UFC 222: Any Chance Kunitskaya Upsets Cyborg?

Friday, March 2, 2018 12:28 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 2, 2018 12:28 PM UTC

After an injury nearly derailed UFC 222, the event is back on and pretty stacked with exceptional fights from beginning to end. Well, for the most part.

UFC 222Free UFC Pick: Cyborg-Kunitskaya Under 1.5 RoundsBest Line Offered 5Dimes

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UFC 222 is headlined by Cris Cyborg defending her women’s featherweight title against relative unknown Yana Kunitskaya. Although it is the main event, it’s the fight with the least intrigue. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bet on it, right? Here’s how ...

The only question in the main event is just how long it will take for Cyborg to dispatch of Kunitskaya. Don’t let the promotional build fool you, the only reason this fight happened was because the UFC wants title fights on all of their PPVs and Cyborg was ready once Max Holloway fell out due to injury. However, nobody really wants to fight Cyborg so the UFC found Kunitskaya to be the UFC women’s featherweight champion’s next victim.

Let’s be clear, this is unbettable with Cyborg as high as a -1900 favorite and Kunitskaya as high as +1140. But unless you want to throw some money away, it’s useless. The 'over/under' is where it’s at with a finish inside of 1.5 rounds at -150 and for the fight to go longer than 7.5 minutes at +130. Kunitskaya carries a 10-3 record and has been finished twice. The key thing to recognize is that she’s competed as a bantamweight for the past couple of years and was finished by Tonya Evinger last March. Evinger, as we may remember, hung with Cyborg for three rounds before succumbing to the physicality.

With Cyborg unable to finish Holly Holm, you can fully expect for the champion to look to have her fans leave happy with a devastating finish. Considering Kunitskaya’s relatively subpar ground game, Cyborg may look to take advantage of her there if she finds that the former Taekwondo and Muay Thai champion can hang with her standing up. Either way, this won’t last long and the 'under' is the way to go.

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Step inside the Octagon. @JohnGoodenUK and @DanHardyMMA walk you through #UFC222: https://t.co/Mxe2Gvqjun pic.twitter.com/1NGrGnZ4f8

— UFC (@ufc) March 1, 2018

The co-main event finds former lightweight champion and perennial top contender Frankie Edgar facing rising star Brian Ortega after Holloway was forced to pull out. The undefeated Ortega is yet another prospect that Edgar will look to extinguish. He dominated Yair Rodriguez in his last fight. But Ortega is a different beast. Where Edgar recognized Rodriquez’s challenges dealing with pressure and takedowns, Ortega is a completely different fighter in that regard. An accomplished jiujitsu practitioner with five straight finishes, Ortega is certainly a test for Edgar. After opening up a -210 favorite, Edgar has since come down to -175 while Ortega, who started at +180 is down to +155.

It’s really difficult to bet against Edgar against any fighter in the featherweight division not named Jose Aldo. You just have to wonder when the mileage will eventually catch up to him. But this isn’t the fight that you’d want to bet against Edgar. However, the line might be a little too high to feel 100% comfortable. Nevertheless, keep an eye on the line here as it appears that money is still coming in on Ortega. You might as well ignore the 'over/under' of 2.5 rounds with the 'over' being highly likely, but the -240 is enough to scare anybody away while the under sits at +200. Unfortunately, as tantalizing as that might sound, neither fighter has ever been finished.

This fight is going to be tough, but Edgar should be the pick here as he sets himself up for a showdown with Holloway. And, who knows, he might make it look easy.

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Gritty fighter. Loyal father.@FrankieEdgar #UFC222 pic.twitter.com/KTO2JUQNgJ

— UFC (@ufc) February 28, 2018

Of the rest of the fights, the Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira women’s bantamweight showdown sticks out the most. Vieira may be undefeated and coming off a 2nd-round submission of Sara McMann, but she’s been relatively untested otherwise. Yes, Zingano is 35 and has only fought twice in two years (losses to Ronda Rousey and Julianna Pena) but she’s physically imposing and isn’t going to give Vieira much room to breathe. Zingano’s inactivity has her sitting at +135 while Vieira has seen more money come her way after starting as a -125 favorite. She’s hovering around -155 now. Too much weight is being put on the McMann victory, and I can see Zingano imposing her will over the course of three rounds.

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