The UFC is heading to Anaheim this Saturday for the UFC 241 August pay-per-view. The card is very solid top to bottom. It’s headlined by the Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic rematch for the heavyweight belt, but the people’s main event is the co-main featuring the return of Nate Diaz vs Anthony Pettis. Other notable fighters on the card include Yoel Romero vs Paulo Costa, Sodiq Yusuff, Raphael Assunao and Cory Sandhagen.
I went 2 for 2 taking a couple favourites last week, which brings my streak to 4-0 over the last two events. I will be looking to continue my winning ways with four plays on this card.
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Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic
I tried to justify taking Miocic at dog money, but I couldn’t convince myself. I think Cormier is simply too fast and athletic for the other elite heavyweights. Yes, Cormier benefited from an inadvertent eye poke in their last fight, but I don’t think that played into the result. I expect Cormier to once again be able to close the distance and make this a grappling/clinch striking match, which should play to Cormier’s advantages.
The quickness that Cormier brings to the heavyweight division is just too much for the bigger, power punchers to deal with. Stipe is a well rounded heavyweight, but against Cormier he basically needs to find a home for the knockout punch in order to get this win. On the flip side, Cormier has a wide variety of paths to victory.
The odds value isn’t as great on Cormier this time around, but I think this fight goes basically the same way as the first, so even as a small favourite, Cormier is the play.
Play: Cormier 1.72
Anthony Pettis vs Nate Diaz
Nate Diaz is coming back after a two year layoff following his rematch with Conor McGregor. Pettis is returning after his impressive knockout of Stephen Thompson in his first fight at welterweight.
Both of these guys are career lightweights who have moved up to welterweight to avoid the weight cut later in their careers. That said, Pettis is only a couple years removed from a two fight dip into the featherweight division, so I would still give Diaz the size advantage in this fight.
Pettis will be the fighter with more weapons, but Diaz is the guy who can take punishment and keep moving forward. I think this could come down to whether or not Pettis keeps enough in the tank to battle late in the fight.
Because this is a three round fight I will give Pettis the edge. I think he can win the first two rounds even if he doesn’t get Diaz out of there early.
This should be a close fight though, as the odds indicate.
Play: Pettis 1.87 @ SportsInteraction.com
Gabriel Benitez vs Sodiq Yusuff
Yusuff is one of my favourite prospects in the UFC. He’s now 2-0 since winning his DW’s Contender Series fight at this time last year. Yusuff had a good battle with Sheymon Moraes in his last win, and I still think he’s getting better each time out.
Yusuff should be able to use his speed and footwork to get the better of Benitez on the feet.
Play: Yusuff 1.38 @ SportsInteraction.com
Cory Sandhagen vs Raphael Assuncao
Assuncao is coming off a loss to Marlon Moraes, where he was caught and subsequently choked out by a guys who is extremely dangerous in the first round. Outside of that loss, Assuncao had won 4 straight over some of the best in the bantamweight division, including split decision wins over Moraes and Aljamain Sterling. Assuncao is now 11-2 in his last 13 UFC fights, and those two losses came to Moraes and Dillashaw, both fighters who he had already beaten. What I’m getting at here is that Assuncao is an elite bantamweight and should be considered a big step up in competition for Sandhagen.
Cory Sandhagen is now 4-0 in his UFC career. He’s looked good, but his first real test was his most recent fight against John Lineker, which he won via split decision. Sandhagen was able to keep distance against the smaller Lineker, but he still didn’t look like he was doing that much damage, and I think he could get caught against a smart counter-puncher like Assuncao.
Overall, I think it’s too early in Sandhagen’s career to have him as the favourite over a perennial contender like Assuncao, who has wins over the best of the best in the UFC.
Play: Assuncao 2.35 @ SportsInteraction.com
Check out our UFC betting page to learn more about the different bets you can make on the fights.