Saturday night, at the "World's Most Famous Arena" in New York City, UFC makes its return with a fight card that was supposed to deliver the goods. UFC 230 had a litany of names attached to it at different times throughout the build up, but in the end, it may disappoint a few fans. UFC's double champion Daniel Cormier will put his heavyweight title on the line when he faces off with fast riser Derrick Lewis in the main event at Madison Square Garden.
Cormier became just the second fighter to pull off the feat this summer when he knocked out the longest reigning heavyweight champion in division history, Stipe Miocic, in the first round at UFC 226. Lewis, who is on his own magical run, is coming off a thrilling last second knockout of Alexander Volkov just 28 days earlier at UFC 229. It might be a band aid on a card that never seemed to find its footing, but it could still deliver the thrills fans have come to expect from these events.
If they don't bring it, one of the up and coming superstars on the rosters should earlier on in the night. Israel Adesanya, the brash loudmouth from New Zealand, has started making waves in the middleweight division and gets a chance to extend his winning streak facing a dangerous Derek Brunson.
Here's a look at the full card for Madison Square Garden with the latest odds from Bovada.
UFC 230 odds
Daniel Cormier (c) -700
Derrick Lewis +450
Chris Weidman -185
Jacare Souza +150
David Branch -370
Jared Cannonier +280
Karl Roberson -275
Jack Marshman +250
Israel Adesanya -335
Derek Brunson +255
Jason Knight -270
Jordan Rinaldi +210
Sijara Eubanks -500
Roxanne Modafferi +350
Julio Arce -375
Sheymon Moraes +285
|Lyman Good -600||Ben Saunders +400||Welterweight|
|Lando Vannatta -300||Matt Frevola +230||Lightweight|
|Shane Burgos -300||Kurt Holobaugh +230||Featherweight|
|Montel Jackson -150||Brian Kelleher +120||Bantamweight|
| Adam Wieczorek -275 || Marcos Rogerio de Lima +215 ||Heavyweight|
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 230 predictions
Cormier (c) vs. Lewis
|Weidman vs. Jacare||Jacare||Jacare||Weidman||Jacare||Weidman|
|Branch vs. Cannonier||Branch||Branch||Branch||Branch||Cannonier|
|Roberson vs. Marshman||Roberson||Roberson||Roberson||Roberson||Roberson|
|Brunson vs. Adesanya||Adesanya||Adesanya||Brunson||Adesanya||Adesanya|
Campbell on why Cormier will win: Lewis' punching power and refusal to quit will keep the drama level from bottoming out for as long as this fight lasts. But short training camp for both and a sore right hand for Cormier still isn't likely to alter the outcome. Lewis, the self-proclaimed brawler, simply isn't anywhere close to the level of complete fighter that Cormier is. The champ will enter the Octagon holding distinct advantages in speed, experience, stamina and wrestling, with the latter allowing him to stink out the fight and disarm Lewis for as long as he needs should the fight ever get hairy. Look for Cormier to put on a clinical dismantling.
Wise on why Weidman will win: The All-American is out with a point to prove in New York City. Looking to get back into title contention, Weidman took a last-minute replacement in Jacare to stay active, but I don't see Souza posing much of a threat. Despite coming off a knockout win over Derek Brunson, Jacare has proven to be much more adept at taking fights to the ground and locking up submissions. Look for Weidman to control the action with his own wrestling and taking down Jacare with a unanimous decision after punishing him on the ground.
Jorgensen on why Jacare will win: To me, this has the potential to come away as Fight of the Night, even though it wasn't the co-main event that we were expecting. It's an interesting matchup in that they share a common last opponent, perennial middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum, with Weidman getting the submission win in 2017 and Souza suffering the split-decision loss earlier this year. This could turn out to be somewhat of a war between these two before the main event, It's really a tough call to make, but I can see Souza putting those experienced jiu-jitsu skills to use to earn the submission win somewhere in the third round -- as long as he can keep his cardio intact, which may be asking a lot.