Cyborg massive betting favorite on Saturday’s UFC 222 odds

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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.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Lomachenko stops Linares in 10th, wins lightweight title

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NEW YORK (AP) Vasiliy Lomachenko stopped Jorge Linares in the 10th round of their lightweight championship fight Saturday night, winning a title in his third weight class in just his 12th pro bout.

Lomachenko landed a hard left to the body during a flurry of precision punches that sent Linares went to a knee. Linares finally got up just as the count was reaching 10 but referee Ricky Gonzalez called an end to the fight at 2:08 of the round.

Linares knocked down Lomachenko in the sixth and the fight was all even after nine rounds before Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) put an overpowering end to his first fight at 135 pounds, adding that title to his belts at 126 and 130 pounds.

Linares (44-4, 27 KOs) hadn’t lost since 2012 and used his size advantage to do some damage, but in the end Lomachenko did more in an exciting Madison Square Garden match.

The fighter widely known as Vasyl said this week he prefers to use Vasiliy, his legal name. And now he can be called lightweight champion after picking up the WBA’s version of the belt in front of a crowd of 10,429 that chanted “Loma! Loma!” and waved blue and gold flags for much of the night.

It was Lomachenko’s eighth straight victory by stoppage, but this one was much tougher than a recent stretch of clinics in which his last four fights ended when his opponents’ corners wouldn’t let them take more punishment from the Ukrainian.

Lomachenko had joked he should be called “no mas Chenko” for his habit of making opponents quit, but Linares made him earn this victory.

The Venezuelan was on a 13-fight winning streak and was giving the two-time Olympic gold medalist the test he wanted, one that he said would bring out the best in what many already consider the most skilled fighter in the world.

Each fighter was ahead 86-84 on a judge’s card, while Julie Lederman had it 85-all after nine rounds.

Lomachenko said Thursday he needed to finally be put in danger to show his complete array of skills, and then on display in the 10th round with a series of shots that Linares couldn’t defend, especially the left to his midsection that took the biggest toll.

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Golovkin makes short work of Martirosyan with 2nd round KO

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) Gennady Golovkin won his 20th consecutive middleweight title defense with a second-round knockout of Vanes Martirosyan on Saturday night.

Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) tied Bernard Hopkins’ record for middleweight title defenses by sending Martirosyan down at 1:53 of the second round.

After being tagged with a strong three-punch combination from Martirosyan (36-4-1) late in the first round, Golovkin responded with a devastating charge in the second. He started the onslaught with a short left and pounced on the damaged Martirosyan, finally dropping him with two powerful lefts.

The fight was arranged at the last minute after Golovkin’s rematch with Canelo Alavarez fell apart. Golovkin and Alvarez fought to a draw last September and were set to meet again in Las Vegas on Cinco de Mayo before Alvarez was suspended for six months by the Nevada Athletic Commission in April after failing a March drug test.

With the lucrative fight against Alvarez scuttled until this fall at the earliest, Golovkin was eventually able to put together a replacement bout in Southern California, where he built up a strong following with a series of title defenses at StubHub Center and the Forum. Despite short notice and a modest card, promotors expected Golovkin to draw a record-crowd for boxing at StubHub Center of more than 9,000.

Golovkin said he would take on all comers, including Alvarez.

“I want everyone,” Golovkin said. “I have a lot of belts. I challenge anyone to come and take my belts. I don’t care who. Let’s clean out the division.”

In the first women’s fight on HBO in the cable network’s 45-year history of broadcasting boxing, undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus (33-0) remained undefeated with a unanimous decision win over Kali Reis (13-7-1).

Braekhus won 97-92, 96-93 and 96-93 on the three scorecards despite being knocked down to one knee by a hard right from Reis in the seventh round. Reis nearly dropped Braekhus again in the eighth with another hard right, and the crowd booed when the result was announced after Reis’ late charge.

UFC featherweight champion Cris Cyborg attended the fight and confirmed her interest in boxing against Braekhus.