Not surprisingly, UFC dual-division champion Daniel Cormier has opened as a massive betting favorite in the first defense of his heavyweight title.
After numerous failed attempts at securing a UFC 230 main event for Nov. 3 at Madison Square Garden, promotion officials called on Cormier to step in and save the day. After getting his injured hand cleared, Cormier has agreed to put his UFC heavyweight title on the line against Derrick Lewis. The two will battle it out in the headliner for the promotion’s return trip to New York City.
Though it will be the first defense of his heavyweight strap, Cormier is a massive favorite over Lewis. The oddsmakers at Bovada have opened with Cormier at -800, while Lewis sits at +500. Basically, that means you have to put $800 down on Cormier just to win $100. If you go the other direction and put $100 down on Lewis, your return is $500 in winnings. That’s how sure the oddsmakers are that Cormier is going to defeat Lewis.
Cormier (21-1, 1NC) hasn’t fought since taking the belt from Stipe Miocic in July. While the odds are heavily in his favor to defeat Lewis, who is a relatively one-dimensional fighter to Cormier’s well rounded assault, it’s not like Cormier isn’t placing a heavy wager of his own on the bout.
As soon as Cormier won the UFC heavyweight title, the build-up began for a showdown with returning former UFC champion and WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar. While it isn’t the most sporting match-up, Cormier facing Lesnar would surely bring in massive pay-per-view numbers, which equates to a massive payday for Cormier.
That bout is at risk. If Cormier were to lose to Lewis, he’d kiss the Lesnar blockbuster goodbye.
Cormier is sure to be well compensated for taking a last-minute fight to save UFC 230 from being a full-on train wreck, as it was headed off the tracks, but it still isn’t likely to be equal to the type of figures that a Lesnar bout would generate.
For Lewis (21-5, 1NC), a step into a championship fight is a bit premature. Though he holds the No. 2 spot in the UFC heavyweight rankings, he really has been a one-trick pony getting there. For example, Lewis was well on his way to defeat at the hands of Alexander Volkov at UFC 229 on Saturday, but pulled out a last-minute comeback, literally, when he landed a powerful punch and finished him off at 4:49 of the third round.
The amazing thing about Lewis is that, while his cardio admittedly isn’t the greatest, he somehow digs deep to survive incredible odds until he can land that powerful punch that hardly anyone can withstand. That makes him a considerable threat to Cormier and his future payday with Lesnar.
So Cormier may be the heavy favorite, but he’s certainly putting a lot on the line.