UFC 230 Main Event Betting Preview
UFC 230 Picks
When: Saturday, November 3, 2018
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Here, we break down the UFC 230 main event—a heavyweight championship title bout between newly-crowned champion Daniel Cormier and dangerous challenger Derrick Lewis. Cormier is coming off a July KO of Stipe Miocic, as he is currently both the UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion. But standing in his way is a formidable challenge in the way of the hard-hitting Lewis, who has won 9 out of 10 fights, including a last-second KO over Alexander Volkov in UFC 229. Who comes out ahead in this one?
Daniel Cormier, 21-1 (10 KOs, 4 Submissions), (-850) vs. Derrick Lewis, 21-5 (18 KOs, 1 Submission), (+525)
UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier defends his title against contender Derrick Lewis. Cormier, 39, is in the final chapter of a storied career—one of the best ever in the history of the sport. In defeating Miocic, he cemented a legacy that is above reproach, with the only setbacks being to Jon Jones and not without controversy. He is looking to get one more huge fight before walking off into the sunset. But first, he must repel the challenge of a hard-hitting and ultra-dangerous challenger in Lewis.
The 33-year old Lewis has his work cut out for him. Two straight wins as an underdog have put him near the top. But it hasn’t been easy, with a win over Francis Ngannou being one of the hardest fights to watch in UFC history, followed by a fight-saving KO over Volkov with 11 seconds left—a fight he was going to lose. He is a flawed fighter, one who struggles with stamina and the more technical aspects of the game. But he hits like a ton of bricks and is tough and hard to dissuade.
Matchup-wise, there isn’t a ton to like about Lewis in this matchup. After all, Cormier is one of the more-accomplished fighters of all time. He can do it all. Lewis can’t do it all. But he does possess the one trait you would like to see from an underdog operating at a technical deficit, and that’s extreme power. It makes it, so he is not without hope.
There are also other things to like about Lewis. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, as he is able to enter the octagon in a loose state of mind. He’s not going to wear himself out by being nervous or tense. And at 6-foot-3 and a full 265 pounds, he is as big a fighter as the UFC will allow. He is a much bigger man than Cormier, and even if the champion has a lot of experience in this division, there is a size component to be accounted for in this matchup.
In addition, these type of biding-time fights often come back to haunt the favorite. You don’t mix it up with guys like Lewis all willy-nilly. Cormier wants a third fight with Jones or a big-money fight with Brock Lesnar, as this is more of a throw-in fight, with Cormier saving this UFC 230 event. Several weeks before this event, there was no main event, with Cormier saving the day. But alas, Derrick Lewis is not the type of guy you want to fight just for kicks. And Cormier better not take this lightly. Still, you don’t get to be Daniel Cormier by not approaching fights with the proper mentality.
With Cormier’s success in the heavyweight division, it’s perhaps foolhardy to continually perceive him as a small heavyweight. He is in fact out-sized by most heavyweights he faces, but if using that as a reason to diminish his status, it could lead one down the wrong track. His wrestling has been executed at an expert level against guys who were nearly as big as Lewis, and those fighters were more able to repel the moves in which Cormier excels. Lewis is a brawler. His power has been able to win the day in recent outings. But Cormier is so much more versatile, with numerous routes to victory. Lewis has one route to the winner’s circle, albeit a route that he manages to travel more often than not.
There is a definite sloppiness to Lewis. He’s not the fittest athlete overall. Three rounds is a stretch for the big man, but one has to wonder what he will look like in the event if this fight gets to the latter rounds. The only time he went past three rounds, he was splattered by Mark Hunt. Cormier, conversely, is as proven as they come over the championship distance. Even when it comes to Lewis’ main attribute, which is his punching power, one wonders if he actually has an advantage.
Granted, Lewis is a better puncher than Cormier on a per shot basis. His hands are heavy and land like meat hooks. But he’s not what you would call a crisp fighter. His approach is ragged. He isn’t non-athletic, but his form suggests a fighter who took up this sport later in life. Cormier, meanwhile, is a former internationally-celebrated wrestler going back to the early part of this century. There are elements of this matchup that nearly suggest a mismatch. If Lewis’ power surfaces, he can erase any deficit on the scoreboards, but might still spend most of the fight on the wrong side of things. If his power doesn’t surface, it’s a total whitewash.
The only man to beat Cormier was Jones—a fighter many consider to be the finest to ever fight in the sport. And on top of it, he was busted for PEDs once and who knows about the other time? That’s a pretty unassailable track record. And while it is true that when considering a big underdog; you’d like to see him have at least one compelling trait, as Lewis has with his punching power. Still, if you want to beat Daniel Cormier, hitting hard is good, but you need more. I see a dominant performance from “D.C.” as he retains the belt to set up a climactic final chapter to his career.
My Pick to Win: I’m betting on Daniel Cormier at the -700 offered at 5Dimes (which is easily the best line I could find). He has too many skills and smarts for Lewis. He is a complete fighter, as Lewis is limited to his power while suffering major deficits in the areas of sharpness, defense, stamina, experience, and ground-game.