UFC 230 Betting Preview: Can Derrick Lewis Shock the World, Daniel Cormier With a KO?
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Derrick Lewis (red gloves).
- Two-division champion Daniel Cormier will face Derrick Lewis for the UFC Heavyweight title on Saturday.
- Lewis (+450) is an underdog for just the second time in his UFC career.
Betting odds: Daniel Cormier vs. Derrick Lewis
- Daniel Cormier -700
- Derrick Lewis +450
- Time: Approx. 11:30 p.m. ET
- Channel: UFC Pay-Per-View
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There will be plenty of action going down in the octagon this Saturday night at UFC 230 from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
‘Champ-champ’ Daniel Cormier will take on Derrick Lewis to determine the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion in what figures to be a hard-hitting affair.
Cormier was last seen knocking out then heavyweight champ Stipe Moicic at UFC 226 in July. DC isn’t expected to be stripped of his light-heavyweight Championship until Jon Jones faces Alexander Gustafsson in December, so he’ll become the first man in UFC history to defend a belt as an simultaneous two-division champion.
Lewis’ last fight stole the show at UFC 229, when he knocked out Alexander Volkov with just 11 seconds remaining in the bout — a fight that Lewis was losing.
He even admitted that Miocic deserved this fight with Cormier more than he did, but business is business. The UFC is largely attempting to cash in on the challenger’s massive (and well-earned) social media draw following his epic victory speech at UFC 229.
Let’s break down some of the matchup’s biggest questions and attempt to find some value with the odds.
How Can Derrick Lewis Win?
Lewis’ path to victory comes down to old fashioned knockout power. The 6-foot-3 heavyweight cuts weight to reach the division’s 265-pound limit and capable of knocking out anyone on the planet with a well-timed punch.
The Black Beast’s 10 career knockouts are the most in UFC Heavyweight history, and he literally has ‘The Knockout King’ tattooed on his chest.
Only two of Lewis’ 15 fights in the octagon have gone to the judges. Some fighters rely on technique and round management to pick up wins; Lewis throws every punch with malicious intent and looks to end the fight by any means possible.
His victory dance is arguably the most terrifying celebration in all of mixed martial arts.
Landing that punch on Cormier will be a difficult task, but Lewis has proven to possess late-round knockout power throughout his career. He has finished an opponent in the third round or later in four of his past 10 fights.
Unfortunately for Lewis, failure to land a fight-ending punch will seemingly leave him out of options against a fighter as well-versed as DC.
How Can Daniel Cormier Win?
As mentioned before, Cormier took the title from Miocic, the former Olympic wrestler has plenty of tools that he’s capable of using to win any fight in a number of different ways.
DC has utilized takedowns to neutralize the likes of Volkan Oezdemir and Anthony Johnson before finishing the fight on the ground, while he has also demonstrated elite dirty boxing in the clinch to take home victories over Miocic and Gustafsson.
Cormier will own the wrestling advantage in just about any fight he’ll ever find himself in, and Saturday night won’t be an exception. Still, DC is confident in his ability to trade with Lewis on the feet as he made clear on UFC’s embedded series:
“It’s risky, but I can do anything with Derrick man. I can stand with him. If this was a standup fight and there was no wrestling, I still feel I have enough skill to get the job done. Maybe I just go into it and engage him in that type of fight, that’s what fans like, they want to see me take the risk.”
The fight starts on the feet, but Cormier’s bread and butter is his wrestling. Even if Lewis is able to explode off the ground and survive a takedown or two, DC’s relentless pressure and ongoing pursuit of a single-leg or high-crotch is a difficult task for even the division’s best wrestlers to deal with.
Ground-and-pound awaits Lewis if/when Cormier is able to move the fight to the ground, and DC has managed to finish three fights in the octagon by way of submission. More than anything, DC will likely look to utilize his wrestling as a means to grind out the fight and tire out Lewis.
Cormier will be giving up a four inches in height and seven inches in reach, along with probably 15-20 pounds. He also admitted to dealing with a hand injury that could in some ways limit him come fight night.
Still, the champ seemingly holds every advantage in the fight aside from size and power, which is something Lewis has never had to deal with in his career.
Current and Past Odds
The present betting odds reflect the idea that Cormier has operated at a different level than Lewis throughout their respective careers.
Cormier has been a large favorite before, but -700 is still huge for him as well as the volatile nature of the heavyweight division in general.
Meanwhile, Lewis is more than a 2-1 underdog for just the second time since joining the UFC.
Roy Nelson is probably the only other heavyweight Cormier has fought that offers similar size to Lewis, but he’s certainly faced similar knockout power from Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson.
Lewis on the other hand has failed to face a heavyweight with Cormier’s speed and wrestling credentials.
The old adage that a fighter has a puncher’s chance is especially true when that person possesses demonstrated one-shot knockout power. Still, Cormier is undefeated at heavyweight during his career for a reason.
Placing large wagers on heavyweight fights in general isn’t recommended, but you won’t find many -700 favorites with DC’s combination of skill and established-winning ability. Consider locking in better odds by betting Cormier to win inside the distance.
The Pick: Cormier -700