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UFC 241 betting tips: Best undercard bets for Cormier v Miocic 2

Leigh Copson 15 Aug 2019
Yoel Romero (credit:RICHARD WAINWRIGHT/AAP/PA Images)

A mouth-watering welterweight showdown and a couple of key middleweight fights will serve as supporting acts for the heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and the man he dethroned, Stipe Miocic, at UFC 241. But who will be victorious in Anaheim, California on August 17? Read on for our UFC 241 undercard betting tips.

Anthony Pettis v Nate Diaz

While Cormier-Miocic will undoubtedly dominate the UFC 241 headlines leading up to the event, fight fans are salivating over the prospect of co-main event clash between Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz in the welterweight division.

Having seen his career stall at lightweight and a switch to featherweight produce mixed results, Pettis move up to the welterweight ranks earlier this year and was handed something of a baptism of fire in the shape of former title contender Stephen Thompson. Having gone 3-6 in his last nine fights not many were expecting a victory for ‘Showtime’, but a second-round ‘Superman Punch’ got the job done, making Pettis the first man to ever stop ‘Wonderboy’ in a professional MMA bout. It has been four years since he last won back-to-back bouts though, so can he change all of that here?

Nate Diaz will be aiming to ensure that does not happen as he finally ends a near-three-year exile from the Octagon. Diaz has not fought since dropping a decision to Conor McGregor in their rematch back in the summer of 2016, but in that time he has been taking part in triathlons and he will have almost certainly been training, so he will have hardly ‘let himself go’. The questions are will he be in fighting shape, and will ‘ring rust’ be a factor? Those are questions that can only be answered on the night, but given Diaz’s track record and approach to fighting you have to lean towards him looking like the same guy who went five rounds with McGregor last time out, and that makes this a very intriguing fight.

I doubt we will see these two men go to the canvas, so it really is about who takes control of this bout. Diaz does not possess brutal striking power, but his relentless attack does wear down and break down opponents – just look at when he blew up McGregor and forced the Irishman into an ill-advised takedown attempt. It is a tactic that could work again here because we have seen Pettis run out of steam in the past.

However, Diaz’s approach is pretty one-dimensional, it is all about boxing. Pettis, on the other hand, lives up to his ‘Showtime’ moniker as a dynamic striker who mixes up his approach with kicks, punches and elbows, while he is not afraid to throw caution to the wind with strikes that you would expect to see only in a video game (remember the ‘Showtime Kick’ on Benson Henderson during the old WEC days). He also has the power to stop fighters too, as evidenced by him knocking out Thompson in April – a feat the likes of Tyron Woodley, Jorge Masvidal and Darren Till could not achieve. So it must be said that Pettis does have the edge in the striking department.

He can also benefit from Diaz’s failure to start fast. By his own admission the Stockton native has an unwanted knack for starting slow and that could present Pettis with an opportunity to get ahead on the scorecards and put himself in a commanding position. He will need to protect his body from shots that will sap his energy and he will need to prevent Diaz from backing him up against the cage, but ‘Showtime’ has the footwork and movement that will allow him to do just that. Therefore I have to lean towards Pettis making it back-to-back wins at 170lbs, spoiling Diaz’s eagerly-anticipated return.

Yoel Romero v Paulo Costa

Yoel Romero has recorded one huge win this year as his lawsuit regarding a tainted supplement was successful and earned him a pay-out of over $25million. Now the 42-year-old Cuban will look to get back to winning ways in the Octagon when he makes his return to middleweight duty against rising star Paulo Costa. Costa has made violent impression on UFC fans since arriving in the promotion back in 2017, reeling off four straight TKO victories, but this is undoubtedly the biggest challenge of his career so far and I am not so sure that he is ready for the challenge of facing Romero – a man with elite-level wrestling that can separate an opponent from consciousness in the blink of an eye!

Derek Brunson v Ian Heinisch

Derek Brunson bounced back from stoppage defeats to Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza and Israel Adesanya with a much-needed unanimous decision win over Elias Theodorou in May, maintaining his place in the top 10 of the middleweight division, and I am backing the 35-year-old American to follow that up with another success against top-10 ranked Ian Heinisch at UFC 241. ‘The Hurricane’ has enjoyed a quick rise up the 185lb ladder since his appearance on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series a year ago, and he certainly fancies his chances of scoring the biggest win over his career so far after seeing Brunson underwhelm in his win over Theodorou. I am not so sure. When two wrestlers go head-to-head it can often result in a stand-up affair, and in that instant I would give the advantage to Brunson, who has stopped his opponent in six of his last seven victories. Heinisch, meanwhile, has managed only four KO/TKO wins in his career and none of them have come under the UFC banner.

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UFC 241 betting tips: Best undercard bets for Cormier v Miocic 2

UFC 241 predictions for the undercard of Daniel Cormier v Stipe Miocic 2 on August 17.

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