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UFC 222 CYBORG VS KUNITSKAYA

The UFC heads to Vegas for their March Pay-Per-Veiw (PPV) event UFC 222 Cyborg vs Kunitskaya as the 145lbs women’s champion will make her first title defense. 

The kicks off March with an oddly constructed PPV for UFC 222 Cyborg vs Kunitskaya.  The card has a head scratching main event fight as the most dangerous woman on the planet Cris Cyborg takes on a virtual unknown in Yaya Kunitskaya in her UFC debut for the women’s Featherweight championship. To be fair, the card suffered injuries to some of it’s biggest proposed fights but it is risky proposition putting a someone with zero recognition or brand as half of your main event. The free undercard may actually have more fan friendly fights and interesting clashes making this card even odder when you start to break it down on paper. I don’t know if I can recommend fans plunk down their hard earned cash for the PPV portion of this card but there are enough interesting early matchups fans should get some satisfaction on the FS1 portion of the card.  We bring back the Burger-meter to get fans ready for the tastiest fights on the card. The Burger meter will look at the fight matchup (how good is it, how important, how entertaining) and associate it with its hamburger equivalent. I’ll breakdown the main card by relating it to its “burger form” and offer some fight predictions to hopefully help your bank accounts. Let’s get to the card:

MMA Overload

    

(100% Imported Kobe Beef Burger): Ridiculously luxurious & best of the best

None (Which is a bummer anytime you ask fans to pay for a card, PPV’s should always have at least 1 of these)

 

   

 (In & Out): Lives up to the Hype & always worth it

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar (2nd) vs Brian “T-City” Ortega (3rd) (Featherweight 145lbs )

Preview: Everyone was itching to see if the new featherweight champ could defend his belt against one of the toughest men to ever do it in Frankie Edgar. Unfortunately injuries sidelined the champ, so fans and the UFC were left scrambling to see who would step up to fight Edgar as a replacement. Conor McGregor’s name was floated but never was taken seriously. Brian Ortega may have not been the preferred choice for both fans or the promotion but he is certainly a worthy opponent for Edgar.  Instead of a title fight, fans will get a #1 contender elimination fight between men with two very different paths. Edgar has chased getting his belt back since losing in 2011 but to no avail. He’s either fought for the belt or about to get another title shot, but his career is approaching its final phase and he has to wonder how many more shots at that belt he’ll get until retirement arrives for his legendary career. Brian Ortega is just beginning his quest for his first UFC title shot. Undefeated in 13 bouts and only 27 years old, he is in his prime and ready to announce himself to the upper echelons of the division. After taking out another old tough dog in Cub Swanson, Ortega knows the opportunity to fight for the belt is his if he can find a way to get past Edgar. I honestly expect some nerves from Ortega in the first round as this is by far the biggest stage and fight of his career. I anticipate Edgar in his grill from the opening bell attempting to use any nerves against Ortega if he shows any early cracks. Ortega will have to keep himself upright if he wants to find success against Edgar and I imagine he’s spent his entire camp trying to prevent the numerous takedowns Frankie will surely throw at him. If Edgar can impose his will and use his never ending cardio to force Ortega to fight off his back, he will find himself getting that fight with Holloway he so desperately wanted. However, he cannot overlook Ortega’s fantastic striking, underrated submission game, and his willingness to trade power shots because he trusts his striking that much. This is the best fight on the PPV portion of the card and I think it will live up to the hype.

Odds:  Ortega (+140) vs Edgar (-155)

Prediction: It’s so tough to pick against Edgar, the man is a legend and even in his losses he never gets stopped. He forces his opponents to bring it for the entire fight and he usually finds a way to come out on top. However, the typically comes a time in every great fighters career where the new guard takes over from the old. I don’t mind being a fight or two early in trying to predict that because that’s where I think the value can be found. Ortega’s resume might not be as impressive as Edgar’s but the manner in which he’s defeating guys who normally don’t get stopped let alone beat. I really worry Frankie might be in the final stages of his career and I just really like the confidence Ortega is displaying heading into this fight. I’d never accuse Frankie of overlooking his opponent but I have to believe not getting a title shot is a bit of a letdown for him. Ortega I think is talented enough to take advantage if Edgar isn’t still the legendary version of himself all of us have come to know him as.  (Ortega +140 by decision)

 

  

(Home Cooked Burger): Solid, reliable, and hits the spot

Chris Cyborg (Champion) vs Yana Kunitskaya (Unranked) (Women’s Feather Weight Championship 145 lbs)

Preview: Cris Cyborg is the baddest woman in MMA period. It’s tough to find women willing to step into the octagon with her, let alone have a chance of beating her. However, coming off arguably the biggest win of her career against Holly Holm they give her Kunistkaya…huh?! Her best win was against women’s MMA old guard Tonya Evinger which was then later overturned by the Missouri athletic commission. Evinger went on to defeat Kunitskaya in the rematch choking her out in the 2nd round. I don’t mean to belittle Yana Kunistskaya’s career but she has no business stepping into the cage vs Cyborg Saturday night.  Yes, she is the Invicta FC bantamweight champion but that’s at entire weight class below where she will find herself against Cyborg. Also, the women’s 135 lbs Invicta FC champ would not get a top 10 ranking in the women’s UFC 135lbs division so to jump an entire weight class to fight the best in the business is mind-boggling. I understand why Kunistkaya is taking the fight, its a huge opportunity and she does come from a great camp in Jackson-Wink. However, this same camp couldn’t get a significantly better fighter (Holm) past Cyborg, I just don’t see the reasoning of putting a lesser version in there as a main event. I love watching Cyborg, but it bums me out this is the best the UFC can do for a PPV main event.

Odds:  Cyborg (-1900) vs Kunistkaya (+900)

Prediction: Barring the greatest upset in women’s MMA history, this is going to be a forgone conclusion. I don’t care if Holm’s odds vs Rousey were higher, this would dwarf that if Kunitskaya pulled this upset. She won’t though, Cyborg by total annihilation. (Under 1.5 Rounds -150)

 

Stefan “SkyScraper” Struve (10th) vs Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski (12th): Two old heavyweights swinging for the fences, sure I’ll enjoy it. This fight is the epitome of junk food, its meaningless calories, will be fun in the moment, but in the end it wasn’t very meaningful. Enjoy the knockout. (Struve -175 by Knockout)

 

 

(Waffle House Burger): It won’t kill you but high quality it is not

Mackenzie Dern (-440) vs Ashley “Spider Monkey” Yoder (+350): Dern has gotten a huge promotional push from the company as the next “big thing” at 115 lbs. She’s an immensely talented grappler with a bright future but fighting a woman whose winless in her UFC career will not tell us anything about how bright that future will be. This is a forgone conclusion, which makes it a boring fight. (Dern by Submission)

Cat “Alpha” Zingano (+185) vs Ketlen “Fenomeno” Vieira (-215): Raise your hand if you knew Cat Zingano was still fighting? She’s a fun fighter when she’s actually in the cage but she’s only been in 4 times in the last 5 years, the last two of which were losses. How that qualifies as a #6 ranking or worthy of a PPV slot I’ll never know. Ketlen is also a nice fighter but she’s in no position to headline a Fight Pass main event let alone be a prime slot on a PPV. (Vieira by stoppage)

Sean “Sugar” O’Malley (-107) vs Andrea “The Asian Sensations” Soukhamthath (-113): This is a fun bout between two personalities who like to finish fights. The fake animosity shoving at the press conference is over down and neither man has a big enough name yet to sell this as any kind of real feud. Fans should get treated to an interesting scrap but this coming right before the two main events on the PPV is just a head scratcher to me. (O’Malley by stoppage -107)

 

(Gas Station Burger): Hello darkness my old friend

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Prediction Record since 2016 to Date (66-52-1) (+$938.50)

  • UFC Record & predictions based on Win vs Loss predictions only. Unless specified otherwise I use increments of $100 (for + odds predictions) & $110 (for – odds bets) as hypothetical wagers for each prediction.
  • UFC Predictions & Records are for entertainment value only
  • Stats provided from http://UFC.COM & http://www.fightmetric.com/

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