When: Saturday May June 8th 2019
What Time: Main Card: from 10pm ET on Pay-Per-View
Prelims: from 8pm ET on ESPN
Early Prelims: from 6:15pm on ESPN+
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
This weekend’s UFC 238 is looking like one of the can not miss events of 2019! It’s littered with action packed and intriguing fights which could hold major implications on some of the UFC’s most entertaining weight divisions… not to forget that there’s two belts on the line too! Let’s get into what we’ll be betting for this banger of a card!
Preliminary Card Bout: Middleweight (185lbs): Bevon “The Extraordinary Gentleman” Lewis (6-1-0) vs. Darren “The Dentist” Stewart (9-4-0):
Bevon Lewis is a guy that entered the UFC with high expectations and not a whole lot of experience. He fell short in his first UFC fight against a veteran of the promotion in Uriah Hall. Lewis’ gas tank cost him big in that fight and as he faded, the striking mastermind Hall made him pay by finishing him in the third.
Darren Stewart offers a well-rounded striking game, although he comes equipped with serious holes in his grappling. That being said however, his clinch work does seem to be improving, which will enable him to keep the fight standing should look for an unlikely takedown. In a bout which appears to be set for a striking contest, we’re going to take the more seasoned “Dentist” to upset the youngster here at decent dog money.
1u – Darren Stewart @ +150
Main Card Parlay:
Petr Yan has been on a destructive run in the UFC having gone 4-0 and with little to suggest he is anything but a legitimate contender in the bantamweight division. He has lightning quick hands and packs nice power into them. The unknown for Yan is how good his wrestling is considering no one has really engaged him in a grappling contest in the UFC. Rivera has made his name from his own pace and speed, although now his durability is in question and he seems to be slowing. He could use his decent wrestling although cornering Yan to force a takedown is no easy take.
I see this fight going somewhat similarly to that of Yan’s last fight against John Dodson. I expect Yan to put a pace on Rivera, although instead of Dodson’s evasive movement, I’m estimating Rivera will seek to engage with the heavy-handed Russian. With Rivera looking to be slower than he once was, this looks to be a prime spot for Yan to land on “El Terror”, either resulting in a stoppage or hard fought decision victory.
1st Leg of Parlay: Petr Yan @ -333
In the card’s most anticipated bout we have the long awaited return of Tony Ferguson squaring-off against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, in a fight that was made mere weeks ago. I have questions over both guys, but for me this line has closed to a point where I just have to take Ferguson. Cerrone has shown a tendency to melt under pressure and that’s exactly what Ferg’ brings. Both have phenomenal ground games, so those shouldn’t have too much of a feature, unless someone gets dropped. Providing Ferguson’s ability to recover from danger holds up, he should be able to pour onto Cerrone and make it a long night for Cowboy.
2nd Leg of Parlay: Tony Ferguson @ -150
1u - 2 Leg Submission Parlay: Petr Yan + Tony Ferguson @ +117
Co-Main Event - Women’s Flyweight Championship (125lbs): (c) Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko (16-3-0) vs. #1 Jessica “Evil” Eye (14-6-0):
Shevchenko is the huge favorite in this bout, and for good reason. Her striking is quick and her movement in and out of the pocket is precise and clean. She also has good clinch work and a pretty well rounded grappling game if a situation presents itself for her to use it.
Jessica Eye is a fighter that has often been overlooked for how well-rounded and durable she is. She hasn’t had much success in her early UFC fights as she was competing outside of her natural weight class of 125lbs. But since the addition of the women’s flyweight division to the org, she has found her way again, claiming three back-to-back victories to get her this shot.
I’m not going to state that Eye is a “sure thing” in as the massive 9-to-1 dog, but I will say that this price yields a decent amount of value and it’s definitely worth a small half unit stab. The reason for this being is that Valentina has built up a reputation for being a “killer” due to her finish of Priscila Cachoeira in what was a mismatch of the highest calibre (at least in the UFC). It was a one off and that has lead people to believe that she can have her way with any opponent, when that simply is not the case. The truth is that she can school people when they play a striking game with her like Joanna Jędrzejczyk, but when she’s in a fight with people who match her size and hold decent grappling credentials, they can often make it a close fight. I think this one more than likely goes to decision and one that could get gritty. We’re going to take Eye half a unit here, this one is going to be closer than may think.
0.5u – Jessica Eye @ +900
Main Event – Men’s Bantamweight Championship (135lbs): (FLW (C) Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo (14-2-0) vs. #1 “Magic” Marlon Moraes (22-5-1):
In the card’s main event we see the flyweight champ and Olympic gold medallist wrestler Henry Cejudo face Marlon Moraes for the vacant UFC bantamweight belt. They both are riding a wave of momentum into this, with Marlon tearing through the top of the BW division, winning four straight, with three straight first round finishes, and Cejudo fresh off his victory over the former bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw and former P4P king Demetrious Johnson.
Cejudo will forever hold the wrestling advantage with the pedigree he holds, his striking is always improving and his conditioning appears to be better than ever. My concern for him is this step-up in weight and his difficulties grounding fighters. Going up in weight is always going to arise questions and when facing someone with Moraes’ striking and grappling, being the smaller man could be seriously detrimental. Cejudo has clearly bulked up for this challenge, but with that also issues more questions around how his body will adapt conditioning-wise, and will he be able to retain his speed in the pocket?
I’m picking Marlon here. Him being naturally the bigger man is one thing, but his striking is another entirely. I think Cejudo will have issues grounding-out Moraes, which will result in fatigue for himself as well as a striking battle on the feet. I’m expecting Marlon to hit and hurt Cejudo here, it could come at any time, and he could even have to work his way to a decision, but I’m picking him to claim his well-deserved bantamweight title here.
2.5u – Marlon Moraes @ -125