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UFC 214 Picks

UFC 214 Preview, Betting Odds and Picks to Win
When: Saturday, July 29, 2017
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, California
TV: PPV
by Scott, Mixed Martial Arts Betting Analyst, Predictem.com

Fight Analysis:

UFC 214 is headlined by the highly-anticipated rematch between UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier and ex-champ Jon Jones. Cormier has distinguished himself with some big wins to rise to the role of champion, but his championship reign will always seem a little empty if he doesn’t beat the man who never lost his belt in the octagon—Jon “Bones” Jones. Can Cormier score the biggest win of his career or will Jones get back to the business of being an MMA superstar champion?

Daniel Cormier, 19-1 (6 KOs, 6 Submissions), (+235 underdog betting odds) vs. Jon Jones, 22-1 (9 KOs, 6 Submissions), (-275 favorite odds)
Daniel Cormier takes on Jon Jones in a rematch for Cormier’s UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. A lot has happened since their January 2015 fight, won by Jones by 5-round unanimous decision. Jones fell into some personal issues that have led to him fighting just once since the Cormier win. At one time considered the top property in mixed martial arts, the 30-year old Jones can start working on reclaiming that status on July 29 in Anaheim. This is also a golden opportunity for Cormier to avenge his only loss and upgrade his credentials. Who comes out ahead on July 29?

Daniel Cormier has distinguished himself with a string of wins to become champion. At 38, only Jones cal lay claim to any supremacy over Cormier at 205 pounds. It is true that Cormier’s winning the title coincided with Jones having his issues, but “DC” has given his reign an air of legitimacy with some great wins to get to this spot. Two submission wins over the most-dangerous fighter in the division in Anthony Johnson, a win over Anderson Silva, and a tough decision win over former Jon Jones tormentor Alexander Gustafsson proves he belongs.

The only thing Cormier couldn’t do was beat Jones. Their early-2015 bout was certainly competitive, as Jones was forced to dig deep to secure the unanimous decision win. But while it was a well-contested fight that one could reasonably say was competitive, it was still a clear win for Jones, who was able to put some separation between himself and the now-reigning Cormier. When you factor in Jones’ headspace at the time, with him popped for cocaine use before the fight, it’s clear he might not have been the most-dedicated version of Jon Jones at the time. Still, there is some daylight in this equation for Cormier, who has been whipping up on the best 205-pounders, while Jones has spent the better part of three years dealing with various problems. This fight was supposed to happen before, with another Jones dirty drug test spoiling their scheduled UFC 200 rematch.

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Cormier is an interesting study—first making his mark as a heavyweight contender who scored some nice wins over a number of high-quality big men. Thickly built, but smallish in stature, Cormier seemed like a natural for 205 pounds and he has thrived, with his only setback coming in a competitive fight to a man some feel is the greatest MMA fighter of all-time. In recent years, we’ve heard a lot about the gigantic Jones making 205 pounds, but Cormier has also had difficulty with this poundage and when he made 205 against Johnson in his last fight in April, as some feel he cheated to make the weight. At 38, struggles with weight can really take a lot out of a fighter.

Again, his first fight with Jones doesn’t offer a ton of optimism for Cormier. Jones won clearly and probably wasn’t at his best. In order to reasonably predict Cormier to win this fight, the analysis becomes more about the potential weaknesses of Jones and what the last three years has done to his overall form. Cormier, with his great wrestling and other all-around skills, wasn’t that far off the first time. If Jones’ form dips even slightly, the fight could have a completely-different look.

Jones is fortunate and despite all he has been though substance-wise and legally, he now faces a one-time fix where he can make everything right again. It’s a crossroads moment for Jones. Some fighters like him who are so dominant are often their own worse enemies. At the end of the day, he might have screwed up and that’s a shame, but he now looks to call upon that same greatness that got him to the top in the first place.

Despite the issues, Jones strikes one as being at least a fairly-thoughtful type of guy. He has to know it would be a high-crime to continue down that bad road and squander once-in-a-lifetime talent. So, let’s assume we’re dealing with a clean-living Jones who is trying to redeem himself for his recent foibles. The only issue and the thing that gives Cormier a lot of hope in this fight is that in fighting, time waits for no one. Jones was dealing with some rust, but didn’t exactly look that great in his lone appearance since beating Cormier—a 5 round decision over Ovince Saint-Preux. Jones was once very active, even when he won the title. Since a tough 2013 win over Gustafsson, he has fought three times. Young, active, and vital is how we remember Jones. This version is 30, rusty, and for the first time, a bit of a question mark.

A lot of this comes down to Jones. Cormier is the constant variable in this equation. Jones used to be, but one OK appearance in nearly three years throws a cloud of uncertainty over him. On one hand, age, lifestyle, and inactivity could render Jones at least a slightly-diminished version of the fighter we became accustomed to seeing. Then again, the severity of his situation could give rise to a greater sense of urgency. For the better part of three years, all Jones news has been negative. Look for Jones to put himself in the best position possible to finally put some wind into his sagging sails.

The first fight between these two was competitive, but not all that close. Unpleasant developments out of the Jones camp in recent years may have bridged that gap. But it seldom ends up working out when you bet a fighter based on all the things his opponent has done wrong, especially a pick like Cormier whose odds aren’t all great at just +235. I see Jones being close enough to vintage form to score the big win and once again rise to the role of UFC champ. We’re taking “Bones” Jones.

My Pick to Win: I’m betting on Jon Jones at -275. The inactivity and other issues are a concern. But he has shown superiority against this opponent before and with his back against the wall career-wise, I suspect we see enough of that massive talent on July 29 to make Jones the winner. In this case, while we feel enthusiasm for Jones needs to be tempered, we also feel Jones’ superior talent is more-compelling than any other element of this storyline. Bet YOUR Cormier/Jones prediction using your credit card at a betting site where it WILL work for deposits and where you'll receive a generous 50% bonus added to your 1st deposit! --> Bovada Sportsbook.

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