UFC 249 Betting Breakdown: Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz


MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the co-main event of UFC 249, a five-round UFC bantamweight bout between champion Henry Cejudo and challenger Dominick Cruz. The event takes place on Saturday, May 9 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

Henry Cejudo (-225)

Cejudo (15-2) is the UFC bantamweight champion and the former UFC flyweight champion. The 33-year-old American is 9-2 in the UFC with wins over Demetrious Johnson, TJ Dillashaw, Marlon Moraes, and Sergio Pettis, with losses to Johnson and Joseph Benavidez. Cejudo was always considered an elite prospect because of his Olympic-level wrestling, but no one could have imagined how successful he’s turned out to be. He’s been both the UFC flyweight and bantamweight champ, and his currently five-fight win streak features some of the best fighters ever at 125lbs and 135lbs. Cejudo’s wrestling is still his bread-and-butter, but he’s really developed his striking to the point where he’s knocking his opponents out in brutal fashion. Cejudo is in his prime right now and is clearly one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. He is chasing legends right now for his resume and Cruz is next up. Thought Cejudo has often been an underdog during his career, he is favored to win this fight against Cruz at UFC 243.

Dominick Cruz (+185)

Cruz (22-2) is the former two-time UFC bantamweight champion. The 35-year-old American is one of the most accomplished fighters of all-time at 135lbs and many argue that he’s the best bantamweight the sport has ever seen. During his UFC career, he has racked up an impressive 5-1 record with victories over Demetrious Johnson, Urijah Faber, TJ Dillashaw, and Takeya Mizugaki, with his lone loss coming against Cody Garbrandt. When Cruz is actually healthy he has been one of the best in the world at his weight class. His movement is some of the best to ever grace the Octagon, and his mix of striking and wrestling techniques is impressive. But the problem with Cruz is his health. Since entering the UFC in 2011, Cruz has competed only six times, including just twice in the last five years. His last fight came against Garbrandt at UFC 207 in December 2016, the same night Amanda Nunes knocked out Ronda Rousey. That’s an incredibly-long layoff, and that’s what makes Cruz’s return all the more curious right now. We really have no idea how he will look after such a long layoff, but given his age and injury issues, it’s hard to believe he will look like the same fighter he once was. If anyone is going to surprise us after a long layoff it’s Cruz, as we’ve seen him do it before against Mizugaki in 2014. But Cejudo is a different animal. Considering the short-notice nature of this fight plus Cruz’s time away from the sport, it’s easy to see why the books have him listed as the underdog.

Fight Breakdown: Given the short-notice nature of this matchup, it’s definitely going to be interesting to see how this bout plays out in the cage. We really have no idea how Cruz is going to look after being away for over three years, but given how dominant Cejudo has been lately I have a hard time picking against the champ here. Cejudo has been constantly improving and getting better and right now he looks like a truly elite champion in the sport. I just can’t see Cruz winning this fight given all the negatives going against him in this spot. To me, it’s Cejudo’s fight to lose. Considering most of Cruz’s fights go to decision, I am expecting the same here except with Cejudo getting the judges’ nod due to more effective striking and grappling. Then again, it wouldn’t shock me to see Cejudo finish Cruz given the circumstances. Regardless if it’s a decision or knockout, I strongly favor Cejudo to get his hand raised and defend his bantamweight title.

Prediction: Henry Cejudo wins by decision

Written by Adam Martin.


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