Cyborg vs Holm Could Be Year's Biggest Fight
We never got the Cyborg vs Rousey dream fight we've all clamoured for but Cyborg vs Holm is just as intriguing if not more. Cyborg (-325) gets to fight a legitimate striker and one who has an extensive resume in boxing. Holm (+235) broke into the spotlight when she head kicked Rousey into 2015's biggest highlight reel. Her coaches are confident she can shock the world again.
Cyborg has been a whirlwind of destruction. Her fights are more like maulings than a fair contest. This is the highest line for Cyborg since 2009 when she brutally retired women's MMA's first star, Gina Carano. Since then, she's knocked out every woman she's fought. Holm doesn't boast the same destructive power but her poise and technique are much better than her predecessors.
When these two strikers meet, it will be a violent affair with the biggest win of their career at stake.
A gross oversimplification of this match-up pits an overly aggressive Muay Thai killing machine in Cyborg against a disciplined boxer-turned-martial artist in Holm. This isn't completely wrong but fails to consider that Cyborg herself is a technical fighter. Under coach Jason Parillo, Cyborg's striking has become more complex. And she is 3-0 against southpaws like Holm.
The game plan for Holm will be to stick and move. She is known for her brilliant risk management and distance control. Under Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, Holm is one of the toughest fighters to get a bead on and she could frustrate the Brazilian like no one has done. But she'll have to quickly gain Cyborg's respect and that means working her kicks early.
Cyborg's x-factor here is her wrestling. It is rarely seen because few survive long enough for Cyborg to use it but the featherweight champ has the ability to maul her opponents on the mat. Holm's takedown defence is decent but she's been susceptible once she gets put on her back. She also frequently throws kicks, which could get her off her balance.
Prediction: Holm is a sexy dog pick here because she will come with the better game plan but if and when Cyborg gets a bead on her, she'll quickly be in trouble. Cyborg will put the pressure on and constantly move forward. Even if Cyborg doesn't dominate, her aggression and work rate will win her the fight.
Our Record: 4-1
Betting Stats & Tidbits:
- -40%: the line movement for Cyborg since opening, the highest on the entire card; Cyborg opened as -400 but dropped as low as -460
- -500: the highest line on Cyborg as a favourite when she fought Marloes Coenen for the first time back in Strikeforce in 2010; she won by T/KO in the third
- 3-2: Holm's record against other strikers; she lost to Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie, two Muay Thai fighters like Cyborg
- 2/4: the over/under for Cyborg's last six bouts; the over/unders were set at 1.5 rounds with the under as sizable favourites; Cyborg's last two fights went over
UFC 219 Predictions
All betting odds via Sports Interaction
Lock it Up! The lock of the night is Khabib Nurmagomedov (-270); pitted against the division's best Muay Thai fighter, Khabib is the division's best grappler by far. Barboza is dangerous from long range but Khabib won't give him that space as he'll put tremendous pressure on the Brazilian and will beat him up on the mat
Our Record: 3-2
Who's A Good Dog? Despite being a more proven fighter, Louis Smolka (+215) is an underdog. Smolka has lost three-in-a-row and the desperation will bring out his best. Nicolau is a Jiu-Jitsu ace and constantly improving at just 24. Still, Smolka has the striking and grappling to win this and at +215 he's the better bet.
Our Record: 3-2
Just Say No: to Carlos Condit (-175) versus Neil Magny (+135); Condit should win this fight but is coming off a layoff and hasn't looked as sharp while Magny is not big enough of a dog to warrant a bet.
Main Card (PPV, 10:00 PM ET)
- Women's Featherweight Championship (145 lbs): (C) Cyborg Justino (-320) vs #2 Holly Holm (+235)
- Lightweight (155 lbs): #2 Khabib Nurmagomedov (-270) vs #4 Edson Barboza (+200)
- Lightweight (155 lbs): Dan Hooker (+160) vs Marc Diakiese (-215)
- Women's Strawweight (115 lbs): #6 Cynthia Calvillo (-260) vs #9 Carla Esparza (+190)
- Welterweight (170 lbs): #8 Carlos Condit (-175) vs #12 Neil Magny (+135)
Prelims (TSN 2, 8:00 PM ET)
- Light Heavyweight (205 lbs): Khalil Roundtree Jr. (-310) vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (+225)
- Featherweight (145 lbs): #15 Myles Jury (-250) vs Rick Glenn (+185)
- Middleweight (185 lbs): Marvin Vettori (-230) vs Omari Akhmedov (+170)
- Flyweight (125 lbs): #13 Louis Smolka (+215) vs Matheus Nicolau (-295)
Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass, 7:30 PM ET)
- Flyweight (125 lbs): #11 Tim Elliott (-240) vs Mark De La Rosa (+180)
The final UFC event of the year promises plenty of fireworks and at least a few massive upsets. Fans visit these Canadian-friendly online sportsbooks, which aren't limited to just UFC options but also offer other sports like hockey, basketball, and even Canadian Football.
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