UFC 226 Main Card Previews, Predictions & Betting Odds

UFC 226. is a main event scheduled for Sat. Jul. 7, 2018 in Las Vegas. Heavyweights Miocic vs Cormier lead the main card in a stacked show. Here are our fight previews and predictions for all the action.

Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier Fight Preview (Main Event)

In what is likely to go down as the biggest UFC fight of 2018, Stipe Miocic will put his UFC Heavyweight title on the line against UFC Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in the UFC 226 Main Event.

American firefighter Miocic is out to continue his unbeaten streak as the 265 lbs title holder by putting the belt on the line for a fourth consecutive fight. As the UFC’s most successful Heavyweight champion ever, extending his rich vein of form against another proven champion in Daniel Cormier will compound his legacy as possibly the pound-for-pound fighter of the modern era.

Cormier has a 13-0 record as a Heavyweight, and should definitely not be counted out. Much speculation has been brought to the table as to whether this will be DC’s last fight in the Octagon, a question that hinges on the outcome of this blockbuster match-up in July. Should he win, we will likely see him remain in the heavyweight division. If he loses, retirement is a strong option.

Stipe Miocic Form and Fight Record

A former Division 1 wrestler, Miocic has a highly well-rounded game, and needs to use all of the weapons in his arsenal if he is to successfully defend his title. The champ is coming off a strong win in early 2018 against Francis Ngannou, who also features on this main card. Miocic exposed Ngannou’s poor cardio and worked a sensible, albeit eventless win over five rounds.

Result

Opponent

Method

Event

Date

Win Francis Ngannou Decision (unanimous) UFC 220 January 20, 2018
Win Junior dos Santos TKO (punches) UFC 211 May 13, 2017
Win Alistair Overeem KO (punches) UFC 203 September 10, 2016
Win Fabrício Werdum KO (punch) UFC 198 May 14, 2016
Win Andrei Arlovski TKO (punches) UFC 195 January 2, 2016

Daniel Cormier Form and Recent Fight Record

In his only MMA loss*, Cormier was taken down by Jones regularly, which is likely what gave Jones the edge and the victory in the eyes of the judges. Jones also legitimately beat Cormier prior to this controversial event, yet this bout too was put under the microscope for suspect tactics from Jones. Aside from these dark moments DC has prevailed as a worthy champion at 205 lbs by defeating all-comers. A few names to make that list are Anthony Johnson, Alexander Gustaffson and most recently, Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220.

Result

Opponent

Method

Event

Date

Win Volkan Oezdemir TKO (punches) UFC 220 January 20, 2018
NC Jon Jones NC (overturned) UFC 214 July 29, 2017
Win Anthony Johnson Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 210 April 8, 2017
Win Anderson Silva Decision (unanimous) UFC 200 July 9, 2016
Win Alexander Gustafsson Decision (split) UFC 192 October 3, 2015

Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier Prediction

Miocic will be best served utilizing his takedowns and wrestling skills alongside his ability to strike from the outside, where he can utilize his reach advantage and wear Cormier down as the fight progresses.

Cormier, on the other hand, is at his best when he moves forward and constantly pressures his opponents. DC needs to apply that pressure to Miocic with a view to either taking him down and finishing the fight on the ground, or to land one of his devastating punches and knocking the Heavyweight champion out.

It will be a close fight and both fighters will show the MMA world why they are the true greats of the sport. However, Miocic’s game planning and well-roundedness will see him defend his title for a fourth straight time.

Miocic via decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47).

 


Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega Fight Preview

Max Holloway will defend his UFC Featherweight title against undefeated rising star Brian Ortega in the co-main event of UFC 226. With a 12-fight win streak, Holloway has established himself as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters, but he will have his hands full with the 14-0 Ortega, who is coming off a KO victory over MMA great Frankie Edgar.

Holloway has shown constantly improved and diverse stand-up along with an ability to hit his opponents with precise, well-timed strikes to end fights in his favour. The Hawaiian will need to use those diverse strikes and constant movement in order to get the better of Ortega.

Max Holloway Form and Recent Fight Record

The man they call “Blessed” has been on a rampage in the featherweight division, causing upsets over fighters with tough reputations and strong credentials. His most emphatic achievement is possibly his brace over hall-of-famer, Brazilian Jose Aldo who he stopped on both occasions by TKO. Holloway has suffered from injuries since and almost featured on a recent UFC 22 card against Edgar, when his current opponent Ortega stepped in to save the card. His lack of presence and Ortega’s fine form makes this title defence unquestionably his greatest test at 145 lbs to date.

Result

Opponent

Method

Event

Date

Win José Aldo TKO (punches) UFC 218 December 2, 2017
Win José Aldo TKO (punches) UFC 212 June 3, 2017
Win Anthony Pettis TKO (body kick and punches) UFC 206 December 10, 2016
Win Ricardo Lamas Decision (unanimous) UFC 199 June 4, 2016
Win Jeremy Stephens Decision (unanimous) UFC 194 December 12, 2015

Brian Ortega Form and Recent Fight Record

Ortega owes much to Frankie Edgar for his quick rise to fame. had it not been for his acceptance to fight the Californian as a plan B for Holloway, Ortega would be further down the pecking order for a title shot. Wins over Clay Guida and Cub Swanson proved this big win wasn’t a fluke, and going by his ability to finish those fights we can expect the jiu-jitsu specialist to be firing on all cylinders when he faces Blessed on July 7th.

Result

Opponent

Method

Event

Date

Win Frankie Edgar KO (punch) UFC 222 March 3, 2018
Win Cub Swanson Submission (guillotine choke) UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Ortega December 9, 2017
Win Renato Moicano Submission (guillotine choke) UFC 214 July 29, 2017
Win Clay Guida KO (knee) UFC 199 June 4, 2016
Win Diego Brandão Submission (triangle choke) UFC 195 January 2, 2016

Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega Prediction

While Ortega is known as being an elite grappler, he has shown a strong and improving ability to time his opponent’s strikes, so Holloway cannot afford to be predictable with the shots he throws against him.

It would be ideal for Ortega to get the fight on the ground, where he can work his grappling magic and potentially finish Holloway with a submission.

However, Holloway’s takedown defense has improved leaps and bounds over the years, so Ortega needs to pressure Holloway with forward movement and shots in order to set up quick and unexpected takedowns in order to go home with the belt around his waist.

While Ortega has proven himself to be one of the Featherweight division’s best fighters, Holloway is currently head and shoulders above everyone else at 145 pounds, and that will show in this fight as Holloway will defend Ortega’s takedown attempts and soundly beat him on the feet.

We have Holloway by decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) but are also not ruling out a TKO in the late stages of the fight.

 


Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis Fight Preview

One of the most anticipated fights for the upcoming UFC 226 card is the heavyweight matchup between Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis. Both fighters are hard hitters who have a near-disdain for ground fighting, so this fight has quick slobber-knocker written all over it.

As one of the hardest punchers in the UFC, Ngannou has the edge when it comes to knockout power. However, with eight of his nine UFC victories coming by TKO/KO, Lewis also commands respect when it comes to power.

Because of that, it is important for Ngannou to use his reach advantage to fight from the outside and land long range strikes. Once Ngannou gets comfortable, he can use those long shots as a way to close distance and set up one of his devastating hooks or uppercuts and finish Lewis early in the fight.

Lewis prefers to brawl, and that approach has been successful in the majority of his UFC fights. However, that approach has also left him vulnerable to takedowns and punches, so the Black Beast needs to be more measured when it comes to fighting Ngannou.

Francis Ngannou Form and Fight Record

Result

Opponent

Method

Event

Date

Loss Stipe Miocic Decision (unanimous) UFC 220 January 20, 2018
Win Alistair Overeem KO (punch) UFC 218 December 2, 2017
Win Andrei Arlovski TKO (punches) UFC on Fox: Shevchenko vs. Peña January 28, 2017
Win Anthony Hamilton Submission (kimura) UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Abdurakhimov December 9, 2016
Win Bojan Mihajlović TKO (punches) UFC on Fox: Holm vs. Shevchenko July 23, 2016

Derrick Lewis Form and Fight Record

Result

Opponent

Method

Event

Date

Win Marcin Tybura TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Medeiros February 18, 2018
Loss Mark Hunt TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Hunt June 11, 2017
Win Travis Browne KO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Browne February 19, 2017
Win Shamil Abdurakhimov TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Abdurakhimov December 9, 2016
Win Roy Nelson Decision (split) UFC Fight Night: dos Anjos vs. Alvarez July 7, 2016

Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis Prediction

It is far more likely for Lewis to reign victorious if he is able to fight up close and get Ngannou in the clinch or against the fence, where Lewis can wear out the Cameroonian while punishing hi with ‘dirty boxing’.

Both fighters will be tentative in the early stages of the fight, which is why we see actually see this fight ending in the second round. Ngannou is the more technical fighter of the two, and we see this is the reason why he will have his hand raised.

Ngannou via TKO Round 2.

 

*the second fight between Jones and Cormier is officially a no contest, after Jones tested positive to banned substances following the bout.

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