The betting odds for UFC 203 say Stipe Miocic will defend his title, Werdum will return to winning ways, and CM Punk's first foray will be a failure.
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This article was originally published by FIGHTLAND
This Saturday, the UFC will take over Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena with the highly-anticipated UFC 203. The card will be headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Cleveland-based champion Stipe Miocic and decorated challenger Alistair Overeem. The co-main event, meanwhile, will see former heavyweight champ Fabricio Werdum attempt to get back on track against a late replacement in Travis Browne – a man he defeated back in 2014.
The remaining main card will see WWE star CM Punk make his MMA debut against dangerous 24-year-old fighter Mickey Gall, while bantamweight prospect Jimmie Rivera takes a big step up against Urijah Faber. Elsewhere, Strawweight contenders Jessica Andrade and Joanne Calderwood battle to take another step up the ladder.
Here's a quick rundown of the betting odds for this stacked card.
In advance of his main event clash with Overeem, Miocic has been identified as a -135 favourite. This means it would require a successful $135 bet on Miocic to win $100. Overeem, meanwhile, is currently sitting around +115, depending on which sportsbook you're using. This means that a successful $100 bet on him will earn you $115.
The co-main event will be a much less competitive affair, if the odds are to be believed. Former heavyweight champion Werdum has been pegged as a -225 favourite by most sources, while Browne, who he handily defeated back in 2014, is hovering around +185.
The odds also suggest that CM Punk's widely criticised jump to MMA will not go as he'd planned. The former WWE champion is identified by most sources as a +350 underdog, while Gall, his far younger adversary, is viewed as a sizeable -440 betting favourite.
The first two bouts of the main card, finally, are both coin-flips – at least as far as the odds are concerned. 19-1 bantamweight prospect Rivera is favoured to beat Faber, but only slightly, as he's sitting around -125 while Faber is pegged as a +105 underdog. Brazilian strawweight Andrade, meanwhile, is expected to leave Cleveland with a win over Scotland's Calderwood, though the odds-makers don't seem especially confident. Andrade is a slight -125 favourite, and Calderwood has been identified in the area of a +105 underdog by most sources.
And then there's the undercard.
Most books expect Jessica Eye (-125) to defeat former title challenger Bethe Correia (+105) in their preliminary bantamweight bout. Nik Lentz (-400) is a sizable favourite over Michael McBride (+310), who has stepped up on short notice to replace an injured Mairbek Taisumov. Middleweight veteran Brad Tavares (-170) is expected to defeat Brazil's Caio Magalhaes (+150). Long-time flyweight contender Ian McCall (-120), who is returning to action after well over a year on the sidelines, has been given a slight edge over 23-year-old prospect (Ray Borg) +100. Hawaii's Yancy Medeiros (-140), who is moving up to welterweight after a long run at lightweight, is a slight favourite over the underdog Sean Spencer (+120). TUF veteran CB Dolloway (-170), meanwhile, has the odds-makers' confidence in his light heavyweight debut against Brazil's Francimar Barroso (+150). And finally, in the evening's first bout, lightweight Drew Dober (-160) has been pegged as a favourite over the debuting Jason Gonzales (+140).
The important thing to remember as we consider the lines for UFC 203's 12 exciting bouts, however, is that no card is complete without a few upsets. That means that a few underdogs are likely to walk away with big wins in Cleveland – odds be damned.