A number of upcoming notable three-round UFC fights have had odds opened for them recently. Here they are, along with my thoughts on the bouts.
UFC 226: Miocic vs. Cormier
Saturday, July 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
Francis Ngannou -230
Derrick Lewis +170
Michael Chiesa -150
Anthony Pettis +110
Initial thoughts: Ngannou (11-2) had a meteroic rise to the top of the UFC heavyweight division, with a title shot against Stipe Miocic awarded after his 2017 “Knockout of the Year” over Alistair Overeem. But his run to the top was halted by the champion Miocic, who exposed Ngannou’s wrestling in handing him his first UFC loss. Ngannou is still one of the hardest punchers in the game and an athletic specimen, but he clearly has a lot of holes in his game that need to be fixed before he gets to the next level. Lewis (19-5, 1 NC) is a solid 10-3 overall in the UFC and is coming off of a knockout win over Marcin Tybura that got him back in the win column after a kncokout loss to Mark Hunt snapped his six-fight win streak. One of the hardest punchers in the sport, Lewis has issues with his cardio and takedown defense but there’s no question he can knock anyone out on a good day. Although Ngannou is a huge favorite here, I wouldn’t write off Lewis just yet. This is a heavyweight bout and we have no idea how Ngannou’s chin will hold up if he gets tested by someone who can punch as hard as Lewis. Ngannou probably wins the fight, but the betting value is on Lewis, in my opinion.
Chiesa (14-3) is 7-3 in the UFC and has climbed the ranks to the top-10 of the lightweight division. Although he lost a controversial bout to Kevin Lee in his last fight, he had won three-straight fights prior to that and will be looking to get back in the win column here. Pettis (20-7) was once the UFC lightweight champion but he fell from grace quickly and all told has a 7-6 UFC record. Pettis was finished by Dustin Poirier in his last fight and his durability has dwindled in recent years. Although Pettis still has the striking skills to give Chiesa trouble, I just feel like Chiesa’s ground game is going to be too dominant here and it makes sense that he’s the favorite.
UFC Fight Night 133: JDS vs. Ivanov
Saturday, July 14 at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho
Sage Northcutt -140
Zak Ottow +100
Initial thoughts: Northcutt (10-2) is coming off of back-to-back wins over Thibault Gouti and Michel Quinones and really starting to fulfill some of the promise we all saw in him at the beginning of his UFC career. However, one thing to keep in mind about this fight is that Northcutt is moving back up to welterweight, which is where both of his career losses came at. I don’t like the move up in weight for Northcutt this early in his career. At 22, he should be able to stay at lightweight. Ottow (16-5) is 3-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a knockout win over Mike Pyle. Ottow is a well-rounded fighter and he should be able to give Northcutt problems in this fight. There’s no doubt Northcutt is the better striker but I believe Ottow is the more complete fighter and I see some value in him as the underdog.