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UFC 230: Cormier vs. Lewis Pick

MMA Fight: UFC 230: Cormier-Lewis
Key Matches: Daniel Cormier vs. Derrick Lewis
When: Saturday, November 3, 2018
Time: 11:00PM EST
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
TV: PPv

by Loot, MMA Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Daniel Cormier, (-750), 21-1 (10 KOs, 4 Submissions) vs. Derrick Lewis, (+525), 21-5 (18 KOs, 1 Submission)

UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier battles dangerous and hard-hitting challenger Derrick Lewis in the UFC 230 main event on November 3. There is still a newness to the UFC being in the Big Apple and they have a nice card in store for the legendary arena. Cormier is the champion in two divisions after knocking out heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic in the first round in July, as he is also the reigning light heavyweight champ. Lewis, meanwhile, is here on the heels of two upset wins, his last being a near-escape against contender Alexander Volkov when he scored a violent KO with mere seconds remaining in the fight.

Lewis has shown he has a flair for the dramatic and that he's never out of a fight with his supremely heavy hands. However, he is up against it in a major way, as the odds for this matchup would suggest. Those who might fancy the underdog in this fight will probably base that on several factors, one of the main ones being size. While it's true that Lewis is simply a bigger human being than Cormier, since when does that matter with "DC?" He started his career as a heavyweight, has beaten a slew of quality big men, and is coming off a first-round destruction over the number-one heavyweight in the world in Miocic. He just beat a man who might be the greatest heavyweight in MMA history. So why would the element of size alone suddenly trouble Cormier?

Lewis, 33, is six years Cormier's junior, another piece of ammo for those who might favor Lewis. It's a young man's game and older fighters sometimes lose their edge in sudden and dramatic fashion. Also, this is kind of a throw-in fight for the champion. A friend of UFC president Dana White, it seems like the move of a good company-man, with Cormier saving what looked to be a card that was in some trouble. This was a late, sort of thrown-together main event. It sets up as a spot where the better fighter could be caught sleeping a bit, or looking past this matchup. Cormier is very close to the finish line and has said he wants to end his career with one more big fight—either a third fight with Jon Jones or a blockbuster with Brock Lesnar. So it's quite a falloff to be fighting a guy like Lewis, a fighter well-known to hardcore MMA fans, but not exactly a star.

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Lewis does have that one compelling trait you like to see with long-shots. When picking a fighter facing long odds, you don't want a guy who is just well-versed in all areas, while not really being a standout in any one category. You want a guy who is really good at something. And Lewis has big power in his hands, fight-ending power that he can carry with him even through fatigue. So no matter what, he's never really out of the fight. As we saw against Volkov, he was about to lose that fight, before calling on his power to bail him out.

Alas, he is fighting the supreme Cormier, so his weaknesses need to be discussed. And he does in fact have them unfortunately. He is impressive in very short bursts. When landing with power, he looks good, but it's not happening most of the time. And against the better big men he has faced, he is often getting the worst of it. Everything revolves around his power. It's his entire offense and the threat of it is the only thing that makes opponents leery. He doesn't really have a well-rounded game. Then again, that's why he is such a big underdog.

Lewis is also ragged in his approach. He can be wild and predictable. While Cormier is no body-beautiful, he is in tremendous shape and has always showcased outstanding cardio. Lewis, however, is probably less-professional when it comes to his fighting career. He is usually out-of-shape and his stamina leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, the magnitude of this opportunity will likely reflect in his preparation, but stamina is not his forte, nor will it ever be.

It sets up a grim picture when you contrast Lewis' strengths and weaknesses with those of Cormier. The champion can do it all. His only setbacks were to a Jon Jones who was proven to be juicing. So losing to the best to ever do it and a guy who was on PEDs isn't so bad. And while you can't say he's better than Jones, it's fair to say Cormier looms as one of the best fighters in the history of this sport. His standup has gotten infinitely better over the years and he was lethal with his hands in July when knocking out Miocic. He also possesses the ability to ragdoll people with his wrestling prowess, which is on another level. And it's all wrapped up in a package of massive experience, determination, and the heart of a champion. There are a lot of tough people in the UFC from light heavyweight to heavyweight. And here you have this short chubby guy who is the king of them all. When betting against a guy like that, you have to ask yourself what allowed him to get this far? And the answer is a ton of skill, dedication, toughness, and a warrior's mentality that is utterly unyielding. That is a deep package of skills and traits for a guy to trump who just hits hard.

It was a long walk for Lewis to get to this spot. He went from a flawed fighter who came up short against the better guys he fought to a real contender who is on a nice roll with 9 wins in his last ten fights. He's a handful. He punches like a mule kick. But with all the deficits in other areas he has, I'd like to be getting better odds for him to pull off an upset in a fight that has all the telltale signs of a mismatch. I'm taking the champ.

Loot's Pick to Win the Match: I'm betting on Daniel Cormier at -750 betting odds. Did you know... that you could be wagering on fights at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying inflated odds with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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