In this Aug. 4, 2018, file photo, Henry Cejudo, left, kicks Demetrious Johnson during their UFC flyweight title mixed martial arts bout at UFC 227 in Los Angeles. Cejudo is scheduled to fight Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, May 9, 2020.
In this Aug. 4, 2018, file photo, Henry Cejudo, left, kicks Demetrious Johnson during their UFC flyweight title mixed martial arts bout at UFC 227 in Los Angeles. Cejudo is scheduled to fight Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, May 9, 2020.|Chris Carlson | Associated Press
MMA

UFC 249: McMudder picks a packed card including Yorgan De Castro vs Greg Hardy, Dominic Cruz vs Henry Cejudo, and a Free Parx Bet deal

The card is loaded with great matchups. UFC 249 takes place Saturday, May 9, with early prelims beginning at 6:30 and the pay-per-view portion beginning at 10 p.m.

Mick McMudder

Mick McMudder

Mick McMudder is branching out to cover the upcoming UFC onslaught that is coming. He's starting with UFC 249, a packed card that has been almost 2 months in the making. The days are getting few, the slate is set but until weigh-ins, don’t expect every fight on the card to go off as planned. That’s the reason why there are always back up fighters waiting in the wings. Mick is focused on the card, as finalized and in place.

The card is loaded with great matchups and they break down into two categories: fights that you want to watch and fights you want to bet. The assumption from Mick is that most people will be betting the money line but there will be lots of ways to get into the action including daily fantasy plays.

Important betting note: Parx Casino is offering users to opt-in and place a single pre-match $50 + “Cash” bet with odds of -200 or higher (i.e -110, +300, etc.) on the lightweight fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. Eligible Patrons will be awarded $100 in Free Bets over 5 weekly increments value at $20 Free Bet each. To access this deal, you can click on this link.

These are the fights that must be bet and the fighters that you need if you are putting together a fantasy squad:

Yorgan De Castro (+165) to beat Greg Hardy (-200) is a great place to start. Hardy started out his career in MMA very well, but his recent performances have been less encouraging, and he got here because of natural ability and name recognition. Once he started drawing better opponents he was in the deep end and De Castro is the very deep end. Ignore the size difference, DeCastro will be close enough to just beat Hardy up. Expect this line to move to De Castro so when and how you get in will be important. Play De Castro straight up, by first round KO/TKO, and use him in all fantasy and props. De Castro is on the way up…same can’t be said for Hardy.

Carla Esparza (-150) to beat Michelle Waterson (+125) in a match up of fighters that seem to be just below the top in the weight class. Yes, Esparza is a former champion at this weight but the “Cookie Monster” appears to be chasing the top of the chart (Weili, Andrade, Rose, etc.) but gets a better match up here in Waterson who has struggled with the top of the class, too. Expect this one to go very deep with a split decision highly probable. Esparza has proven to dig deeper and knows how to score when needed which gives her the advantage. Play Esparza to win but shop the price, bet full time, and bet split decision if you can find it.

And the upset at the top… Dominic Cruz (+175) over Henry Cejudo (-210). Cruz is on the every 4 year schedule which is not very promising but he appears to be both ready and hungry here. And he is the style of fighter that can give Cejuda issues. Cruz is long, lean and hard to hit. Cejudo’s improvement as a puncher has been awesome but he is best when his opponents stand still and can be hit. Cruz is neither stationary nor is he easy to hit. Don’t expect this one to be anything other than a war. These guys are smart fighters and that will lead to them being intact in the championship rounds. Cruz’s one issue is conditioning. Can he go 25 minutes? The price is worth taking a shot. Take Cruz, bet the full time, and go with the ‘dog.

Parting shots…

As much as Mick likes Justin Gaethje and is usually in his corner, Tony Ferguson has the motor, the reach and the smarts to make this one a brutal battle. Play it one way or the other… Gaethje by first round KO/TKO or Ferguson any other way.

Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik by first round KO/TKO…these guys hit and know nothing else. If you can get money down on fastest stoppage put it on this fight. Who wins? Who knows? But it will be quick.

And the Energizer Bunny award for the fighters that just can’t say no… Anthony Pettis vs Donald Cerrone, of course. Mick is excited that this one will be on ESPN so everyone can see these two battle it out. Neither is the fighter that he once was, but both can still bring it. This one gets the pick for the hardest outcome to predict … maybe even a submission that has never seen before!!!

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