Cyborg is Biggest Favourite in UFC History
The UFC has not seen a fighter quite like Cyborg in their 25-year history. The Muay Thai machine of mass destruction has dominated her division harder than she's hit her opponents. Cyborg (-2025) has matured as a fighter and may appear less vicious than her former self but this pseudo new version of her is more calculated and savvier and that is tragic news for her opponent: Yana Kunitskaya (+975).
The Russian became the new Invicta bantamweight champion in a masterful performance over a tough Raquel Pa'aluhi. She showed she not only has a well-balanced MMA skillset but the poise of a champion as well. However, even as she trains with the renowned camp of Greg Jackson, she'll need nothing short of a Hail Mary if she hopes to beat Cyborg.
Maybe oddsmakers underestimate Kunitskaya. The 28-year-old comes from a family of athletes and is a former Muay Thai champion. In her title-winning fight, Kunitskaya won a smart fight by neutralizing Pa'aluhi and picking her apart with her kickboxing. However, this was at 135 and against the bigger and stronger Cyborg, she'll need to be more evasive and find a way to score on the champion.
Fortunately for Kunitskaya, she trains with Holly Holm who has previous experience fighting Cyborg. But unfortunately for her, Cyborg is not only powerful but arguably even smarter. The 32-year-old is adept at cutting the cage and picking apart her opponents. She has high fight IQ and knows when to be aggressive and when to counter-punch. Most importantly, she has one-punch knockout power.
The aspect that truly seals this fight for Cyborg is her underrated grappling. In the event Kunitskaya becomes competitive on their feet, Cyborg can use her wrestling to confuse the challenger. This added level to her MMA game makes her striking even deadlier.
Prediction: it's a foregone conclusion: Cyborg beats up Kunitskaya en route to a mercy stoppage or a lopsided decision. Don't sleep on the Russian as she is tough and has a solid Muay Thai base but Cyborg is just too good and experienced to lose this bout. Instead of betting on either fighter, betting over 1.5 rounds could have more value.
Our Record: 9-4
Over 1 1/2 Rounds (+110)
Betting Stats & Tidbits:
- 95%: the expected outcome of Cyborg winning by finish, the highest expected outcome of the fight, of the card, and of the year
- 2-1: Kunitskaya's record as an underdog in her last three bouts; she won as a +129 underdog against Raquel Pa'aluhi and at +650 against Tonya Evinger in their first bout (later overturned to a No Contest due to referee error)
- 68.8%: the percentage of women's featherweight bouts ending in a finish; of 947 fights, 305 (32.2%) ended by T/KO while 347 (36.6%) ended by submission
- 2/3: the over/under record for Cyborg's last five fights; her fight with Lina Lansberg ended just two seconds shy of going over; her last two fights went over (all set at 1.5 rounds)
UFC Fight Night Predictions
All betting odds via Sports Interaction.
Lock it Up! For Mackenzie Dern (-445); the hype train on Dern is massive and she's expected to be the next UFC superstar for good reason. She is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu prodigy and will make short work of Ashley Yoder (+310), whose strength is also in BJJ. This is matchmaking that heavily favours the newcomer.
Our Record: 10-2
Who's A Good Dog? He's making headlines for the wrong reasons but Bryan Caraway (+115) is being underestimated by bettors putting money on Cody Stamann (-140); Caraway is an underrated striker and is the better grappler and has the veteran savvy to capitalize on the young wrestler's mistakes.
Our Record: 5-7
Just Say No: to Frankie Edgar (-160) versus Brian Ortega (+125); this is the best fight on the event but is wholly unpredictable with Ortega who can seemingly pull submissions from out of nowhere. Edgar has never been finished and beats any 145er not named Jose Aldo though he has never fought anyone like Ortega.
Main Card (PPV, 10:00 PM ET)
- Women's Featherweight (145 lbs): (C) Cris Cyborg (-2025) vs Yana Kunitskaya (+975)
- Featherweight (145 lbs): #2 Frankie Edgar (-160) vs #3 Brian Ortega (+125)
- Bantamweight (135 lbs): Sean O'Malley (-105) vs Andre Soukhamthath (-125)
- Heavyweight (265 lbs): #10 Stefan Struve (-175) vs #12 Andrei Arlovski (+140)
- Women's Bantamweight (135 lbs): #6 Cat Zingano (+150) vs #5 Ketlen Vieira (-200)
Prelims (TSN 5, 8:00 PM ET)
- Women's Strawweight (115 lbs): Ashley Yoder (+310) vs Mackenzie Dern (-455)
- Lightweight (155 lbs): #12 Beneil Dariush (-415) vs Alexander Hernandez (+285)
- Bantamweight (135 lbs): #8 John Dodson (-185) vs #10 Pedro Munhoz (+145)
- Middleweight (185 lbs): CB Dollaway (+105) vs Hector Lombard (-130)
Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass, 6:45 PM ET)
- Welterweight (170 lbs): Mike Pyle (+215) vs Zak Ottow (-295)
- Bantamweight (135 lbs): #7 Bryan Caraway (+115) vs Cody Stamann (-140)
- Light Heavyweight (205 lbs): Jordan Johnson (-270) vs Adam Milstead (+195)
While not the sexiest card on paper, UFC 222 is filled with solid MMA fights from top to bottom and hardcore fans will delight. Canadians head to these online sportsbooks to wager. Be sure to read our reviews and find the best book for you.
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