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In the main event for a stacked UFC 230 card, newly crowned heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier, takes on renowned power puncher, Derrick Lewis. On paper, this seems like a gigantic mismatch as Daniel Cormier appears to have every single advantage other than knockout power. Still, fights aren’t won on paper!
One of the Best to Ever do it
Daniel Cormier is a fantastic fighter. While wrestling is his foundational art, he’s developed into a solid pressure boxer too. In his last bout against reigning heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, Cormier won the fight standing where most people perceived he would be at a disadvantage. He may not look like it, but Cormier is an excellent athlete that can push a pace for five rounds. He will undoubtedly have the cardio advantage over Derrick Lewis.
Knowing his opponent can end the fight at any minute with a big swing and connection, I imagine Cormier will want to take the battle horizontal as fast as possible. I anticipate Cormier will shoot in the opening stages of the fight (most fighters that have tried to take Lewis down have succeeded).
Cormier is heavy from top position and is renowned for smashing opponents in side control and from the crucifix position. Like his American Kickboxing Academy teammate, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Cormier is a master of making opponents wear his weight, draining their cardio and forcing them to quit.
So long as he can avoid getting clipped while shooting for a takedown, Cormier has a very clear path to victory with his wrestling and ground strikes. A submission victory would not be out of the question either.
Derrick Lewis isn’t the best fighter in the world, and I think he’d happily admit it. Huffing and puffing after a few minutes of work, Lewis has the highest chance of victory in the first round (although he retains his knockout power late in fights). Although he’s been training cardio much more than usual for this camp, he’s nowhere near the athlete that Cormier is.
While not a great technician, Lewis does have one unparalleled asset: insane knockout power. Even if he’s losing every minute of the fight, as he was against Alexander Volkov, if he lands flush on your chin then you’re taking a nap. While Cormier is incredibly durable, he does not want to eat a big right hand from Lewis.
Lewis gets taken down in most of his fights but powers his way back to his feet using brute strength. I’m not sure he’ll be able to do that against an excellent top control fighter like Cormier. If Lewis gets taken down, I don’t think he’ll be able to get up for the rest of the round. Can Lewis land a knockout blow before Cormier gets in on his hips?
Derrick Lewis looked terrible for 14 minutes and 49 seconds a few weeks ago before finishing the fight in the dying stages. With the amount of damage he took, it seems like a recipe for disaster taking title contest on such short notice.
Given his extreme power, Derrick Lewis is a live underdog. However, the most likely scenario is Cormier wrestling his opponent to the mat where he’ll dominate from top position. I can’t blame anyone for taking a shot on Lewis at +500, but I think the juiced line on Cormier is accurate.
I think there are much better fights on UFC 230 to bet on. To recommend a play for this bout, it’s probably worth waiting for the full props to get released. Check back on this article later this week!
Updated 11/2 at 11:15am EDT
Playing Daniel Cormier's -700 moneyline doesn't seem wise, but now that the full props are out this fight is a lot more interesting. I think Cormier almost certainly wins by finish, but a knockout seems more likely than a submission.
Lewis is a very large man and Cormier may struggle to take his back in order to sink in a rear-naked choke. Likewise, I can't see Cormier going for an armbar or triangle that could potentially leave him vulnerable with Lewis on top of him. Instead, I think Cormier will be measured with his ground strikes and score a TKO, potentially from the crucifix position.
Pick: Daniel Cormier by KO/TKO +125
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