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UFC 252 Prelim Card
UFC debutants Chris Daukaus and Parker Porter will open up the early prelims in their heavyweight encounter. Daukaus has the superior record and is younger by five years, but Porter has more experience and has won four of his last five outings to make him the slight favorite.
TJ Warren will look to get his first UFC win against promotional debutant Danny Chavez in their featherweight contest. Brown got submitted by Jordan Griffin in his debut earlier this year, but had won his previous four in a row. Chavez, meanwhile, has won three in a row as he looks to get his UFC career off to a winning start in what would be a slight upset according to the latest odds.
Herbert Burns can extend his winning run when he faces veteran featherweight Daniel Pineda. Burns, who’s older brother is title contender Gilbert Burns, has won his last five in a row, including a most recent submission win over Evan Dunham that truly showed his potential. The Brazilian should be confident of his chances against the 35-year-old American.
Felice Herrig has had a rough stretch of results with back-to-back losses against Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Michelle Waterson and hasn’t competed since October 2018 due to injuries. She will not face an easy task in women’s strawweight prospect Virna Jandiroba who has suffered just one defeat in 16 professional outings. Jandiroba is unsurprisingly a solid betting favorite.
Another women’s strawweight bout will see Ashley Yoder meet Livia Renata Souza. American Yoder saw a two-fight winning streak snapped in a split decision loss to Randa Markos last October. Souza is also coming off a unanimous decision defeat to Brianna Van Buren in July last year but finds herself as a slight.
The UFC 252 prelims will be headlined by a lightweight bout between longtime veteran Jim Miller and Vinc Pichel. Miller is enjoying a career renaissance with three wins in his last four including a submission win over young prospect Roosevelt Roberts in June. Despite that, he is a slight underdog against Pichel who is a winner in five of his last six outings. Pichel will try and keep this one standing, and a good opportunity for a breakout win against a well known name.
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UFC 252 Main Card
John Dodson (22-11) vs. Merab Dvalishvili (11-4)
John Dodson will be looking to show that he's not a gatekeeper in the bantamweight division and go on a first winning streak since 2014. The 35-year-old is coming off a big upset TKO win over Nathaniel Wood in February. He has the chance to make it two in a row against the streaking Merab Dvalishvili. After an 0-2 start to his UFC career, the Serra-Longo fighter has found his groove with four straight wins. There’s always the chance of an upset -- especially when it comes to Dodson’s big left hand and speed -- but the smart money is on Dvalishvili getting another win on the scorecards.
Junior dos Santos (21-7) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-1)
Get ready for a quick fight. A potentially explosive affair sees former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos take on hard-hitting Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Both fighters are coming off losses -- Dos Santos saw a three-fight winning streak snapped after he was TKO’d by Curtis Blaydes in January while Rozenstruik suffered his first professional defeat by brutal knockout at the hands of Francis Ngannou at UFC 249 in May.
Given the age and mileage on Dos Santos, Rozenstruik should be a heavy favorite. But after his last outing against Ngannou, “Bigi Boy” is only a slight betting favorite over “JDS” and as we all know, anything can happen when it comes to the heavyweight division. Dos Santos is the much more technical striker, and has a clear path to victory if he doesn’t get put to sleep by a big Rozenstruik strike.
Sean O’Malley (12-0) vs. Marlon Vera (15-6-1)
Sean O’Malley is getting as much attention as the main event. The fan-favorite will face his toughest opponent of his career when he meets Marlon Vera in the bantamweight co-main event of UFC 252.
O’Malley has had an active 2020 with knockouts over Jose Quinonez and Eddie Wineland as he looks to continue climbing up the ranks. His walkoff KO of the former WEK champ Wineland showed his lethal power and confidence. Meanwhile “Chito” is a game opponent with five wins in his last six and has never been finished. Oddsmakers are high on “Sugar” who is a considerable betting favorite over the Ecuadorian. I believe in the O’Malley hype and see an impressive three round decision moving the American up in the ranks.
Stipe Miocic (19-3) vs. Daniel Cormier (22-2, 1NC) - heavyweight title fight
The rivalry will finally come to an end when Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier in the main event between arguably two of the greatest UFC heavyweights of all time.
The score is tied at 1-1 with both fighters getting wins over the other by way of knockout, with “DC” winning the first and the Ohio native winning the rematch. Given how competitive the last fight was, the odds are close. Miocic won their last meeting with a beautiful adjustment in the 4th round and starting landing body shots leading to a finish, however the AKA fighter was dominating much of the contest until he eventually gassed out and succumbed to the heavy punches.
Cormier was set on retiring at the age of 40, but he is still chasing the title more more time. At the age of 41, he doesn’t plan on ending with a loss and has put in a tough camp to get ready. Miocic thinks he has the advantage, and only lost to a lucky punch in the first bout. I however see DC grinding out a victory here, as the Olympic wrestler can get the fight to the ground when he wants, and has learned the dangers of trading Miocic. I like a play on a 5-round decision win for Cormier.
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About Ryan O’Leary
Ryan O’Leary is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist and commentator. The Swedish-based writer is the founder and editor at MMAViking.com, which is the premier source for Nordic mixed martial arts news since 2008.