santos should have a better chance in this fight. He has always been a great boxer but his best days are likely behind him. Rozenstruik is no stranger to elite competition after getting knocked out in 20 seconds by Ngannou. Any man who can knockout Alistair Overeem and his incredible chin deserves recognition. Rozenstruik did just that in round 5 of their match, leaving Overeem’s lip split. He is an excellent Kick boxer and his power will be too much for Dos Santos.
Value Play: Rozenstruik to win in round 2 (+500)
Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera
This is Sean O’Malley’s coming out party. Being the Co-main event on one of the biggest cards of the year. If you haven’t seen O’Malley fight, get ready. He has the punching power of a young McGregor with the unique fighting style of Ferguson. Marlon Vera is no cake walk. Up to this point, O’Malley has been coddled along by Dana White has the UFC’s next cash cow. Vera has the ability to beat people in a variety of ways. At the end of the day, Sean O’Malley is the much better fighter with a superior striking game.
Value Play: O’Malley in the 1st (+200)
Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier
(Drum roll) The fight we have all been waiting for…. The highly anticipated third fight is here and should be a great one. In their first bout over 2 years ago DC landed a deadly elbow that dropped Miocic, leading to a knockout. In the rematch DC nearly won by TKO in round 1 after repeated strikes to Stipe’s head. Stipe utilized his reach advantage and was able to get inside on several occasions. In round 4 Stipe landed a powerful shot to Cormier’s gut that stunned him. Cormier never fully recovered and lost by TKO in round 4. An odd factor of both fights is that DC injured Stipe by poking him in the eye. I don’t think either were intentional but with the way DC punches it could definitely happen again. DC is the better boxer and I think he will be able to land enough combos to severely damage Stipe. DC has a great ground game and if he’s able to inflict early damage I would not be shocked if he attempts a rear naked choke.
Value Play: DC by submission (+1,000)