UFC 222 Betting Preview & Expert Predictions for Main Card

UFC 222 Preview & Expert Predictions for Main Card

Written by on March 1, 2018

If we are being honest, it’s not the best mixed martial arts card of the year on Saturday night for UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. However, the most bad-ass woman on the planet, Cris “Cyborg” Justino puts her women’s featherweight title on the line against Yana Kunitskaya. The main card is set to start at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view. Let’s take a look at the top fights and their UFC 222 Betting Odds while making some predictions.

UFC 222 Betting Preview & Expert Predictions for Main Card

  • When: March 3, 2018
  • Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • TV: UFC Network
  • Live Stream: UFC Fight Pass

Cris Cyborg (19-1) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (10-3)

  • UFC 222 Betting Odds: Cyborg -1810 / Kunitskaya +1005
As noted, the women’s featherweight belt is up for grabs. Cyborg hasn’t lost since her first pro fight back in 2005 – sadly, she never fought Ronda Rousey – and is coming off her first UFC title defense against Holly Holm on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas. Cyborg won by unanimous decision, which is very rare for her. It was only the third time that Cyborg was taken to the distance. She conquered a big test against the best punches of former a boxing champion and kicks from the woman who used them to dethrone Rousey two years ago. While Holm employed an effective fight plan early to land kicks and well-placed punches, Justino countered with her usual fierceness. UFC president Dana White had expressed interest in pairing Justino with bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, but that could be next now. Kunitskaya is a former bantamweight champion in the all-female promotion Invicta FC. She has not fought in the UFC and is moving up in weight (10 pounds) to get her shot. Training in multiple martial arts disciplines since the age 4, Kunitskaya commands range well and has a good grasp of distance. Whether she is utilizing Thai marches or leaping in-and-out of space, Kuntiskaya can fight going forward or off the back foot. The 28-year-old also does well when mixing leg kicks into her repertoire of straight punches.

Frankie Edgar (22-5) vs. Brian Ortega (13-0)

  • UFC 222 Betting Odds: Edgar -170 / Ortega +145
It’s a featherweight bout between the former UFC champion Edgar and the unbeaten Ortega. Originally, Edgar ranked No. 2 in the division, was to fight champion Max Holloway, but Holloway had to pull out due to injury. It was the second time a title fight between Holloway and Edgar has fallen through. The two were supposed to meet at UFC 218, on Dec. 2 in Detroit, but Edgar was forced out with an injury. The last time Edgar competed against a top young fighter — last May against Yair Rodriguez — he dominated him. Will he do the same against Ortega, an elite Jiu-Jitsu specialist who has not lost in 13 professional fights? Ortega has won his past five in the UFC despite having a minus-1.70 striking differential. In his six UFC fights, he has been outlined four times. In his past two fights, he has a combined striking differential of minus-3.75. Edgar has a career striking differential of 1.41, and he has only been outlined in four of his 22 UFC bouts. If this fight goes to the judges, Edgar will have likely landed more strikes. Edgar is at his best when he is able to control the pace, range, and position of a fight. In his 22-fight UFC career, he has only been unable to take down an opponent in five fights.

Andre Soukhamthath (12-5) vs. Sean O’Malley (9-0)

  • UFC 222 Betting Odds: Soukhamthath -140 / O’Malley +120
Bantamweight bout. O’Malley is considered a rising star who burst onto the scene at Dana White’s Contender Series 2 in July. He scored a big first-round knockout to earn a UFC contract, setting his official octagon debut earlier this month. “Suga” impressed once against at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, picking up a unanimous decision win over Terrion Ware in a “Fight of the Night” candidate. After enduring consecutive split decisions losses in his first two UFC matches, Soukhamthath finally found himself the winner’s circle following a TKO of Luke Sanders in December. The impressive win earned Soukhamthath a new five-fight deal with the promotion. Look for an upset by Sean O’Malley at the UFC 222 Betting Odds. “He’s a good fighter, there’s no doubt about it,” Soukhamthath said of O’Malley recently. “He handles the pressure well because he’s a young kid, and he’s 9-0, but that’s the thing, he’s only 9-0. It’s easy to be a showoff when there are 50 people in the room. … As far as hype, he’s getting a lot of hype from Dana White, from Snoop Dogg. I think that’s how he got most of his followers. You put two and two together, all of his followers are fake people. They’re fake; they really don’t know the sport compared to my followers, my fans.”

Stefan Struve (28-9) vs. Andrei Arlovski (26-15)

  • UFC 222 Betting Odds: Struve -190, Arlovski +160
A heavyweight fight between two guys trying to stay relevant in the division. Struve actually owns a win over current heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic, but that was a few years ago and Struve is 3-4 since then. Arlovski ended a five-fight losing streak last time out. When Struve digs a low kick or jams a deep kick up the middle, his massive legs do more damage than it first meets the eye. Arlovski is tough, but 20 years of combat will wear down the body, making him more vulnerable to shots that break him down. The Russian ranks first in UFC heavyweight history with a takedown defense of 81.8 percent. Arlovski is tied for second in UFC heavyweight history with 10 knockdowns. If he puts Struve to the mat twice, he will move into a tie with Junior dos Santos for the top spot in the division. Struve ranks second in UFC heavyweight history with 20 submission attempts. If he attempts a single submission on Arlovski, he will tie Frank Mir for the top spot in the division. Struve ranks second in UFC heavyweight history with an average of 2.2 submissions per 15 minutes in the octagon. He has scored five submission victories in the UFC.

Expert Predictions

There are always upsets in MMA fights, but the favorites win more often than not. The only underdog I like here is O’Malley.
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