When the UFC Apex Facility was built in Las Vegas at company headquarters, its Octagon was smaller than normal. On Saturday, two UFC legends will try their hand in the 25-foot ring to headline UFC 252. UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier will go head-to-head with the title on the line for the third time in just over two years. Cormier knocked Miocic out in the first round to become a two-division champion at UFC 226, while Miocic earned a fourth-round knockout to take the title back in their second bout at UFC 241.
Now, Miocic vs. Cormier III will top the UFC 252 fight card in Las Vegas, with the main card starting at 10 p.m. ET. Cormier is a -115 favorite (risk $115 to win $100), while Miocic is priced at -105 in the latest UFC 252 odds from William Hill. In the co-main event, rising bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley (-330) takes on Marlon Vera (+270). Before making any UFC 252 picks, make sure you see what SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley has to say.
Marley won the first-ever “ToutMaster” UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and daily Fantasy shows. He watches every single fight for every single UFC card and does extensive research before each event.
Over the past 17 months, $100 bettors who have followed Marley’s picks are up more than $20,000. The accomplished MMA analyst has been on fire and connected on 16 of his last 18 main-event selections, a stretch that included a streak of five straight underdogs. At UFC Fight Night last Saturday, Marley accurately predicted an early stoppage win for Derrick Lewis (-200) against Aleksei Oleinik (+170) in the heavyweight main event. He also correctly predicted a decision victory for Chris Weidman (-120) against Omari Akhmedov (+100) in the middleweight co-main event. Anyone who has consistently followed Marley is way up.
Now, with UFC 252 fast approaching, Marley has carefully studied every matchup on the card, identified the best value in the UFC odds and released his MMA picks for every fight. Those selections are only available at SportsLine.
Miocic vs. Cormier preview
Cormier (22-2-1) is a former two-division champion whose only career losses in the UFC have come to light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones and Miocic. He fought Jones to a competitive decision loss, and a defeat in their second match was later overturned to a no-contest after Jones failed a drug test.
The 41-year-old became heavyweight champion with his upset of Miocic as a massive underdog in their first meeting. He connected with an uppercut that led to a first-round stoppage and stopped Miocic’s record for heavyweight title defenses at three.
But Miocic (19-3), 37, pleaded for a rematch and made good on his vow to regain his belt. Cormier almost managed another early victory, but Miocic rebounded to score a fourth-round technical knockout that was the result of a flurry of body shots.
The fighters used to be on somewhat friendly terms, but their battles have created a rift. Both have said they already have proven to be the better fighter and will show it again by winning the rubber match. You can only see Marley’s coveted Miocic vs. Cormier picks here.
Top UFC 252 predictions
We’ll share one of Marley’s UFC 252 predictions here: He is backing Merab Dvalishvili to get the win as a -180 favorite over former Ultimate Fighter winner John Dodson (+160) in a battle between two ranked bantamweights. Dvalishvili (11-4) is ranked No. 15 in the division and has recorded four consecutive victories by decision thanks to his wrestling prowess.
Dvalishvili averages a whopping 7.8 takedowns per 15 minutes in his UFC career compared to Dodson’s (22-11) 0.76. And even though the 12th-ranked bantamweight in the world has an 80 percent takedown defense, Dodson will have a difficult time keeping this fight on his feet where he has the best chance to impress judges or earn a stoppage.
“Dvalishvili is a new breed of wrestler. He is nonstop and his pace is impressive,” Marley told SportsLine. “It is the wrestling that sets Dvalishvili apart from basically everybody else.”
How to make UFC 252 picks
Marley also has strong picks for Miocic vs. Cormier 3 and every other bout on the UFC 252 card. He’s also backing one combatant who is the “more dangerous fighter and the better striker.” You can see those UFC 252 picks only at SportsLine.
Who wins UFC 252? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight on Saturday’s UFC 252 card, all from the accomplished expert who’s up over $20,000 and has nailed 16 of the last 18 UFC main events, and find out.
UFC 252 odds (via William Hill)
Daniel Cormier (-115) vs. Stipe Miocic (-105)
Sean O’Malley (-330) vs. Marlon Vera (+270)
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-155) vs. Junior Dos Santos (+135)
Merab Dvalishvili (-180) vs. John Dodson (+160)
Magomed Ankalaev (-300) vs. Ion Cutelaba (+250)
Vinc Pinchel (-115) vs. Jim Miller (-105)
Livia Souza (-150) vs. Ashley Yoder (+130)
Parker Porter (-125) vs. Chris Daukaus (+105)
Virna Jandriroba (-310) vs. Felice Herring (+255)
Herbert Burns (-260) vs. Daniel Pineda (+220)
Ike Villanueva (-115) vs. Jorge Gonzalez (-105)