A pair of champions will collide this Saturday, July 8, when UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier moves up to clash with UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 226. After an impressive card for UFC 225, UFC 226 is absolutely loaded with potential fireworks, including a stacked main card. Here is a look at the main bouts Saturday.
Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier
Odds: Stipe Miocic -265
Once again, Daniel Cormier gets the opportunity to prove he’s elite. He’s accomplished a lot in the UFC but has consistently fallen short in these types of bouts (see: Jon Jones). The key will be whether he can handle Miocic’s knockout power. Miocic has produced knockouts in six of his last seven wins and four of his last five have come in the first round. Cormier is particularly susceptible to high kicks but the good news for him is that isn’t Miocic’s strength. Ultimately, this fight will come down to whether Cormier can withstand the onslaught that he receives early in the fight. If he can get through the first two rounds, he could have a chance to upset Miocic. That said, he is a significant underdog for a reason.
Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega
Odds: Max Holloway -160
Holloway has strung together 12 straight wins dating back to 2013, including three straight TKO wins heading into this fight. He is clearly among the most complete fighters in the UFC and it will be interesting to see how he fares in what could very well be his toughest challenge so far. Ortega is undefeated at 14-0 and is coming off a first-round knockout win over Frankie Edgar that earned him Performance of the Night honors at UFC 222. As the odds indicate, this should be a close battle between two tough, versatile fighters.
Francis Ngannou vs Derrick Lewis
Odds: Francis Ngannou -380
Ngannou looked absolutely unstoppable in knocking out Andrei Arlovski and Alistair Overeem, both in under two minutes. However, Ngannou met his match at UFC 220 when he was stopped by Miocic in a fight that went the distance. Ngannou has shown that he’s elite in the division, which is why he’s a heavy favorite in this bout. He needs a win here to show that the loss to Miocic was nothing more than a close shortcoming to the champ. His knockout power should be on display once again and nobody will be shocked if he ends this fight in the first round.
Michael Chiesa vs Anthony Pettis
Odds: Michael Chiesa -160
Chiesa is another fighter who is expected to bounce back at UFC 226 with a favorable matchup vs Pettis. Chiesa lost to Kevin Lee via technical submission but now he gets Pettis, who has lost five of his last seven fights. Pettis is fresh off a TKO loss to Dustin Poirier in November.
Gokhan Saki vs Khalil Rountree Jr.
Odds: Gokhan Saki -160
Rountree is getting a second chance after testing positive for clomiphene following his unanimous decision win over Michal Oleksiejczuk at UFC 219. However, it won’t be an easy matchup against an underrated fighter in Saki. Saki is coming off a first-round knockout win over Henrique da Silva in which he earned Performance of the Night. He’s looking to prove himself with another excellent opportunity on Saturday.