When Stipe Miocic faces Daniel Cormier at UFC 252 this Saturday night, two of the greatest big men in mixed martial arts history will compete for the third and likely final time. The title belt has been passed back and forth between them, and whomever leaves the octagon with it carries more than just some leather and metal: The winner can also lay claim to being the best heavyweight in UFC history.
It’s a main event that will draw the eyes of even the casual fan, but the rest of the card also shapes up nicely with plenty of top-rated contenders and what should be outstanding fights. There are 11 bouts scheduled as of now for the event, including some of the elite rising stars across several divisions. The main card will air as a PPV on ESPN+, while the preliminary card will air on ESPN and ESPN+, and the early preliminary card will air on UFC Fight Pass.
Here’s a brief preview of a few of the bouts followed by a list of odds at DraftKings Sportsbook on what should be a terrific card.
Stipe Miocic (-110) vs. Daniel Cormier (-110) — Heavyweight Championship
It’s the end of the trilogy, and the legacy of both fighters is on the line. Miocic had defended the heavyweight championship three times before he was knocked out by Cormier in the first round in 2018. But Miocic won the rematch in 2019 via fourth-round stoppage. Now they’re back to determine the winner of the trilogy, and the winner might lay claim to being the best heavyweight in MMA history.
It’s possible Cormier retires after this fight if he wins, and if Miocic wins he’s overcome every potential challenge to his throne. And as of right now, the bookmakers have it a dead-even fight. It should be one to remember
Sean O’Malley (-315) vs. Marlon Vera (+240)
He’s got the charisma, the undefeated record, and the shop-stopping knockouts to be the UFC’s next big star. “Sugar” Sean O’Malley is just 25 but has the MMA world at his feet right now. His first-round endings of Jose Alberto Quinonez and Eddie Wineland were both incredible, and he’s earned either a Fight of The Night or Performance of The Night bonus in all three of his octagon appearances.
Marlon Vera has won five of his last six bouts, but he’s the big underdog to the rainbow hair and branding genius of O’Malley.
Junior Dos Santos (+120) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-150)
The #5 and #6 fighters in the heavyweight division respectively, either of these guys will want a shot at the strap with a victory. Dos Santos served as champion in 2011-12, but now he’ll turn gatekeeper for a stopping machine from Suriname in Rozenstruik. He goes by “Bigi Boy,” but Rozenstruik’s thunderous hands are what make him compelling. He lost his first fight ever the last time out to Francis Ngannou, so he’ll need a win to keep him in title contention.
Herbert Burns (-286) vs. Daniel Pineda (+2210)
The brother of #1 welterweight contender Gilbert Burns fights at featherweight, but he’s got all the stopping power of his brother as well. With a pair of first round stoppages in his only two UFC fights, the younger brother looks to get into the rankings with a win as well.
In Daniel Pineda he draws a UFC returnee who hasn’t been in Dana White’s promotion for six years. He’ll need to show he’s more than just a replacement if he’d like to make a more permanent return to where he once was.
Stipe Miocic -110
Daniel Cormier -110
Sean O’Malley -315
Marlon Vera +240
Junior Dos Santos +120
Jairzinho Rozenstruik -150
John Dodson +160
Merab Dvalishvili -200
Magomed Ankalaev -315
Ion Cutelaba +240
Ashley Yoder +130
Livinha Souza -162
Felice Herrig +240
Virna Jandiroba -315
Herbert Burns -286
Daniel Pineda +221
TJ Brown — TBD
Danny Chavez — TBD
Jim Miller — TBD
Vinc Pinchel — TBD
Chris Daukaus — TBD
Parker Porter — TBD
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