It’s time for another exciting UFC pay-per-view event and this time it’s UFC 238 in Chicago, Illinois. The stacked fight card is scheduled for Saturday, June 8, and features two title fights at the top of the card.
The rest of the main card is rather incredible, as well, with a handful of exciting fighters set to feature in great matchups.
As always, we here at WagerBop are here to bring you in-depth previews and analysis ahead of the fights that matter. We’ll also provide where you can find the best odds and our betting advice for the event.
Let’s get started.
Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes
A matchup between two of the best small guys in the UFC today, Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes promises to be a brilliant bout.
Henry Cejudo, the reigning flyweight champion of the UFC, has been nothing short of remarkable in the last 12 months. The Olympic gold medallist avenged his earlier loss to Demetrious Johnson by winning a split decision against him to take away his title and claim a victory against one of the greatest pound-for-pound athletes in the history of the sport.
The 32-year-old now enjoys a four-fight winning streak that most recently saw him defeat another highly-rated competitor in mixed martial arts when he knocked out TJ Dillashaw in just 32 seconds at UFC on ESPN+ 1 in January.
Cejudo now ranks as one of the best in the sport today – in any weight division – and a win over Marlon Moraes may earn him even higher regard.
Marlon Moraes’ pathway to a UFC title shot hasn’t been an easy one in its entirety, but he’s sure made an impressive run to the top in his last three fights.
His UFC career started in disappointing style when he dropped a narrow split decision to Raphael Assuncao at UFC Fight Night 120 in November 2011. At the time, it was no concern because Assuncao is a tough, proven fighter and Moraes was facing what appeared to be his greatest test to date.
However, Moraes has managed to squash any remaining doubt that he belongs at the top level of the sport after putting together an impressive four-fight winning streak that has most recently seen him earn first-round stoppage victories against Aljamain Sterling, Jimmie Rivera and then Assuncao in a rematch.
There’s an argument to be made that Moraes may be the toughest opponent Cejudo has faced yet – and that’s saying something considering the level of talent “The Messenger” has faced in his last two fights alone.
Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes Odds
Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes Breakdown
If you’ve watched even a minute of mixed martial arts action in your lifetime, you’re probably already aware that Henry Cejudo is an Olympic gold medallist at wrestling. Cejudo makes sure to announce the fact at every opportunity and the UFC are right to do so, as well.
Many would think that his wrestling accolades alone would give him a significant advantage when it comes to mixed martial arts, a sport that is often occupied by fighters who don’t particularly excel in any one martial art. However, Cejudo’s wrestling has barely been a factor in recent fights, as he has developed his striking to a point where he is not at all a one-dimensional fighter. At best, his wrestling has been used to change the tempo of a fight and force his opponent to at least consider the threat of the takedown, therefore affecting their striking, as well.
So, while Cejudo does have great takedown ability, he doesn’t have the finishing ability on the mat to really make it count. Against Demetrious Johnson, Cejudo mostly just held “Mighty Mouse” down and rarely attacked. He may win some rounds against Moraes using a similar strategy, but Moraes is dangerous on the mat and that’s something for Cejudo to consider.
Whereas the takedowns may be a point of difference if Cejudo can get his wrestling game going on this occasion, a more likely outcome in this fight is that Moraes is able to successfully beat-up the lead leg of Cejudo.
Cejudo’s new, wider stance has helped him bridge the gap on the feet, but it’s also resulted in him being more vulnerable to attacks to his front leg. Johnson repeatedly tagged the lead leg of Cejudo with kicks, but Moraes is a devastating kicker who doesn’t just look to strike his opponent, but really do damage with every attempt.
At a distance, Moraes seems to have all of the advantages when this one remains standing. Cejudo’s best work lately has been a result of planting his feet and unloading series of punches when his opponent moves forward to close the distance. He’ll dip his head into the chest of the incoming fighter and then raise it to let go of a series of powerful hooks. This series was on display in the TJ Dillashaw knockout.
As we approach UFC 238, we consider Moraes to be a difficult task for Cejudo. The flyweight champion has done the unthinkable before, and there’s always the chance he can do it again this weekend, but we’re leaning Moraes to get the job done here at these relatively generous odds.
Bet on Marlon Moraes to win: -120 at SportsInt.
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Eye
The co-main event of UFC 238 is a women’s flyweight bout that will see Valentina Shevchenko step in to defend her title for the first time. She’ll be facing top-ranked contender Jessica Eye in what the bookmakers and public are predicting to be an entirely one-sided fight.
Arguably the second greatest female mixed martial artist in the world today, and likely one of the best to ever do it, Valentina Shevchenko finally won UFC gold when she claimed the title in a matchup with Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Shevchenko now rules over the 125-pound division after a failed attempt to win the title from the current champion of the 135-pound category, Amanda Nunes.
It’s not every day you see a fighter with more losses than wins in a promotion earn a shot at the title, but here we are. After nine fights with an actual result in the UFC, Jessica Eye has won just four bouts and three of those come in her last three appearances. Eye has settled into the flyweight division well since the category opened up and seems to be in a much better place mentally.
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Eye Odds
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Eye Breakdown
There’s not a whole lot to break down here. Jessica Eye’s most likely strategy will be to rush Shevchenko, close the distance early and attempt to smother her with wrestling. While that’s probably her best chance of succeeding in this title fight, that doesn’t mean it’s an efficient or probable outcome.
For as much attention and praise Shevchenko gets as being a striker, many seem to look over the fact that she is a brilliantly well-rounded mixed martial artist who has shown massive improvements in her ground game over the years. Probably the best example of this is how she used takedowns to change the pace of the fight with Jedrzejczyk. Another is her relatively surprising armbar submission win against Julianna Pena in 2017.
Jessica Eye has never been finished in the UFC and Shevchenko isn’t an aggressive fighter by any means. A stoppage win here would mean that Eye would have to do something entirely reckless or Shevchenko will need to chase the finish and not employ her usual risk-averse fighting style (less likely).
The odds at Bet365 for Shevchenko to win by a decision are far too good to pass up on, and we’ll bet accordingly.
Bet on Valentina Shevchenko to win by decision: +150 at Bet365
Tony Ferguson vs. Donald Cerrone
Tucked underneath two exciting title fights, many may look over the fact that Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone are set to square off in what seems to be a possible title-eliminator bout at UFC 238.
There’s an argument to be made that Tony Ferguson is one of the most skilled and feared lightweight fighters in the UFC today. Ferguson’s now won 11 fights in a row but is surprisingly yet to fight for a genuine title (non-interim) in the UFC. While that’s mostly due to a whole heap of unexpected fight-week incidents that kept him and other top lightweight fighters including Khabib Nurmagomedov from competing against each other, Ferguson has remained patient and is now potentially just one fight away from meeting the winner of Nurmagomedov vs. Poirier.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has long been a fan-favorite of any serious mixed martial arts fan. With his exciting style and genuine love for fighting, crowds have enjoyed watching Cerrone over the years. Recently, however, Cerrone has evolved into something else entirely. Gone are the days when Cerrone was merely interested in having a good scrap with someone; he now has his eyes set on winning the lightweight title.
At UFC 238, one winner will emerge from this lightweight battle and go on to fight for a title this year possibly.
Tony Ferguson vs. Donald Cerrone Odds
Tony Ferguson vs. Donald Cerrone Breakdown
It’s being called “The People’s Main Event” for a reason – this one is going to be extremely fun for as long as it lasts. It’s also an exciting one to break down.
On one hand, we have Tony Ferguson, who slides around the Octagon with his salsa-esque stance and movement. He’ll gracefully switch stances while mixing in all kinds of crazy, unexpected strikes. A joy to watch because of his high-pace and intense pressure, he’s also exciting to spectate because he is involved in back-and-forth fights more often than not. We rarely see Ferguson dominate a fight from start to finish. He’ll dish out extraordinary amounts of damage but also take a dozen good shots in return along the way.
His pressure is a critical point of consideration here against Donald Cerrone. Cerrone loves to play the outside-kicking game where he can sit back and pick his best shots. “Cowboy” would always be overwhelmed by forward-moving fighters who could pressure him, push him back to the cage and smother him with strikes. Recently, however, Cerrone has added a terrific intercepting knee to his set of tools, allowing him to effectively disable any opponent that moves forward recklessly. Alexander Hernandez tried to tap into the high-pressure strategy against Cerrone but was met with brutal knees to the midsection over and over again.
Unlike Hernandez, or many others Cerrone has faced, though, Ferguson is an elite-level pressurer with a near-endless gas tank and unparalleled heart and determination. Nothing slows Ferguson down, so Cerrone’s going to need a miracle to keep “El Cucuy” from advancing here.
The grappling is a major point of consideration that we haven’t touched on in great detail here, simply because it’s an area that seems almost unpredictable in this matchup. Both fighters have exceptional submission ability and a unique scramble situation could lead to either fighter being stuck in the creative submission attempts of the other.
This one will likely be decided on the feet, however, and that’s where Ferguson seems to have the upper-hand in this one. Betting Ferguson to win does seem like great value, but we’re instead going to extract value from the Ferguson to win via stoppage prop, a selection that seems to be incredibly generous at the moment.
Bet on Tony Ferguson to win inside the distance: +187 at Bet365