UFC 250: This weekend sees another big card for the UFC as the organization returns to Las Vegas for UFC 250, headlined by a Women’s Featherweight Championship fight between champion Amanda Nunes and Felicia Spencer. Here we preview the main event and co-main event, along with recommended bets.
Nunes v Spencer
If you haven’t heard of Amanda Nunes then the best way to describe her is arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all time, across all genders and weight divisions. She currently holds both the UFC Bantamweight and Featherweight belts in the women’s category, and will be defending the latter for the first time on Saturday. A win for the Brazilian would see her become the first fighter ever to not only hold two belts simultaneously, but also defend both successfully. Nunes is on a ten-fight win streak which includes retiring Ronda Rousey and knocking out both Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm in the opening round. She hasn’t lost since 2014 and so comes into this weekend as a 1.16 favourite at the time of writing.
However Nunes’ opponent, former Invicta Featherweight Champion Felicia Spencer, has proved to be no pushover. She is currently ranked as the #1 Contender in the division and is fully deserving of her title shot. The Canadian-born submission specialist has won eight of her nine professional bouts, with her standalone loss coming via judges’ decision against the aforementioned Cyborg. The FeeNom’s two impressive victories since that defeat have presented her with this opportunity. Spencer will undoubtedly look to take the fight to the ground, as that is how she has claimed half of her victories, but may struggle to do so and hence comes in at a price of around 6.0.
Despite Spencer’s style matching up well against Nunes, it’s hard to look past the Champ-Champ. She’s beaten the best of the best to cement her legacy, and with rumours swirling around that she may retire after this fight, I can only see her riding off into the sunset with a win if that is the case. But Spencer is durable and just might see it out until the final bell.
Back Amanda Nunes to win via decision at 4.7
Assuncao v Garbrandt
The co-main event of UFC 250 is a clash of experience versus maturity in the men’s Bantamweight Division. Raphael Assuncao will be taking part in his 35th professional fight and his 21st in the UFC, compared to Cody Garbrandt, who enters the UFC octagon on Saturday for only the tenth occasion, in what is just his fifteenth career bout. However, despite that disparity in numbers, it is Garbrandt who is a former Champion, winning the title with an astonishing rise to the top back in 2016.
Assuncao is an all-rounder who can mix things up when he needs to. The #5 ranked contender’s record includes wins over former champ TJ Dillashaw (who himself has two victories over Garbrandt), Aljamain Sterling and Marlon Moraes, with the latter duo currently ranked #2 and #1 in the division. Unfortunately for Assuncao, Moraes was able to avenge his loss, and thereafter Assuncao endured a unamious decision defeat to #4 ranked Cody Sandhagen. These losses were major setbacks and Assuncao fell back in the pecking order for a title shot. At age 37, this really is make or break for the Brazilian, who happens to be a teammate of Amanda Nunes.
Similarly, Garbrandt is in desperate need of a win this weekend as he has lost three on the bounce since dethroning Bantamweight legend Dominick Cruz. The Sacramento native is incredibly quick and hits extremely hard, but has been found out on his last three outings. He needs to repeat the maturity he showed in winning his title if he is to get back in the win column. It’s easy to forget the now 28-year-old once had a record of 11-0, but he needs to show he has evolved since his most recent fight over 12 months ago.
What this fight will come down to is essentially whether or not Garbrandt’s explosive stand up game will be enough to put away Assuncao, or if the elder statesmen can weather the storm and utilise his superior range of attacks. I think this fight will go the distance as I expect a more patient Garbrandt and a durable Assuncao.
Back Cory Sandhagen to win via decision vs Aljamain Sterling at 2.7
Back Sean O’Malley to win via TKO/KO vs Eddie Wineland at 1.65