UFC 250 Nunes vs. Spencer Full Card Preview, Predictions and Odds
Saturday, octagon action returns from the Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, as UFC 250 Nunes vs. Spencer unfolds. This article gives predictions and odds for each fight on the event's 12-bout card
The main showcase pits dual champion Amanda "Lioness" Nunes against long shot challenger Felicia Spencer. Widely considered the greatest female fighter ever, Nunes makes her debut featherweight title defense after outgunning Cyborg Santos for top 145 lb. honors in late 2018.
Additional main card bouts seek to clarify the men's bantamweight division following Henry Cejudo's abrupt retirement. With vacant gold waiting, six leading 135 lb. fighters duel Saturday night. Former division ruler Cody Garbrandt meets longtime contender Raphael Assucao in the co-main.
Though, to lead into that scrap, top-ten bantams Aljamain Sterling and hot prospect Cody Sandhagen duel. With each wielding standup heavy attacks, this pairing could garner Fight of the Night.
Let's dive in first with the pay-per-view matches. Odds courtesy of BestFightOdds.com
Amanda Nunes(C) (-630) vs.Felicia Spencer (+465)
As of publication, deep prop odds are unavailable for this weekend's one-sided title match. Trends show Nunes, 32, recently went five rounds with ex-champ Germaine de Randamie: though, her three prior outings saw "Lioness" stop who's who challengers within distance.
Finishing Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg and Raquel Pennington via strikes, Nunes (19-4) boasts16 early wins. The easy play here is Amanda Nunes by either TKO or submission as she makes a seventh UFC championship defense.
Showing no slippage, Nunes has twice defeated fellow belt holders de Randamie and current 125 lb. ace Valentina Shevchenko. Well rounded on the mat or behind concussive strikes, Nunes holds a number of Ultimate Fighting records, including most consecutive title fight wins (seven) and becoming the only simultaneous two-division female champion.
A tough assignment for any opponent, Nunes has earned her reputation. Remaining focused this weekend is vital for the American Top Team member vs. physically overmatched opposition.
Gritty challenger Felicia Spencer was battered last year by Cyborg Santos, but showed admirable fortitude in remaining upright in defeat. After running through the Invicta FC featherweight ranks, durable Spencer isn't a threat to unseat Nunes as much as see the final bell vs. the top pound-for-pound female entry.
At 8-1, the 29-year-old Canadian has never been stopped through her pro career. With that noted, Spencer owns six paid TKOs or submissions while copping Invicta gold. Her come forward style inspired millions while gaining cult following against an on point Cyborg.
After winning her latest octagon appearance via TKO, the BJJ apprentice is set for a defining moment. Currently teaching sixth-grade algebra, Spencer could become the next Holly Holm. Though, such lofty dreams require double-tough Spencer to last or finish within 25 minutes this weekend against a punishing force.
The Verdict:Amanda Nunesby second-round TKO
Bantamweights: #5Raphael Assuncao(+115) vs. #9Cody Garbrandt(-135)
Much closer in odds than the nightcap, crossroads bantamweights meet to maintain championship relevance.
Once billed among UFC pound-for-pound stars, Garbrandt has taken three consecutive knockout losses since dethroning Dominic Cruz -two from TJ Dillashaw. Many felt the flashy ex-champ would explode in March vs. solid-yet-unspectacular Pedro Munhoz. Instead, Munhoz used the Dillishaw head-kick template to down Garbrandt.
Going on four years since his last, and biggest, octagon win, "No Love" needs a victory Saturday. Blessed with lightning hands, Division II wrestling pedigree and nine professional TKOs, it's crunch time for Garbrandt.
The thinking is Assuncao can't land a roundhouse kick to his 28-year-old challenger's temple -the only technique which has halted Garbrandt.
Raphael Assuncao (27-7)
Highly decorated former title challenger Assuncao is on a two-fight losing streak. Standing 11-4 vs. UFC competition, Assuncao was finished by Marlon Moraes and outpointed by riser Cory Sandhagen last year. The former came as Moraes avenged his 2017 split decision verdict against the BJJ maven.
With reflexes slowing, Assuncao was touched repeatedly by lengthy Sandhagen before pulling the younger man down. In those grappling exchanges, the WEC veteran couldn't notch an 11th submission against his latest foe. While Assuncao looked far from shot vs. legitimate recent competition, he is faded just enough where Garbrandt can wrestle in reverse and land harder through three rounds.
Cody "No Love" Garbrandt is the MMA equivalent of Amir Khan: he has cat-like reflexes and power, but is always in danger vs. top competition due to a suspect chin. If Garbrandt loses focus, Assuncao (4 TKOs) can stun his man and apply a quick submission. Though, if Garbrandt remains focused, using speed and distance, he can earn the unanimous decision nod over Assuncao.
With time to re-think strategy, the former champ will show evolved fight IQ this weekend.
Cody Garbrandt by decision
Bantamweights: #2Aljamain Sterling(-120) vs. #4Cory Sandhagen(+100)
Aljamain Sterling (18-3) enters Saturday slightly favored in a probable title eliminator vs. Cory Sandhagen (12-1).
Winner of four straight, Sterling unloaded volume output during his recent unanimous decision win over Pedro Munhoz. The reflexes and speed of the former Division III wrestler and BJJ black belt are at peak form.
Not needing a takedown to outpoint elite striker Munhoz, Sterling showed growth while flashing unorthodox, effective boxing to earn #2 contender status. After added wins vs. Jimmie Rivera, Cody Stamman and Brett Johns, it appears Longo-Serra tutelage has rounded Aljamain Sterling into a viable championship threat.
If the former Cage Fury ruler can hold Sandhagen off, a likely rematch versus Marlon Moraes for the vacated title awaits.
Holding Cory Sandhagen off, however, is easier said than done. Undefeated at 5-0 vs. UFC opponents, the BJJ purple belt recently outstruck Raphael Assuncao while defending world class submission attempts.
Prior, to breakthrough wins against Assuncao and John Lineker, Sandhagen exhibited finishing ability stopping Mario Bautista (armbar), Luri Alcantara (TKO) and Austin Arnett (TKO). In total, from Oct. 2017 through Jan. 2019 the #4 rated bantam ended five fights early.
Sandhagen can claim to be the hottest fighter among 135 lb. competitors.
To cancel Sandhagen's four-inch height edge, Sterling owns a one-inch reach advantage. In this clash between the most evenly matched main card fighters, Sterling can let speed be his ticket toward championship dreams.
While Sandhagen is excellent from every angle, Sterling is faster, more elusive and a bit better in all departments. Expect the 30-year-old octagon vet to be first on the feet and score takedowns while earning a split decision nod.
This is an excellent pairing between versatile mixed martial artists.
Aljamain Sterling by split decision
Breaking from the 135 lb. scene, veteran UFC WelterweightsNeil Magny(22-8) andAnthony Rocco Martin(17-5) face off.
With 21 octagon walks to his credit, Magny has experienced the highs and lows associated with longtime UFC employment. Having won three of four, including a sharp March 7 return vs. Jingliang Li, Magny seeks another quality outing opposite tough competition.
Blessed with an 80' reach, the well-versed 32-year-old carries lanky power. Known for cardio, Magny uses range to establish a crisp jab before forcing his man to the cage where Thai clinches and takedowns are common. Upon his octagon return, the seven year UFC fighter rag dolled Li.
Since 2013, a generally ranked welterweight, Magny boasts wins vs. Tim Means, Kelvin Gastellum, Hector Lombard, Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit.
Magny's main weakness, however, is his upcoming opponent's greatest strength. Four of the Elevation Fight Team member's seven losses come via submission.
A gamer that never shies from fight action, Rocco Martin has found his groove going 5-1 since April 2018. While no massive wins jump off the Martin record, there's something to be said for his continued six-year UFC run.
Hooking up with MMA's front runner back in 2014, Martin has stood 9-4 while adding a recent close call loss vs. Demian Maia. However, the 30-year-old just knocked Ramazan Emeev from the ranks of UFC unbeaten.
Employing balanced technical standup with educated grappling, Martin is a sound martial artist. However, his fighting spirit makes the Bostonian a tough out on any given night.
Magny enjoys a seven-inch reach advantage which will allow him to pop jabs at Martin and land varied kicks. Though, when the taller, longer man hits the inevitable takedown to back Martin off, the underdog's counter submission chances remain ever-present.
And while Martin has nine pro tapouts, only three of those come in his UFC fights. That stated, expect tactical nip tuck action for 15 minutes as Magny keeps range using sizable leg and arm length.
Also, experienced at a higher level, and in five-round wars, Magny will use situational understanding to eke past Martin's determined challenge.
Neil Magny wins by decision
Finally, the UFC 250 main card opens with a classic riser vs. gatekeeper 135 lb. war as unbeatenSean O'Malley(11-0) meets former contenderEddie Wineland(24-13-1).
Like featured Raphael Assuncao, Wineland headlined WEC cards well over ten years ago. Now, fighting for just the fifth time since 2016 the standout vet looks to chase a recent KO win over Grigorii Popov with an unexpected odds spoiler.
The last thing to go on a fighter is power, and Wineland proved that adage last June. Unfortunately, versus heartier competition the Houston native dropped consecutive decision nods.
Synonymous with the lighter weight classes, Wineland will carry his punching chance in vs. dynamic O'Malley.
After impressing Dana White on DWCS to earn UFC employment, O'Malley outpointed his first two octagon assignments before blitzing Jose Alberto Quinonez. Regarded as blue chip material, O'Malley is gifted from all positions.
The BJJ stylist has ended one pro fight by submission while gaining seven TKOs. Picking up the fight game at age 18, O'Malley holds three inches of arm and leg reach over Wineland. On the biggest stage, with youthful adrenaline pumping, look for O'Malley's speed edge to produce a late first round stoppage of vet Eddie Wineland.
A massive odds favorite takeSean O'Malley via TKO.
Four carefully matched stylistic encounters round out the ESPN + UFC 250 Nunes vs. Spencer undercard.
For UFC 250 Nunes vs. Spencer discussion and in-depth odds preview, clickhere.
The feature bout pits entertaining charactersAlex 'Bruce Leeroy' Caceres(15-12) and rising 20-year-old grappling savantChaseHooper(9-0-1) in a veteran vs. rookie classic.
Charismatic since his octagon infancy on TUF 12, Caceres owns ten years of UFC experience, including 21 fights for the promotion. Never a legit contender, the 31-year-old has, however, earned enough respect to play gatekeeper for hopefuls chasing top level MMA entrance.
Ten wins and 11 losses through his major league tenure have also kept Caceres in Dana White's rolodex. With his best days coming during a five fight unbeaten run from 2012 through late 2014, a peak ended by Urijah Faber, the MMA Lab disciple has one glaring weakness.
Caceres has taken seven pro submissions. Ground specialists have found little trouble wrapping the wispy featherweight in fight-ending holds: especially the rear-naked choke.
Saturday's opponent poses an immediate threat to light hitting Caceres.
Certainly overshadowed by his next assignment's experience, precocious Hooper nonetheless has an innate ability to hit smooth mounts and drop nasty elbows or sink in various submissions. 'The Dream' has finished six of his ten paid fights within distance. Standing 6'1 with lanky arms and legs, pressure epitomizes Hooper as no opponent has cracked his style.
Unorthodox and entertaining, wins continue building for the Combat Sports & Fitness protege. It seems inevitable Hooper, 20, will follow his tremendous octagon debut by placing another stoppage on the Caceres ledger.
Stouter fighters have somehow found themselves physically overwhelmed by lithe Hooper. Look for Chase 'The Dream' to blitz Caceres, bring the fight down and submit the octagon staple. This is an excellent matchup which leads perfectly into the main card.
Chase Hooper wins via submission
Undercard bout two seesGerald '3M' Meerschaert(31-12) challenge #13IanHeinisch13-3 in middleweight action.
One of MMA's finest active BJJ artists, the athleticism Meerschaert lacks is almost forgiven by 23 pro subs and six TKOs through 45 bouts. Primarily trading wins and losses since entering octagon waters, the Milwaukee native recently cranked a rear-naked choke vs. Derek Winn to gain clutch victory and stand 2-3 since 2018. A 1-4 stretch could've placed Duke Rufus' lengthy grappler back among lesser promotions.
Possibly great in one area, Meerschaert has taken frequent losses when he cannot secure game-ending holds. The reason for this is'3M' plods on his feet and is easily outpointed and overpowered by more explosive, ground savvy challengers.
Though shorter and giving up reach vs. Saturday's opponent, Heinisch remains on the 185 lb. contender periphery due to explosive attributes. Submitted just once during his pro career, the former high school wrestling All American has lost consecutive bouts against impressive names.
While another setback will erase the rating Heinisch earned by capturing regional belts and a 2-0 UFC debut, the well-rounded athlete is built to outpoint his upcoming counterpart.
With neither man blazing their division, Heinisch can use defensive wrestling to keep the fight standing. From that angle, "The Hurricane" will land harder strikes while circling at range to impress the cageside judges.
Ian Heinisch wins by decision
BantamweightsBrian Kelleher(21-10) and #12Cody Stamman(18-2-1) meet in a fairly even statistical matchup. Each veteran stands 5'6, is strong at 135 and well rounded. The one physical edge leaning toward Kelleher is a 1.5 inch reach advantage. Stamman appears quicker. The two will find decide which fighter is superior this weekend.
A regional mainstay, Kelleher, 33, kept grinding until breakthrough success arrived with Ring of Combat 135 lb. title honors. From there, the tested finisher got his long-awaited call from Dana White. In a lopsided octagon entry, Kelleher quickly blasted trial horse Luri Alacantara.
That win sparked 3-1 UFC genesis for Kelleher including victories over Damian Stasiak and Renan Barao. However, stoppage losses to Marlon Vera, John Lineker and Montel Jackson put the MMA devotee's octagon future in jeopardy.
To his credit, Kelleher has recently bounced back with convincing wins over Hunter Azure and Ode Osbourne to earn another step-up chance.
That reward comes via Cody Stamman. A decorated grappler and amateur boxer, Stamman is 11-1-1 since 2014. More so, the blight of poor recent judging has many announcing the 30-year-old a clear winner vs. top-ten rated Yadong Song. Upset from that robbery, Stamman is focused to continue wading through loaded bantamweight fields vs. unheralded Kelleher.
With eight finishes in 18 wins, Wayne, Michigan's pride could bank another scorecard verdict vs. wily Kelleher. Generally durable, Stamman has been tapped just once, but that sequence came in loud fashion against rolling Aljamain Sterling.
As mentioned, Kelleher holds 17 early pro enders -- nine subs and eight TKOs -- so it isn't inconceivable he could put Stamman away early. Though, again, the #12 bantamweight is a tough out.
With the facts formed, expect Stamman to use hand speed and wrestling chops to outclass Kelleher through an entertaining 15 minutes.
Cody Stamman wins by split decision.
Opening ESPN + undercard action pits hard hittersCharles Byrd(10-6)vs.Maki 'coconut bombs' Pitolo(11-5).
After testing deep 185 territory, Byrd carries two consecutive losses into this weekend against far lesser opposition. While the 36-year-old must remain aware of Pitolo connecting, naturally larger, speedier Byrd holds every edge come Saturday.
Noted for explosive hands and elevating takedowns, the Fortis MMA member ended both DWCS appearances early before a winning UFC debut vs. John Phillips. Five submissions and three TKOs highlight Byrd's record.
Again, while falling short opposite standouts Darren Stewart and Edmen Shahbazyan, 'Kid Dynamite' gets his showcase versus Pitolo.
An entertaining name on the regional scene, Pitolo lost his grinding UFC debut against journeyman Callan Potter after a memorable DWCS TKO. When objectively reviewing the Pitolo resume, notable victories are awash. Technically, the Hawaiian throws volume, but finds himself prone for takedowns due to poor balance.
Byrd has the strength to continuously put Pitolo on the mat and keep him there while dropping hammer fists. Opposite mainly lower level competition, Maki Pitolo has earned nine finished in 12 wins -while being stopped four times as well.
Charles Byrd is by far the toughest task of Pitolo's seven-year pro career.
While Pitolo has a puncher's chance against a fighter recent TKOd in consecutive fights, expect Byrd to be too much man for 'Coconut Bombs.'
While Pitolo loads, Byrd will lift him for takedowns. When the fighters stand, the more well-rounded octagon vet will land harder, quicker shots. Physically dominant, Charles Byrd picks up a unanimous decision win in this fan-friendly encounter.
Charles Byrd wins by unanimous decision.
Finally, UFC 250 early Fight Pass prelims set the table for last ditch efforts from mainstays Jussier Formiga and Evan Dunham to remain relevant. Overall, three scraps round out the weekend warmup.
Evan Dunham(+190) vs.Herbert Burns(-230)
A hyped star among his 2008 octagon debut, 38-year-old Evan Dunham never fulfilled those early visions. However, after 21 UFC appearances, including seven earned post-fight bonuses, the Oregon native has made his imprint upon the MMA world.
Returning from an almost two year retirement, Dunham seeks Indian summer prosperity beginning with a win over Herbert Burns.
Burns has won four straight, including two high-level finishes under Zuffa lights. Behind seasoned BJJ attacks the ultimate fighting newcomer gained his first TKO recently by hitting a pinpoint knee strike vs. Nate Landwehr.
In and out of competition, Saturday Dunham (18-8-1) will decide if a 22nd UFC ring walk will be enough to cap his legacy.
Meanwhile, at 33, Burns (10-2) aims for another win while grabbing at bigger paydays.
Burns is too much in every area at this point for Dunham. Tyron Woodley showed last weekend how ring rust translates against hungry and active competition. Expect the Brazilian to maul light-fisted Dunham with pressure which will ultimately end in stoppage victory for the lengthier BJJ ace.
Sporting a 3.5 inch reach edge and two inch leg length advantage, blitzing kicks will set up Burns' eighth pro submission.
Herbert Burns by submission
Alonzo Menifield(-222) vs.Devin Clark(+180)
Next, undefeated light heavyweight prospect Alonzo Menifield (9-0) chases another finish to keep all ten of his paid opponents from lasting three rounds. Flashing heavy hands, and a rock solid frame, the Muay Thai practitioner has reeled four opening round stoppages, including two vs. UFC undercard talent.
Halted in all four of his professional losses, octagon vet Devin Clark represents Menifield's toughest matchup. A definite step-up challenger for the fast rising banger, Clark offers decent grappling while his nine-fight octagon experience will either legitimize or expose Menifield.
Side with Menifield to pass his first real test by halting his latest obstacle. Once the 31-year-old Clark takes a few hard overhands, his chin won't withstand the different power from rising Menifield.
This fight shouldn't last more than two frames.
Again, it seems Clark is tailor-made for Menifield's unforgiving power as matchmakers envision larger things from their latest big hitter.
Mennifield wins by TKO
(4) Jussier Formiga(+115) vs. (9)Alex Perez(-135)
Having lost two straight opposite 125 lb. elite Joseph Benavidez and Brandon Moreno, Formiga takes a small competition reduction Saturday. After occupying the flyweight division upper rung since its 2011 octagon inception, at 35 aging Formiga appears past prime.
With 15 UFC starts, at 8-7 in that time, the Brazlilian submission maven leans against the proverbial wall on Fight Pass early prelim action.
At 28, well-rounded Alex Perez feels his time is now. Standing 10-1 since 2016, the Team Oyama affiliate has defeated six UFC hopefuls and veterans only losing vs. Flyweight institution Joseph Benavidez. With four TKOs and seven taps to his credit, expect Perez to ascend the 125 lb. rankings Saturday.
The younger Perez, in a young man's sport, will outshine Formiga while landing leather throughout and winning enough grappling exchanges to outpoint the fading contender.
Perez's youth is definitely the key advantage in Saturday's clash between rated fighters. Also, the Californian realizes downing a tested name will move him one notch closer toward the recently vacated division gold.
Alex Perez wins by decision.