UFC 252 Fight Card: PPV Schedule, Odds and Predictions for Miocic vs. Cormier 3

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2020

FILE - In this July 7, 2018, file photo, Daniel Cormier, right, fights Stipe Miocic during a heavyweight title mixed martial arts bout at UFC 226 in Las Vegas. The trilogy fight between Daniel Cormier and champ Stipe Miocic will crown the greatest heavyweight of all time. UFC 252 Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Las Vegas could be Cormier's last fight ever. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
John Locher/Associated Press

UFC 252 comes from the UFC's Apex Facility in Las Vegas with as big a heavyweight fight as it gets between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic. 

After going 1-1 against each other in two fights, this one is for all the bragging rights between two men who have been the only competitors to hold the heavyweight title since 2016.

It's an intriguing matchup in which we've seen two knockouts. Cormier finished Miocic in the first round of their first fight, while Miocic came back to knock out DC in the rematch. 

Elsewhere on the card, former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos will test out Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Sean O'Malley gets a chance to continue his undefeated streak and Herbert Burns gets a crack at the main card. 

Here's a look at the complete lineup of fights and a quick rundown of predictions for the main card. 


Main Card (ESPN+ PPV at 10 p.m. ET)

  • Stipe Miocic (+100; a $100 bet wins $100) (c) vs. Daniel Cormier (-120; bet $120 to win $100) - heavyweight championship fight
  • Sean O'Malley (-300) vs. Marlon Vera (+250)
  • Junior Dos Santos (+110) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-130)
  • Herbert Burns (-265) vs. Daniel Pineda (+225)
  • John Dodson (+210) vs. Merab Dvalishvili (-250)

Prelims (ESPN/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET)

  • Jim Miller (+105) vs. Vinc Pichel (-125)
  • Felice Herrig (+250) vs. Virna Jandiroba (-300)
  • TJ Brown (-150) vs. Danny Chavez (+130)
  • Livinha Souza (-160) vs. Ashley Yoder (+140)

Early Prelims (ESPN/ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET)

  • Chris Daukaus (+100) vs. Parker Porter (-120)
  • Kai Kamaka III (145.5) vs. Tony Kelley (145.5)

All odds via Caesars Palace.


Miocic vs. Cormier

Miocic won the last fight, but it wasn't a dominant performance by any stretch. Cormier's quickness and wrestling carried him through the first three rounds before Miocic made his comeback. 

Combine that with the opening-round knockout from the first fight, and it's easy to make the case that Cormier has won four of the five rounds these two have fought. With this likely being Cormier's last fight, it's not hard to see him follow a game plan that may be a bit ugly if it means walking away the champion. 

When Cormier is focused on his wrestling, he's a hard man to beat. Expect a clinch-heavy game plan bent on stifling Miocic's striking, and while the champion's wrestling isn't to be taken lightly it's not on Cormier's level. 

Prediction: Cormier via decision


O'Malley vs. Vera

This is a thinly veiled showcase fight for O'Malley. With two wins under his belt already in 2020, his emergence after two years out of the cage has been one of the UFC's top stories this year. 

Now, he gets an opponent with a little more name recognition and, like Eddie Wineland, a stylistic matchup meant to benefit O'Malley. Vera is a durable fighter who isn't afraid to be aggressive and look for an opportunity to finish a fight. Twelve of his 15 wins have come by either submission or (T)KO. 

That plays right into O'Malley's game as he has proven himself a creative, dynamic and devastating striker. This may become interesting if it hits the ground, but the bigger O'Malley should control the striking exchanges against a willing dance partner in Vera. 

Prediction: O'Malley via second-round TKO


Dos Santos vs. Rozenstruik

In lasting just 20 seconds against Francis Ngannou, Jairzinho Rozenstruik showed he isn't quite ready to tangle with the elite in the heavyweight division. In going 4-0 in the UFC with four knockouts before that fight, he proved he's a dangerous fighter on the rise. 

Getting knocked out by Ngannou's prodigious power is nothing to be ashamed of, and it's hard to ding Rozenstruik for it. If anything, it should teach him a more measured approach in the cage, and that's bad news for JDS. 

As the veteran with championship experience, Dos Santos' greatest advantage would have been an out-of-control Rozenstruik who would be open to counters. After a dramatic loss, he could be a little more patient in his approach and should score the win over his veteran opponent. 

Prediction: Rozenstruik via second-round TKO


Burns vs. Pineda

Herbert Burns (brother of welterweight contender Gilbert Burns) wasn't supposed to be on the main card, but when a scheduled bout between Ion Cutelaba and Magomed Ankalaev was scrapped, this featherweight bout was promoted. 

As the odds would indicate, Burns holds the advantages on paper. Pineda had a rough run in the UFC that ended in 2014 but has bounced back to find success in Bellator and the PFL. At 35 years old, he'll be the much older fighter and ostensibly the less athletic one. 

Burns is just two fights into his UFC career, but he's shown flashes of his brother already. He's a powerful grappler with a dangerous submission game. He holds a knockout and a submission in the first rounds of his first two fights. 

Pineda may be savvy enough to avoid that fate, but it's just a matter of time before Burns' athleticism and skills take over. 

Prediction: Burns via second-round submission


Dodson vs. Dvalishvili

The main card opener is a classic prospect vs. gatekeeping veteran matchup in the bantamweight division. 

Dodson has made his name off his quickness throughout his career. At 35 years old, he isn't as quick as he once was, but he's still fleet of foot and specializes in stick-and-move to the point of exasperating opponents.

Dvalishvili is a relentless takedown artist. He routinely scores more than five takedowns in fights, which speaks to his wrestling abilities but also calls into question his ability to keep opponents down and do something with it. 

The result could be a frustrating cat-and-mouse game that gives Dodson the opportunity to land some counters and make things interesting. Still, there will be probably be much more of Dvalishvili controlling the fight against the fence and looking for takedowns. 

Prediction: Dvalishvili via decision