UFC 224 Betting Tips: Amanda Nunes vs Raquel Pennington Preview

Updated Friday 31st August 2018, 06:30 PM

This weekend at UFC 224, Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes will defend her title against Raquel Pennington, who is fighting for the first time in 18 months. In the co-main event, ‘Jacare’ Souza takes on Kelvin Gastelum in a bout that could put the winner in line for a Middleweight title shot in the near future.

Nunes Hopes to Take the Gloss off Pennington’s Comeback

Raquel Pennington enters her title fight with Amanda Nunes after a long layoff, and while her last four wins were against top-tier opponents, it is a tall order to step straight back into the Octagon against a champion in her prime. After a victory against former Bantamweight champ Meisha Tate at UFC 205 in November 2016, Pennington had to take time out for several surgeries, before a hunting accident in October 2017 forced her out of a planned bout with Nunes at the end of the year.

Amanda Nunes has defended her title twice in the time that Pennington has been away, first with a dominant win over Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 and then in a closely-fought contest with Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 215, a fight that Nunes narrowly won by split decision.

Had the fight between Nunes and Pennington taken place before the challenger’s long absence, it would have been difficult to predict a winner. As it stands, though, Nunes is a heavy favourite heading into UFC 224, with odds as short as 1/10 being offered on her emerging victorious. Nunes’ long range and heavy hands make her a formidable opponent, and the biggest challenge for Pennington will be closing the distance, a strategy that allowed Nunes to punish Ronda Rousey when she attempted to do so.


Type Odds Provider Bet Now
UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship Winner
Amanda Nunes
Raquel Pennington
William Hill Logo Bet Now


*Please note, odds may fluctuate.

Jacare Back in the Mix at Middleweight

Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza will look to follow his Performance of the Night knockout of Derek Brunson with a win over another dangerous Middleweight, Kelvin Gastelum. The sight of Jacare stalking a dazed Brunson to finish him against the cage reminded everyone why he is one of the most feared fighters in the division. It was a convincing win that offered the Brazilian some redemption after his defeat to Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker.

Kelvin Gastelum also comes into UFC 224 off the back of a huge knockout win. His KO of former Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping surprised many, mainly because of how easy Gastelum made it look. Granted, Bisping was fighting only three weeks after a gruelling fight against Georges St-Pierre, but few fighters have dispatched the Briton as conclusively as Gastelum did. In fact, it was only the third time Bisping had been stopped by KO or TKO in his long MMA career, which is testament to the power that Gastelum has in his hands.

Jacare heads into UFC 224 as the bookmakers’ favourite, with odds sitting at around 2/3 for him to take the win by any means. Gastelum is 5/4 to win at Coral, not bad odds for a fighter coming off such a scary win. Both fighters are well-rounded, but Jacare’s ground game is a huge advantage. If he can take Gastelum down, he has a good chance of taking the 14th submission win of his career.


Type Odds Provider Bet Now
Fight Winner
Ronaldo Souza
Kelvin Gastelum
Coral Logo Bet Now


*Please note, odds may fluctuate.

MMA Legend Set to Retire at UFC 224

Vitor Belfort will step into the cage for the final time at UFC 224, where he will take on Lyoto Machida before hanging up his gloves. The impact Belfort has had on the sport of MMA cannot be understated, and it will be an emotional night as he walks out to fight in front of a home crowd in Rio de Janeiro. Belfort’s UFC career began over 20 years ago in February 1997, when he beat Tra Telligman at UFC 12. He was just 19 years old at the time, and he quickly became one of the most exciting fighters in the organisation, largely thanks to his uncanny hand speed.

It is fitting that Belfort will bow out to another legend of the sport, Lyoto Machida. Also in the twilight of his career, Machida returned to action in February this year after losing three in a row at Middleweight. His split decision victory over Eryk Anders showed he still had the stamina to go five rounds, even if his once-feared knockout power was not on show.

Bookies have Machida as the odds-on favourite to beat Belfort, and while it would be nice to see one of them turn back the clock to finish the fight, this one may well go the distance. Both fighters have said they want to put on a show for the fans in Rio, and at the very least, it will be an occasion to remember for those in the Jeunesse Arena. What an event it would have been, though, if these two fighters had met in the Octagon in their prime.


Type Odds Provider Bet Now
Fight Winner
Lyoto Machida
Vitor Belfort
Betfred Logo Bet Now


*Please note, odds may fluctuate.

Elsewhere on the Fight Card

BJJ World Champion Mackenzie Dern will take an undefeated MMA record into UFC 224 when she faces Amanda Cooper, who is 3-3 as a pro. Dern last fought only eight weeks ago, when she beat Ashley Yoder by split decision at UFC 222, but the quick turnaround hasn’t affected her confidence. She goes into the fight as the favourite, with Betfred offering 4/11 on her to win.

Bantamweights John Lineker and Brian Kelleher will meet in a bout that has Fight of the Night written all over it. Both men are aggressive, forward-moving strikers, and while Lineker has the heavier hands, Kelleher could be dangerous if he can mix some good counters into his game. It's a risky tactic, though, letting Lineker swing first, so Kelleher may well look to be the aggressor. Bookmakers have Lineker as the favourite, but his last three fights have gone to a decision, so it may be closer than they have it.


Type Odds Provider Bet Now
Fight Winner
Mackenzie Dern
Amanda Cooper
Betfred Logo Bet Now
Fight Winner
John Lineker
Brian Kelleher
Betfred Logo Bet Now


*Please note, odds may fluctuate.

Sports.net’s Top Tip

In the UFC 224 prelims, veteran grappler Aleksei Oleinik will take on Junior Albini in a Heavyweight fight. Oleinik is notorious for his tight submissions, earning him the nickname ‘The Boa Constrictor.’ He might be aged 40 and at the tail-end of a long career, but he still has it in him to pull off an impressive win; just look at his recent submission victories over fighters like Travis Browne and Anthony Hamilton.

Albini is coming off a decision loss to Andrei Arlovski, and against Oleinik he will be looking to keep the fight standing for as long as possible. His 100% takedown defence might look convincing, but that’s measured from just two fights, in which all of one takedown was attempted. Oleinik has averaged over three takedowns per fight in his UFC career, with 53% accuracy, meaning it’s probable that he will take Albini down at least once. The only time he’s looked in trouble on the ground is against Curtis Blaydes, a phenomenal wrestler on his own part. Albini is not known for his grappling, so when it goes to the ground, Oleinik has a big chance at taking the win. 6/5 from Bet365 is about as good as you’ll get on him doing so at the moment.


Type Odds Provider Bet Now
Fight Winner
Aleksei Oleinik
Bet365 Logo Bet Now


*Please note, odds may fluctuate.

UFC 224 takes place on Saturday 12th May at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The event will be shown on BTSport 2 in the UK, with the prelim fights scheduled to start at 1am BST and the main card scheduled for 3am BST.

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Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2018 06:30:50+00:00
Published By Sports.net

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