Cris Cyborg will defend her UFC women’s featherweight title at UFC 222 on Saturday night in Las Vegas, as she takes on Yana Kunitskaya. Cyborg is 19-1 in her career and she has not lost since her MMA debut, while Kunitskaya is 10-3 in her career and making her UFC debut. The co-main event has Frankie Edgar taking on Brian Ortega. There are five fights on the main pay-per-view card and seven on the preliminary card, with four on FS1 and three on UFC Fight Pass. Let’s look at the card with a focus on Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya and Edgar vs. Ortega.
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Cris Cyborg -1720 vs. Yana Kunitskaya
The price on Cyborg is higher than any MMA odds in recent memory. It is hard to argue too much, as Cyborg has not lost since her MMA debut and has been simply dominant in the UFC. She knocked out Leslie Smith in May of 2016, knocked out Lina Lansberg in September of 2016, knocked out Tonya Evinger in July of last year and Cyborg beat Holly Holm by unanimous decision in December of last year at UFC 219. There is no reason to think that Cyborg won’t knockout Kunitsakya, but the price is simply insanely high.
Kunitskaya is a former Invicta FC Bantamweight champion, but she has not fought nearly the level of competition that Cyborg has faced and probably doesn’t have enough power to threaten the champ. It is also a short notice fight for Kunitskaya. “It was a short notice fight,” said Kunitskaya to the media. “At first I was a little bit nervous, like on first day. After I speak with team and was thinking this is like a very good chance and I’m so excited.”
If you are thinking of taking the big underdog Kunitskaya in this fight you should be encouraged because Kunitskaya has been getting advice from Holm who lost to Cyborg in December. “Holly has been helping a lot,” said Kunitskaya. “Her fight went five rounds and was showing a lot. We saw like strong and weak parts of this fight like from Cyborg and it’s helped a lot in training.”
The huge price makes taking Kunitskaya at least worth considering. I don’t think she will win, but there is no way I am laying 17-1 on Cyborg. Taking the rounds to go under might be the best option in this fight.
Frankie Edgar -181 vs. Brian Ortega
Edgar is 22-5-1 in his career and he has won seven of his last eight fights. He was supposed to fight Max Holloway for the featherweight title, but Holloway pulled out due to injury and Ortega stepped in. Edgar said to The MMA Hour that he was not happy about Holloway pulling out but that he has gotten over it. “It’s the way things go. I was bummed for a little bit, a little bit depressed, but you know, I got over it, man. I just wanted to stay on the card. I’m itching to fight, it’s been too long, so here we are. Now we’ve got to fight Ortega.”
Edgar only fought once in 2017, so he realizes he has to take whatever fights are offered. “Man, I haven’t fought since May. I just didn’t want to wait,” Edgar said. “Time’s ticking and I want to get in there. Last time I got (hurt), I think, three weeks before the fight, so I have a bunch of camps under myself and no fight to show for it, so I just want to go in there and put my skills to use. I only get paid if I fight, so I definitely want to get in there.”
Edgar said that Ortega is a formidable opponent. “He’s game. He’s about as game as it gets,” Edgar said of Ortega. “So he’s a dangerous opponent and I’ve got to give him credit to jump on this fight on short notice.” Ortega is 13-0 in his career, including 5-0-1 in the UFC.
This fight should be more entertaining and competitive than the main event. I think Edgar has a slight edge, so I will take him to win this fight and also play the rounds to go over.
UFC 222 takes place on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are five fights on the main pay-per-view card beginning at 10 p.m. Eastern featuring Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya. There are seven preliminary bouts, with four on FS1, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern and three on UFC Fight Pass, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Main Card (Pay-Per-View)
Women’s Featherweight – Cris Cyborg -1720 vs. Yana Kunitskaya
Featherweight – Frankie Edgar -181 vs. Brian Ortega
Bantamweight – Andre Soukhamthath -135 vs. Sean O’Malley
Heavyweight – Stefan Struve -220 vs. Andrei Arlovski
Woman’s Bantamweight – Ketlen Vieria -136 vs. Cat Zingano
Preliminary Card (FS1)
Women’s Strawweight – Mackenzie Dern -328 vs. Ashley Yoder
Lightweight – Beneil Dariush vs. Alexander Hernandez
Bantamweight – John Dodson -163 vs. Pedro Munhoz
Middleweight – Hector Lombard -160 vs. C.B. Dollaway
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Welterweight – Zak Ottow -236 vs. Mike Pyle
Bantamweight – Cody Stamann -159 vs. Bryan Caraway
Light Heavyweight – Jordan Johnson -283 vs. Adam Millstead
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