Saturday August 17th 2019 at the Honda Center, Anaheim, California
Main Card: 10pm ET on PPV
Preliminary Card: 8pm ET on ESPN
Early Prelims: 6:15pm ET on UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+
Last week’s UFC: Uruguay pretty much played out as expected. Shevchenko won easily, the more anticipated bouts were enjoyable, and the less anticipated bouts were nothing special. It was a mediocre event that ticked its boxes, and not much more. One thing the card did provide however, was a healthy chunk of profit (+2.29 units), with an overall ROI of 43.57%.
This weekend we now look towards UFC 241 to add to that figure, and for some fights that’ll get even the watercooler UFC fans talking! The pay-per-view is stacked from top-to-bottom, with something for everyone. There’s hungry prospects in competitive matches, a couple of ferocious title contenders going at it, a heavyweight title rematch, and the coming together of Nate Diaz and Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. Let’s get into this week’s picks for UFC 241: Cormier vs. Miocic 2!
Main Card Opener – Middleweight (185lbs) Bout – #8 Derek Brunson (19-7-0) vs. #10 Ian “The Hurricane” Heinisch (13-1-0):
This week we’re skipping straight up to the PPV card for its opening middleweight bout between the perennially ranked Derek Brunson, and the fast riser Ian Heinisch. This fight should be very interesting, with both fighters offering a solid wrestling game, and capable striking on the feet.
Heinisch has only had two UFC bouts, both wins over BJJ aces Cezar Ferreira and Antonio Carlos Junior. In those wins he showed outstanding heart, a well-rounded ground game and very nice wrestling chops.
Brunson on the other hand has seen ups-and downs since the back end of 2016, having gone 3-4 between that periods. He has a tendency to go for a finish at the risk of getting finished himself, but we saw a different side to him in his last outing against Theodorou. In that fight he demonstrated an ability to relay on his skills and patience to out-point the point-fighting kickboxer, as opposed to his usual style of recklessly seeking out the KO.
I’m not sure what kind of Brunson we’re going to see on Saturday night, but whichever one it is, I feel happy laying my money on Heinisch. He’s the younger man by four years and he’s never been finished by strikes, which bodes well for him against a steadily aging knockout artist. Even if Brunson were to put on another calculated performance, I still think Heinisch has a good chance to catch him with something, or relay on his toughness and heart to beat him over the fifteen minute stretch.
1.25u – Ian Heinisch @ -142
Co-Main Event – Welterweight (170lbs) Bout - #7 Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (22-8-0) vs. Nate Diaz (19-11-0):
In the card’s co-main, it’s the fight many of us won’t believe is happening until we see both guys standing across the cage from one another. It’s the long awaited return of 209’s Nate Diaz, taking on fellow fan favorite Anthony “Showtime” Pettis!
Both fighters have agreed to remove the stress of weight cutting and fight it out at a more manageable 170lbs. It shouldn’t play a big part as they both line-up similarly in stature and reach, although Diaz will hold the minor advantages in both.
I see this fight taking place on the feet, with Pettis getting the better of Diaz due to his kicking game. His ability to throw kicks with such dexterity, will open up holes in Diaz’ pretty lacklustre defense and in turn, should allow Pettis to win the decision. The fight could go to mat, but I’d foresee it working out to a stalemate, if not, with Pettis even edging it there too.
There are of course a few concerns on both sides, with Pettis previously showing frailties with his body’s durability and his desire to fight when the going gets tough. That could potentially play a part, but against Diaz who’s not got seriously overwhelming pressure, or power, I think Pettis should be just fine.
Diaz on the other hand hasn’t fought in three years, and even prior to that he wasn’t showing outstanding form, having gone 3-4 since the end of 2012. I know Pettis’ recent results aren’t much better, but at least he’s managed to start gaining momentum again, and has fought seven times in Diaz’ absence.
The play here is Pettis at a very modest -120. I wouldn’t be surprised if this line gets a little better before fight time due to the love for Diaz from the public, but no harm in taking this early as I still think this is a great price.
2u – Anthony Pettis @ -120
Main Event – Heavyweight (265lbs) Championship Bout – (C) Daniel “DC” Cormier (22-1-0) vs. #1 Stipe Miocic (18-3-0):
UFC 241’s headliner sees two of the great heavyweights of all time rematch for the title of “Baddest Man on the Planet”, aka the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Their first fight went down at UFC 226, where DC toppled Miocic with a devastating punch on the break from a clinch. It sent the American-Croatian Miocic crumpling to the ground, and following a couple more strikes from Cormier, the bout was stopped. It was a shocking finish as Miocic had only suffered one loss via KO/TKO six years prior to that, and DC wasn’t a renowned power puncher.
Since then Cormier has gone on to defend his HW title once against Derrick Lewis, but with a potential fight with Brock Lesnar ruled out, the UFC thought it was time that Miocic finally had his shot to regain the title.
This time I see the fight going a little longer, however I still see the same outcome. The truth is that Cormier has only ever been finished once, and that was to a Jon Jones head kick. To put that into perspective, losing to the GOAT via a devastating head kick (that still didn’t put him fully unconscious) is still quite the accolade, regardless of what anyone has to say about the finer details of it.
In addition DC has never been beaten ever at heavyweight, whereas Stipe has lost three times, two of which have come via finishes. I envision DC winning this, and most likely via a KO/TKO finish. He’s the more durable man, and has the edge in wrestling. With those both in consideration, there should be openings for him to catch Miocic at some point, be it early or late. I’ll be taking him outright and via KO/TKO, with a small sprinkle on him to win again in round 1, because it is heavyweights after all.
1u – Daniel Cormier @ -138
0.75u – Daniel Cormier via KO/TKO @ +187
0.25u – Daniel Cormier Round 1 @ +500