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UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya gambling guide

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UFC 198 Open Workout Photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

On Saturday night in the the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., Cris Cyborg looks to defend her UFC women’s featherweight title for the second time, taking on former Invicta bantamweight champion Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222. The main event may have some long odds but still, it’s a 12-fight UFC card which means 12 opportunities to bet, and we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know for this weekend.


UFC 222, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada (10 P.M. ET)

Cris Cyborg (-1400/93%) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (+1100/8%)

Frankie Edgar (-165/62%) vs. Brian Ortega (+155/39%)

Sean O’Malley (+110/48%) vs. Andre Soukhamthath (-120/55%)

Stefan Struve (-170/63%) vs. Andre Arlovski (+160/38%)

Cat Zingano (+170/37%) vs. Ketlen Vieira (-185/65%)

FS1 Prelims (8 P.M. ET)

Ashley Yoder (+375/21%) vs. Mackenzie Dern (-420/81%)

Beneil Dariush (-385/79%) vs. Alexander Hernandez (+345/22%)

John Dodson (-165/62%) vs. Pedro Munhoz (+145/41%)

C.B. Dollaway (+105/49%) vs. Hector Lombard (-125/56%)

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:30 P.M. ET)

Mike Pyle (+260/28%) vs. Zak Ottow (-290/74%)

Bryan Caraway (+125/44%) vs. Cody Stamann (-145/59%)

Jordan Johnson (-245/71%) vs. Adam Milstead (+205/33%)


Cyborg by TKO at -315

There’s a reason the straight odds on this are so long: Cris Cyborg is a devastating striker backed up by an excellent all-around MMA game and ferocious athleticism. She is undefeated since her pro debut and most of those fights haven’t been even remotely close to being close. Yana Kunitskaya is a good fighter, but she’s a bantamweight fighting the best featherweight ever, and her tool box just doesn’t have the necessary to cook up an upset, outside of the single-best punch in UFC history.

So when the odds are this wide, for betting purposes you need to look deeper, and if you check out the prop bets, Cyborg by TKO is bafflingly only -315. The only woman to take Cyborg to a decision in the last decade is Holly Holm and while Kunitskaya can fight, she’s no Holly Holm. “Foxy” is going to fall the same way all of Cyborg’s other foes have I think this line should get hammered.

Sean O’Malley at +110

At only 23, Sean O’Malley can already fight really well. His bouncy, in-out striking style is reminiscent of Conor McGregor, though without the game-changing power McGregor brings to bear. What he lacks in one-shot power he makes up for in pace though, throwing almost 16 strikes a minute and landing over half of those shots. His defense is troubling in that it doesn’t exist unless he is specifically focusing on it but O’Malley appears to have a great chin that can get him by until he develops a more layered game.

Soukhamthath is also a striker though one of the more traditional Muay Thai style. He has knockout power and a good chin and can beat up O’Malley should he force his way inside the phonebooth range. He’s good on the counter also which figures to be the most important aspect of his game heading into this fight, as O’Malley’s pace and defense will give him ample opportunity to land big shots.

I was shocked to see Soukhamthath as the favorite in this fight. O’Malley is still raw but he has all the tools to be something great. While Soukhamthath can win, he also has been prone to inactivity that has cost him some close split-decision losses. O’Malley is improving at a rapid clip and just brings more offensive weaponry to bear here. I like “Sugar” Sean to win a decision, and I like him for a bet.

Mike Pyle at +260

Fair warning, this might be a case of the story overruling my better reasoning skills, but Pyle just shouldn’t be this big of an underdog to Zak Ottow. I know Pyle isn’t the fighter he once was but the reality is, losing to Colby Covington, Alex Garcia, and Alberto Mina is a different animal than losing to Ottow.

In his prime, this would have been a stylistic feast for Pyle who thrived against solid-but-not-great fighters without an real elite skills, the exact fighter Ottow is. The question here is “how shopworn is Pyle at this point?” The answer to that is “very” but even so, Ottow doesn’t bring the type of power punching that should be a huge problem for Pyle, even with a cracked chin.

Pyle has always been a supremely slick fighter with a savvy submission game and it just seems to me that, knowing this is his last rodeo, Pyle will break out all the tricks he’s got. That should be good enough to get the job done for me and I’m picking Pyle to ride off into the sunset and so I love a bet on him at these long odds.


  • If this was five rounds, I might be more interested in Ortega’s chances to sneak a finish in but at three, Edgar’s fight to lose.
  • Struve-Arlovski is a pick ‘em fight in my eyes because who really has any idea how either man will look or respond to getting hit? So with that said, Arlovski has value but isn’t the kind of bet you can feel great about.
  • I was hoping the Zingano-Vieira line would favor Zingano more given she’s the more well-known commodity but sadly the line is just about right and Vieira should take this.
  • I’m tempted to take a flyer on Yoder because Dern is still so raw but the most likely outcome is that Yoder eventually grapples and there she’s out of her depth.
  • Hernandez is coming in on short notice and you should never bet those fights without an excellent reason.
  • Dodson has a reasonable case that he has yet to lose at bantamweight and I don’t think Munhoz is the guy to get a clean win over him.
  • Dollaway-Lombard is close to a coin flip and the odds reflect that. If Dollaway moves to bigger plus money (> +120), take a shot on him.
  • If you don’t mind the idea of betting on a guying coming off of a two-year layoff, Bryan Caraway is actually good value here.
  • Don’t bet mid-level heavyweight fights,

That’s all for this week. If you have any questions or you’d like to talk more about MMA betting or the fights in general, reach out to me @JedKMeshew. Otherwise, good luck and enjoy the fights!

(Editor’s note: All of this advice is for entertainment purposes only.)