A victory this weekend will almost certainly move Casey Kenney into contender range for the first time in UFC career.
Oddsmakers have Saturday’s UFC 259 bout between Dominick Cruz and Casey Kenney as a complete coin flip – and it will be interesting to see where the betting money lands ahead of this bantamweight bout. The injury-ravaged Cruz (-115 to win on the MMA odds) will be participating in just his second fight since 2016, and he’s in tough against the younger Kenney (also -115), who is on a three-fight win streak and has just one defeat in his previous 10 bouts.
Dominick Cruz UFC 259 Odds
What can we expect from Cruz? A much better showing than in his previous fight against Henry Cejudo, who was awarded a controversial TKO victory after levelling Cruz with a well-placed knee in the second round. Cruz looked predictably rusty in the opening round, but had begun to show more vintage form prior to the stoppage. How Cruz rebounds from that loss will ultimately decide that fight – and not knowing what to expect is going to make handicapping him a chore.
For those who aren’t familiar with Cruz in his prime, the now-35-year-old was one of the most agile fighters in the entire UFC, riding an impressive amateur wrestling background to the UFC bantamweight title. He’s lightning quick with his punches, kicks and dodges, and has one of the best takedown defence rates in the division for his career at 83 per cent. If he can regain even part of his prior form, it could be a long night for Kenney.
Casey Kenney UFC 259 Odds
He might not have the resume of his Saturday opponent, but you can’t discount what Kenney has done over the past 3+ years (capped by an impressive six-fight stint in the UFC). He most recently fought twice in a 21-day span in Abu Dhabi, earning decision victories over Heili Aliteng and Nathaniel Wood, the second coming at a catchweight of 140 pounds. A victory this weekend will almost certainly move Kenney into contender range for the first time in UFC career.
Kenney’s best shot at the victory here will be to leverage his sensational grappling skill and rely on the dual black belts he holds in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Cruz might not have the same level of rust he showed against Cejudo, but he might still struggle against a fighter in Kenney who is clearly in his prime at the moment, and able to keep the pressure on throughout the bout. If Kenney gets Cruz consistently to the mat, he’s going to be difficult to beat.
Cruz vs. Kenney UFC 259 Prediction
Cruz was a world-class fighter before injuries derailed his career – and he’s far from over the hill, even by UFC standards. Look for him to rediscover what made him the most feared fighter in the division, and pull out a decision win.