UFC 200: Cormier vs. Jones 2 Preview and Picks
The most anticipated fight card in the history of the UFC comes our way this weekend from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada when UFC 200 finally goes down. Any one of the fights on the Main Card could reasonably be a Main Event – does anyone really care that the Nate Diaz/Conor McGregor bout won’t take place on his card?
UFC 200: Cormier vs. Jones 2
Date: July 9, 2016
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Broadcast: PPV, Fox Sports 1, UFC Fight Pass
Three titles will be on the line and they may not even be the best fight on the cared! So what’s in store for us this Saturday? Let’s take a look.
BREAKING: Jon “Bones” Jones is out of UFC200 after being flagged by the USADA for a potential anti-doping policy violation. The fight between he and Daniel Cormier is OFF.
Main Card (on Pay-Per-View):
Daniel Cormier (17-1): +235 vs. Jon Jones (22-1): -305
A grudge match two years in the making finally goes down Saturday when Light Heavyweight Champ Daniel Cormier tries to keep former Champ Jon Jones from reclaiming what he says is rightfully his – it should be fun! After all, it wasn’t Jones’ work inside the Octagon that made him lose the strap – it was all of the crap outside that saw forced him to give up his Title. Jones has already beaten Cormier during their January, 2015 fight in a unanimous decision.
Cormier arrives at this rematch a much better fighter. The former Olympian has reeled off consecutive wins over Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson in very impressive fashion. He still has some of the best wrestling in the division and his striking game is suddenly no joke.
Jones however is pound-for-pound the best fighter on the planet right now – until someone says otherwise. Sure he may be a tad rusty after a year away from the Octagon but most, including myself saw enough in his five round return-fight with Ovince Saint Preux to make us think that Jones is back and ready to rule again. Add in the fact that his body and mind are clear and he has a new dedication to training and this version of Jones could be scary.
I was tempted to go with the underdog because of the value associated with a wager but I just can’t. Jones is just too naturally talented and too motivated to be denied. A wager on Cormier knockout is certainly not terrible but I am taking Jones in a terrific decision win.
MMA Betting Pick: Jon Jones -305
Brock Lesnar (5-3): +130 vs. Mark Hunt (12-10-1): -160
The juiciest fight on the card – a heavyweight battled between two hulking guys Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt promises fireworks right before the main event. It’s an interesting vacation from the WWE for Lesnar as he takes on the #8 Heavyweight on the planet.
Lesnar will have the size advantage here and is miles ahead of his opponent in terms of wrestling chops. Lesnar also has some decent striking and a formidable chin. That said Lesnar hasn’t been inside the Octagon in four years and he hasn’t ever felt the power of anyone the likes of Mark Hunt. Brock will absolutely have to get this fight to the mat – standing and banging with the Samoan is risky to say the least.
I am tempted to go with the upset here again but I just can’t. Hunt will know exactly what is coming and should be able to weather any type of storm. Hunt is extremely difficult to take down – I expect Lesnar to get caught on numerous occasions trying to drag this fight to the mat. All Hunt need is one clear punch – I think he gets that early on Saturday night.
MMA Betting Pick: Mark Hunt -160
Miesha Tate (18-5): -265 vs. Amanda Nunes (12-4): +205
The Women’s Bantamweight Title will be on the line Saturday when Miesha Tate takes on Amanda Nunes. Both women are dangerous for sure – Tate defeated the terrific Holly Holm last time out while Nunes, although not the biggest name out there has posted three straight impressive wins ahead of this weekend.
Nunes is a big 135 pounder who has made a name for herself as a finisher – she will have a distinct height advantage as well on Saturday. That said there is no scrappier woman in MMA than Tate who can take a shot and still get the desired result.
Tate has been in there with some of the best that the sport has to offer – her durability is what sets her apart. With Nunes’ reputation for fading as fights go along, I think this durability is the difference. Tate knows how to weather a storm – I think she does just that Saturday and gets the job done in her first title defense.
MMA Betting Pick: Miesha Tate -265
Jose Aldo (25-2): -110 vs. Frankie Edgar (20-4-1): -120
The interim Featherweight Title will be on the line Saturday when two of the best fighters the UFC has ever seen, Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar do battle. It will be a rematch of a fight in 2013 when Aldo win a unanimous decision. Former Lightweight champ Edgar enters on a 5-fight win streak against some of the best names in the division while former Featherweight ruler Aldo is coming off a devastating KO loss against Conor McGregor in just 13 seconds – his only loss in over a decade!
There is a growing sentiment out there that Aldo’s best days are already behind him – the McGregor fight did nothing to dispel those notions. Aldo has had his share of injuries the last few years and the culmination of some serious wars could finally be taking a toll on him. Edgar on the other hand has never looked better – nobody is talking about his demise and nobody thinks that his best days are behind him.
While I think that all of the talk of Aldo’s demise is a bit unjustified, I do think that stopping Edgar’s momentum at this point in time is a very tall task indeed.
It should be a terrific fight – I like Edgar to avenge his 2013 loss and hand Aldo his second career loss.
MMA Betting Pick: Frankie Edgar -120
Cain Velasquez (13-2): -305 vs. Travis Browne (18-3-1): +235
A terrific heavyweight showdown kicked off the pay-per-view on Saturday when the oft-injured former Champ Cain Velasquez takes on Travis Browne. Velasquez will be out to prove that he is worthy of the next title shot while Browne will be hoping for the monumental upset. It will be Cain’s first fight since a loss to Fabricio Werdum last year his only fight since 2013! Browne was last seen winning a controversial decision over Matt Mitrione.
Velasquez always seems to bring his best after a loss – his conditioning is second-to-none in the division and his motivation should be at all all-time high here. Browne is no slouch however – he is a huge guy, 6’7” guy with great footwork, some of the best striking in the division and very good takedown defense.
Despite the injuries and the recent losses, Velasquez is still a top tier “A-list” heavyweight while Browne is a very good “B-lister”. Cain’s cardio and motivation are just too much to ignore – this should be a relatively easy win for the former champ.
MMA Betting Pick: Cain Velasquez -305
Prelims (on FOX Sports 1):
Cat Zingano (9-1): -170 vs. Julianna Peña (7-2): +140
MMA Betting Pick: Cat Zingano -170
Johnny Hendricks (17-4): -175 vs. Kelvin Gastelum (11-2): +145
MMA Betting Pick: Johnny Hendricks -175
TJ Dillashaw (12-3): -400 vs. Raphael Assuncao (23-4): +300
MMA Betting Pick: TJ Dillashaw -400
Sage Northcutt (7-1): -335 vs. Enrique Marin (8-3): +255
MMA Betting Pick: Sage Northcutt -335
Prelims (on UFC Fight Pass):
Diego Sanchez (26-8): -115 vs. Joe Lauzon (25-11): -115
MMA Betting Pick: Diego Sanchez -115
Gegard Mousasi (38-6-2): -650 vs. Thiago Santos (13-3): +450
MMA Betting Pick: Gegard Mousasi -650
Jim Miller (25-8, 1 NC): -230 vs. Takanori Gomi (35-11, 1 NC): +180
MMA Betting Pick: Jim Miller -230