UFC 224 Main Card Breakdown


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On Saturday May 12th a full lineup is waiting for you in the octagon. Grab some popcorn or head to your favorite bar because we have the latest MMA lines for the upcoming fights. You will want to experience the thrill of backing a fighter and willing them to victory, wincing with every blow and leaving your feet with each strike. The main card features five tasty matchups including the Women’s Bantamweight Title Fight. Let’s get into it and break down each matchup so you know where you want to put your money come fight night.

Belfort v. Machida

The first matchup on the table is Brazilian Vitor Belfort against his countrymate Lyoto Machida. These men are nearly identical in size. The advantage, as it normally does, will result from technique. This is where Machida gains his edge. Landing one more strike per minute and with 7% greater accuracy than Belfort, Machida heads into the fight as the favorite to defend his 23-8 record. He is listed at -250 to beat his 26-13 counterpart who has been knocked out of two of his previous three fights. Machida has also struggled as of late, losing three of his last four fights. This will be a battle of fortitude.

Lineker v. Kelleher

Next on deck is the Brazilian John Lineker taking on the American Brian Kelleher. These men appear fairly even on paper, but Lineker is given the edge due to two key factors. First, he is more experienced than his counterpart, notching eleven more fights than the American. Second, Kelleher struggles at takedowns. Lineker’s takedown success rate is nearly double that of Kelleher’s. Look for Lineker to be very physical early and try to get his opponent on the ground as quickly as possible. Lineker is listed as a -225 favorite for this fight, which is not certain by any means, but indicates a substantial edge.

Dern v. Cooper

The first women’s match on the main card pits two up-and-coming Americans in what will certainly be an exciting bout when Mackenzie Dern faces off against Amanda Cooper. Dern likes to strike and strike … and strike. Relentless with her attack while also solid defensively, Dern has begun her young career in stellar fashion, boasting a 6-0 record. Amanda Cooper, at 4-3, is not too shabby herself. A much better takedown artist than Dern, Cooper will have her best chance at victory if she can get Mackenzie on the ground. No one has taken down Dern yet in her first six fights, however, prompting Vegas to declare Dern a -240 favorite.

Gastelum v. Souza

In what Vegas predicts to be the most even match-up on the main card, fierce Brazilian Ronaldo Souza squares off against intimidating American Kelvin Gastelum. Souza does sport a height and reach advantage which he uses to takedown his opponents. Stockier than his counterpart, Gastelum avoids going to the floor at all costs and attempts to wear his opponents down and knock them out late, boasting twice the knockout rate that Souza holds. Souza’s experience and takedown acumen are enough to be considered the favorite in this one, with a line of -150.

Nunes v. Pennington

The Women’s Bantamweight Title fight is disappointingly the most lopsided match of the night on paper. The defending champion, Brazilian Amanda Nunes, is a very skilled attacker and seems to be too much for the challenging American, Raquel Pennington, to handle. At a -550 favorite, the 15-4 Nunes sports a height, reach, and attacking skill advantage and knows how to use them. The strongest aspect of Pennington’s style is her ability to defend. If she can last until late in the fight and wear Nunes down, she may be able to make it interesting.

UFC 224 Fight Card

Main Card

(10 p.m. ET on Pay-Per-View)

For UFC women’s bantamweight championship: Amanda Nunes (15-4)(c) vs. Raquel Pennington (9-5)

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (25-5, 1NC) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (14-3, 1NC)

Mackenzie Dern (6-0) vs. Amanda Cooper (3-3)

John Lineker (30-8) vs. Brian Kelleher (19-8)

Vitor Belfort (26-13, 1 NC) vs. Lyota Machida (23-8)

Prelims #2

(8 p.m. ET on FX)

Cezar Ferreira (12-6) vs. Karl Roberson (6-0)

Alexey Oleynik (55-11-1) vs. Junior Albini (14-3)

Davi Ramos (7-2) vs. Nick Hein (14-2-1)

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (18-5) vs. Sean Strickland (19-2)

Prelims #1

(6:15 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass)

Warlley Alves (11-2) vs. Sultan Aliev (14-2)

Thales Leites (27-8) vs. Jack Hermansson (16-4)

Alberto Mina (13-0) vs. Ramazan Emeev (16-3)

Markus Perez (9-1) vs. James Bochnovic (8-2)


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