After last weekend’s disastrous main event that saw Valentina Shevchenko cruise to an easy five-round unanimous decision against Liz Carmouche in what is regarded as one of the least-entertaining title fights in recent memory, we now move on to an event that promises to be one of the best of the year.
UFC 241 happens this Saturday, August 17, in Anaheim, California, and the fight card is packed with well-known, exciting fighters.
As always, we’re here to bring you all of the odds, as well as a comprehensive betting guide for the event with detailed breakdowns of Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic and also Anthony Pettis vs. Nate Diaz.
Let’s get started!
UFC 241 Fight Card and Odds
Main Card – 10:00pm ET / 7:00pm PT
- Daniel Cormier (-129) vs. Stipe Miocic (+118)
- Anthony Pettis (-127) vs. Nate Diaz (+121)
- Yoel Romero (-140) vs. Paulo Costa (+120)
- Gabriel Benitez (+235) vs. Sodiq Yusuff (-275)
- Derek Brunson (+115) vs. Ian Heinisch (-135)
Prelims – 8:00pm ET / 5:00pm PT
- Khama Worthy (+550) vs. Devonte Smith (-800)
- Raphael Assuncao (+170) vs. Cory Sandhagen (-200)
- Manny Bermudez (-135) vs. Casey Kenney (+115)
- Drakkar Klose (-170) vs. Christos Giagos (+150)
Early Prelims – 6:15pm ET / 3:15pm PT
- Hannah Cifers (-290) vs. Jodie Esquibel (+245)
- Kyung Ho Kang (-190) vs. Brandon Davis (+165)
- Sabina Mazo (-120) vs. Shana Dobson (+100)
Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic
Now that Daniel Cormier has reached the age of 40, there’s every chance that his title defense at UFC 241 could be the last time we see Cormier step inside the cage.
As we approach the weekend, Cormier now sits on an official seven-fight winning streak (ignoring the no-contest “defeat” to Jon Jones in 2017). In the past four years alone, Cormier has captured the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, defended it, and then moved up to claim the UFC Heavyweight Championship and defend that, as well.
This weekend he’s facing Stipe Miocic again. At the time Cormier challenged for the heavyweight title, Miocic had just set the record for the most consecutive heavyweight title defenses in UFC history. Miocic looked incredible and many fans, media, and pundits alike weren’t so sure of Cormier’s chances at knocking the heavyweight kingpin away from the top of the division.
However, Cormier silenced the world that night with a devastating knockout blow that saw him walk away with the title and left Miocic scrambling for a rematch. Now, after more than one year, Miocic returns for the first time this weekend with an opportunity to get redemption for the mistakes he made at UFC 226 last year.
Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic Odds
The First Fight
Although Cormier came away with the KO victory last year, it was far from smooth sailing for the then-light heavyweight champion.
In the early stages of the fight, Miocic’s size and strength seemed to play an important factor. When pushed to the cage, Miocic easily turned Cormier and kept a strong hand grip to disallow Cormier from setting up either takedowns or strikes from the clinch.
At long range, Miocic was particularly dangerous. Using his 8-inch reach advantage, Miocic’s punches were enough to force Cormier to duck and weave. These attacks kept Cormier on the back foot for the early stages of the fight, but Miocic was never able to land cleanly with his most powerful strikes.
The fight turned once Cormier worked out how to safely close the distance against Miocic and begin using his clinch and dirty boxing techniques.
At close range, Miocic’s height and reach advantage was nullified, and Cormier was able to throw strikes with surprisingly significant power. The final move of the fight resulted from a mistake that Miocic plans to fix this time around. As Miocic secured the underhook on Cormier’s left side of the body, Cormier became aware of the fact that Miocic’s left side was vulnerable to an attack. Cormier separated and then crushed Miocic with a heavy left hook that knocked him out instantly.
It was a stunning finish to what was an otherwise very competitive and entertaining battle.
The odds have been almost completely reversed ahead of UFC 241. Before their first fight, Miocic was a slight betting favorite, and Cormier came in as the underdog. This time, however, fans seem to appreciate Cormier’s ability at heavyweight, and he has remained the betting favorite for months now.
But what’s changed?
Miocic insists that he’s taken the 14 months away from the sport to fix the glaring holes in his game, including that one habit that led Cormier’s knockout victory. With better defense at close range, Cormier will likely struggle to have the same success as last time.
In saying that, Cormier feels like there are a couple of other opportunities that exist against Miocic and one of them in particular. Understandably, he hasn’t revealed the gameplan ahead of UFC 241, but he promises to share all following the fight.
An assumption can be made that Cormier is hoping to implement his wrestling game in this rematch. He has continually hinted at how he managed to score an impressive victory against Miocic in the first fight, without using what is arguably his greatest strength. If he can get his wrestling going against Miocic, that could be one of the few ways to equal the performance that saw him capture the title in the first place.
As the fight draws closer, we can’t help but think that value is on Miocic’s side in this rematch.
His strength and size will enable him to defend Cormier’s advances, and if he can stick to the outside and work Cormier with long punches, he has a clear pathway to victory, whether it’s by early finish or decision.
Bet on Stipe Miocic to win: +118 at BetDSI
Anthony Pettis vs. Nate Diaz
Although Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic is sitting in the main event slot, it’s the welterweight matchup between Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz that’s getting all of the attention.
After three years away from the sport, Nate Diaz is set to return to the cage this weekend for the first time since being defeated by Conor McGregor at UFC 202. Nate was always a popular fighter because of both his fighting style and his attitude.
As UFC commentator Joe Rogan stated, fans love Diaz “because he doesn’t give a f**k. He legitimately doesn’t give a f**k. He smokes weed all the time. People love it. They love the fact that those guys are like that.”
But it was the win over Conor McGregor and the rematch that followed that really threw Diaz into the spotlight.
Now, with more eyes on him than ever before, he makes his return to face Anthony Pettis, who is experiencing somewhat of a career resurgence.
After consistent struggles to build momentum at lightweight, Pettis moved up to welterweight and battled with two-time UFC title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in March. Many pundits believed that Thompson would convincingly defeat Thompson considering not only the size advantage but disparity in skill level.
However, Pettis shocked fans by knocking out Thompson in the second round with a superman punch.
There’s a lot on the line for both fighters at UFC 241, so let’s look at the odds and break down the fight.
Anthony Pettis vs. Nate Diaz Odds
Anthony Pettis vs. Nate Diaz breakdown
Remarkably, Pettis and Diaz have very similar fighting styles.
Both fighters look to beat their opponent while standing, but end up submitting many of their opponents – rather than knocking them out – because they have exceptional jiu-jitsu skills that come into play once the opposing fighter looks to change the course of the fight.
As Diaz and Pettis continue to rack up the damage inflicted on their opponent, it leaves the other fighter with no choice but to shoot for a takedown and try to mix it up on the mat, instead. That’s a critical error, but yet it happens all the time. Diaz and Pettis have more submission wins than victories by any other method on their records.
But despite their similarities, their striking techniques are very different.
Pettis is a great kickboxer who can work the legs, head, and body of his opponent with kicks from both sides. Diaz isn’t much of a kicker himself but prefers to use long-range, straight boxing techniques that not only keep his opponent away but can help to accumulate damage over long periods.
Diaz’s jab-straight combination against McGregor is a perfect example of how these strikes don’t look powerful at the time, but because he lands so cleanly and so often, the opponent starts to become bloodied and bruised after just a round or two.
As we head into UFC 241, there’s a clear opportunity for Pettis to exploit against Diaz in this co-main event.
Diaz has a tendency to stand heavy on his front leg in a stance that resembles more of a traditional boxing style rather than a mixed martial arts style. As a result, his lead leg is often ripped apart by powerful kicks from his opponent. McGregor targeted the lead leg of Diaz over and over again in the second fight and had great success, and Pettis is more than capable of doing the same.
Despite that, however, Diaz still managed to survive the kicks of McGregor before turning up the pace and pressure later in the fight.
When asked about Pettis’ kicking game and whether the leg kicks could play a factor at UFC 241, Diaz responded by saying that he is aware of his weakness and has already planned for the strategies that Pettis will likely employ – leg kicks being one of them.
While it’s entirely possible that Pettis dominates Diaz with kicks on his way to a comfortable decision win, we’re going to side with Diaz before this fight on the basis of Pettis’ tendency to crumble in the middle rounds of his fights recently.
No matter how much damage he takes, Diaz is the type of fighter that will remain in the face of an opponent and keep marching forward. By staying in Pettis’ face for the first two rounds, it’s likely that he can end up inflicting serious damage on his opponent. Diaz doesn’t have the type of power in his hands to put Pettis away with one punch, but there’s a significant chance here that the accumulation of damage can lead to Pettis folding in the third round.
Nate Diaz to win in round three currently has odds of +1475, and that value seems incredibly generous considering his elite cardio. While Pettis has superb submission defense, pure exhaustion from being overwhelmed by Diaz’s pressure is an outcome that seems more probable than these odds suggest.
Bet on Nate Diaz to win in round three: +1475 at 5Dimes