I am so excited for this fight night, there are good fights sprinkled about the prelims and ¾ of the main card. I will be calling all of them but only talking in analysis behind some of them. I am going to tell the readers now that the Main Event is going to be so hard for me to call and I might just give an analysis because I am one of the biggest Donald Cerrone fans ever. I will try to keep out my bias though because we know Dos Anjos is a great fighter and this fight might be fight of the year.
UFC Fight Pass Prelims (3:30PM/ET):
Francis Ngannou (5-1) vs. Luis Henrique (8-1, 1NC): The opening fight of the night is in the heavyweight division. I think it could go to the mat and finish there. I am going with Francis Ngannou through a 2nd round submission.
Hayder Hassan (6-2) vs. Vicente Luque (7-5-1): This fight between two bitter rivals in the welterweight division should be fun. These two were seen in the TUF season of ATT vs Blackzillians and they will be battling it out as hated gym rivals. Hayder is a monster who I truly think will make some noise in the UFC. He is a very confident and strong fighter who can knockout just about anyone. This kid needs to learn and improve his ground game which would make him a better fighter. Luque is a young fighter who lost on TUF to Michael Graves. Luque has struggled to show anything he is truly dominant at and should improve his all-around skills. I prefer Hayder in this fight and think he will end this fight in the 1st round via KO/TKO.
Kamaru Usman (6-1) vs. Leon Edwards (10-2): This fight to finish the fight pass prelims is going to be either on the mat in favor of Usman or stay standing which will favor Edwards. I think Usman is the better fighter and gets this fight to the ground and picks up the win but he will grind it out for 3 rounds. Usman by unanimous decision.
Fox Sports Prelims (5PM/ET):
Cole Miller (21-9) vs. Jim Alers (13-2): The fight to kick off the televised prelims is going to be fun to watch while it lasts. I think the better fighter at this point in their career should be Jim Alers. Alers wins by 2nd round submission.
Nik Lentz (27-7-2, 1NC) vs. Danny Castillo (17-9): This fight in the lightweight division is so close it is hard to call. I think the winner of this fight will be Nik Lentz in a split decision.
Josh Samman (12-3) vs. Tamdan McCrory (13-3): This fight in the middleweight division is a good matchup that could go less than 5 minutes and these two love to KO their opponents. I am going to take Samman though with a 1st round KO in less than 4 minutes.
#5 (5) Sarah Kaufman (17-3, 1NC) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (11-1): This fight in the women’s bantamweight division is between UFC ranked fighter Sarah Kaufman and new comer Valentina Shevchenko. Sarah is the favorite but I think that’s only because she is a veteran of the octagon I do not believe that she is the better fighter. I am going to take the upset, Valentina wins this thing in an upsetting fashion with a 2nd round KO.
#12 (13) CB Dollaway (16-8) vs. Nate Marquardt (36-15-2): This fight is going to be between two formerly title contending middleweight fighters who are past their primes and ready to put on a show. Nate is a very balanced fighter who can finish the fight standing or on the mat. He is a very smart fighter who is looking to find a way back into the rankings with this win. Nate is trying to turn around his late loses and get back on a hot streak but if he loses here we could see him talk retirement after 3 loses in a row. Let’s hope that’s not the case because this guy is so entertaining. Now his opponent CB is trying to turn around two recent loses and get back moving up in the division. CB is another very well rounded fighter who happens to let more of his fights go to decision than his opponent does. CB is a tough fighter to take down as he posts an 83% success rate for takedown defense and I think that he will be able to use that to control this fight. I am going to take the fighter who is honestly better at this point and take CB with a unanimous decision victory.
#7 (6) Charles Oliveira (20-5, 1NC) vs. #9 (8) Myles Jury (15-1): The Fox Sports televised prelim, main event should be a good one in the featherweight division I believe. Oliveria is a featherweight fighter who missed weight by 5 pounds and Myles Jury is a lightweight fighter who made weight at featherweight which makes this fight confusing. I think this fight will be so much fun between two great fighters regardless of the weight issues. These two have contrasting styles as Jury seems to be a KO machine while Oliveira likes to take fights to the mat and finish them on the mat. I think Jury will be in better shape though because he didn’t seem to have any problems cutting the weight while Oliveria not only missed but he looked rough after struggling to reach weight. I think this will give a huge stamina advantage to Jury and it’s hard to win a fight on the mat when you’re tired. I think Jury will win this fight through a 3rd round KO to end this fight.
Fox Main Card (8PM/ET):
#7 (7) Randa Markos (5-3) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (7-0): Here is the kick off fight for the main card in the women’s strawweight division. This fight is going to be a close one regardless that it’s between a top 10 ranked fighter and a UFC newcomer. I am again going to take the upset because this fight could be absolutely incredible due to Karolina being a good fighter. I think Karolina wins this thing via a 2nd round KO.
#6 (4) Michael Johnson (17-9) vs. #15 (NR) Nate Diaz (18-10): This fight in the lightweight division is absolutely amazing and will be a heated rivalry. I can’t wait to watch these two scrap as they already kind of did before the fight behind the scenes. These guys are getting into it outside of the octagon and once they are allowed to go at it they will not disappoint. Michael Johnson is the way better fighter and will be looking to display that his last loss was a joke and the judges really failed as they always tend to do. I think Nate is a trash talking nobody with a skill set that has become weaker and isn’t truly good enough to be rewarded with this scheduled fight. I think Michael Johnson is a win or two away from a title shot here and I think if he wins here he should get the loser of the title fight for the number one contender spot. Michael Johnson wins this thing by 2nd round KO, these two will keep this thing standing and scrap the whole way without backing down.
#2 (5) Junior Dos Santos (17-3) vs. #9 (8) Alistair Overeem (39-14, 1NC): The co-main event of the evening is a true battle in the heavyweight division. Junior has made some bold statements claiming this fight does nothing for his career which is a little insulting if you ask me for Overeem due just to how big his name is alone. These two will be two one punch finishers looking to propel themselves back into title shot talks with a win here. Overeem has one part to his game that Santos isn’t the best at and that would be his ability to finish the fight on the ground. Dos Santos has the ability to submit his opponents but Overeem is the better fighter when it goes to the mat, hands down. Now when this thing is standing I can’t give either fighter the edge because these guys can both finish the fight with one punch and they will be ready to scrap to show off who is the better KO artist. I think this fight will be so much fun and could go either way and I am not sure who will win this thing. I am going to seriously take another “upset” with this one. I am going to take Overeem with a surprising KO victory in a 2nd round KO.
(C) Rafael Dos Anjos (24-7) vs. #2 (1) Donald Cerrone (28-6, 1NC): The title fight I have been waiting for all year long in the lightweight division. Cerrone to me is a top fighter in the UFC he always is ready to scrap no matter what weight class and will take the fight on short notice just to make sure the fans get to see a fight. I bet this time off between fights to avoid injury had to be so hard for a guy who wants to fight 5 times a year. We are finally going to see the cowboy get the title shot he deserves and will I think take a big step forward in his career showing off how well rounded of a fighter this guy can truly be. This fight should be good though because both fighters are good on the mat and standing. Now the thing I don’t like about Dos Anjos is he tends to go to decision a lot more than his opponent as he grinds out things and is a slow paced fighter as of late with the exception of the Pettis fight. I am not sure where this fight will go but I think Cerrone has the edge both standing and on the mat. Don’t get me wrong I think Dos Anjos is an incredible fighter and he might just be the second best in this weight class at this moment, but I truly believe Cerrone is the best fighter in this weight class. I think Cerrone wins this thing in the 4th round by way of a RNC crowning us a 3rd title change in 7 days.
- Matt Koontz