Saturday night at UFC 252 we’re going to see the trilogy fight between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic. The winner will likely be considered the best heavyweight in UFC history. It is without a doubt one of the biggest fights of the year, but it’s not the only fight on the card. Let’s take a look and break down the other fights taking place Saturday night.
Ion Cutelaba Vs. Magomed Ankalaev
Kicking off UFC 252 will feature a grudge match. Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba will settle the score after a controversial stoppage in February. Oddsmakers in Vegas see the potential in Ankalaev. He is the second most favorited fighter on the main card. (-320) Both fighters like to stand and bang, so fans are in for a treat. All of the UFC 252 main card fighters are all skilled and explosive, and this matchup will serve up the violence.
With just a single submission loss to Paul Craig, Ankalaev has rarely tasted defeat. Conversely, Cutelaba has dealt with three losses during his UFC tenure. However, with each loss, he’s learned a lesson. Will the fire of Cutelaba’s rage smash Ankalaev? Or will the fast-twitch kicks of Ankalaev send “The Hulk” crashing to the canvas?
John Dodson Vs. Merab Dvalishili
Next up, a bantamweight showdown featuring John Dodson and Merab Dvalishili. An often classic match up, we have the striker facing the grappler. Surprisingly, oddsmakers have this close. Dodson sports an 80% takedown defense AVG. Frankly, Dvalishili is relentless. The chain wrestler averages 8.67% of takedowns per 15 minutes. Momentum and Dvalishili’s endless cardio will have Dodson’s striking game back-stepping. Adding salt to the wound, the Apex cage is smaller and makes it more difficult for Dodson to move around.
Junior Dos Santos Vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
In what promises to be fireworks, former-champ Junior Dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik face off. Two excellent strikers with high finishing abilities. Santos likes to utilize footwork to allow openings for his boxing. In contrast, Rozenstruik is a clam kickboxer looking for angles. Utilizing a blitz attack, Rozenstruik is dangerous for the entire fight.
This fight has knockout of the night written all over it. Even though Rozenstruik is slightly favored, Dos Santos has a highlight reel of KO’s to his name. Ultimately, both fighters love to strike, which stands to reason this fight will deliver.
Sean O’Malley Vs. Marlon Vera
“Suga” Sean O’ Malley‘s hype is real. Consequently, he will face his toughest test to date in Marlon Vera. On the minds of fight fans for a while, we will finally witness if O’Malley can compete with the elite of the division in the co-main event spot no less. Consequently, staying extremely active, and grappling in tournaments outside of the UFC seems to be working for O’Malley. This will be his third time competing this year.
Poised to take out the biggest favorite on the main card is Marlon Vera. Vera likely closes distance early in this fight. Also to note, Vera has never been finished and will look to utilize the clinch. His best shot at stopping O’Malley’s slick feinting and striking game is to close distance. Ideally, Vera makes use of his black belt to go for the finish. Above all, it is a much closer fight than the odds suggest. Will Vera impose his will? Or will O’Malley skyrocket with another highlight knockout?
Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic
In what will be an epic trilogy bout, UFC Heavyweight-Champ Stipe Miocic set to defend his title against Daniel Cormier. Both fighters have finished each other with strikes before lending to the idea that this will be a wild affair. The Olympian, Cormier has expressed his desire to wrestle more in the third fight. Despite all of that, with a smaller octagon will that be enough?
One thing is for sure, Cormier must have answers for the body shots. Miocic’s fourth-round adjustments in the second fight were an eye-opener. Most importantly, it shows the champion’s resolve to change and make adjustments mid-fight. Again, Cormier will no doubt prepare for the body shots this time around. However, no one can ignore Miocic’s knack for modifying his game in the late championship rounds. Most importantly, what makes this fight so exciting–we all find out Saturday night who the “baddest” man on the planet is and the fate of all the 252 main card fighters.
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