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UFC 252 odds, preview: Daniel Cormier’s return to wrestling could turn ‘pick em’ into easy victory over Stipe Miocic

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back at UFC APEX in Las Vegas for the heavyweight rubber match over two years in the making. Champion Stipe Miocic and challenger Daniel Cormier face off in one of the most popular UFC trilogy fights in history. Let’s take an advanced look at how the odds makers assess this weekend’s heavyweight main event title fight. 

Over the past few decades, UFC fans have witnessed a rare but history-making set of trilogy fights featuring Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez, Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture, and BJ Penn vs. Matt Hughes.

Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic will look to join that elite group and perhaps break their peers’ records in the UFC 252 pay-per-view (PPV) main event on ESPN+ this weekend (Sat., Aug. 15, 2020) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Heavyweight legend Daniel Cormier is looking for his swan song as a professional mixed martial artist to end with gold around his waist, still adamant he’s able to defeat Miocic for a second time. The former two-division UFC champion and Olympic wrestler — win or lose — will likely go down in history as one of the greatest fighters to ever to bless the UFC Octagon.

In any weight class.

The combatant looking to put a final knockout in Cormier’s legacy will be current UFC heavyweight titleholder, Stipe Miocic. A part-time firefighter and former golden gloves boxing champion, Miocic is no stranger to big (or dangerous) fights and could easily shock the world for a second time with his striking expertise inside the cage.

The stage is set and history will be written this Saturday evening with the title of “greatest UFC heavyweight fighter of all time” up for grabs as legacies will be defined and hearts will be broken.

Let’s take a closer look at how they stack up.

Daniel Cormier: Age 41
Professional MMA record: 22-2-0
Gym: American Kickboxing Academy (AKA)
First Professional Fight: May 25th 2009 (UFC debut 2013)
Streak: 1 loss (Miocic by KO in 2019)

Path to Victory – To go down as the greatest heavyweight fighter in UFC history, Cormier has one more hill to climb in the form of Miocic. “DC” needs to take this fight back to his bread and butter, the same style that previously won him countless championships across multiple martial arts disciplines since the very beginning of his career.

Wrestling!

After winning his first fight against Miocic and taking an early lead in their eventual rematch — right up until the knockout in round four — “DC” should have all the confidence in the world in knowing that his all-around MMA game is at a higher level than his opponent. If he can avoid striking with the former golden gloves boxer at range, it should be (dare I say it) an easy outing for the combatant formerly known as UFC “Champ Champ.”

Especially in the smaller cage fitted for UFC APEX.

Stipe Miocic: Age 37
Professional MMA record: 19-3-0
Gym: Strong Style Fight Team
First Fight: March 10th 2010 (UFC debut 2011)
Streak: 1 win (TKO over Cormier in 2019)

Path to Victory – Trilogy bouts are some of the most exciting rivalry outcomes to predict because there are two high-level fighters who have met their equal in terms of competition, making a rubber match the only way to decide the true winner.

Miocic overcame the adversity he suffered from his first-round knockout loss during their first encounter when in the second fight, he strategically avoided dirty boxing with “DC” on the inside. He still lost the majority of the rounds, but the momentum should favor him heading into their third and final fight.

The gameplan for Miocic should be to avoid close contact, use his range and size to outbox Cormier at a distance. If Stipe can force “DC” into uncomfortable striking positions as he did during the latter half of their second scrap, he has a high probability of producing the same outcome.

Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic Bookmakers Odds

The bookmakers are scarce this week, and you can’t blame them. Opening odds for both Cormier and Miocic came in at -110 at Bovada, a “pick-em” line for a “pick-em” style matchup.

Cormier is arguably the more talented martial artist, but that doesn’t exclude the fact that Miocic found a weakness in the aging “DC” the last time we saw these two inside the Octagon, which gives us considerable pause when betting UFC 252 this weekend.

That said, I still believe “DC” will achieve his goal of exiting the UFC on top of his game, leaving the company as the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.

Final Prediction: Daniel Cormier by decision

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 252 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+/Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 252: “Miocic vs. Cormier 3” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the finalized UFC 252 fight card and lineup click here.