UFC 224 - Nunes vs. Pennington: Main Card Staff Picks

Amanda Nunes

Image Credit Josh Hedges Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC 224 is headlined by a women's bantamweight championship fight between Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington on Saturday, May 12th. The event is a title fight between bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and #2 Raquel Pennington.

The co-main event features middleweight contenders Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Kelvin Gastelum, while the pay-per-view main card kicks off with a bout between Brazilian mixed martial arts legends Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida.

Lineker has been listed as a -255 favorite of Brian Kelleher at +215 and I think these odds are quite fair.

Mackenzie Dern has star potential in the UFC, but this weekend has already cast a shadow of doubt over that. Machida is a cautious fighter and his chin has been weakening over the years.

And Vitor Belfort will fight for the last time in a retirement match at middleweight against his friend and fellow veteran Lyoto Machida.

For many years, there were no women fighters in the UFC.

Kelleher, from the United States of America, has just one loss in his past 10: to Vera in July 2017 by unanimous decision. Both men are competent strikers with the power to knock out anyone while it will be interesting to see Souza's phenomenal Brazilian jiu-jitsu collides with Gastelum's wrestling. "If I don't make a statement, I don't think I'll be able to contend for the title next". But to just think that she was only asking out because she was exhausted and felt beaten is wholly unprofessional and borderline risky.

That's a strategy that could backfire as he may want to proceed with caution when he engages with Jacare lest he finds himself in the submission artists grasp to be taken down and submitted. Gastelum showed some serious weaknesses when faced with a strong grappler when he lost to Chris Weidman via arm-triangle in the third round. Given the "home-field" advantage, I do think he will walk away the victor here at UFC 224, but I wouldn't be shocked to see Kelvin catch Souza cold. She's also coming off a loss to Cris Cyborg.

The 38-year-old Souza is nearing the last-chance saloon if he is to achieve his dream of being crowned UFC champion, but as the No.2 contender now, a victory here could re-insert him back into the conversation.

So... can Pennington beat Nunes? And I love that the stated that she will be willing to take one to the face to give the Lioness three.

Nunes opened as a -530 favorite on the UFC 224 betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com but is taking huge action and now is set at -1000. Ultimately, I believe this will go to a decision and Nunes will win in Brazil.

Pennington's corner implored her to move forward on the champion, which she did well in the second round.

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