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Feb 28, 2018
Feb 28, 2018

UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya betting preview

Cyborg vs Kunitskaya betting: 5 factors to consider

Cyborg vs Kunitskaya odds

Inform your Cyborg vs Kunitskaya prediction

UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya betting preview

On March 3, the UFC returns to Paradise, Nevada, where Cris Cyborg will attempt the second defense of her women’s Featherweight championship when she takes on Russian Yana Kunitskaya. Below, we look at the investment the UFC is making in Cyborg as its next female star and factors to consider when betting on the fight.

Live Cyborg vs Kunitskaya odds

The UFC’s new female star

With the void left by Ronda Rousey, the UFC is in need of a major female star and it seems to think Cris Cyborg is the answer.

The Brazilian powerhouse hasn’t lost in her last 20 fights, with the vast majority of her wins coming via knockouts. If you count her no contest result against Hiroko Yamanaka (in which a first round Cyborg KO was overturned after a positive Stanozolol test), she has had 13 consecutive KO victories. All but two of them had immediate title ramifications.

With those credentials and the reputation for dominance that comes with them, it is little wonder the UFC is giving Cyborg a push, but the lengths are extraordinary.

The title she is defending comes in a division (women’s featherweight) in which the organization has never created rankings. There’s Cyborg and there’s the rest and, for the moment, the idea is that this is an exercise in star-building. That may create opportunity for bettors who may have never seen moneyline odds as long as the ones for this fight.

Cyborg’s next supposed victim is Yana Kunitskaya, who brings with her a 9-3 record, just two wins in her last five fights, zero UFC ring time. Kunitskaya still has a puncher’s chance but the question is whether that chance is worth the extraordinarily long odds the market has placed on her winning.

If she defies those odds, it will be one of the great upsets in UFC history; if not, it will be just another step in the UFC’s grand plan to build a legitimate female fighting star.

Cris Cyborg betting odds

Cris Cyborg’s recent betting odds at Pinnacle:

Cris Cyborg Betting Odds

Opponent (Date)

Opening odds

Highest odds

Lowest odds

Closing odds

Result

Lina Lansberg (24/09/2016)

1.09

1.11

1.08

1.11

Win

Tonya Evinger (29/07/2017)

1.10

1.10

1.09

1.09

Win

Holly Holm (30/12/2017)

1.32

1.36

1.28

1.32

Win

As you can see, the world knows Cyborg is an elite fighter. With 16 knockouts in her 19 wins, bettors alwaya expect her to win (especially against the substandard level of competition the UFC has provided her).

The highest and lowest odds shown above do suggest there are right and wrong times to bet on her, but if you’re just contrasting early or late strategies, there doesn’t seem to be much difference.

Normally, we list both fighters’ recent odds here, but Pinnacle didn’t have markets for Kunitskaya’s recent fights, all of which came outside the UFC.

It’s worth noting that two of Kunitskaya’s last three fights were against the same fighter - Tonya Evinger - with a no contest result followed by an Evinger victory via second round submission. Evinger was Cyborg’s second-to-last victim, losing in the third round.

Tale of the tape:

Tale of the tape

Cyborg

Name

Kunitskaya

5’8”

Height

5’8”

68”

Reach

64”

145 lbs

Weight

135 lbs

19-1-1

Record

10-3-1

16

Wins by KO

7

0

Wins by Sub

1

0

Losses by KO

0

1

Losses by Sub

2

Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya betting: The matchup

Kunitskaya possesses two strengths you should be looking for when picking out a longshot betting candidate - she knocks people out and she doesn’t get knocked out herself. This is important since, despite her recent win over Holly Holm coming by decision, Cyborg lives and thrives by the knockout.

This will be a far harder result to achieve against a fighter whose jaw has never collapsed under pressure. Kunitskaya has delivered seven knockouts (five of them first-rounders) in her 14-fight career so the knockout upset is very much in play.

It’s also important to note that Kunitskaya’s overturned win against Evinger came via second-round submission, which means that she threatens Cyborg in multiple ways.

As a result, Cyborg can’t solely focus on avoiding getting hit. With Cyborg boasting 70% defense against strikes, that’s an important distinction.

In Cyborg's favour she has produced incredibly strong numbers. She lands an astounding 6.92 strikes per minute at 52% accuracy, while absorbing just 1.80 strikes over the same time period. As if that’s not a big enough issue for her opponents, she also stuffs takedown attempts at a 94% rate, suggesting Kunitskaya needs to win this one on her feet.

Who will win the fight?

As the odds suggest, this fight really is Cyborg's to lose - Kunitskaya has been given a lower than 10% chance of winning the fight by the betting market.

It is likely we are going to see yet another instance of Cyborg achieving a convincing victory. However, given Kunitskaya’s history of knocking people out herself whilst avoiding a similar fate herself, some bettors out there might think that the longshot is one worth taking.

Either way, given the way Cyborg fights, it is likely to be a fast-paced and exciting fight.

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