Title fights don’t get much bigger than this. Two of the most accomplished fighters in UFC history are set to square off for the third time in the main event of UFC 252 when Stipe Miocic faces Daniel Cormier. Each fighter has scored a knockout in the previous two meetings with Miocic getting the upper hand in the last bout. Now, the two will look to settle the score in the grudge match.
Miocic set the record for most consecutive heavyweight title defenses at three before Cormier scored the shocking first-round knockout in 2018. Cormier, a former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion in his own right, has stated he will retire win or lose on Saturday after a decorated MMA career.
But there’s plenty of depth to be found beyond the main event of the evening. There’s a pair of veterans looking to add one more win to the resume when Jim Miller and Vinc Pichel link up in the preliminary main event. In Miller’s case, a win moves him closer to topping Donald Cerrone’s mark for most victories in UFC history. Plus, a few rising stars get their chance to shine as Sean O’Malley takes on Marlon Vera in the co-main event and Jair Rozenstruik faces former champ Junior dos Santos in a heavyweight contest.
Can’t get enough UFC? Subscribe to our podcast State of Combat with Brian Campbell where we break down everything you need to know in the Octagon, including a complete preview of UFC 252 with Hall of Famer ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans below.
Buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride. Let’s take a closer look at the rest of the card with the latest odds from William Hill Sportsbook.
UFC 252 fight card, odds
- Daniel Cormier -115 vs. Stipe Miocic (c) -105, heavyweight championship
- Sean O’Malley -300 vs. Marlon Vera +230, bantamweights
- Jairzinho Rozenstruik -135 vs. Junior Dos Santos +115, heavyweights
- Herbert Burns -280 vs. Daniel Pineda +230, featherweights
- Merab Dvalishvili -240 vs. John Dodson +200, bantamweights
- Vinc Pichel -130 vs. Jim Miller +110, lightweights
- Virna Jandiroba -310 vs. Felice Herrig +250, women’s strawweights
- TJ Brown -155 vs. Danny Chavez +130, featherweights
- Livia Renata Souza -170 vs. Ashley Yoder +145, women’s strawweights
- Parker Porter -120 vs. Chris Daukaus +120, heavyweights
- Kai Kamaka III vs. Tony Kelley, featherweights
With such a massive main event on tap, the crew at CBS Sports went ahead with predictions and picks for the main card. Here are your pick makers: Brent Brookhouse (Combat sports writer), Brian Campbell (Combat sports writer), Matthew Coca (producer), Jack Crosby (editor) and Michael Mormile (producer).
UFC 252 picks
|Miocic (c) vs. Cormier||Cormier||Miocic||Miocic||Miocic||Cormier|
|O’Malley vs. Vera||O’Malley||O’Malley||O’Malley||O’Malley||O’Malley|
|Rozenstruik vs. dos Santos||dos Santos||dos Santos||Rozenstruik||Rozenstruik||Rozenstruik|
|Burns vs. Pineda||Burns||Burns||Burns||Burns|
|Dodson vs. Dvalishvili||Dvalishvili||Dvalishvili||Dodson||Dodson||Dodson|
Campbell on why Cormier will win: If Cormier is able to shake off nagging injuries and get into five-round championship shape once more, this is his fight to lose. He’s simply better in every category save for stamina and top-end power and has more ways to win. Should DC give Miocic an avenue for victory, the underrated defending champion will take it. But if this trilogy becomes more tense and technical than the first two, it plays more into Cormier’s hands, particularly if he can do a better job mixing in takedowns and sticking to the game plan.
Brookhouse on why Miocic will win: Cormier is 41, more than a year older than when he had originally planned to retire. Miocic also has to be thinking constantly about how digging to Cormier’s body completely changed their first meeting. With Cormier’s stamina already a potential issue, Miocic can sap Cormier early with body work and also open up shots to the head as Cormier brings his hands down to defend the body, very similar to how things played out to end the second fight between the two. That said, this is as hard a pick as any fight in recent memory, which is a product of how truly elite these two men are.
Campbell on why O’Malley will win: Vera is too dangerous and versatile to imagine O’Malley cutting through him with the ease that Anderson Silva did in his UFC debut against Chris Leben. With that said, however, we still don’t know just how great O’Malley really is. That’s what makes this fight so intriguing. Expect Vera’s all-action pace to force O’Malley to have to lean on his intangibles in ways he never has before and prove he can make adjustments against one of the division’s toughest outs. If “Sugar” Sean really is for real, he will do just that. Every step up to now, he has played the part perfectly.
Campbell on why dos Santos will win: At 36, the former champion has looked at times in recent years like the end could be near only to right the ship and win a big fight. His three-fight win streak two years ago, which included a stoppage of Derrick Lewis, was a reminder that he’s still got it. But what happens should he be knocked out for the third straight fight when he takes on the savage Rozenstruik on Saturday? Given his opponent’s still raw skills, this is a fight JDS very much can win by boxing on the outside and patiently relying on his technique. It may get dicey at times, but there’s enough at stake for him to keep hope alive that there’s still plenty left in the tank.
Who will win UFC 252, and how exactly will each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight on Saturday’s card, all from the accomplished expert who’s up over $20,000 and has nailed 16 of the last 18 UFC main events.