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UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey Predictions, Picks and Betting Preview – December 30, 2016

UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey Predictions, Picks and Betting Preview – December 30, 2016


UFC 207 has a good chance to be one of the best year-ender pay-per-views in the history of the company. Ronda Rousey, the most decorated women’s MMA fighter of all time, is making her return after a year off. Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, meanwhile, will finally step in the ring with Cody Garbrandt, and it is bound to be a brawl, with the two having a fun war of words heading into the fight.

And those are just two of the handful of awesome matchups for the evening. Read on below and checkout our predictions for every main event fight!

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UFC 207: Amanda Nunes vs Ronda Rousey

Main Event

Amanda Nunes (+120) vs. Ronda Rousey (-150)

Rousey (13-1), as you may know, is all about submitting her opponent, particularly via armbar – 10 of her 13 wins are due to the maneuver. She has striking power as well; the other three victories are TKO/KOs, all of which were in the opening round.

With that being said, remember that after the KO loss to Holly Holm last year, the blueprint for beating her has been laid out, as she seems to get rattled when she is continually unable to apply her patented move. Further, Holm also exposed some holes in Rousey’s boxing.

Nunes (13-4) is simply a great striker, as evidenced to nine KO/TKO wins. It might be safe to assume that she is ahead of the challenger in that regard. The key for her, however, is her grappling and defense to the endless armbar attempts she’s about to face. That, along with being able to land a few clean shots early, should put her in a good position to take that strap home again.

WRITER’S PREDICTION: If Nunes doesn’t go for the kill, Rousey will take this in a controversial unanimous/split decision.

Dominick Cruz (-240) vs. Cody Garbrandt (+180)

Cruz (22-1) is the most unhittable MMA fighter of all-time. His excellent footwork make it seem like he’s literally a couple of moves ahead of the opponent. The way he dusted off most of TJ Dillashaw’s attacks in their fight last January was beautiful to watch. “The Dominator’s” best offense is his defense, and he’s extra good because his offense is great as well, as he’s always able to find awkward angles to get punches and/or kicks across. Barring any shocking KO hit, a la Silva-Weidman, Rockhold-Bisping, etc., Cruz should be able to retain.

Garbrandt (10-0) is a heavy-handed striker that’s perfect for Cruz’s top-notch defense. Four of his last five fights have come via KO/TKO, with the previous three all in the first round. It’s impressive and all, but the question in everyone’s minds, possibly including the challenger himself, is “Will he be able to hit Cruz well?” The champ’s head and body movement, along with Garbrandt having a reach disadvantage, makes it somewhat questionable.

WRITER’S PREDICTION: If Garbrandt wins, it’s a KO/TKO. Cruz will outlast him if this goes five rounds.

TJ Dillashaw (-220) vs. John Lineker (+170)

Dillashaw (13-3) is possibly in his last step in trying to get a shot at regaining the Bantamweight belt. He’ll be coming off a decision win over Raphael Assuncao in UFC 200, and is now in a good position to get another W. Expect “Killashaw” to showcase his aggressive fighting style. He should be able to impose his kicks, punches, and more, which will be interesting against Lineker, who can take punishment well.

Lineker (29-7) is one of the most seasoned fighters under the age of 30, as he has 36 total fights despite only being 26 years old. In his 29 wins, 13 were KO/TKOs, which greatly shows that he can really throw a good, powerful bomb when he lands it clean. However, he’s still a few levels below Dillashaw, and his chances of coming out victorious are slim. Should he win, it’ll be a KO/TKO and everyone’s going to talk about how shocked they are.

WRITER’S PREDICTION: Dillashaw wins via unanimous decision.

Dong Hyun Kim (-135) vs. Tarec Saffiedine (+105)

Kim (21-3-1) is a well-rounded fighter that could display quick striking and effective grappling and wrestling, particularly in Judo. If he can pressure to Saffeidine using either of those two skills, just as most people expect him to do, he shouldn’t have any problem earning a win.

Saffeidine (16-5) has been a pro for almost a decade, and has a good background in Muay Thai and Kickboxing, along with being a black belt in jiu-jitsu. However, considering that he doesn’t have a wowing punching power (one KO win) and only have five submission wins to show (zero in the last seven years), it is hard to see him finishing Kim or outperforming him should they go the distance.


Louis Smolka (-130) vs. Ray Borg (EVEN)

Smolka (11-2) has great energy for any type of fight, thanks to an excellent conditioning. He and Borg are both young, developing fighters, but Smolka may have a very slight edge in terms of grappling, wrestling, and kickboxing skills. That, along with an advantage in size, should allow him to win.

Borg (9-2) is also a well-skilled grappler and wrestler, as evidenced to tapping six opponents in his 11 fights (three were KOs). Should they get on a tough scramble, Borg could steal one, as he greatly thrives in such situations. Also, he appears to have better upper body strength than Smolka.

WRITER’S PREDICTION: Smolka via submission or unanimous decision.


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Written by JE

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