Massive Favourite Nunes Should Roll
Amanda Nunes (-935) returns to her native land of Brazil to make her third title defence against the scrappy Raquel "Rocky" Pennington (+565) in what is expected to be a one-sided beatdown for the champion. Nunes will be the second-biggest favourite of the year and should deliver despite the hefty odds she's carrying.
Both Nunes and Pennington are complete MMA fighters but on different levels athletically. Nunes is a physical specimen. At almost 5'7", Nunes has a 69" reach and is built more like a featherweight, where she originally fought in. She started out as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and is a black belt but her natural gifts allowed her to seamlessly transition into being more of a Muay Thai fighter.
Pennington is more of a boxer and was limited as a fighter. She started her UFC career with a 4-3 record but has won four straight and has blossomed into more of a well-rounded fighter with improving grappling especially her wrestling, which she utilized effectively in upsetting former champion Miesha Tate.
While both fighters are versed in multiple disciplines, Nunes is a higher-level fighter and athlete. She is faster, more powerful, and is bigger. And if the fight goes to the ground, she has the BJJ that Pennington doesn't. Nunes is a humongous favourite for a reason.
Nunes vs Pennington Betting Trends & Tidbits
Nunes is a beast and is finally being treated like one although Pennington has found some success as an underdog. A finish is highly likely here too as only two fights (one opponent) were not finished since UFC debuted in the UFC.
- Nunes opened at -530 and her line has gone down by 7.9% since
- Pennington opened at +350 and her line has gone up by 38.2% since
- Main event fighters who opened as favourites are 8-4 in 2018
- Pennington is 3-2 is in her last five fights as an underdog
- Seven of Nunes's nine UFC fights ended in a finish
Pennington is a tough cookie and an underrated fighter. She beat a former champion in Tate and almost beat another one in Holly Holm on top of submitting the firestorm that is Jessica Andrade. So long as the fight stays standing, she'll have a shot to frustrate and possibly even land a few good ones on Nunes.
But the two things that practically seal it for Nunes are her speed and grappling. Nunes already has the reach and size advantage and she'll be quicker to the punch. And if she ever finds trouble dealing with Pennington's boxing, she can grind her down and eventually submit her on the mat.
Prediction: Pennington will have her moments but Nunes wins in decisive fashion either submitting Pennington or winning a clear-cut decision.
Our Record: 12-6
UFC 223: Nunes vs Pennington Fight Card Predictions
All betting odds via Sports Interaction.
Most Valuable Pick: For Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (-135) against Kelvin Gastelum (+110). Souza is the far superior grappler and his striking is crisp enough to handle Gastelum's speed advantage. There's a decent chance Gastelum catches Jacare and hurts him but outside that, Jacare has the advantage especially if he gets his hands on Gastelum. Chalk one up for the hometown gator.
Our Record: 14-4
Underdog Story: Vitor Belfort (+185) is being underestimated against Lyoto Machida (-260); the Brazilian have opposing styles. Belfort is an offensive Muay Thai fighter while Machida is a defensive karate master. Belfort may be way past his prime but Machida is also shopworn. This fight is closer to a 50-50 and at this price, it's worth taking a shot on "The Phenom".
Our Record: 8-7
Bounce Pass: to Mackenzie Dern (-290) versus Amanda Cooper (+215); Dern is still raw and unreliable like she showed in her previous fight where she barely got by as a 7-1 favourite while Cooper's weakness is Dern's main strength. A small bet on Cooper might be okay but it's better to just avoid altogether.
Main Card (PPV, 10:00 PM ET)
- Women's Bantamweight Championship (135 lbs): (C) Amanda Nunes (-935) vs #2 Raquel Pennington (+565)
- Middleweight (185 lbs): #2 Ronaldo Souza (-135) vs #5 Kelvin Gastelum (+110)
- Women's Strawweight (115 lbs): Mackenzie Dern (-290) vs Amanda Cooper (+215)
- Bantamweight (135 lbs): #6 John Lineker (-295) vs Brian Kelleher (+215)
- Middleweight (185 lbs): #9 Vitor Belfort (+185) vs #12 Lyoto Machida (-260)
Prelims (TSN 2, 8:00 PM ET)
- Middleweight (185 lbs): Cezar Ferreira (+115) vs Karl Roberson (-145)
- Heavyweight (265 lbs): #10 Alexei Oleinik (+110) vs #14 Junior Albini (-145)
- Lightweight (155 lbs): Davi Ramos (-150) vs #11 Nick Hein (+120)
- Welterweight (170 lbs): Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (-135) vs Sean Strickland (+105)
Prelims (UFC Fight Pass, 6:15 PM ET)
- Welterweight (170 lbs): Warlley Alves (-260) vs Sultan Aliev (+190)
- Middleweight (185 lbs): Thales Leites (+125) vs Jack Hermansson (-165)
- Welterweight (170 lbs): Alberto Mina (+165) vs Ramazan Emeev (-225)
- Middleweight (185 lbs): Markus Perez (TBD) vs James Bochnovic (TBD)
Best Online Sportsbooks for UFC/MMA
Every time the UFC returns to Brazil you're guaranteed action-packed bouts with serious upset potential Canadians can tune in on TSN and order the PPV while heading to these Canadian-friendly online sportsbooks to get in some wagers.
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