UFC 214 tips: Bets bets for Cormier v Jones 2 in Anaheim
We make our picks for the light-heavyweight title fight, and the rest of the action on a jam-packed card.
Jon Jones v Daniel Cormier
This should be a fantastic fight between clearly the two best fighters in the light-heavyweight division.
A rematch of their UFC 182 meeting, in which Jones beat Cormier by unanimous decision, it marks the former’s return to the Octagon after a one-year suspension and the latter’s third title defence.
Jones was the most dominant light-heavyweight champion in UFC history before he was stripped of his title, with his only loss in 23 professional fights being a disqualification against Matt Hammill.
Not just a brilliant, inventive striker, he’s also dangerous on the mat with six submission wins to date.
His Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills should allow him to negate Cormier’s greatest strength – his wrestling.
The champion takes his opponents down relentlessly and holds them down on the mat, but simply failed to do so against Jones last time.
Jones’ last four fights have all gone the distance, so backing the challenger to regain his title on points is a safe bet at .
Tyron Woodley v Demian Maia
Maia earned this shot at the welterweight title with a seven-fight winning streak, having last scraped past Jorge Masvidal in a split decision in May.
The grappler’s struggles on the feet in that fight don’t bode well for his chances against an explosive striker like Woodley.
The American carries huge power in both hands, and four of his last six wins have come by knockout.
Maia needs to take this fight to the mat, where he has picked up 12 submission wins in his career and three in his last five fights.
But Woodley is also a fantastic wrestler with a takedown defence of 95.2 per cent – the highest in UFC welterweight history.
He’s perfectly equipped to deal with Maia – a rather one-dimensional fighter – and, given five rounds to do so, should eventually land one of his big bombs.
A knockout win for the champion is the best bet at .
Cristiane Justino v Tonya Evinger
The majority of fights on this card are very evenly matched.
Not this one.
‘Cyborg’ Justino is still unbeaten since she lost her first professional fight in 2005, with a first-round knockout win that was overturned to a no contest the only other blemish on her 19-fight record.
Of the Brazilian’s 17 wins, 15 have come inside the distance, and she’s knocked out her last seven opponents, five of them in the first round.
Evinger – the last Invicta bantamweight champion – is undefeated in her last 11 fights, although she did have a submission defeat to Yana Kunitskaya overturned to a no contest last November.
While it’s true that the 36-year-old is on a hot streak, she has lost five times in her career.
Another first-round win for the seemingly unstoppable Cyborg – priced at – is the likeliest outcome.
Robbie Lawler v Donald Cerrone
This meeting of veteran welterweights will likely come down to which fighter has recovered best from devastating knockout defeats.
In that regard, Lawler – away for almost exactly a year since he lost his title to Tyron Woodley – has the edge.
‘Cowboy’ Cerrone has always been one of the busiest fighters on the UFC roster, but he should have perhaps taken more time off since he was stopped brutally by Jorge Masvidal in January.
He struggled with Masvidal’s pressure in that fight, and could do so again this weekend as Lawler often employs a similar high-octane style.
Given that five of Cowboy’s eight defeats have also come against southpaws, it’s hard to look beyond the left-handed Lawler on this occasion.
A knockout win for the former champion – priced at – is the right move.
Jimi Manuwa v Volkan Oezdemir
Should Manuwa win on Saturday night, he could soon find himself fighting the winner of the main event.
The Englishman’s last two fights have ended with stunning one-punch knockouts of Ovince Saint-Preux and Corey Anderson, and another exciting finish should be expected against fellow KO-specialist Volkan Oezdemir.
The Swiss-Turkish kickboxer has won 14 of his 15 professional fights, 11 by stoppage.
This is a dangerous fight for Manuwa he could fall out of title contention with a defeat, but he looked better than ever in his last two wins and is a class above Oezdemir as a pure striker.
Given that he has only lost to Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson – two of the very best in the division – it’s worth backing Manuwa to knock out his less experienced opponent at .
What team is Daniel Cormier on?
Daniel Cormier represents the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), which is based in California.
Other AKA fighters include former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.