Amanda Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg
|Date & Time||Saturday December 29, 2018, 11:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Cris Cyborg -254 / Amanda Nunes +226 -- Over/Under:
Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes fight Saturday during UFC 232 at the T-Mobile Arena.
Cris Cyborg enters this fight with a 20-1 record and has won 85 percent of her fights by knockout. Cyborg has won her last 20 fights and is coming off a March win over Yana Kunitskaya. Cyborg is averaging 6.81 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 58 percent. Cyborg is averaging 0.91 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 75 percent. Cyborg is now 5-0 under the UFC banner and will be defending her belt for the third time. Cyborg is coming off a first round knockout victory and has produced knockouts in all but one of her fights since 2009. Holly Holm is the only fighter in Cyborg’s last 15 fights to go the distance with the powerful Brazilian. There’s never any surprises with Cyborg, as she’s a power striker with relentless aggression, ridiculous pop and a proven chin that allows her to stand in there and trade blows. It’s not a question of if Cyborg lands those power strikes, it’s when, and there’s not many female fighters who can take such punishment. Cyborg lands her strikes standing up, in the clinch and on the ground, and she forces her opponent to fight her fight with a superb takedown defense. The only real concern with Cyborg is her conditioning, as she can tire herself out at times early and that sets up for less effectiveness and creates an opening for a losing effort. Still, Cyborg is as powerful as any fighter on the female side. This will be Cyborg’s fourth career fight in Las Vegas.
Amanda Nunes enters this fight with a 16-4 record and has won 69 percent of her fights by knockout. Nunes has won her last seven fights and is coming off a May win over Raquel Pennington. Nunes is averaging 4.54 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 51 percent. Nunes is averaging 1.86 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 42 percent. Nunes is coming off a fifth round knockout victory to successfully defend her UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship, and she’s now produced finishes in seven of her last nine victories. Nunes now has a chance to win at least two fights a year for the third time in her last four tries. Nunes has built the reputation of being one of the top strikers on the female side, as her combination of accuracy, power and aggressiveness has produced 11 career knockouts. Nunes lands 70 percent of her strikes standing up, but she’s also highly effective with her ground and pound. However, Nunes is no stranger to the takedown attempts and has become far more comfortable on the canvas over the years. Nunes is averaging nearly nine minutes per fight and has fought 10 rounds in her last two bouts, so she’s built for the long game. This will be Nunes’ fifth career fight in Las Vegas.
I’ve never bet against Cyborg, and I understand why she’s favored here. Cyborg’s power is unreal and the relentless attack puts her opponents in an awkward situation that they can’t handle. With that said, we’re getting big plus money with Nunes, who is a champion in her ownright and also the more balanced fighter. Nunes is capable of dragging Cyborg into deep waters and possibly tiring her out with her ground game. Nunes also has a slight leg and each advantage over Cyborg, which is key in stand up striking. This fight should be closer than the odds indicate.
Cyborg should be favored, but the big plus money with Nunes makes me want to back The Lioness simply off the value.