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UFC 210 Cormier vs. Johnson fight card preview, tips and parlay

UFC 210

April 8, 2017, 10pm ET, KeyBank Center, Buffalo, prelims from 6.15pm on UFC Fight Pass, Fox Sports 1.

Main card:

Daniel Cormier (c)(18-1) vs. Anthony Johnson (22-5)

Chris Weidman (13-2) vs. Gegard Mousasi (41-6-2)

Cynthia Calvillo (4-0) vs. Pearl Gonzalez (6-1)

Thiago Alves (21-11) vs. Patrick Cote (23-10)

Will Brooks (18-2) vs. Charles Oliveira (21-7-0, 1NC)

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THE champ is here.

But can he beat the number one contender for the UFC’s light heavyweight championship?

Worlds will collide on April 8 when Daniel Cormier (even money with Bovada.lv) puts his belt on the line against the power of Anthony Johnson (-130).

Despite Cormier holding the belt, Johnson is the red hot favourite with our friends at Bovada.lv to beat the champ.

It’s an interesting play from the oddsmakers, who have backed Johnson to bounce back from his third round submission loss to Cormier the last time this pair met.

Cormier is bemused, calling Johnson a one dimensional fighter who can only finish fights as a one punch knockout artist.

“He had a moment in the first fight,” Cormier said.

“Outside of that moment, I pretty much just beat him up. So I don’t understand what makes anyone believe that Anthony and I are close.

“I just get to show him again and just beat on him again like I did last time.”

Cormier is right. He ran Johnson off his feet, beat him up and then put his lights out with a rear naked choke to claim their first fight against each other at UFC 187 in May 2015.

“I’m not taunting on him.

“If it makes me a bad guy because I tell the truth, or the truth as I believe it, then I guess that’s what I am.

“I believe; I’m not lying. I don’t lie about anything. All I do is state the truth.

“If people don’t like the truth then that’s on them.

“I’m not sitting here making stuff up. I’m not over here pretending. I’m over here stating facts.

“And if me telling the facts makes me the bad guy, then OK.”

The two fighters have taken different paths since the battle that gave Cormier the title, after it Jon Jones was stripped of it (his infamous hit and run incident).

The champ has defended the title just once, beating Alexander Gustafson in a compelling split decision battle at UFC 192 in October 2015 that was named fight of the night. With Jones back in the UFC’s good books, two title fights between that pair have been aborted, one because Cormier was injured and the other due to jones failing a test for performance enhancing drugs – which obviously put him back in Dana White’s dog box. Cormier then took on Anderson Silva at UFC 200 in July last year and took out a three round unanimous decision. So the form line is decent, but doesn’t quite stack up to Johnson’s and that’s why we think the bookies have been seduced.

Since his defeat at the hands of Cormier two years ago, Johnson has been on a tear, ending all three of his fights against respected stars Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira.

And Johnson says he is a stronger, better fighter since their last meeting and reckons Cormier is kidding himself if he thinks he genuinely beat him in their first fight.

“You keep making mistakes during a fight, pretty soon you’ll break mentally,” Johnson said.

“Daniel didn’t break me; I broke myself.

“When I lost to DC, the moment I stepped out of the cage, I was already thinking of what I needed to do to win, to beat him, to beat somebody at that level because I was right there scratching at the surface.

“I’m still there, but I’m about to break some ground.

“With the training that I’m doing now, with the coaches that I have in my corner, it’s amazing.

“They got me ready. They have me ready and they have me right.

“Everybody is pretty excited for what’s about to happen.”

He’s not wrong about that.

It’s almost TIIIIIIIME.

Fight picks

Prediction: Daniel Cormier (Even with Bovada.lv)

Method of victory: Daniel Cormier via submission

Rounds: Three

We ummed and ahhhed over this and we have decided there is just too much value in Cormier at even money. We love the fact that this is a battle between two very different fighters who are both at the peak of their powers. And it’s very interesting. Cormier is a fighter who likes to get up close and personal with his opponent and does his best work in the clinch. But, with a five and a half inch reach disadvantage, that is a ton of space to make up and will make him very hittable for one of the best strikers in the octagon. That does worry us, but DC is no doubt the superior technical fighter and, if he can avoid the devastating striking power of Johnson, he can get inside, get him on the ground with his Olympic wrestling pedigree, and finish the fight. Every one is picking Johnson to win this one by knockout, and it wouldn’t surprise us if he did, but there is just something telling us that the mouthy Cormier will back it up. It wouldn’t be the first time he has won as an outsider and it probably won’t be the last.

Other UFC 210 fight picks

Gegard Mousasi (-130) to beat Chris Weidman (Even money)

Pearl Gonzalez (+210) to beat Cynthia Calvillo (-270)

Thiago Alves (+140) to beat Patrick Cote (-170)

Will Brooks (-275) to beat Charles Oliveira (+215)

Odds provided by Bovada.lv

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