UFC Fight Night Betting Preview: Key Angles in Cerrone vs. Medeiros
Donald Cerrone and Yancy Medeiros (Per Haljestam / Jason De Silva – USA TODAY Sports)
The UFC returns to U.S. soil for UFC Fight Night in Austin, Texas. And who better to headline a card in the Lone Star State than “The Cowboy” himself, Donald Cerrone?
The welterweight fan favorite returns to action on Sunday evening against an in-form Yancy Medeiros in the main event.
Here’s our betting guide to everything you need to know ahead of this weekend’s festivities.
From one Cowboy to another
Medeiros has the opportunity to notch a unique double on Sunday night by claiming victory over two “Cowboys” in consecutive appearances.
The Hawaiian has looked outstanding since moving up to welterweight from lightweight. Since making the switch, Medeiros has fought three times, earning a hat trick of stoppage victories in the process.
He submitted Sean Spencer in the second round in his divisional debut at UFC 203 in September 2016, then scored back-to-back TKO victories over Brazilian Erick Silva (at UFC 212) and Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira (at UFC 218) in 2017.
The Hawaiian has an 80% finish rate, including a 53% knockout rate, and he’ll be looking to bolster those numbers against Cerrone, who was stopped in decisive fashion by fast-rising British contender Darren Till last October.
Battling for form
Cerrone has long been considered one of the most exciting top-level talents in the UFC, and he’s consistently campaigned at the highest level throughout his career in the Octagon.
But the cracks are starting to show. Cerrone was decimated with body shots by Brazilian Rafael dos Anjos, prompting his move from lightweight to welterweight, where he went on an impressive run of form, winning four in a row, all by stoppage.
But a TKO defeat to Jorge Masvidal kicked off a three-fight losing skid. He lost to former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler on points, then was finished inside a round by the hard-hitting Till.
Now Cerrone faces a rejuvenated Medeiros in a bout that might just prove a crossroads fight for his UFC career
|Cerrone vs Medeiros||Win||Stoppage||KO/TKO||Submission||Decision|
|Odds from 5Dimes via BestFightOdds.com on Feb. 17|
Cerrone’s top-level experience made him an early betting favorite, but Medeiros’ form has been duly noted, and the Hawaiian has leveled the odds as the event has neared. (Cerrone remains a very slight favorite on most betting sites; Medeiros at +125 on BetDSI was the best number available at the time of writing.)
However, there are big discrepancies in the odds when you look at the method of victory.
Medeiros is favored if there’s a TKO finish, while Cerrone is expected to have a better shot at winning by submission than by KO/TKO.
*Note: Medeiros to win by KO/TKO is available at +300 on William Hill (via BestFightOdds) at time of writing.
There has been a significant swing in the odds in favor of the fight week underdog, with a major shift taking place on Saturday.
Medeiros, who had been a steady +130 shot to win the bout, has dropped to -105 as money came in on the Hawaiian. Meanwhile, Cerrone, whose mean odds had him around the -155 mark, has lengthened to -115 as the market closed up significantly.
Both men looked OK at the weigh-ins, so there were no obvious issues there. But it seems Cerrone’s recent form, coupled with Medeiros’ recent successes, have prompted some late money to come in on the Hawaiian.
This is a matchup of pedigree versus form. Cerrone has kept a higher class of company during his career, but he’s lost three straight and is moving down the ranks in terms of opposition, while Medeiros is on a tear and moving up the ladder to fight Cerrone.
Can Cerrone turn his fortunes around with victory on Sunday night, or is this the beginning of the end of the Colorado native’s run at the very top of the UFC? Honestly, it’s almost too close to call.
There are clear routes to victory for both men here, and the odds are attractive for both.
Medeiros is looking better with every fight and knows this is the biggest opportunity of his career. Hawaiian MMA is experiencing a real surge right now and, along with featherweight champion Max Holloway, Medeiros is leading the charge.
If he’s going to get it done — and I think he will — it’ll almost certainly be by KO/TKO stoppage. But Medeiros does get caught in his fights, and if he does, an opening may appear for Cerrone to lock up a submission on the dazed Hawaiian.
My pick is Medeiros, but the +425 on a Cerrone submission offers a nice insurance pick for what is virtually a coin-flip fight.
Main event pick: Medeiros via KO/TKO (+300, William Hill)
Insurance pick: Cerrone via submission (+425, 5Dimes)
Main Card (Live on Fox Sports 1)
|Donald Cerrone||Yancy Medeiros||Welterweight bout|
|Derrick Lewis||Marcin Tybura||Heavyweight bout|
|James Vick||Francisco Trinaldo||Lightweight bout|
|Thiago Alves||Curtis Millender||Welterweight bout|
|Steven Peterson||Brandon Davis||Featherweight bout|
|Sage Northcutt||Thibault Gouti||Lightweight bout|
Preliminary Card (Live on Fox Sports 1)
|Jared Gordon||Carlos Diego Ferreira||Lightweight bout|
|Brian Camozzi||Geoffrey Neal||Welterweight bout|
|Roberto Sanchez||Joby Sanchez||Flyweight bout|
|Sarah Moras||Lucie Pudilova||Women’s bantamweight bout|
Preliminary Card (Live on UFC Fight Pass)
|Alex Morono||Josh Burkman||Welterweight bout|
|Oskar Piechota||Tim Williams||Middleweight bout|
Polish middleweight Oskar Piechota is flying under the radar in the UFC so far, but he could well be one to watch as 2018 progresses. He’s a former Cage Warriors middleweight champion in Europe, and he has a hugely impressive record (10-0-1). He’s up against Tim Williams in the opening fight of the night, and is -270 with Bovada to pick up the win. Piechota to win by submission at +350 is also worth a look.
James Vick is the UFC lightweight nobody wants to fight, so the UFC has paired him with another lightweight nobody wants to fight, Brazilian Francisco Trinaldo. Trinaldo’s awkward style and remarkable ability to squeeze out the narrowest of decision wins has put some debatable losses on UFC lightweights’ records in recent years, but Vick has the smarts to keep the Brazilian at range using his slick boxing skills. I expect it to go the distance, with Trinaldo losing out on the cards for once. Take the +171 on Vick by decision (5Dimes).
And in the co-main event, the smart money is on Poland’s Marcin Tybura to turn back Derrick Lewis. Tybura has steadily risen up the heavyweight ranks and didn’t look out of place against former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum in his last outing. He’s the narrow favorite, with several books offering odds in the range of -120. But the value is actually with Lewis. In his last bout, he went toe to toe with legendary knockout artist Mark Hunt before finally being stopped, and he knows this is a pivotal fight in his UFC career. We’ve seen Lewis steamroll the opposition before, and at +246 for the KO (5Dimes), it’s worth a small sporting wager on him doing so again.
[Main image: Donald Cerrone (L), Yancy Medeiros (R), Per Haljestam / Jason Da Silva – USA TODAY Sports]