Stipe Miocic is the UFC heavyweight champion, but his opponent is getting the bulk of the attention ahead of their title fight on Saturday. The mild-mannered slugger is using the near-universal adoration given to Daniel Cormier as extra motivation as he prepares for their battle atop the UFC 252 fight card in Las Vegas. The much-anticipated clash takes place at the Apex facility, with the main UFC 252 card scheduled for 10 p.m. ET. Miocic previously defended the title a record three times before losing to Cormier but regained the title with a victory in their rematch last year.
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The celebrated Cormier, a former two-division champion, is determined to go out on top by winning the rubber match. 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 Parker Porter (-125) to get a stoppage victory against Chris Daukaus (+105) in a battle of heavyweight newcomers. Both combatants will be making their UFC debuts following stints in various promotions.
The 30-year-old Daukaus (8-3) enters the Octagon with wins in five of his past six bouts. The Philadelphia native has seven stoppages among his eight professional MMA victories. He stopped Danny Holmes with a head kick in the first round of their Cage Fury Fighting Championships contest in August of last year.
Porter (9-5), 35, has finished opponents eight times in nine pro MMA wins. The Connecticut native heads to Las Vegas with wins in four of his past five outings. His last three fights came in the Classic Entertainment and Sports promotion, and he’s looking to build off a third-round technical knockout of Dirlei Broenstrup in September of last year.
“Daukaus is the better striker, but he is going to need to keep this fight striking or get a knockout to have a shot,” Marley told SportsLine. “Porter is the more well-rounded fighter and could get the fight to the mat and have success.”
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.
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)