UFC 249 Betting Preview: Henry Cejudo v Dominick Cruz Odds

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The battle for the best bantamweight: Cejudo v Cruz

Dominick Cruz is returning to the UFC for the first time since 2016. 'The Dominator' last fought just short of four years ago and lost his bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt that night in December. 'No Love' completely outclassed Cruz and it seemed the torch had been passed from the legendary champion to the up and comer, Garbrandt.

Whilst Cruz has emphasised he never officially retired, the American has been out of action for years due to injuries, and with no return seemingly on the horizon, it did look as if the days of 'The Dominator' were over.

Now, Cruz is being thrown in at the deep and gunning for the man with the title that was long his. At 35 years old, he will meet Henry Cejudo on May 9 and try and reclaim the bantamweight crown for what will hand the champion his first loss in four years.

Here, we take a look at the betting preview for Cejudo v Cruz with Paddy Power.

Cejudo to win outright - 2/5

Understandably so, the champion is the favourite. If this fight were to happen a few years back, things may have been different, but since both fighters lost in 2016, Cejudo has gone onto rack up an almighty CV, whilst Cruz has spent more time in rehabilitation.

Back in December 2016, 'The Messenger' lost to Joseph Benavidez, a few months after he was TKO'd by the unstoppable flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, in the first round. However, since fighting his way back against Wilson Reis nine months after the Benavidez defeat, Cejudo has barely looked back.

A comfortable win by Sergio Pettis would follow, allowing another shot at the flyweight belt against Johnson, where this time, things were incredibly different. The Olympic gold medalist earned a split decision win over 'DJ', a victory that was crowned Upset of the Year by multiple organisations. 'Triple C' would take on T.J Dillashaw six months later to defend the crown, beating him after just 43 seconds with a flurry of punches.

Love him or hate him, to beat one of the best ever in Johnson and defend the title against Dillashaw within seconds just months later, puts him up there with the pound for pound greats in recent times.

Now, after beating Marlon Moraes, Cejudo has cemented his legacy as one of the best of all-time in the lower weight classes, becoming the first-ever fighter to hold the UFC flyweight and bantamweight title at the same time.

With a win over Cruz, his CV will reach a new level of exceptional brilliance and edge him closer to the Hall of Fame. To do so, Cejudo is 2/5.

ICYMI: Cejudo vs Cruz - how G.O.A.T status awaits the winner.

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Cruz to win outright - 7/4

Cruz no doubt has his work cut out. Whilst his opponent has defeated some of the best across two divisions, 'The Dominator' has been rehabilitating his long-standing injuries and most likely wondering if he would ever fight again.

In truth, there is no better way to remind everyone that he is the best bantamweight of all-time, with a win over the man on arguably the best rampage in the present day. When Cejudo beat Moraes for the vacant bantamweight title, it had everyone wondering if he truly could be the next best thing.

However, you only have to look back on the career of Cruz to understand that this is no easy fight, and that the American truly is the best to ever do it at 135 lbs. Aside from the loss to Garbrandt, Cruz's record in this division is impeccable. The 35-year-old has four consecutive title defences on his CV, surpassing Miguel Torres for the most consecutive title defences in bantamweight history.

Now, on his comeback trail to the top, Cruz is a 7/4 underdog to win outright, which should not be overlooked for a second. With wins over Joseph Benavidez, Johnson and Uriah Faber, even after almost four years out, he should never be overlooked.

ICYMI: Read the odds for the main event as Ferguson takes on Gaethje for the interim lightweight title right here!

To win by KO/TKO

Both men hold similar statuses within their KO records. Whilst each fighter boasts of seven TKO/KO wins, Cruz is more of the technician, winning only 32% of his fights in this manner, with 47% of Cejudo's wins coming from TKO/KOs.

Considering the fight is a five-round title bout, a TKO/KO is also possible. If the fight is played into Cruz's hands, 'The Dominator' will surely seek to take the fight into the latter stages. Cruz's last TKO/KO win was over Takeya Mizugaki back in 2014, winning his next two via decision.

Prior to his KO win over Mizugaki, the former champion's previous win in this manner was against Brian Bowles back in 2010. In total, over the past 14 years, Cruz has registered just three TKO/KO wins and is rightfully so a huge 10/1 to beat Cejudo in this fashion.

As for the champion, he is much more prolific in registering KO/TKO wins, boasting the same amount of seven as Cruz, but with a stronger percentage of 15%. Now, to do the same to the ex-champ, Cejudo is 11/4, which is certainly worth considering based on his recent record.

'Triple C' TKO'd Dillashaw in just 43 seconds and the rising star Moraes in round three to win this title. Cejudo's only other TKO/KO win in the UFC was against Reis in 2017. It is also important to note that the Olympic champion TKO'd his first four opponents in his mixed martial arts career, all within round one.

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To win by decision

For either fighter to win by decision is easily the most likely outcome. Cruz is one of the best to do it in this regard, winning 14 (64%) of his 22 wins through a decision, with only four of those coming through a split decision.

Ultimately, this means if the fight goes the distance, Cruz tends to convince the judges he has done the most and walk away with a unanimous win. However, it's been four years since this last happened against Faber, and prior to this, the American only defeated Dillashaw by a split decision.

It's also important to note that the 35-year-old lost a unanimous decision to Garbrandt last time out and looked a shadow of his former self in this battle. Now, Cruz's best victory is once again through a points win and he is 3/1 with Paddy Power to do so.

As for the champion, odds are not that much greater. Cejudo is 8/5 to win on points, putting him as the slight favourite in this regard. To win the title, the American did beat the legendary figure of Johnson over five rounds and from 2013-2015, the former flyweight king won six bouts through a decision, with only one coming as a split win.

To win by submission

Whilst both fighters boast decent enough records within the TKO/KO department neither can lay claim to being a submission specialist.

Despite winning an Olympic gold medal for wrestling at just 21, Cejudo tends to keep the fight on the feet and to this day, he has failed to force the tap of an opponent. From his 15 wins, none of them have come via submission, whilst Cruz's 22 wins hold just the one submission victory. The former champion's sole win in this manner came all the way back in 2006 against Juan Miranda.

Now, as Cejudo and Cruz meet for the bantamweight title, it's tough to see this one heading to a tense grappling game. The champion does, however, have a price of 9/1 to win by submission, compared to the challenger's 13/1.

ICYMI: Read the odds for the main event as Ferguson takes on Gaethje for the interim lightweight title right here!

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