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UFC Vegas 66 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Jared Cannonier vs. Sean Strickland: 2 Bets for Main Event (Saturday, December 17)

UFC Vegas 66 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Jared Cannonier vs. Sean Strickland: 2 Bets for Main Event (Saturday, December 17) article feature image
Credit:

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC middleweight Sean Strickland

  • Middleweights Jared Cannonier and Sean Strickland headline the final UFC event of 2022.
  • The UFC Vegas 66 headliner is a pick'em, but the real value may be in totals and distance props.
  • Below, analyst Sean Zerillo details how he's betting this five-round ESPN+ main event.

Jared Cannonier vs. Sean Strickland Odds

Cannonier Odds
-115
Strickland Odds
-111
Over/Under
4.5 (-138 / +108)
Venue
UFC Apex in Las Vegas
Time
10 p.m. ET
Channel
ESPN+
Odds as of Friday and via FanDuel.

The UFC will close out its 2022 calendar on Saturday with UFC vegas 66 a striker’s delight in the middleweight division between recent title challenger and current No. 3-ranked Jared Cannonier and No. 7-ranked Sean Strickland.

Both middleweights hope to rebound from losses at UFC 276 in July, where Cannonier dropped an uninspired decision to then-champion Israel Adesanya while Strickland sustained a brutal knockout at the hands of now-champion Alex Pereira.

They’ll hope to bounce back from those recent losses and reassert themselves in Saturday’s UFC Vegas 65 main event as one of the top contenders at 185 pounds.

Below, I’ll provide my analysis and projections and utilize those factors to bet on the UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Strickland main event.

Tale of the Tape

Cannonier Strickland
Record 15-6 25-4
Avg. Fight Time 11:09 13:07
Height 5’11” 6’1″
Weight (pounds) 185 lbs. 185 lbs.
Reach (inches) 77″ 76″
Stance Switch Orthodox
Date of birth 3/16/1984 2/27/1991
Sig Strikes Per Min 3.73 5.54
SS Accuracy 51% 40%
SS Absorbed Per Min 3.50 4.01
SS Defense 61% 65%
Take Down Avg 0.19 1.14
TD Acc 25% 61%
TD Def 65% 85%
Submission Avg 0.0 0.3

Strickland is the taller fighter, but Cannonier is the more prominent man. “The Killa Gorilla” is one of the only fighters in UFC history with knockouts across three divisions (heavyweight, light heavyweight and middleweight).

Cannonier should have a clear power advantage against Strickland, a former welterweight, while Strickland should enjoy a speed advantage and will look to keep Cannonier on the end of his crisp jab.

Strickland fights like someone who spends all his time in the gym sparring. He engages in moderate tempo and middle-distance kickboxing affairs, where he can largely outwork his opponents in the pocket with superior boxing fundamentals:

Over 25 minutes, I expect Strickland to land more significant strikes than Cannonier, and their career numbers bear that out (+1.53 to +0.23 significant strike differential).

Strickland is the better defensive striker, rarely absorbing clean shots to the head, aside from his loss to Pereira. Still, there’s a ton of risk in his defensive technique. He prefers to rely on movement and either hand fight or parry punches in exchanges – rather than shelling into a high guard – leaving himself in danger when his opponents find the target.

Moreover, perhaps Strickland’s chin is a bit compromised after that loss to Pereira. And Cannonier certainly has above-average power for the middleweight division.

While Strickland should win the extended striking exchanges – and accumulate more output overall – Cannonier should have the more impactful moments, potentially swaying optics within close rounds by landing the single most impactful strike, and I give him significantly more finishing upside.

Cannonier’s leg kicks should be instrumental. He carries a ton of power in his lower half, and if he can chop down Strickland’s legs, he could eventually nullify Strickland’s speed advantage and limit his movement.

Technically, Strickland has the grappling upside in this fight, but I don’t see him having repeated success landing takedowns or securing top time. Cannonier has made substantial improvements to his counter-wrestling and getup game in recent years – a big reason why I had a big bet on him against Derek Brunson – and Strickland is unreliable to grapple whether or not he has the advantage.

Perhaps Strickland shoots a reactive takedown as a pressure release to change the tempo or momentum within a round. Still, I don’t foresee many successful grappling or wrestling exchanges in this fight.

And regardless of the tempo, I don’t give either fighter a cardio advantage; both are proven in five-round affairs.

As a result, we’re left to assess whether judges will side with Strickland’s volume or Cannonier’s power. If either fighter were sitting at a juicy plus money number, the price would dictate our play; however, a pick’em line seems like a fair assessment considering the likely close and competitive nature – and optics – of the proceedings.

Cannonier vs. Strickland Pick

While this is a difficult fight to call from a betting perspective, I’m not inclined to tell you to pass on betting on the last fight of the UFC calendar year.

I set Strickland as a very slight favorite (50.3%, -101 implied) and don’t project value on either side of the moneyline. I’ll note that most public picks (>60%) in my data sample skew toward Cannonier, and I’m inclined to believe that the sharp money is behind Strickland.

I see slight value in the Over, or the fight goes to decision prop (projected -123, 55% implied), depending on the book. You can play that prop at -112 at FanDuel, but I wouldn’t bet it past -115.

In the winning method market, either Strickland wins by Decision (projected +184, listed +230 at FanDuel) or Cannonier wins by KO/TKO (projected +266, listed +275 at BetMGM) could be worth a poke, depending upon your preferred side.

The Picks: 

Fight goes to decision (-112, 0.5u at FanDuel)


Strickland via decision (+230, 0.1u)

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