The sport of mixed martial arts, as a whole, and its most famous promotion in the UFC have had what has widely been considered a down year. However, another pay-per-view event is on the horizon with UFC 213: Nunes vs. Shevchenko going down on July 8 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The card will take place during the organization’s annual “International Fight Week.” Speaking of Las Vegas, some of the odds from Bovada are now available. See the full-card breakdown below to get a good idea of which fights can change the fortunes of not only the competitors, but you as well!
The UFC women’s bantamweight (135-pound) division is once again being entrusted to draw as the main event of a pay-per-view and this clash between heated rivals should do just that!
The champion in Nunes became the first female Brazilian titleholder in the UFC by besting the now-retired Miesha “Cupcake” Tate as the main event of UFC 200 before shocking all by topping the returning former champion, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey for her second straight loss.
That was inarguably even more impressive than the original Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm head kick as Nunes would need just 48 second to put away Rousey, who had previously gone on a 12-0, 12-finish run as queen of the yet-to-develop division between late 2013 and late 2015.
Now a former foe has stepped up once again.
Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian kickboxer and muay thai fighter, Valentina Shevchenko (14-2 in MMA overall, 3-1 in the UFC) originally dropped a narrow decision to Nunes (now 14-4 in MMA overall, 7-1 in the UFC) back in March of 2016 before Nunes won the title in July.
Shevchenko would need just to bouts to prove that she was worthy of being in contention, dominating Holm over five rounds on the second of a trio of losses for Holm. She would then win her next fight by second-round armbar.
So, just how narrow is the small gap between these two ladies?
In the first fight (ruled a UD win for Nunes) she was 2 of 6 on takedowns, landed just 66 of her 112 thrown total strikes, and landed just 39 of 81 thrown significant (fight-altering) strikes, a rate of 48 percent.
Shevchenko was just behind her in landing her lone takedown, 56 of 99 total strikes, and 28 of 67 significant strikes for a rate of 41 percent. See UFC 213 preview figures here (Shevchenko is ahead on the ground despite her striking ability.)
The Odds: The challenger is also the underdog in the Bovada odds at +105 with Nunes a -125 favorite.
When you throw in just a dash of personal animosity and intense self-belief from both parties, you might smell an upset brewing.
Here’s what you really need to know about this co-main event for the interim UFC middleweight (185-pound) championship: The striking will be fun, perhaps too close to call and to be blunt, it may just be a matter of motivation.
Sure, they both want the title (as should anyone in the sport of MMA regardless of promotion) but the Aussie Striker is not the rival to the champion, Michael “The Count” Bisping, that Romero is. Romero wants to shut Bisping up for his comments concerning Romero allegedly being a PED-using cheater.
“Now I’m not saying no to Yoel because believe it or not, after beating Weidman like that, yeah I do fancy it…Yoel beat him and fair enough I guess. In the fight before, even though he tested positive, he beat Jacare, he beat Weidman, and he beat of a bunch of no marks before that. So I guess that would be the fight.
…But will I fight him? God d*mn f*cking right I’ll fight him, I’ve fought a lot of cheaters of the years and my stance on that stuff is strong as you know, but if that’s the fight that’s gonna go down – I don’t want people to be like, ‘he’s just ducking Romero. He’s ducking Romero’ because that’s not the case at all. I’m not ducking Romero so f*ck it. If that’s the circumstances, that’s the circumstances. But I want very, very stringent testing throughout camp. I want him to be tested pretty much every week on a random day.”
*For those unaware, Romero was suspended for a banned substance but later had that suspension reduced after it was discovered that the substance he “popped” for was not on the label of the nutritional supplement Romero used.*
The Odds: Bovada knows this could be the type of fight that ends because one made made a mistake before the other. Romero is -125 with Whittaker at -105.
The Cuban Olympic silver medalist in wrestling returned from his suspension at the historic debut if the UFC in New York City at Madison Square Garden. The “Soldier of God” knocked out hometown-area favorite “The All-American” Weidman with a jumping knee that will be shown on highlight reel for years to come.
He would eventually getting this bout when Bisping’s money/title fight with the returning legend Georges “Rush” St-Pierre was postponed due to an eye injury GSP suffered in training. Whittaker earned his shot by winning seven straight fights (four by KO/TKO)
Who do you think wants to win more?
Simply put, Lawler is a former welterweight (170-pound champion) and both men in this scrap are exciting to watch, so you’ll definitely get bang for your buck, but Cerrone is so active that it has actually worked against him.
At one point he basically said that UFC President put him in “time-out” and wouldn’t let him fight again without a break. This has caused him to get close to a title, but always fall just short of it, always be one of the great fighters that are A- to B+ range. Cerrone has also hopped between weight divisions previously, which could have been part of the problem.
Lawler has not competed since losing the belt to champion Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley, so you can have that conversation about ring rust or say that the time off has allowed him to heal and allowed him to further prepare for his return.
The Odds: At any rate, the oddsmakers from Bovada favor Lawler as a -145 favorite with Cerrone a +115 underdog after (despite four impressive finishes) he was pretty much steamrolled just outside of one round by Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal, another man who has also been close to the belt.
Cerrone may only have three KO/TKO losses, but if anyone can make that happen again it would be Lawler (his biggest assets being that he is less wild, he’s a southpaw, and takes less punishment) who went undefeated for around two years.
The UFC’s big-men division is in a bit of an odd state. Heavyweight king and Cleveland, Ohio’s favorite son Stipe Miocic (17-2 in MMA overall, 12-2 in the UFC) could very well be facing a repeat fight with perennial title contender Alistair Overeem of The Netherlands (42-15-0, 1 No Contest in MMA overall, 7-4 in the UFC) or Brazilian former champion Fabricio Werdum (21-6-1 in MMA overall, 7-1 in the UFC.)
This marks the third time that the two will have faced each other and that trilogy has now accomplished a rare feat as it spans three separate organizations. Werdum took the first fight by way of a kimura lock in 2006 under the now-defunct Pride Fighting Championships in 2006 before Overeem then won based on scoring under the also now-defunct Strikeforce banner in 2011.
Miocic knocked them both out inside of the first five minutes.
The Odds: The slightly younger Overeem is Bovada’s favorite at -135 with the previous titleholder a +105 underdog.
Overeem has an even split of 38 finishes, but has not won by submission since October of 2009 under the successor to Pride FC, DREAM. WErdum last subbed Cain Velasquez in June of 2015. Specifically under the world leader in MMA, their grappling figures have not been great while Overeem comes out on top in every punching category according to FightMetric.
This feels like there is almost a 50-50 chance of the fight ending by KO/TKO or based on scores, and neither man can feel great about their last outing, but maybe it’s the small age difference that has some feeling like Werdum’s chin is starting to go. He is one of a couple fighters that some may consider on “retirement watch.”
Werdum last fought Travis Browne, who hasn’t been in the title picture for some time and while Overeem’s most recent opponent was Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt (who is still fighting at the MMA-elderly age of 43,) he at least stayed in the fight longer than Werdum.
Overeem may never be a UFC champion, but given their history together, he should have no problem going up against Werdum once more.
The biggest problem for former champion Anthony Pettis over his last two fight has been cutting weight, so he is moving up ten pounds back to lightweight (155 pounds.) However, even after cutting weight, one has to ask Pettis if he is suffering a mental block. He is 1-4 in his last five fights while Jim Miller is 4-1.
The measurable differences between the two men are miniscule in most aspects and Miller can probably overpower Pettis unless Pettis stays to the outside. This is a tough call.
The future husband of Ronda Rousey in Browne is far from the heavyweight killer that he used to be at 1-3 in 2016-17 and 2-5 in his last seven fights, getting finished three times by KO/TKO. He was stopped most recently by Derrick “The Black Beast Lewis.” Against Olinyk, he has most of the advantages and probably more power in his hands as the aptly named constrictor has 41 submission wins (80 percent.)
He is also slightly older than the Hawaiian at 39 to 34 years of age, but mostly is more beat up (despite the fact that most of his win came in the first round,) even in victory with 61 fights on his resume (51-10 overall, 3-1 in the UFC.) If Browne keeps things on the feet, he’s probably looking at a UD win, but don’t count on it.
Either way, retirement could be approaching both men.
It’s a little difficult to tell whether or not the UFC brass is trying to promote Blaydes/push him up the ladder to possible stardom or they are giving him a tough test against a submission ace.
If you get in the range of three to four losses or so (especially if they are losses in which a fight get dominated or, the fighter win but not impressively, or the losses are consecutive) you get released by the UFC in the interest of keeping the organization the home of the most elite fighters.
Blaydes has scored each of his seven wins by KO/TKO while only lost once in the UFC, and that was to rising heavyweight (265-pound) prospect and possible title challenger Francis Ngannou. However, Ngannou did enough damage that the fight was stopped by the cage-side doctor in the middle round. His opponent has four UFC losses but separated them with a three-fight winning streak.
Blaydes is more than likely fine but needs a victory to have some leverage whenever his contract ends and a string of L’s obviously doesn’t help his case to stay.
As far as styles go, this is a directly clash with Blaydes obviously preferring to throw hand and Omielańczuk looking to make him tap out. Although, he hasn’t won by submission since he was outside of the UFC in December of 2012.
What this contest may come down to is takedowns to set up submissions. Even if Omielańczuk doesn’t get the tap, defending against whatever hold or number of holds Blaydes might end up in could test his cardio.
As it turns out though, since joining the UFC, nearly all the stats point to a win for Blaydes: He lands more per minutes (4.39 to 3.04 strikes), gives up a slight advantage in accuracy (62 percent) to 58 percent, but is absorbs less strikes (3.04 to 2.52), has a four-inch height advantage (6’ 4” to 6’ 0”,) a six-inch reach advantage (80” to 74”,) and outweighs his opponents by almost 20 pounds per FightMetric.
Blaydes is 40 percent more accurate with his takedown (68 percent to 28 percent) and averages just under 10 takedowns for every 15 minutes. He has zero defense against them though (literally) while Omielańczuk defends against takedown 53 percent of the time. Still, he averages just 0.65 takedowns for every 15 minutes.
The American is also eight years younger than the native of Poland at 26 to 34. Depending on how Blaydes uses his energy, he should be 8-1 by the end of the fight, whenever that comes.
Camozzi should be viewed as a formidible challenger in this one because although he is 7-3 and 0-1 in the UFC, the younger brother of Chris Camozzi has only been finished once while earning all of his wins by a stoppage (mostly submissions.)
Laprise may have more UFC experience (11-2 overall, 4-2 in the UFC with an age difference of 25 to 30) but he hasn’t had a finish win in six years since before he was with the promotion. To his credit, he does lead his opponent statistically in almost every way aside from the tale of the tape and submission averages.
Unless the prospect in Camozzi shocks the world, Laprise should get his hand raised (although it could not be very exciting.)
Mein (29-11-0 with 23 finishes, 3-3 in the UFC) is in desperate need of an emphatic victory after dropping back-to-back fights against Thiago Alves (a body kick KO) and Emil Weber Meek (a unanimous decision.) He has had only one KO win in the UFC against Mike Pile that took place over four years ago.
Striking volume may be the solution against Muhammad as they are pretty much neck-and-neck in stats. Muhammad lands more often 4.76 significant strikes per minute to 3.91,) but surrenders more in that same time (4.69 to 2.97.) It also helps that Mein is ahead in striking defense and takedown defense by a landslide (70 percent to 55 percent and 60 percent to 0 percent respectively.)
Mein is also more accurate with his takedowns (70 percent to 41 percent,) so he may try and smother Muhammad and then land on the ground. A striking finish from him would still be surprising, but either way, he should pick up a much-needed win.
It’s somewhat sad that these relative unknowns (at least to the casual fans) are as low on this card is they are given their experience with Font at 13-2 (overall with nine finishes and Silva de Andrade a nearly perfect 24-1. However, both are close in UFC experience at 2-1 and 2-2 respectively.
This fight should go nowhere near the ground as both men are boxers, and if it does, then fans will probably see defensive/evasive-type grappling to get back to their feet and start throwing hands (the Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell approach.)
Despite the fact that Silva de Andrade has 19 KO/TKO victories (79 percent,) FightMetric has Font as the better striker ahead of their fight. He lands 4.29 Significant Strikes per Minute to his opponent’s 3.24 and is slightly more accurate (46 percent to 35 percent.
Although, the Brazilian takes a little less damage, absorbing 3.10 strikes per minute compared to the 3.93 and he is also barely better in striking defense than Font (64 percent to 63 percent.) Depending on how Font’s chin holds up, this could come down to the scorecards.
Even though Santos is a native of Brazil, the homeland of probably the most effective form of grappling next to wrestling,if Meerschaert gets this battle to the ground, there is a high probability that is where it will end. Compared to him, the 14-5 Santos (6-4 in the UFC) may be a little under-developed.
Meerschaert is just 2-0 inside of the octagon but is 26-8 overall in MMA with 19 victories coming through submissions (73 percent.) Santos does have nine KO/TKOs though (64 percent) but could best be described as mid-level since making his UFC debut at UFC 183 in 2013. It’s fairly easy to see where he wants the fight to stay.
Meerschaert’s wrestling figures on FightMetric are goose eggs across the board with exception to his submission average per each 15 minutes at just over five attempts. His average fight time is also just under three minutes, he is riding a 4-0 streak with all of those wins coming in the first round and three ending in under two minutes.
This one is fairly easy to call, but those takedown numbers have to start materializing for the grappler to get the fight where he wants.
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