UFC 256 — the last pay-per-view of the year — features a familiar headliner in Deiveson Figueiredo. He just main evented the previous UFC 255 and now has a 21-day turnaround in his next title defense. Tony Ferguson is also in action in the semi-main event. We preview both fights, plus offer betting advance in advance of the December 12 card!
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Joshua vs Ruiz Rematch Preview & Predictions
The heavyweight title rematch is inching closer and Ruiz vs. Joshua odds are out, here's how online sportsbooks currently have it pegged:
- Anthony Joshua (-260)
- Andy Ruiz Jr. (+200)
What a sharp departure those betting lines are from the first encounter back in June. Then, Anthony Joshua odds were a staggering -2500, while Andy Ruiz odds were +900.
Before we preview the second matchup and offer our free betting pick, a quick reminder about the bonus offers available throughout the Internet. For first-time bettors to a site, taking advantage of these promotions can earn you hundreds of dollars in free play — and what's not to like about that?
New-Look Ruiz, New Problems?
An unspoken reason why Ruiz was such an underdog in the first bout was his appearance. Seriously. He entered that matchup with a convincing 32-1 record (22 of those wins coming via KO), but he didn't exactly pass the heavyweight champion "eye test."
During the first fight, Ruiz weight in at 268 pounds and carried a significant amount of belly fat at that. Nicknamed "Snickers" for his love of the candy bar and without much (visible) muscle to speak of, Ruiz had the stereotypical "dad bod" look — a sharp contrast to Joshua's absolutely-chiseled frame.
Yet, that surplus of fat may have actually helped Ruiz cause. Some believe it's an extra barrier to shield away punishment from an opponent. Heck, it could even hurt an opponent that makes contact with the body.
Perhaps that's a pseudo-science explantation or perhaps not. We'll likely get an answer during the December 7 rematch because Ruiz has seemingly transformed his body.
Ruiz promised to come into the rematch "lighter, faster, and stronger" and training camp videos certainly prove he's met the first two points. No word yet on how much weight he's trimmed, but it's a night-and-day difference in appearance.
How Will Joshua Rebound From First-Ever Loss?
Joshua was seeming atop of the world before meeting his match in the "Mexican Rocky" as Ruiz came to be known after. At a perfect 22-0 (all but one of those wins coming via KO) and holding multiple heavyweight belts, a big payday was awaiting Joshua in an eventual fight with Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury.
That's all in jeopardy now — unless Joshua rebounds with a win in the rematch. How Joshua responds to the first adversity he's faced in his career will prove whether he truly has the heart of a champion or just the appearance of one.
The second go-round gives Joshua ample time to prepare. One month is all that Joshua had to prepare for Ruiz after his original opponent, Jarrell Miller, was forced out due to a failed drug test. That short turnaround, plus a general belief that Joshua overlooked Ruiz, is what many believe led to the shocking upset.
None of those excuses hold weight in the grudge match, especially the overlooking one. Ruiz dropped Joshua to the canvas four times in the first meeting so the Brit is very aware of how dangerous Ruiz is.
Making The Pick: Who Wins?
Last time out, the fight went down in Madison Square Garden. This time, the action will be contained in an outdoor stadium in Saudia Arabia, putting both fighters in unfamiliar territory.
In chapter two, we fully expect Joshua to lean more on his height advantage. He's a full four inches taller than Ruiz, with a remarkable eight-inch reach advantage too. For whatever reason — probably arrogance and an inclination to go for the big knockdown — Joshua didn't really use his jab to keep distance between himself and Ruiz in the first go.
A smarter, more prepared Joshua will use the jab this time out. That, in turn, can make this bout more about racking up points on the judges' scorecard than a fan-pleasing knockout victory. That's a hint for prop bettors because the exact method of victory could end up being a decision.
Joshua Ruiz odds indicate this one could go either way, but our money is on Joshua to exact revenge. Come bell time, we just have a feeling he'll enter the ring more motivated than ever. With the right frame of mind, he'll use his far superior athletic ability to outpace and outpoint Ruiz.
Plus, Ruiz went from having nothing to lose in the first matchup to having everything to lose in the second. He became an overnight sensation after winning four heavyweight titles — WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO — from Joshua, perhaps tasting the "good life" for the first time ever has lost that underdog spirit in him.
Betting pick to make: Anthony Joshua (-260)
That covers our fight preview. Be sure to track Anthony Joshua vs Ruiz odds up until the December 7 showdown at one of the sportsbooks below. They're also there to take your wager. Depositing money at any one of them is quick and painless so you can get started right away!
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