UFC 197 – Jones vs Saint Preux

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April 23, 2016 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

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I was planning to put my money on Daniel Cormier to beat Jon Jones in the main event of this card. Partly because the odds would likely to have been fairly juicy, partly because I think there are good reasons to think now would be a good time to face Jon Jones, given his extended break and recent troubles, but mostly because I can’t think of any situation where I’d want to cheer for Jon Jones. Amongst the best P4P fighters of all time; yes. A personality I can get behind; sorry, no.

Although I’m sure this card will be thoroughly entertaining, from a betting point of view, there aren’t all that many fights that jump out at me. Those that I am interested in are all on the main card:

Jon Jones vs Ovince Saint Preux

Before his time off, Jones’ last three title defences were 5 round wars, including the daylight robbery against Alex Gustafsson who clearly won that fight. With that said, he’s a justifiable favourite to win this weekend, but for the reasons above, I’ll be backing OSP.

Demetrious Johnson vs Henry Cejudo

Talking of P4P greats, Johnson is a huge favourite to retain his belt here. He was very disapproving when there was talk of the winner of a TUF season challenging for his belt, but to be fair, he’s cleaned the division out, so what else can the UFC do? The odds are so short on DJ to win, it’s not worth a standalone bet, but perhaps pairing up with OSP makes it worth including on the coupon.

Anthony Pettis vs Edson Barboza

Wow, what a barn-burner this one is likely to be. Barboza is a killer, and on his day, he’s capable of beating anyone in the division. Pettis is arguably the more well-rounded fighter, but has lost his last two and now seems like a good time for Barboza to catch him. If there was more on the cards to get my money on, I’d probably leave this one alone and just sit back and enjoy the fireworks. As I’m short of solid picks, I’m leaning towards Barboza due to the favourable odds.

Robert Whittaker vs Rafael Natal

This is another really tough fight to call. Both guys have won their last four fights against similar level opposition. The last couple of times I’ve watched Whittaker I’ve been left with a general “I like this kid a lot” feeling, so I’m happy to get my money behind him here.

Yair Rodriguez vs Andre Fili

While Fili has the experience advantage, Rodriguez has the momentum and is a slight bookies’ favourite as a result. I don’t have particularly strong feelings either way on this fight, as with the rest of the card, but I’m leaning towards Rodriguez, based mostly on the recent results.

Looking down the prelims, I’m even less confident picking winners than I am from the main card. So I’m splitting my very uncertain picks into the following two bets:

Bet 1 – £5 returning £25.73

Rodriguez to beat Fili

Whittaker to beat Natal

Barbosa to beat Pettis

Bet 2 – £5 returning £31.25

Johnson to beat Cejudo

Saint Preux to beat Jones

betting slip

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I’ll be watching all the build up to this event, plus the exclusive prelims on UFC Fight Pass. There’s also a fantastic collection of original shows and an incredible fight library you can lose yourself in for weeks. To support MMA Flashback, you can click on the banner below and sign up today. You won’t regret it.

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