CM Punk makes awaited debut against Gall, Miocic meets Overeem at UFC 203 in Cleveland
Lee Gormley | September 9, 2016
CM Punk v Mickey Gall
- UFC welterweight fight
- Sunday, September 11th
- Scheduled for: 04:00 BST
- The Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, United States
- Live on BT Sport 2
UFC 203 tips as CM Punk makes debut
Having quit the WWE to pursue an MMA career in 2014, former wrestling star CM Punk finally makes his debut this weekend at UFC 203, as the Chicago native takes on Mickey Gall in a welterweight match-up in the organisation’s first ever card in Cleveland.
Punk, real name Phil Brooks, signed with the UFC despite having no prior MMA experience, a move which has caused friction among passionate fans of the sport and fighters themselves, though he has been training with esteemed coach Duke Roufus at Roufusport Academy.
At 37 years of age, the former wrestler makes a daunting step into the octagon and is 18/5 with Coral to secure victory on his debut as part of our UFC 203 tips, as he faces off with fellow inexperienced rival Gall.
The 24-year-old New Jersey fighter has prevailed in two previous professional MMA outings and, despite only being a young prospect at the start of his career, he enters as the massive odds-on 1/5 favourite to prevail in the early hours of Sunday morning.
CM Punk targeting successful octagon debut
Gall will also take to he octagon at 4/5 to hand CM Punk a submission defeat on his maiden outing in the sport, and 8/15 to end the bout in the first round, a scenario the former WWE wrestler will look to avoid, having waited for two years to fight, due to injury setbacks.
The veteran UFC debutant is 13/2 to stop Gall in their three-round encounter, while he enters at 15/8 to face an early stoppage loss at the hands of his much younger opponent in Cleveland, though Punk is confident of proving his many doubters wrong.
“I don’t think it was ever questioned whether physically I could handle the training camp,” Punk stated. “I think mentally was the question, but now we all know.
“If I set foot in the Octagon, I’ve already won. I’m doing something that a lot of people thought I couldn’t do. At the end of the day, I don’t want to walk in there and lose.
“I want to show up. I want to beat Mickey. There’s so many different variables, everything has to line up on that one perfect day, you know, and I’m looking to that.”
Miocic meets Overeem in heavyweight battle
History will be made this weekend with this set to the first ever UFC event held in Cleveland and it’s fittingly reigning heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic that headlines the card, making his first title defence against English-born Dutchman.
The defending champion will take to the octagon in front of his home fans at the Quicken Loans Arena at 6/5 to prevail by knockout, after devastatingly halting Brazilian fighter Fabricio Werdum to become champion in May earlier this year.
In the maiden UFC show in Cleveland, Miocic will be aiming to ordain the occasion with a successful maiden defence of his crown, but his 36-year-old challenger is 7/4 to spoil the party with a KO triumph.
The latter ‘Demolition Man’ holds many notable victories over former UFC heavyweight champions, including Brock Lesnar, Junior dos Santos, Frank Mir and Werdum, making him 10/3 for an opening-round stoppage win. Although Miocic is 11/4 to achieve that feat on home soil.
Werdum aims to bounce back against Browne
Heavyweight contender Werdum will also feature in Cleveland, as he looks to get back on track after losing the crown earlier this year to Miocic, and the hard-hitting Brazilian will go toe-to-toe with American foe Travis Browne for a second time.
The former champion is 11/4 to halt Browne’s efforts on Sunday morning, while the latter 34-year-old is 7/4 to spring a surprise and recover from a run of three losses in his last five UFC outings.
Browne, the partner of former women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, was overcome by Werdum back in 2014 in a decision loss in Orlando, and he is 9/4 to face another points defeat in their rematch.
Urijah Faber also features on the card, with the Californian bantamweight entering at 6/1 knock out Jimmie Rivera, though the latter 27-year-old is 15/8 to earn a decision win over the distance.
Have a look at our Gennady Golovkin v Kell Brook preview, ahead of their middleweight meeting in London.