UFC 245 Preview: Which Fighters Should You Bet on?

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kamaru usman ufc 245

What’s up crew? We have just two UFC fight cards left this year, and this one Saturday night is rock solid. We have three title fights on this card, along with 10 other matches preceding, all of which look to be fireworks featuring several ranked fighters, matching up some of the best in the organization.

The headliner, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, will look to defend his strap against uber-heel #2 ranked Colby Covington. These guys aren’t going out for a beer after the event. They have real heat and Usman has even come out saying that he’s never had ill will toward an opponent until now. Both guys come in at 15-1, with both of their sole losses coming by way of submission. These guys are tremendous grapplers and will have cardio for days. That said, it will be interesting to see if this one makes the final bell.

Let’s dive in to this beast of a card!

SATURDAY 12/14/19 at 10PM ET

BROADCAST: PPV – PRELIMS ESPN 2

VENUE: T-Mobile Arena

LOCATION: Las Vegas, Nevada

MATCHES: 13

THE CARD:

WELTERWEIGHT 170LBS

C KAMARU USMAN 15-1 (-185) vs #2 COLBY COVINGTON 15-1 (+160)

FEATHERWEIGHT 145LBS

C MAX HOLLOWAY 21-4 (-170) vs #1 ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI 20-1 (+150)

WOMEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT 135 LBS

C AMANDA NUNES 18-4 (-280) vs #1 GERMAINE DE RANDAMIE 9-3 (+240)

BANTAMWEIGHT 135 LBS

#1 MARLON MORAES 22-6-1 (-200) vs #3 JOSE ALDO 28-5 (+170)

BANTAMWEIGHT 135LBS

#3 PETR YAN 13-1 (-475) vs #12 URIJAH FABER 35-10 (+380)

WELTERWEIGHT 170LBS

#14 GEOFF NEAL 12-2 (-245) vs MIKE PERRY 13-5 (+205)

WOMEN’S BANTEMWEIGHT 135LBS

#2 KETLEN VIEIRA 10-0 (-165) vs #10 IRENE ALDANA 11-5 (+145)

MIDDLEWEIGHT 185 LBS

#10 IAN HEINISCH 13-2 (-150) vs #14 OMARI AKHMEDOV 19-4-1 (+130)

WELTERWEIGHT 170LBS

MATT BROWN 21-16 (-345) vs BEN SAUNDERS 22-12-2 (+285)

FEATHERWEIGHT 145LBS

CHASE HOOPER 8-0-1 (-115) vs DANIEL TEYMUR 7-3 (-105)

FLYWEIGHT 125LBS

#5 BRANDON MORENO 15-5-1 (+145) vs #6 KAI KARA FRANCE 20-7 (-165)

WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT 125LBS

#2 JESSICA EYE 14-7 (+150) vs #5 VIVIANE ARAUJO 8-1 (-170)

MIDDLEWEIGHT 185LBS

PUNAHELE SORIANO 6-0 (+100) vs OSKAR PIECHOTA 11-2-1 (-120)

(C) KAMARU USMAN 15-1 (-185) vs #2 COLBY COVINGTON 15-1 (+160)

Very compelling matchup and I’ve seen picks all over the place. I have a hunch that Colby will want to keep this one on the feet, and he’ll look to outwork the striking pace, while Usman will explode with some big shots, looking to close and lay on Colby if he can get it to the mat. I expect several spots where these guys are tied up playing some chess along the cage, with Usman being the stronger of the two, and looking like he’s in charge, scoring some points in the eyes of the judges. Colby will get hit, do his smile thing, and will attempt to leverage his technique and volume as much as he can. 

There probably will be some coin flip rounds if Usman looks to control, while Colby has the volume. But I like what we’ve seen from Usman in his last couple fights. He’s stepped up his striking two-fold, landing 130 and 141 in his last two fights, which could match Colby’s typical showing. Usman has also never been taken down in the UFC, and while standing, statistically has more output, better accuracy, and better defense in comparison to Covington. Usman sits around -190 prior to weigh-ins and I suspect some Colby Covington money will come in late. He’s a viable dog and tempting even at +175 or better, but I’ll be personally hitting Kamaru Usman when the time is right.

PREDICTION: KAMARU USMAN (-175 or better)

C MAX HOLLOWAY 21-4 (-170) vs #1 ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI 20-1 (+150)

Volkanovski finally gets his shot! 17 straight wins and he continues to improve as we’ve seen in his last few fights. I love where his head is at this week as well. He absolutely is carrying himself as if he’s already the champ and is incredibly confident heading into this one against the 28-year-old legend, Max Holloway. Holloway has beaten the best of the best out there, and typically outpaces his opponent while being able to absorb shots better than most. The size will be deceiving, and Max will look like the bigger of the two with his height, but interestingly enough, Volkanovski will have the reach advantage in there. Volkanovski is very technical on the feet, and can score moving forward or backwards, but typically closes the gap while whipping out some counter shots that get through. 

Both guys strike at a high output, and as we’ve seen, Max will just take the damage and move forward, while Volkanovski has the ability to tie his opponent up, and regain control or the position advantage. Avoiding the unnecessary damage will be key for both of this volume strikers in this matchup. Max will need to mix it up in there, and pick apart the body to slow Volkanovski if he wants to secure the later rounds, because this is an opponent that I believe can actually hang around for five. Volkanovski has the ability and the mental game to potentially end the blessed era Saturday night, and to me is a very live dog, and regardless he will make this one interesting.

PREDICTION: ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI +155

C AMANDA NUNES 18-4 (-280) vs #1 GERMAINE DE RANDAMIE 9-3 (+240)

Congrats to GDR for getting her crack at Nunes Saturday night. Nunes should have her way with her, though. GDR has some power, but is a bit flat footed and Nunes will pounce. These two have met up before and Nunes finished her via TKO via elbows. Most likely you’ll see something similar on Saturday night. It seems as if GDR has already conceded this week, and it’s coming off as it’s a win to her just by being here this week. As long as Nunes doesn’t get clipped (highly doubtful), she should cruise and has a high probability to get a finish inside of the five rounds.

PREDICTION: AMANDA NUNES (lean via TKO/KO -137)

**OTHER PLAYS**

Petr Yan wins via DEC +175

Ketlen Vieira wins via DEC +103

Ian Heinisch -135

Saunders/Brown U1.5 -165

KAMARU USMAN defeats COLBY COVINGTON

ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI defeats MAX HOLLOWAY

AMANDA NUNES defeats GERMAINE DE RANDAMIE (lean via TKO/KO)

MARLON MORAES defeats JOSE ALDO

PETR YAN defeats URIJAH FABER (lean via DEC)

GEOFF NEAL defeats MIKE PERRY

KETLEN VIEIRA defeats IRENE ALDANA (lean via DEC)

IAN HEINISCH defeats OMARI AKHMEDOV

MATT BROWN defeats BEN SAUNDERS

DANIEL TEYMUR defeats CHASE HOOPER

KAI KARA FRANCE defeats BRANDON MORENO

VIVIANE ARAUJO defeats JESSICA EYE

PUNAHELE SORIANO defeats OSKAR PIECHOTA

Official plays posted on SI:

Main Events: 5-2

Overall: 15-8-1