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  • UFC 238 best bets: Cejudo vs. Moraes 👊

    UFC 238 best bets: Cejudo vs. Moraes

    ESPN PLUS ($ MATERIAL)


    The two titles on the line at UFC 238 are just icing on the cake for a card featuring the matchmaker's gift of Donald Cerrone versus Tony Ferguson. The marquee will allow the women's flyweight champ to make her first title defense, while the bantamweight division will get a new king.


    The co-main event pits champ Valentina Shevchenko against top contender Jessica Eye. But despite the proximity in the rankings, the matchup offers some of the most lopsided betting odds in UFC history, with Shevchenko running well north of 10-1 odds. We agree the question of her retaining her belt is not one of if, but when. However, with a single-digit ROI, most serious bettors won't bother.


    Here is where we see the most betting value on the card:
    Bantamweight championship: Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo (+110) vs. No. 1 Marlon Moraes (-130)

    Tale Of The Tape

    Last fight weight class Flyweight Bantamweight
    Current age 32 31
    Height (in) 64 66
    Reach (in) 64 66.5
    Stance Orthodox Orthodox
    Analyzed minutes 124 35
    Standup striking offense
    Career knockdown ratio
    (Scored : Received)
    4:1 4:1
    Distance knockdown rate 3% 10.8%
    Head jab accuracy 19% 12%
    Head power accuracy 27% 24%
    Total standup strike ratio 0.8 1.2
    Striking defense
    Total head strike defense 79% 77%
    Distance knockdown
    defense ("Chin")
    100% 97%
    Wrestling and grappling
    TD attempts/minute
    (Standing/clinch)
    0.52 0.12
    Takedown accuracy 36% 25%
    Advances per
    takedown/top control
    0.6 2.0
    Opponent takedown attempts 9 5
    Takedown defense 89% 60%
    Share of total ground
    time in control
    99% 81%
    Submission attempts
    per trip to ground
    0.05 0.67

    Henry Cejudo is reaching for double champ status, having already defeated former bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw in a fight at flyweight. With Dillashaw out of the picture on a suspension, the 135-pound belt is now up for grabs -- and Cejudo has good reason to believe he can win it.


    Cejudo's wrestling dethroned the longtime flyweight king, Demetrious Johnson, and remains the elephant in the cage anytime Cejudo fights. However, we haven't always seen him utilize a wrestling-first strategy, knowing that his hands are also dangerous.


    But trading leather with a diverse striker like Moraes is dangerous. His knockdown rate is unusually high for a bantamweight, and he seems to enjoy a firefight, having kept 91 percent of his Octagon minutes standing at a distance from opponents. However, Moraes hasn't faced many takedowns so far in the UFC and has defended them at only an average rate. That's unlikely to be good enough, should Cejudo decide to pin Moraes on the mat early and often.


    There are too many ways this fight could go, and the uncertainty of the weight-class change for Cejudo confuses things further. If Cejudo is smart, he'll use his wrestling to drag Moraes into deep waters, hopefully eliminating the pop of his striking arsenal. But with several windows of opportunity in early rounds, Moraes has the experience and timing to catch Cejudo with something that could decide the fight in a flash.


    E+ recommends: Pass, unless lines move significantly.
    Other fight card value

    The extreme odds of Tatiana Suarez and Valentina Shevchenko offer very little return on the moneyline, but both appear to be deserving favorites by the numbers. They'll be the anchors of most parlays come fight night. If that's your preference, consider pairing them with Calvin Kattar for a near even return in what is really just a value deal on Kattar.


    E+ recommends: Parlay Shevchenko-Suarez-Kattar


    And what should we expect in the "People's Main Event," Donald Cerrone versus Tony Ferguson? Violence. That will decide who is the next top contender at lightweight, once dual champs Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poiriersettle the belt unification.

    E+ recommends: Cerrone at plus money, small prop on Cerrone inside the distance.

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