UFC 207 Nunes vs. Rousey Preview and Picks
Ready for UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey picks and betting odds & predictions? The final UFC event of 2016 comes our way from Las Vegas on Friday night when Ronda Rousey makes her long-awaited return to the Octagon to fight for the Woman’s Bantamweight Title. The men’s Bantamweight strap will also be on the line when Dominick Cruz takes on the ever-improving Cody Garbrandt.
UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey
Date: Fri., Dec. 30, 2016
Location: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
Broadcast: Pay-Per-View (PPV)
Unfortunately medical suspensions and injuries have plagued a UFC event – names like Cain Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum and Jessica Andrade have been removed from the Card with no replacements.
The show must go on however – here is a breakdown of every fight on the schedule and what should play out on what should be another superb night of UFC battles.
UFC 206 PPV Main Event:
Amanda Nunes (13-4-0): +110 vs. Ronda Rousey (12-1-0): -140
The ever-changing landscape of the Women’s Bantamweight Division writes another chapter Friday night when former Champ – the once-invincible Ronda Rousey steps back into the Octagon against a very game champion Amanda Nunes.
We all know about Rousey’s skillset – she is a competent striker and former Olympic bronze medalist in judo. Her ground and submission game is one to be feared indeed as is her intensity and need to be the best. Questions have arisen lately about her “other life” – her Hollywood persona that has diminished her killer reputation. Is her head still fully in the game? Has her loss to Holly Holm and subsequent hiatus from fighting diminished her reputation as the most unstoppable force in the UFC?
Her opponent Saturday is no joke – Amanda Nunes may be the only hungrier female fighter on the planet. Her striking is superb and her ability to dictate where a fight will end up is special indeed. Her dismantling of Miesha Tate was impressive for sure. The one knock on Nunes is her lack of a serious ground game and the fact that she hasn’t been dragged into deep water in the past. What happens when she is forced to the mat or taken into the fourth or fifth round?
Look – I appreciate what Nunes has done as a fighter but Rousey is still Rousey – except she will be more motivated than ever to get back to the top of the heap. I expect the former champ to do what she does best – drag the fight to the mat and slap on the in-defensible arm bar. Rousey is still the baddest woman on the planet – expect a second round submission win Friday night.
MMA Betting Pick: Ronda Rousey -140
Main Card (10 PM ET, PPV)
Dominick Cruz (22-1-0): -225 vs. Cody Garbrandt (10-0-0): +175
The co-main event sees another one of the most dominant champs in UFC history Dominick Cruz defend his Bantamweight Title against knockout artist Cody Garbrandt. It will be Cruz’s awkward “stick and move” style against Garbrandt’s more conventional straight-ahead bruiser style.
Cruz has been a nightmare to all of his opponents so far – if not for injury he would be in the conversations as one of the best fighters of all time. Garbrandt has some decent wrestling and the power to make it a short night but the craftiness of the Champ is just too difficult to overlook here. Cruz is almost impossible to prepare for, his experience-edge is undeniable and his ability to exploit his opponents’ weaknesses is well-documented.
I’m not saying that Garbrandt isn’t a nice fighter – just saying that Cruz is on a totally different level than everyone else. I expect Cruz to stay out of danger in this one and pick Garbrandt apart. Cruz is just too good physically and mentally to be denied in this one.
MMA Betting Pick: Dominick Cruz -225
T.J. Dillashaw (14-3-0): -235 vs. John Lineker (29-7-0): +185
Former Bantamweight Champ TJ Dillashaw looks to earn another Title shot on Friday night when he takes on the experienced John Lineker. Lineker rides a four-fight win streak into the Octagon to take on the second best Bantamweight on the planet – a fighter that lost a close split decision to Dominick Cruz.
Lineker will have the edge in punching power in this fight but Dillashaw holds the edge in just about every other facet of the fight game – speed, size, footwork, wrestling prowess and takedown defense. The well-rounded nature of Dillashaw’s arsenal should be the difference against the one-dimensional Lineker.
While there is a chance that Lineker catches Dillashaw with one of his patented hay-makers it is more likely that Dillashaw uses all of the skills in his suitcase to frustrate Lineker. Dillashaw is just too big, too fast and too smart to get caught.
MMA Betting Pick: T.J. Dillashaw -235
Dong Hyun Kim (21-3-1): -145 vs. Tarec Saffiedine (16-5-0): +115
In Welterweight action, South Korea’s Dong Hyun Kim takes on Belgian striker and former Strikeforce Welterweight Champ Tarec Saffiedine as both men try to throw their names into title contention. Kim is a judo practitioner that has a knack of grinding out fights while Saffiedine is a well accomplished striker who will use his feet as much as his hands inside the Octagon.
Saffiedine will be depending on his heavy striking game obviously – his weakness has come against grapplers in the past – fighters that can close the distance and smother his striking game. Enter Dong Hyun Kim who can and will do just that. It likely won’t be the most exciting bout but I expect Kim to do enough to get the decision win.
MMA Betting Pick: Dong Hyun Kim -145
Ray Borg (9-2-0): -135 vs. Louis Smolka (11-2-0): +105
Fireworks should kick off the Pay-per-view card when two Flyweights try to climb the ladder in the division. It is a clash of styles – Smolka brings a terrific striking game into the Octagon while Borg has terrific grappling chops. Smolka has been impressive but a look at his last fight (an upset loss against Brandon Moreno) demonstrates him issues with top level grapplers.
While I think that Smolka is certainly capable of catching Borg with a bout-ending right hand I think it is more likely that Borg uses his immense grappling edge to get this fight to the mat where he will grind out a submission win. Take the grappler over the striker here in what should be an exciting bout.
MMA Betting Pick: Ray Borg -135
Preliminary Card (8 PM ET, FS1)
Johny Hendricks (17-5-0): -115 vs. Neil Magny (18-6-0): -115
MMA Betting Pick: Neil Magny -115
Alex Garcia (13-3-0): -170 vs. Mike Pyle (27-12-1): +140
MMA Betting Pick: Alex Garcia -170
Antonio Carlos Junior (7-2-0): -155 vs. Marvin Vettori (11-2-0): +125
MMA Betting Pick: Antonio Carlos Junior -155
Niko Price (8-0-0): +160 vs. Brandon Thatch (11-4-0): -200
MMA Betting Pick: Brandon Thatch -200
Preliminary Card (7:30 PM ET, UFC Fight Pass)
Tim Means (26-7-1): -110 vs. Alex Oliveira (15-3-1): -120
MMA Betting Pick: Alex Oliveira -120