UFC 232: Pre-Fight Analysis, Betting Odds to Consider

UFC 232
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 27: Jon Jones speaks during the news conference with opponent Alexander Gustafsson of Sweden face during the UFC 232 press conference on December 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)

UFC 232 is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. What should be a celebrated rematch between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson is now a questionable event taking place in Inglewood, California.

While Jon continues to defend his position of a “pictogram”, fans and media seem to be leaning towards a new level of funny business on behalf of the UFC. Regardless of any of the surrounding factors, UFC 232 is packed with great fights, and here is a look at the entire card set to kickoff on Saturday night.

Main Card – PPV – 10 PM (EST)

Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson

It’s finally happening. Everyone who watched the first one, couldn’t wait for the second one. Despite all the controversy surrounding Jones, we have a fight. The big question surrounding this fight, well, one of them, is how good is Gustafsson now? Jones is a freak athlete. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that when he puts in the work, he is truly the greatest of all time. He knocked out Daniel Cormier in his last fight, but the decision was overturned. Prior to that, we know the story. Can Jones finally put all his demons to rest and take his place as the greatest fighter ever? Tonight will be his first test as he looks to rebound from a tough few years.

Gustafsson is confident and ready to throw his name in the hat once again. He did phenomenal in the first meeting, and some even think he was robbed of his first title win. He has a chance at redemption and can finally put the critics, and Jones, to rest. His boxing was outstanding in the first fight but chances are Jones has improved in that department. He was great at avoiding the takedown which should help him once again. The one consistent factor about Gustafsson is he is all heart, especially as the rounds progress. If he tires by round three or four, Jones may capitalize. At the same time, we saw Gustafsson dominate the first two rounds in their initial meeting, and he could look for an early knockout if Jones looks rusty. All in all, it is finally here, and both fighters seem ready to continue this chapter in UFC folklore. The odds are really stacked against the Swede at +250. There are definitely worse bets out there.

 (C) Cris Cyborg (20-1-0, 1NC) vs. (C) Amanda Nunes (16-4-0)

Amanda Nunes will take a break from defending the women’s bantamweight title to move up against the women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg. Nunes has nothing to lose and everything to gain. If she beats Cyborg, she is undoubtedly the pound-for-pound best female fighter in the world, and in the conversation for best ever. If Cyborg wins, we will go on to consider her the greatest female fighter of all time. Cyborg has been dominant forever, there’s no question about it.

For Nunes, her improvement over the last three years is simply inspiring. She has defended her belt four times, and beaten the absolute best in the division. It is this momentum and improvement that makes this a fight. You simply can’t count her out, but Cyborg will do everything she can to continue her dominance. Nunes at +200 still seems like a juicy bet, especially without a depriving weight-cut.

#9 Michael Chiesa (14-4-0) vs. Carlos Condit (30-12-0)

The UFC welterweight division is truly one of the best. It is for this reason we see Carlos Condit as an unranked fighter hoping to avoid his fifth-straight loss in a row. We all know why he’s still in the UFC, and we’re all very happy about it. Condit is a true legend and has been one of the sport’s best since the early days. It is also for this reason he does not get easy fights, and Michael Chiesa will hope to supplant the long-time veteran after losing two straight via submission. For Condit, takedown defense has always been his plight. If Chiesa’s gameplan involves studying tape, there is no doubt he will try taking this to the ground. Condit will do everything he can to keep it on the feet and dish out as much punishment as possible. Only time will tell who gets to comes out on top. Folks, expect bloodshed in this one.

#5 Ilir Latifi (15-5-0, 1NC) vs. #10 Corey Anderson (12-4-0)

This is a tough match-up for both fighters. Ilir Latifi has enjoyed a nice resurgence in the light heavyweight division, but Corey Anderson is looking to jump those rankings once again. Both fighters are coming off their biggest career wins. Latifi showed tremendous improvement against Ovince Saint Preux, and Anderson showcased his all-around ability against Glover Teixeira. Now, the two meet for what should be a leapfrog moment if they can win decisively. Despite both fighters’ success, the reach advantage is completely in Anderson’s favor, making that +120 line a little enticing.

#5 Chad Mendes (18-4-0) vs. #10 Alex Volkanovski (18-1-0)

There is so much hype surrounding Alex Volkanovski and rightfully so. He is currently riding a five-fight win streak, which includes a knockout of Jeremy Kennedy and a most recent unanimous decision win over Darren Elkins. It is no secret that his toughest test comes against Chad Mendes. Mendes fought for the first time in almost three years and knocked out Myles Jury this past July. Mendes has fought the best over the course of his career and will need to protect his spot as a top five featherweight in the world. He has great hands and celebrated wrestling, making him a tough matchup for anyone. At the same time, Volkanovski has yet to be tested, and this should be a close bout between two very hungry fighters. The odds-makers have Mendes as a close favorite, if that tickles your fancy.

Preliminary Card – FS1/TSN – 8 PM (ET)

#13 Andrei Arlovski (27-17-0, 1NC)  vs. Walt Harris (11-7-0)

Walt Harris will get another chance to dance with the ranked fighters as he takes on UFC legend Andrei Arlovski. Arlovski always brings the excitement, but Harris will need to be smart if he wants to continue his winning ways. A brawl with Arlovski can go either way, and Harris will need to pick his chances well. He has some heavy hands of his own, and a big knockout could get him in the top #15 in what is a weak heavyweight division. For Arlovski, getting back in the win column is a must, after losing two-straight to Shamil Abdurakhimov and Tai Tuivasa. The winner of this one should see a great opportunity ahead as the UFC scrounges to boost their heavyweight division.

#5 Cat Zingano (9-3-0) vs. Megan Anderson (8-3-0)

It seems like the UFC really wants Megan Anderson to succeed. After throwing her to Holly Holm in her debut, Anderson has the pleasure of taking on veteran Cat Zingano. While this is a great opportunity for Anderson, Zingano will be looking to make the most of her chances as she rebounds from a three-fight losing skid. She won her last bout against Marion Reneau, and will need to follow that up with a few more wins before getting back to title contention. However, the ex-Invicta FC featherweight champion has had a solid run since her debut. With only losing to Holm, after winning eight-straight, the +130 underdog could provide some juice as she takes on 36-year-old grinder Zingano.

#14 Douglas Silva de Andrade (25-2-1, 1NC) vs. Petr Yan (10-1-0)

Douglas Silva de Andrade is looking to defend is #14 rank as he takes on promising youngster Petr Yan. Andrade has an impressive record but is 3-2 in the UFC. After losing to Rob Font, he went on to beat Marlon Vera. In what could be one of his toughest bouts, Russian prospect Yan is 2-0 in the UFC and has looked dominant in both bouts. He followed up his first round KO/TKO with a Performance of the Night bonus. Yan’s only loss via split decision against Magomed Magomedov was avenged back in 2017 via unanimous decision. If there is a fighter to keep an eye on, it’s the -300 favorite looking to make his mark at UFC 232.

B.J. Penn (16-12-2) vs. Ryan Hall (6-1-0)

If there is one way B.J. Penn can redeem his end-of-the-road legacy, it’s his striking. Ryan Hall is a world class grappler, but his striking woes have been on display. This could also be the reason Hall fights so rarely, as he continues to work on becoming a better mixed martial artist. His fight against Gray Maynard showed that he had some improvements to make. He showcased a lot of kicks but Penn can work his way through those strikes.

Penn has not won a UFC bout since 2010 against Matt Hughes. He’s riding a five-fight losing streak and most fans wish he would just retire. But Penn, who is always a gamer, is looking for another challenge. At 40 years old, he has a chance to derail one of the highly-touted UFC prospects looking to climb the ranks. A celebrated grappler himself, it will be intriguing to see if Penn can last with Hall’s creativity. While there might be a slight advantage on the feet for Penn, being a -455 favorite makes this Hall’s fight to lose. If you’re feeling nostalgic, Penn at +350 might provide some early excitement as UFC 232 unfolds.

UFC Fight Pass Preliminary Card – UFC Fight Pass – 6:15 PM (ET)

Nathaniel Wood (14-3-0) vs. Andre Ewell (14-4-0)

What is great about this fight is both fighters are coming off solid wins in their UFC debuts. While Nathaniel Wood defeated Johnny Eduardo via submission, and earned a Performance of the Night, Andre Ewell won a split decision against Renan Barao. A win for either fighter would skyrocket their rank in the UFC bantamweight division, and the main event on a UFC Fight Pass card is the perfect venue to showcase their skills. Ewell and Wood look for the finish and like to push the pace. At the same time, both fighters looked like slow starters in the first round of their debuts, but they were able to turn it up a notch in the second round. This should be a great performance from both fighters and a good showcase of what the UFC bantamweight division has to offer.

#14 Uriah Hall (14-9-0) vs. Bevon Lewis (5-0-0)

It seems like just yesterday everyone was excited to see what Uriah Hall would bring to the UFC. Fast forward to the end of 2018, and Hall’s 6-6 UFC record seems surprising. His one-dimensional striking game bit him in the butt, and he has needed to improve his versatility as he tries to make his mark at the UFC level. Bevon Lewis, on the other hand, is seven years younger and ready for the spotlight. He has two Tuesday Night Contender Series wins under his belt, and even squeezed out an LFA win in between. After proving his worth in his second fight, Dana White brought him to the UFC.

Hall’s claim to fame is his performance on The Ultimate Fighter and knocking out Gegard Mousasi. However, Mousasi avenged that loss, which became one of three knockouts Hall sustained over his last four bouts. Is there anything left in the tank? UFC fans can’t help but cheer for Hall, but Lewis is coming in as hungry as any fighter, and you can bet he will bring his best. The question is, will Hall do the same?

Curtis Millender (16-3-0) vs. Siyar Bahadurzada (23-6-1)

In a true match-up of veteran versus up-and-comer, Siyar Bahadurzada will look to end Curtis Millender‘s eight-fight win streak (2-0 in UFC). Is Millender the real deal? All signs point to yes. His two wins over Thiago Alves and Max Griffin showed he is ready for the UFC level. He has not lost since 2015, and earned a Performance of the Night in his debut bout. Bahadurzada’s 4-2 UFC record should provide him with the necessary experience to stand his ground. He is coming off two impressive second-round knockouts in a row, and we should see a healthy exchange of punches. With both fighters never being knocked out, this could turn out to be one of the most underrated fights on the card.

Brian Kelleher (19-9-0) vs. Montel Jackson (6-0-0)

Montel Jackson and Brian Kelleher kick off the night in a bantamweight bout which will dictate their futures. 28-year old Kelleher is hoping to avoid a 3-3 UFC record, while Jackson is hoping to rebound from his first UFC loss to go 2-1. Kelleher brings brawl-style striking and heart, but Jackson is athletic and possesses a significant reach advantage in this fight. In terms of experience, Kelleher is coming off a loss to John Lineker after defeating Barao.

Jackson showed some grit in his last fight against Ricky Simon, but he slowed by the second round and spent most of the third in defensive mode. If Kelleher can get through the first round unscathed, his experience and heart could prove to be the deciding factor. With Jackson the slight favorite, and this fight likely going the distance, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

All odds provided by www.bet365.com.

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