UFC 238 tips: Best bets for Cejudo v Moraes
Jack Green gives his UFC betting tips for Saturday night's bantamweight title fight in Chicago, plus three other bouts from the main card.
HENRY CEJUDO v MARLON MORAES
Cejudo has caused huge shocks in his last two fights, beating long-time flyweight king Demetrious Johnson to win the title in August 2018 before defending his belt by knocking out then-bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw in January.
The Mexican American now has his chance to become the third fighter in UFC history to hold two belts at the same time as he challenges for the vacant bantamweight title.
Cejudo is again the underdog – albeit a narrower one – against Moraes, who is on the best run of his career.
The Brazilian’s only defeat in his last 18 fights came by split decision against Raphael Assuncao in June 2017, and he gained revenge by submission in the rematch in February.
Moraes has finished his last three opponents in a combined total of less than five minutes. He’s one of the best pure counter-strikers in the UFC, and also has the prowess to finish fights when they go to the ground.
Cejudo will do his best to use his wrestling to dominate this fight, but Moraes is likely too big – and too good – to be controlled throughout.
He knocked Aljamain Sterling out cold with a knee when the American went for a takedown, so Cejudo has reason to be tentative when looking to take this bout to the mat.
He may have some success, but it’s very likely that Moraes will manage to stay out of range, pick his spots to attack and secure the title.
Moraes to win
VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO v JESSICA EYE
The second title fight on the card won’t likely be anywhere near as close.
Shevchenko has won both of her fights at flyweight, the second of which was against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in December, and she has the potential to dominate what is a pretty weak division.
Eye has won three of three at flyweight, but had lost four successive fights at bantamweight prior to this run and isn’t in the same class as the champion.
Her wrestling has been impressive in this division, but Shevchenko is just as adept at fighting in the clinch and is the superior technical fighter by far.
She should ease to victory on points, given that Eye’s last seven fights have all gone the distance.
Shevchenko to win by decision
TONY FERGUSON v DONALD CERRONE
This meeting of two fan favourites could easily prove to be the fight of the night.
Ferguson is on an 11-fight winning streak after beating Anthony Pettis last October, and the 35-year-old looks poised to finally challenge for the lightweight title, which he was stripped of in April 2018.
No fighter in the division is as versatile as Ferguson. He’s a wildly unorthodox but effective striker, an excellent scrambler, and his D’Arce choke is a truly elite weapon on the ground.
Cerrone has also looked great in his last three wins, the most recent of which came against Al Iaquinta in May, and the 31-fight UFC veteran will be in the title mix if he pulls off this victory.
It’s hard to see him beating Ferguson, though.
El Cucuy is simply too good at too many things, and Cerrone has been outclassed by fighters like Jorge Masvidal, Robbie Lawler and Darren Till in the past two years.
Ferguson to win
JIMMIE RIVERA v PETR YAN
With two defeats in his last three fights, Rivera simply must win on Saturday.
The 29-year-old was one of the most promising fighters in the bantamweight division after winning his first five UFC fights, but Marlon Moraes and Aljamain Sterling have both beaten him inside the past year.
That doesn’t bode well for Rivera against Yan – a hugely impressive young fighter on a seven-fight winning streak, having beaten John Dodson in February.
Yan puts relentless pressure on his opponents and should be able to push Rivera on to the back foot, where he is nowhere near as effective a striker.
Expect a comfortable win for the 26-year-old against an opponent who will never be allowed to get comfortable.
Yan to win by decision
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