The UFC is back in Las Vegas for UFC 213 this Saturday. On paper, it looks like it will be one of the more entertaining recent cards with a slew of intriguing bouts. Let’s take a closer look at the main events.
Amanda Nunes (14-4) defeated Valentina Shevchenko (14-2) when the two first met in March 2016 but now Nunes is the UFC champion. Nunes made the first fight a grind as she kept the pressure up on Shevchenko, a Muay Thai artist and kickboxer. However, Shevchenko has since shown herself to be dangerous on the mat with six submission wins, so Nunes has to be careful when this fight goes to the ground. This could come down to conditioning as this looks like it’ll be a five-round fight that goes to the judges. The oddsmakers have this evenly priced as both fighters come in at -115.
Yoel Romero (13-1) and Robert Whittaker (18-4) will meet for the interim middleweight title, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if this ends quickly. Romero has won 11 fights via TKO/KO while Whittaker has won nine times by knockout. Whittaker is also dangerous on the ground if Romero uses his Olympic wrestling to take him down. Romero won a silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (Freestyle Wrestling) and once he gets top control he is very hard to move. The winner will wait in line to fight injured champion Michael Bisping, who might still be fighting Georges St-Pierre when he comes back. Whittaker is a slight -135 favorite while Romero comes in at +105.
Daniel Omielanczuk (19-7-1, 1 NC) takes on Curtis Blaydes (6-1, 1 NC) in a heavyweight bout that is important for both. Omielanczuk has lost two in a row while Blaydes just had a win overturned for failing a drug test. The UFC has pulled the plug on better fighters before, so they could be fighting for their deals. Omielanczuk is a strong grappler with nine submission wins while Blaydes has won all six of his fights by TKO/KO. Blaydes is a sizable -700 favorite while Omielanczuk is priced at +450.
Highly decorated heavyweights meet as Fabricio Werdum (21-6-1) and Alistair Overeem (42-15, 1 NC) fight for the third time. Werdum submitted Overeem in Pride in May 2006 while Overeem got a unanimous decision win in Strikeforce in June 2011. Werdum, a former UFC heavyweight champion, would do well to use his world-class grappling on Overeem. However, he’ll have to get through some of the most vicious kicks and knees in the world from Overeem. The winner could be in line for another fight with champion Stipe Miocic, who has beaten both men. Overeem is posted at -135 while Werdum is listed at +105.
Anthony Pettis (19-6) and Jim Miller (28-9, 1 NC) will get the show started from the lightweight division. Pettis is back after missing weight for an interim-belt featherweight fight with Max Holloway. Pettis, a former lightweight champion, lost that fight anyway. Miller lost a majority decision to Dustin Poirier in his last fight. Expect an exciting fight in which both can stand up and trade, and their wrestling and jiu-jitsu is top notch. Pettis is listed at -230 for this bout while Miller is priced at +180. Neither man is going to back down in what should be an intriguing tilt.