It is always a challenge to find good value before a Cris Cyborg fight.
Cyborg is the biggest favorite on a main card as the -1600 favorite with Yana Kunitskaya coming back at +800 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in the women’s featherweight championship bout that is the main event for UFC 222. The card is set for T-Mobil Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The prologue for this bout came just two months ago, when Cyborg was extended to a decision against Holly Holm on December 30. What Cyborg, who is better than former Invicta fighter Kunitskaya in probably every facet of the Octagon, probably took from going the full five rounds was a lesson in being cautious. That could serve her well at avoiding strikes from Kunitskaya (who has a more orthodox stance than Holm).
That might well mean that Cyborg could put off the stoppage in Round 2. Prior to the Holm fight, Cyborg had won 12 fights in a row by knockout or technical knockout. The UFC has had 14 fights in the last five years with a favorite of -1200 or more. Eleven of the fights – 78.6 percent – ended with a stoppage.
Denied a shot at the featherweight title with champion Max Holloway (ankle) scratched, Frankie Edgar (-175) is favored on the UFC 222 odds against Brian Ortega (+145), who was confirmed for the fight with about three weeks’ notice. It’s hard to go against Edgar, with his quick footwork that lets him get in and out of the pocket without taking punishment, in a matchup against Ortega, who’s on the main card for the first time in his career.
Andre Soukhamthath (-145) takes an edge in seasoning into a bantamweight bout against Sean O’Malley (+115), who is undefeated in nine career pro fights in lower-rung promotions. The main question with the favorite is whether Soukhamthath (whose last four wins have all been by KO/TKO) can be more assertive rather than falling into a pattern of relying on technical striking, since O’Malley has a high work rate that could help in scoring in the event the bout goes to a decision.
Seven-footer Stefan Struve (-190) might look to get the match to ground ASAP against fellow European heavyweight Andrei Arlovski (+155), so he can utilize his long legs and work off his back. Arlovski is the heavier puncher and Struve is vulnerable to being outboxed, so there is potential for both a short fight and an underdog win.
And Kelten Vieira (-160) is favored against Cat Zingano (+130) in a women’s bantamweight match. Inasmuch as each fighter is strongly regarded for her grappling game, this might be a matchup where it’s unlikely the favorite will get beaten at her own speciality. Vieira, nine years the junior of Zingano, has had three of her last four fights go to a decision.
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