UFC 218 Preview & Tips
The UFC returns to Detroit Michigan for the 1st time in 7 years, as UFC 218 takes place in newly built Little Caesars Arena. The main event is a rematch from June’s featherweight title clash at UFC 212. Max Holloway will defend his belt for the first time against the man he beat, former featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo Jnr. In the co-main event, two top 5 heavyweights throw down when Alistair Overeem takes on highly touted knockout artist Francis Ngannou. The stacked main card also sees two rising flyweights clash when former gold medalist and title challenger Henry Cejudo takes on Sergio Pettis. Eddie Alvarez is set to face Justin Gaethje in what promises to be an incredibly exciting bout. Michelle Waterson also fights Tecia Torres, in the straw weight division. The Wolf previews the full main card, along with his tips and “Main Card Multi” bet prediction.
Tecia Torres vs Michelle Waterson
The first bout of the main card sees two top straw-weights battle with Michelle “the karate hottie” Waterson takinh on Tecia Torres. Waterson, a highly esteemed amateur kickboxer has an incredible look and fight style that superstars are made of. A few key losses slowed the hype train, but on her day Michelle Waterson can compete with and beat any 115 pounder in the world. Her highlight reel beat down of Paige Vanzant is a great excerpt of Waterson’s skillset, mixing her high level striking game with an ever improving submission repertoire. Torres has also shown herself to be an ever improving martial artist with victories over current UFC fighters Felice Herrig and Bec Rawlings. Torres is a prime example of how far women’s MMA has come over the past few years. With their most recent losses coming to current champion Namajunas, neither fighter will be next in-line for the belt, but a great showing at UFC 218 provides either lady the spotlight they will need to grow their popularity inside the octagon. The Wolf likes the dynamic style of Waterson in this one and currently at $2.85, this is a great chance to back the outsider.
Best: Over 2.5 Rounds ($1.30)
Value: Waterson WIN ($2.85)
Eddie Alvarez vs Justin Gaethje
If you’re only going to watch one fight on this card make sure it is this one. Eddie Alvarez vs Justin Gaethje may be one of the most exciting matchups in the UFC. Both men have a wealth of experience in big fight scenarios and thrive in crazy, chaotic bouts. The underground kid Eddie Alvarez who is a 34 fight MMA veteran has seen and been through it all. From his wars with Michael Chandler in Bellator, to his meteoric rise which culminated last year in a title victory over Rafeal Dos Anjos. Alvarez is a real pioneer of the lighter weight divisions and looks to extend his legacy against a man who shares a very similar fighting style. Justin Gaethje, a relatively unknown MMA fighter holds a perfect professional record of 18-0 with 16 finishes. His aggressive and intense fighting style has made him one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC, with his most recent performance against Michael Johnson highlighting his offensive skillset never die attitude. This is another quality both men possess, whether its Alvarez vs Melendez or Poirier and Gaethje vs Johnson or Palomino, all these bouts will show you the ferocity and intent both men compete with. This bout is a true flip of the coin – the one thing that is guaranteed is fireworks and fight of the night bonus for both men. Gaethje being the fresher, bigger man may prove the difference in this one but Alvarez at $2.50 is very tempting.
Best: Over 1.5 Rounds ($1.52)
Value: Gaethje by Decision
Henry Cejudo vs Sergio Pettis
The third bout on the main card sees Henry Cejudo take on Sergio Pettis with the winner next in line for a title shot. Depending on whether or not the super fight between Demetrious Johnson & TJ Dillashaw takes place. Cejudo who won an Olympic gold medal in wrestling at the 2008 Beijing games is just starting to hit his prime in the UFC. After a promising 10-0 start to his MMA career Cejudo was thrust into the spotlight against DJ and subsequently dealt with in the 1st round. Since then Henry lost a controversial split decision to Benavidez and turned in his most impressive performance to date, putting on a striking masterclass before KO’ing Wilson Reis in the second round just 2 short months ago. The wind is at his sails as he is starting to turn into a real martial artist – his opponent has his work cut out for him. Sergio Pettis is best known for being the brother of former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. That being said, he is starting to forge his own legacy as one of the top flyweights in the world. Currently riding a 4 fight win streak Pettis has a dynamic style combining explosive striking with high level technique. He will be a genuine challenge for Cejudo. His last fight against Moreno, a 5 round unanimous decision victory shows that Pettis is ready for the spotlight and a victory here thrusts him into the mainstream as one of the top young prospects in the world. Another exciting bout on what should be a fantastic card but Cejudo’s power and strength should be too much for Pettis.
Best: Cejudo WIN ($1.33)
Value: Cejudo by KO
Alistair Overeem vs Francis Ngannou
Two of the most exciting heavyweights in the world go toe to toe when Alistair Overeem takes on Francis Ngannou in the night’s co-main event. Both men sitting comfortably in the UFC’s top 5 makes this a fantastic stepping stone for the next man to compete for a world title. On one hand you have one of the most experienced competitors in MMA history, with Overeem boasting 59 professional fights. The other is a hype train and knockout machine in Francis Ngannou, who the UFC are banking on as their next big superstar. Both men have a lot to lose and tensions should be high, with the possibility of a KO imminent at any point.
Alistair has won championships in every organisation he has competed in but the UFC will be looking to press his case at another title shot. Having won 6 of his last 7 fights, ‘The Reem’ is still as impressive as ever, with a wide range of striking techniques and power. Overeem has managed to compete at a high level while many other of his peers have fallen. The only knock on the no 1 ranked heavyweight is his lack of ability to take a shot with 10 of his career losses coming by way of KO. The man he faces in Ngannou, is one of the scariest KO artists in the game today and will be looking to take advantage of his opponent’s weakness. Considering Ngannou has only been competing in MMA for 4 years the hype behind him is incredible. He is coming off the biggest win of his career, a KO victory of Arlovski. The UFC is ready to unleash this monster to the world and there are not many bigger stages then the co-main event of a UFC pay per view. Can the hype of Francis continue through to a title shot or will Overeem be too much for the inexperienced Ngannou. Only time will tell and the Wolf can’t wait. All it takes is one big shot from Francis and the fight can be over, can Overeem stay away from it… Wolfy says no.
Best: Under 1.5 Rounds ($1.75)
Value: Ngannou by KO Round 1
Max Holloway vs Jose Aldo II
The Main event of UFC 218 was originally scheduled to be a bout between Holloway and Edgar, before Frankie Edgar withdrew due to injury. Thankfully for UFC fans former champion Jose Aldo has stepped up to the plate in an effort to try and regain the UFC title he has held twice before. Bad news for Jose is Holloway beat the brakes of him back in June at UFC 212, finishing it in the 3rd round. Since then, “the Bless” era has begun and Hawaii have a UFC champion once more. Before his victory in June Holloway went on a tear in the featherweight division winning 10 fights in a row. He currently has the 5th longest fight streak in UFC history with 11. The Hawaiian has already cemented himself as one of the most unorthodox and well-rounded fighters inside the octagon, possessing excellent and diverse striking skill with a tight grappling game. His victories over Anthony Pettis and Cub Swanson are prime examples of this as Holloway likes to dominate his opponent on the feet and continue it to the ground where he wraps it all up. He will be looking to do the same in this one and the Wolf is struggling to see a situation where that isn’t the case.
Jose Aldo, a former 2x UFC champion, is considered by many as one of the best pound for pound fighters to ever compete in MMA. With a phenomenal record of 26-3, Aldo has beat just about all comers with his explosive and technical striking, combined with an excellent defensive wrestling game. His multiple victories over Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes are excellent examples of Aldo implementing his own game plan and outclassing his opponents. Fans have seen a slow deterioration of the former champ with age finally catching up to him. If Aldo can rekindle that flame that once made him champion we could be in for an excellent fight. If form is anything to go by though Holloway should go on to make it 12 in a row. Aldo’s only shot is getting Max early as he does tend to start slow. The Wolf is predicting a UFC 212 repeat with Holloway to win by stoppage in round 3 or 4.
Best: Holloway WIN ($1.32)
Value: Holloway By KO ($2.10)
Round by Round: Halloway in Round 4 ($9.50)
Main Card Multi: Waterson to WIN/Over Rounds 1.5/Cejudo to WIN/Ngannou to WIN/Holloway to WIN