UFC 241 (TV: Early Prelims ESPN +, Prelims ESPN, Main Card ESPN + PPV)
Saturday, August 17th 8:00 PM ET Honda Center (Anaheim, California)
Middleweight Fight: Yoel Romero (13-3) vs. Paulo Costa (12-0)
Fight odds: Yoel Romero -155 Paulo Costa +125
Welterweight Fight: Anthony Pettis (22-8) vs. Nate Diaz (20-11)
Fight odds: Anthony Pettis -135 Nate Diaz +105
Heavyweight Title Fight: Daniel Cormier (22-1) vs. Stipe Miocic (18-3)
Fight odds: Daniel Cormier -150 Stipe Miocic +120
UFC 241 Pick Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic 2
UFC 241 will return to Southern California with a strong fight card. At the top of the bill is the Heavyweight Title Fight, a rematch between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic. The Co-Main Event is an exciting welterweight matchup with Anthony Pettis against Nate Diaz. The third fight is a middleweight fight with Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa. Watch this card, Miocic was thought of as the greatest heavyweight and now he is looking for redemption. Diaz wants to re-establish himself in the welterweight division, while Pettis may continue his ascent at 170 lbs. Romero is a great middleweight and will want to put a loss on Costa’s undefeated record.
Yoel Romero is a great veteran fighter that utilizes a wrestling base to set up the rest of his offense. Costa is more of a striker with decent jiu-jitsu skills. The fight is at middleweight, at 185 lbs and is a matchup between two fighters with tremendous knockout power. Romero is 42, 6’0 and 185 lbs with a 73.5 inch reach. Costa is 28, 6’1 and 185 lbs with a 72 inch reach. Romero was once a Title contender and has lost to the current Middleweight Champion, Robert Whittaker twice by decision. Romero is built with muscles on muscles and his toned physique helps him to get knockout wins, with 11 of his 13 wins coming by knockout.
Costa will need to stay disciplined and use good take down defense to keep this fight on the feet. Romero has not fought since June of 2018, a split decision loss to to Robert Whittaker and will need to shake off some ring rust as the fight begins. Romero uses a high guard when defending on the feet leaving him open to body and leg shots. Costa should look to work the body to wear down Romero. Both fighters use explosive movements to gain an advantage in the fight and land knockout strikes. This will be an exciting fight that could potentially end early with both fighters being quick starters.
With similar styles and both fighters at the top of the middleweight division the winner could end up fighting the winner of the Robert Whittaker – Israel Adesanya Undisputed Middleweight Title fight on October 6th. Romero will be the toughest opponent that Costa has faced having a 12-0 record, with 11 knockouts. Costa may be the hungrier fighter and with less miles on his body he could get the win. Costa will have the added motivation after wanting revenge for some to the trash talk that Romero has been saying in the buildup to the fight.
The Co-Main event has Fight of the Night written all over it. Nate Diaz is finally making his return to the octagon against Anthony Pettis after not fighting since August of 2016. Diaz is 34, 6’0 and 170 lbs with a 76 inch reach. Pettis is 32, 5’10 and 170 lbs with a 72.5 inch reach. After nearly a 3 year absence Diaz is ready to announce himself as a contender at welterweight. One of the reasons Diaz held out for so long from fighting is because he was waiting on a trilogy fight against Conor McGregor that never came to fruition. Diaz is known for his forward pressure and great cardio that sets up his flowing striking techniques. Diaz is a fan favorite and this is a great opponent for him to return against.
Pettis has shown he is still an explosive athlete capable of greatness and can win the fight at any moment with his unorthodox strikes and ability to push the pace. While Pettis has lost to some tough opponents recently in Max Holloway, Dustin Poirier and Tony Ferguson he is coming off an impressive 2nd Round knockout against Stephen Thompson. Thompson did well to control the range as the bigger fighter, but got caught by a beautiful counter superman punch that ended the fight. Pettis looked on the back foot with his face bloodied, but suddenly exploded off the fence to land the knockout punch and re-establish himself as a contender at 170 lbs.
Diaz has the advantage in size and volume striking. Pettis has the advantage in explosive movements and knockout power. If Diaz can control the distance with his boxing skills and longer reach, then it will be long night for Pettis who will be getting peppered with punches all fight long. Pettis has struggled against volume strikers in the past getting stopped by Max Holloway and Tony Ferguson, two fighters known for their excellent cardio and combination boxing that overwhelms opponents. Pettis doesn’t have a big weight cut to make 170 lbs and should come in energized, but the size and reach advantages for Diaz may be too much for Pettis to overcome, especially if it becomes a long drawn out slugfest. If Pettis can’t get the early knockout, then Diaz should win by decision.
UFC 241 Pick Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic 2
Daniel Cormier is looking to retain his Title after a successful move to heavyweight. Coming off a 2nd Round Submission win against Derrick Lewis, Cormier retained his Title, setting up a warranted rematch against Stipe Miocic. Cormier is 40, 5’11 and 236 lbs with a 72.5 inch reach. Miocic is 37, 6’4 and 230 lbs with a 80 inch reach. The first fight between Miocic and Cormier was mostly a stand up fight with some close range clinch work that Miocic was effective in. Cormier showed solid boxing skills against Miocic and did well to come back with his own offense against a taller opponent. Cormier caught Miocic with an elbow as Miocic was going for a clinch. It was an awkward strike that landed perfectly on Miocic’s chin and followed it up with some ground and pound.
On the feet, Cormier was using 1-2 combinations to tag Micoic in the face. Cormier looks to have the advantage in speed and experience, while Miocic has the size and strength advantage. Cormier is such a skilled wrestler that even though Miocic can have success grappling, he can’t manhandle Cormier as much as their size difference would suggest. Interestingly enough, Cormier actually weighed in 6 pounds heavier than Miocic, despite being 5 inches shorter. Cormier seems to carry the weight well and has more knockout power with the added weight.
Miocic has a chance to get his Title back, but will need to stay on the outside and use his natural size advantage to bully Cormier and wear him down using wrestling. Cormier should win the rematch because of superior fundamentals to Miocic and the ability to match him in the striking department. Despite having a reach disadvantage, Cormier was able to land consistently and outwork Miocic with great boxing skills and excellent clinch work. If Miocic wants a different result in their rematch, he will need to stay out of range of Cormier’s one-two combinations and use takedowns to break up the stand up exchanges. With a strong fight card this is a night of fights that is not to be missed.