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UFC 224 fight card :: Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington: Predictions, picks, odds
Amanda Nunes is becoming a PPV staple. The UFC women’s bantamweight champion is set to headline her second straight PPV event after defending her belt for the second time last September. But this time she’ll attempt to do it against somebody she considers a friend: Raquel Pennington.
But while they, the two know it will be all business once the cage door closes on Saturday night in Brazil for UFC 224.
“This is a single sport, you can’t think in group. You have to think about yourself,”. “That belt is in my house and I never want that belt to go anywhere. The motivation is that, keep proving I’m the best, keep proving I’m the champion and then we can be friends again.”
Nunes also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of making a run at becoming the first woman to simultaneously hold belts in two divisions, even though that’s a conversation for after Saturday night.
“As long as I have contenders, I will keep fighting at 135. If something stop or I don’t have any girls [to fight] anymore, then I have to make the next move in my life,” Nunes said. “But now, I have Rocky, the other Brazilian that just beat Cat Zingano. The division is running and that’s a good thing.”
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Nunes and Pennington are getting all the attention in the main event, but there are several other fights of note to fight fans on this Brazil-centric card including a pair of legends squaring off in Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida, a perennial middleweight contender in Jacare Souza and a prospect in Mackenzie Dern. Let’s look at the.
|Amanda Nunes (c) -850||Raquel Pennington +525||Women’s bantamweight title|
|Ronaldo Souza -150||Kelvin Gastelum +120||Middleweight|
|Mackenzie Dern -250||Amanda Cooper +195||Women’s strawweight|
|John Lineker -260||Brian Kelleher +200||Bantamweight|
|Lyoto Machida -280||Vitor Belfort +220||Middleweight|
|Karl Roberson -120||Cezar Ferreira -110||Middleweight|
|Junior Albini -160||Aleksei Oleinik +130||Heavyweight|
|Davi Ramos -155||Nick Hein +125||Lightweight|
|Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos -130||Sean Strickland +100||Welterweight|
|Warlley Alves -260||Sultan Aliev +200||Welterweight|
|Jack Hermansson -155||Thales Leites +125||Middleweight|
|Ramazan Emeev -200||Alberto Mina +160||Welterweight|
|Markus Perez -305||James Bochnovic +235||Middleweight|
With a big card on tap, our experts took a crack at picking each of the main card fights. Here are your pick makers: Brian Campbell (combat sports writer), Matthew Coca (producer), Michael Mormile (producer), Jack Jorgensen (editor) and Brandon Wise (editor).
UFC 224 predictions
|Nunes vs. Pennington||Nunes||Nunes||Nunes||Nunes||Nunes|
|Gastelum vs. Souza||Souza||Souza||Gastelum||Gastelum||Gastelum|
|Lineker vs. Kelleher||Lineker||Lineker||Lineker||Lineker||Lineker|
|Dern vs. Cooper||Dern||Dern||Dern||Dern||Dern|
|Belfort vs. Machida||Belfort||Belfort||Belfort||Belfort||Machida|
Campbell on why Nunes will win: The fact that Nunes enters as such a large betting favorite certainly has a lot to do with the fact that she’s a more skilled fighter. But Pennington enters her first title shot with legitimate questions working against her. It has been 18 months since she last appeared in the Octagon and is fresh off a broken leg from a hunting accident late last year. Returning into the deep waters of a five-round fight is a lot to ask, not to mention being forced to deal with an opponent who is taller, longer and more dangerous. The days of questioning Nunes’ cardio are over. Pennington may be tough enough to go the full distance but not skilled enough to win.
Jorgensen on why Souza will win: It was really telling to me in the second win over Brunson just how good of an all-around fighter Souza is. It’s easy to focus on the jiu jitsu skills, but the man can put your lights out with ease at the same time. I care little about his age, if you have a fighter that can be that solid all around, then you have a dangerous man inside that cage.
Gastelum’s win over Michael Bisping was impressive, but Souza’s skills will keep him in check, and I’ll even go so far as to predict a KO win for the Brazilian in front of his home crowd in the third and final round.
Wise on why Machida will win: For as potentially ugly as this fight can be, I’ll lean to the guy with a slightly fresher body. Machida enters his eighth bout at 185 pounds as a sizable favorite for a reason after shutting down one of the top rising prospects in Eryk Anders in February. While we would all love to see Belfort ride off into the sunset with a win, I’ve been fooled one too many times by these retirement fights to take the guy entering his final bout. Machida grinds out a decision victory here in “enemy territory.”