UFC 241 takes place on Aug. 17 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. In the main event, Daniel Cormier takes on Stipe Miocic in one of the most anticipated heavyweight rematches in UFC history.
In the Co-Main event, Anthony Pettis takes on Nate Diaz in his return to the octagon for a fan-friendly fight that is sure to be full of fireworks.
The card is stacked from head to toe, with many great fights going down.
Main Event Preview: Cormier vs. Miocic
Previewing the main event, it’s a heavyweight showdown between two of the best to do it in current champ Daniel Cormier and former champ Stipe Miocic. It’s a rematch from UFC 226, where Cormier KO’d Miocic in the first round to capture the heavyweight belt.
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Path to Victory for Cormier
Cormier, obviously, is the favorite heading into the rematch (listed at -143 odds at Points Bet), considering what he did in the first meeting. However, rematches typically will mean a new game plan and considering just how good Miocic has proven himself to be, I think it will be needed.
In the first few minutes of the first fight, Cormier was getting tagged far too much for my liking. I think for this fight, he’ll want to utilize the clinch more and look to tie up Miocic. If DC is able to get this fight to the ground, I think he’ll have solid advantages in positioning, but he’ll need to close the distance with his boxing, just like he did in the first fight.
Miocic will be expecting this moreso this time around though, so closing the distance may be even harder than it was the first time. If Cormier can tie up Miocic once again though, I see DC taking another win over Ohio’s Champ.
Path to Victory for Miocic
From all accounts, Stipe Miocic truly feels that he beats Cormier nine out of 10 times. Honestly, the confidence he has leading into this rematch is remarkable, and I think he knows he has a good gameplan heading into it.
For Miocic, the best path to victory is to keep his range, utilizing his boxing and footwork to keep Cormier at bay. Although a good wrestler, I don’t exactly like Miocic’s odds on the ground with Cormier, even though he may visibly appear smaller.
Flash back to UFC 198, where Miocic claimed UFC gold against Fabricio Werdum, KO’ing him in the first round. Miocic did so by catching Werdum storming in and clipped him on the button.
Now, I don’t expect DC to be that wild, but I think that is the type of patience Miocic will need to have in order to be successful in the rematch. If he’s able to stay on the outside and keep DC at bay with his jab and kicks, I think Miocic has a real good shot at winning this fight, possibly even getting a finish.
Miocic is listed as a +115 underdog to win this fight over at Points Bet.
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Cormier vs. Miocic Pick
To be honest, every sign for me right now is leaning towards Cormier, and I’ll explain why. This fight has three outcomes, either ending in a KO/TKO, submission, or decision. For all three outcomes, DC has the strongest case.
He’s already knocked out Miocic brutally, and I believe he has the stronger ground game as well. Finally, out of anyone at heavyweight, DC will be the hardest to win a decision over, given his style and mentality.
Overall, I think DC is just too much to handle on all fronts, and Miocic will find himself running out of answers quickly, though not as quick as the first fight.
Official Pick: Daniel Cormier def. Stipe Miocic via TKO (punches) Round 2.
Co-Main Event Preview: Pettis vs. Diaz
Next, we’ll be previewing the co-main event, in which we get an absolute treat in Anthony Pettis taking on Nate Diaz. Pettis is coming off a brutal KO of Stephen Thompson, while Diaz hasn’t fought since his decision loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 202.
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Path to Victory for Pettis
According to the odds (Pettis -117 at Points Bet), this fight is quite close, even a pick ’em according to some sites. Pettis has certainly had his ups and downs, but going from getting TKO’d by the current featherweight champ, Max Holloway, to KO’ing one of the top welterweight contenders in Stephen Thompson is crazy impressive.
At the end of the day, Pettis is going to bring excitement to the cage, so I expect nothing less from him in this fight. This is a tough outing for Pettis, mainly because I think Diaz’s reach will give him issues.
I think the key to victory for Pettis, though, will revolve around volume. If he’s able to throw more volume and be just a bit more active than Diaz, he should find success. Pettis should establish the leg kick almost immediately, as it has proven to be effective against Diaz again and again.
Combine that with his dirty boxing and flashy kicks, and I think we’re in for a hell of a ride. Also, Pettis should avoid the ground as well, and will need to do his best to keep it standing. Although both men have solid BJJ, I just think Diaz is a bit too dangerous on the mat to take any risks.
Path to Victory for Diaz
For Diaz to win this fight, he just needs to be himself, but at a bit of a faster pace. He does not want to allow Pettis to become comfortable, so establishing his jab and 1-2 early I think is critical for the tune of the rest of the fight.
Diaz should also mix it up just a bit better than he has in fights past, as I’m not sure he can just rely on his hands against a dynamic striker like Pettis. Taunting and threatening a takedown may also be enough to freeze up Pettis up a bit, allowing Diaz to turn up the volume a notch with his strikes.
Overall, I think Diaz can easily get this win, but he’ll need to throw more volume and mix in his strikes a bit better than usual. He has off-the-charts cardio, so I’m sure increasing his pace will be no issue for Stockton’s own.
Diaz is listed as a slight +103 underdog in this fight.
Pettis vs. Diaz Pick
My main concern here is the inactivity of Diaz. He hasn’t fought in almost three years and coming back against a guy like Pettis will be a tough obstacle. Anthony Pettis has had a rough road recently, but he looked absolutely amazing against Thompson, and at 170, he seems to be a new animal.
I truly feel that either guy can get the win in any way possible. However, I’m going to have to favor Pettis here, due to him coming off such a huge win, and Diaz being inactive for nearly three years. This fight isn’t going to be finished, and I see it being a war for three rounds.
Diaz has only been finished twice in his 30-fight career, and I don’t see Pettis putting him away in a three-round fight. It’ll be close, and maybe some will even see it for Diaz’s favor, but overall, I see Pettis coming out on top.
Official Prediction: Anthony Pettis def. Nate Diaz via Majority Decision.