UFC 212: Aldo vs. Holloway: Here comes where’s Waldo vs Holloway. This card is pretty stacked and should bring a ton of excitement. Once again our sites rankings are the ones outside the parentheses and the ufc.com rankings are in the parentheses. I want to give a special props to Sean Shelby for his incredible fight making and thank him for doing such a good job.
FS1 Prelims (8 PM/ET):
#12 (13) Iuri Alcantara (34-7, 1NC) vs. Brian Kelleher (16-7): We kick off the televised fights for the night with the Bantamweight division. This fight should be a fun way to start off the night as both of these guys will look for a finish. Brian is coming in to his UFC debut on a 6 fight win streak and believes he deserves a top fighter and he is getting a great test to see if he is worthy. 4 of those fights on his 6 fight streak he is riding in on were finished by stoppage. Now his opponent is a UFC vet who has shown as of late his ability on the mat somehow has gotten even better and I expect him to use his cage knowledge and abilities to pace this fight and get it to the mat and go for his submission game. Brian is a great ground fighter too though but if he does get Iuri to the mat he needs to know that Iuri can pull off sneak submissions from the bottom or in a scramble. I went online and watched some film on Brian and I think he could be good in the UFC but his UFC debut I believe will end in a loss after an Alcantara submission in round 2.
#10 (10) Johnny Eduardo (28-10) vs. Matthew Lopez (9-1): Back to back bantamweight fights and this one should be an increase in showmanship. Lopez is a tough dude with a pretty great ability to endure a beating and still keep fighting hard. Lopez is a great wrestler and has a ton of power, he also possess the ability to stop a fight wherever it goes. He has successfully stopped 7 of his 9 professional wins and his one lone loss came in the UFC on his UFC debut. I think he has the skill set and talent to make a run at the rankings and possibly in a couple years be considered a title fighter. His biggest test ever though will be this one as he fights Johnny Eduardo who is one fighter I am so excited to see fight again. I know Eduardo is up there in age but I still think he has a title shot run left in him if he can pull off this win. Eduardo is a dominant striker and if he connects and it doesn’t knock out his opponent he will go to the mat and pick up the RNC. Eduardo will be in front of the home crowd and could pick up the win and retire honestly but I hope he won’t. I am going to honestly believe Lopez can find a way and will pull off this biggest win of his career. I am going to take Lopez by way of unanimous decision.
Antonio Carlos Junior (8-2, 1NC) vs. Eric Spicely (10-2): This middleweight fight is between two Jiu-jitsu greats with very impressive ground games. Spicely is a great ground game fighter who has stopped his last two fights in the 1st round via submission and lost his UFC debut in the 1st via submission to ranked middleweight Sam Alvey. Spicely will come into this fight looking to keep this fight at a distance and shoot for the takedown when an opening happens. He has a phenomenal ground game but his stand-up will need some work if he looks to be a great middleweight fighter. His opponent Antonio Carlos Junior is an aggressive Jiu-jitsu fighter which is rare but he really comes after it. His hands while standing though can plant someone on their butt with their lights turned off and if he doesn’t knock them out he would jump on them for the submission. I love the hype behind this fight and I am going to take Spicely to win this one via 1st round submission by using his elite skill set.
#3 (3) Raphael Assuncao (24-5) vs. Marlon Moraes (18-4-1): The main event of the televised prelims is a throw down between a top bantamweight and a guy looking to make a huge UFC debut. Marlon Moraes gets a big named top fighter with his UFC debut for a reason, he comes in with a whole lot of hype as he hasn’t lost in World Series of Fighting or another major organization since 2011. He is coming in off of 4 stoppage wins in a row. He is a very well rounded fighter with great stand up skills and a great ground game but I am not sure he is at an advantage at on the mat against Assuncao. But this guy has far superior stand up skills to anyone probably in his entire division. He even trains with Edson Barbosa which is huge to me. Now his opponent UFC standout Raphael Assuncao is a top fighter in the world who I once believed to be a top title contender and I still think he can be. The guy loves to push the pace of a fight and can dominate every fighter in his weight range on the mat. Now this fight to me comes down to who pushes the pace as they both love to push the pace and if this fight stays standing or goes to the mat. I think round 1 will be dominated by Raphael but Marlon will survive and pick up a tough KO with a kick to the head in round 2 to get his first UFC win in impressive style.
UFC Main Card (10 PM/ET):
Erick Silva (19-7, 1NC) vs. Yancy Medeiros (13-4, 1NC): We kick off the main card with the welterweight division. Yancy is a good standup fighter with a pretty good takedown defense. He has a great mindset and some serious fighting instincts and can control the pace of a fight pretty well. I think Yancy will look to pace out this fight and pick Silva apart and while doing so landing some pretty devastating kicks and punches wearing him down. Now his opponent Erick Silva loves to throw kicks and go for the take downs and use his great ground game to pick up the wins. Silva needs to be careful he doesn’t get too aggressive looking for takedowns and get caught though. He needs to use his phenomenal kicks and power and slowly pick apart Yancy and then get his takedown as he wears him down. This fight is going to be a technical showdown and I see Erick Silva using the hometown crowd to propel him to a win. I believe he gets it done in round 2 via a head kick KO.
Paulo Borrachinha (9-0) vs. Oluwale Bamgbose (6-2): HERE COME THE FIREWORKS! These two middleweights know how to end a fight with one punch. Oluwale’s last fight was cancelled due to his opponent having issues making weight and this guy is an absolute monster and I am so excited for his future in the UFC. This kid has stopped all 6 of his wins with a KO and they are all in the 1st round. This dude is so powerful yet his hands are so quick and he has a great fight instinct and I believe we will see him become a top 15 fighter with one impressive win. He has a very smart mind in the cage and could really climb the ranks quick once he gets some momentum. Now his opponent is entering just his 2nd UFC fight coming off an impressive KO in round 1. Paulo just like his opponent has stopped all of his fights except he has one submission while the rest are KO and they are also all in the 1st round so I believe it be crazy to pick this fight to last beyond round 1. I believe the winner of this fight will find themselves ranked and the loser will rebound after this and be ranked one day soon too as they are both two young beasts bound for title shots one day. I love this fight as it could steal the show. I am going with Oluwale to win this one and pick up an impressive 1st round TKO.
#14 (11) Vitor Belfort (25-13) vs. Nate Marquardt (38-16-3): Alright well I want to make this short and sweet for this fight. Thank you to future HOF member Vitor Belfort as you are retiring after this fight and we will truly miss you and I believe you will ride the emotional wave into your final fight and in front of your hometown fans and pick up a 1st round KO as this fight will be a fun one for as long as it lasts. But thank you so much for what you brought us fans since your debut Vitor. A true legend.
#1 (1) Claudia Gadelha (13-2) vs. #2 (2) Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-1): This fight is between the top 2 women in the strawweight division that aren’t named Joanna Jedrzejczyk. These two girls have a combined 3 losses and all 3 losses have come to Joanna. These girls might be fighting for the #1 contender spot but I personally believe Rose should be next for the title fight before them. I personally would like to see Claudia go into the next season of TUF and go for the title at 125 that they are creating because I believe she could be Joanna good at 125. These two girls are dominant strikers and this fight will be extremely high entertainment and we could really see a bloody brawl because as Joanna has shown us these two girls can take a beating and keep coming. I am ready to see a Poland vs Poland rematch though as I believe Karolina wins this one by way of unanimous decision.
Champ: Jose Aldo (26-2) vs. Interim Champ: Max Holloway (17-3): HERE WE GO!!!! The MAIN EVENT OF THE EVENING. Looks like Holloway is one of the rarest feats in the world and won the game of where’s Waldo without any longer delays. Holloway is rolling in on a 10 fight win streak and he has looked better and better each and every single fight. I honestly think he is a top 10 fighter in the world not just top in his weight class. Max has become a great striker and learned how to use head movement and counter strike very well and his ground game and Jiu-jitsu is improving each time we see him. He will be put at his biggest test of his young career though as he goes up against the greatest featherweight fighter of all time in Jose Aldo. Aldo has one huge factor we haven’t seen in Holloway yet and that is the fact that Aldo can probably go 15 rounds. Aldo has an advantage on the mat but when it comes to stand up he has KO power but he really needs to close the distance against a better striking fighter. Aldo should be looking to slowly pick his shots in this fight like we saw him do against Frankie Edgar. Aldo doesn’t have the skill set anymore to come get a win he has to pick his spots and land and I am not sure that strategy will work so well against the range of Holloway and the ability Max has of evading shots and countering. I believe this fight could be slow paced and boring if Aldo plays the Floyd Mayweather game like he shows he has the tendency to do but if Max can push the pace he could make this a fight of the year candidate. I am going with Max to win this thing in the 4th round via TKO.
(#13) Iuri Alcantara (34-7) vs Brian Kelleher (16-7): The first fight of the night we see a ranked bantamweight go up against someone making his UFC debut. Brian Kelleher will be stepping into the octagon for the first time tonight. He is coming in off a six fight win streak and is coming down a weight class. He has seven wins by submission and six wins by knockout or TKO. His opponent has won six of his last eight fights. Alcantara is a well-balanced finisher with 13 by submission and 13 by knockout or TKO. He is also a champion in both jiu-jitsu and muay thai. Alcantara has a habit of beating unranked guys and I think this is going to be a rude awakening for him. I think Kelleher is going to adjust well to this weight class because sherdog has his weight listed as 141 so he shouldn't have a rough cut and it will only make him more dominant. I think this will stay mostly standing and Kelleher will get a TKO in the second.
(#10) Johnny Eduardo (28-10) vs Matthew Lopez (9-1): This next fight is very similar to last and in the same division. Lopez is entering this fight on a win and his first out of two previous UFC fights. He has four wins by knockout and three by submission. All of them were in the first round and three were even under two minutes. This guy is a four time state champ in wrestling and a national champ in Greco-Roman so he will be an aggressive grappler. His opponent Johnny Eduardo has won 14 of his last 16 fights. He has won 11 by submission and 10 by knockout with 14 of the 21 in the first round. Eduardo is a champ in both jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai. Eduardo fights only about once a year so I believe Lopez will be able to get in and take advantage early. I think Lopez can get a quick takedown and TKO him in the first couple minutes.
Antonio Carlos Junior (8-2) vs Eric Spicely (10-2): This next fight will be in the middleweight division and the only fight on the prelims without a ranked fighter. Eric Spicely is coming in off two straight wins. Those were two of his five submission victories and they were all in the first round. He is the kind of guy that goes straight for an opening without using many strikes. So far it is working out for him, but with no attempted takedowns against him it will be interesting to see how he does against someone who does close to the same thing. His opponent has competed at both heavyweight and light heavyweight in the UFC. Antonio Carlos Junior is also very good at jiu-jitsu, but it takes him a little longer and he gets a good amount of shots in. It will be interesting to see how this is going to go down and I think Carlos' background will give the ability to test Spicely. However I still think Spicely is going to win, but it will take him til the second round and he will have to work Carlos down first.
(#3) Raphel Assuncao (24-5) vs Marlon Moraes (18-4): The main event of the prelims is the one I find a tad confusing. I don't know much about Moraes, but I don't want to write him off yet. This decorated 29 year old is making his UFC debut against the 3rd ranked fighter in his division and I'm not sure that is the right call. He is on a 13 fight win streak and leaving the title of WSOF bantamweight champion. He is good at finishing his opponents and he does it quick with double digits in the first round. My thing is it is always a different level of opponent when entering the UFC and there is really no telling how a fighter will transition. On top of that he goes straight to the top with the monster in Assuncao. He is near undefeated at bantamweight and has 13 finishes. Assuncao took Dillashaw to his limit and this is the guy they want Moraes to debut against? I have serious doubts, but if I am proved wrong then this could really be a fight of the year candidate. For everyone's sake who is watching I hope I am wrong, but I think Assuncao is going to beat him down and get a second or third round submission.
Erick Silva (19-7) vs. Yancy Medeiros (13-4): The first fight of the main card and this will be one of two unranked fights on the card. Yancy will be moving up a weight and I'm not sure why considering he was staying pretty solid in lightweight. He won four of his last six and over his career gathered ten finishes. Medeiros is a thug in the octagon and he just whoops ass. He presses forward and practically stalks his opponent landing shot after shot until it's over. His opponent is Erick Silva who is a decorated welterweight. He has trained with some of the best Brazilian fighters including Anderson, Jacare and the Nogueira brothers. He has a dozen wins by submission and is a black belt in both judo and jiu-jitsu. How this guy managed only four knockout victories is insane because his hits are lethal. These two fighters are going to go nuts. They are going to both want to set the pace and I think someone is going to get dropped because of it. Silva seems to hit harder, but Yancy lands a lot more and I think that will go in his favor because it will mess Silva up and make him sloppy. This fight is going to be intense and I predict Medeiros getting a knockout towards the end of the first.
Pualo Borrachinha (9-0) vs. Oluwale Bamgbose (6-2): This next fight may seem like it doesn't belong in the main card, but it will be brutal. Between the two fighters, 14 knockouts occurred in the first round. This will be a great test for both fighters at their current standing in the division. It is going to go quick though because both men swing fast and heavy. I predict Oluwale to win this one. Even though his career in the UFC is shaky right now he has spent a ton of time in a massive list of gyms and I believe he is ready to take his career to the next level. I say that these two will go at it and Oluwale will use his new found skills to pick up a knockout in the first.
(#11) Vitor Belfort (25-13) vs. Nate Marquardt (38-16-3): This fight is Belfort's last fight on his contract and he has made it clear that this will be his last. He chose a good opponent in terms of experience and this will have a good feeling of the UFC days of 5-10 years ago. Vitor has been a tank from the beginning being in and out of title contention and giving highlight fights all the time. His opponent has seen better days in the organization, but he was also a terror in his own right in his prime. Nate has over 25 finishes and has knocked out almost all of his opponents in his last ten wins. Vitor has been more successful than Nate when it comes to staying in the rankings, but has lost his last three fights in a row. I am predicting that Vitor manages to win this one by decision because he has stuck around a higher level of competition than Nate. It will be a tough battle and more than likely a standing ovation from the crowd when it is over.
(#1) Claudia Gadelha (13-2) vs (#2) Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-1): We are at the co-main and it is probably a number one contender match for the strawweight title. Both of these women are undoubtedly the best in the division if not for champ, Joanna. She is all three of their combined losses and these two could probably have an epic trilogy between them in the future. Both fighters are great at setting their pace and really push the opponent to the limit. Karolina was able to stumble Joanna a couple times and Claudia was stuck defenseless due to Joanna pinning her against the cage for almost 25 minutes in both fights. Karolina is great at standup, constantly popping shots and delivering a heavy at the end of each combination. Claudia prefers to time her shots and try and land nothing but heavies and get takedowns. I think Karolina will win this fight because she will be able to keep Claudia stood up and at a distance. It may take a while and possibly go to decision, but I believe Karolina will edge this win here.
(C) Jose Aldo (26-2) vs (#1) Max Holloway (17-3): This is the main event for the night. Max Holloway is finally getting a title shot after a ten win streak and gaining the Interim Featherweight title. Aldo has been in MMA a very long time and he has seen many fighters, but he has a few holes. He doesn't fight that often with only one fight per year on average when he first started as UFC featherweight champ the first time. He also likes to stick and move and sometimes a lot more moving than actually landing. Holloway however is the kind of guy that will close that distance and put pressure on him the same way Conor did. This may take two or three rounds to get to him, but I think Holloway will get a TKO victory and run this division for a while.
- Mike W.
UFC 211: The Best official fight card of the year thus far but UFC 213 is getting there depending where the pieces fall. This card has 2 of the most intense title fights I have seen on the same card. HERE WE GO. ENJOY THIS CRAZY CARD!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our rankings are back so our rankings will be the regular rankings the UFC rankings will be in parentheses.
FS1 Prelims (8PM/ET):
Marco Polo Reyes (8-3) vs. James Vick (9-1): We kick off the televised fights in the lightweight division and this one is going to be a complete fight to a finish. Reyes is a strong, hard hitting, tough dude that has finished almost all of his fights. This guy is one punch away from a KO all the time due to how powerful his hands are. Now he will need to be careful because his opponent James Vick is a submission king. He has long arms and long legs and can wrap up submissions out of nowhere and will be looking for his takedown and once he gets it he would end the fight. This fight most likely won’t go to the end because I believe these guys will try to control the fight where they are better and either way one will get the finish. This is a close fight but I believe James Vick finds a way to force this thing to the ground and gets a RNC and wins this one in the 2nd round via submission.
#9 (9) Krzysztof Jotko (19-1) vs. David Branch (20-3): Here comes a middleweight throw down featuring one of the top fighters on the rise in the middleweight division. That top fighter is Jotko. Now Jotko is 19-1, and is on a 5 fight win streak but I think he can get even better. I would love to see Jotko fight more aggressive and come get his wins instead of just scoring. He picked up anything from Gegard it should be just that. Gegard was a skilled fighter with holes in his game because he was too much into scoring now that he is after the finishes he is untouchable. I would love Jotko to be more aggressive and if he does he would become a top 5 fighter fast and compete for the title. Now his opponent David Branch is one powerful tough dude who looks for takedowns and then pounds people till they go to sleep or until they leave an opening for a submission. I think if Branch wants to win this one he needs to go to the ground and look for a submission. Jotko though is the better fighter and I believe he will unlock the beast inside and pick up his 20th career win via a 3rd round TKO.
Chas Skelly (17-2) vs. Jason Knight (19-2): This featherweight fight is between two tough dudes who both could find themselves ranked with a win and even a loss doesn’t set them back too far. This fight will most likely go to the mat as both fighters know how to end a fight on the ground and they make it look easy but it won’t be easy for either fighter as they have no real edge over each other on the ground. They are both good jiu-jitsu fighters but Chas brings in some wrestling background as well as his jiu-jitsu and I expect him to be the more aggressive one. I am really going to enjoy this one and I hope to see them both ranked someday soon and get top level competition. I think Jason Knight with his win over Caceres will be a big edge for him and give him momentum. Knight wins this one via 1st round armbar submission.
#3 (4) Eddie Alvarez (28-5) vs. #7 (9) Dustin Poirier (21-5): The main event of the televised prelims is a HUGE fight in the lightweight division. I personally believe these two fighters both are championship caliber, yes I know Alvarez already held the title but he could easily be back there soon. This fight will most likely end with a KO the question to ask and have solved is which fighter will be the victim of the KO punch. Dustin has been rolling since finding himself part of the lightweight division with one set back to Michael Johnson but he could easily turn that around here with a huge win over Alvarez. We haven’t seen Eddie fight since his loss to McGregor so this is a turn-around fight for him as well but I believe he has the capability to do so if he picks his spots against a vicious fighter. If this fight goes to the ground through I believe strongly that Poirier will be the fighter with the advantage and get the finish there if need be. I really am having a hard one here as I probably will with every fight left on this card but I have faith Dustin is bound for that UFC belt and he will regain his momentum here. I have Poirier winning this one via 3rd round TKO in a fight of the year caliber fight.
UFC 211 Main Card (10 PM/ET):
#2(2) Henry Cejudo (10-2) vs. #5 (6) Sergio Pettis (15-2): Future flyweight title contender is in this fight well they both are probably bound for a title fight some day soon. Cejudo was someone I thought had a shot at dethroning the greatest ever but he really got demolished and showed me once again no body is on Demetrious’ level. He followed that loss to the champ with a loss to the 2nd best in this division and now he is facing the test of a young star on the rise and Cejudo will need to use his Olympic medalist style of fighting to win this by getting this fight to the mat. Cejudo is the far superior fighter when on the ground against Pettis. Now Sergio is out of the spotlight of his brother because he is almost title ready he just needs to improve his ground game. Sergio is a good fast handed fighter on his feet. That being said he will get demolished like a person in front of a train if he lets this fight go to the ground and I fear Cejudo is too much this early in his career for Pettis and he isn’t quite at that level yet. I have Cejudo picking up the submission win via guillotine in the 2nd round.
#2(2) Frankie Edgar (20-5-1) vs. #6(7) Yair Rodriguez (11-1): This fight is co-main worthy and I am so excited for this fight. Yair is a kid on the rise and is exciting as hell to watch as he can put on a flashy show night in and night out. His fight with Alex Cecares was so much fun to watch and just showed how acrobatic and flashy yet aggressive this kid can be. Now Yair is known for his standup but I wouldn’t say that’s because he lacks skills on the mat we just haven’t needed to see his skills on the mat because he puts on a show standing up. Now his opponent is a guy who if you love MMA and the UFC you have to love in Frankie Edgar. Frankie is one of the greatest fighters to ever tape up the gloves and take the walk out to the UFC octagon. This dude is one bad dude who can grind you out for a win, submit you, throw you around, and KO you. Frankie was screwed out of the title by the UFC judges because Aldo played the Floyd Mayweather game of punch and circle the octagon. I am a huge fan of both of these fighters and am torn between who is going to win this thing. I know he is a very slight underdog in this fight but I love the momentum and the flash he brings into this fight. I have faith that Yair Rodriguez will find a way to pull off a cartwheel TKO in the 2nd round. That being said let’s not count out Frankie in this one I believe he can pull off a 3rd round TKO if he can survive and exhaust Yair. I still have a slight edge to Yair so that is who I am sticking with but this one is too close to call basically.
#3 (3) Demian Maia (24-6) vs. #4 (5) Jorge Masvidal (32-11): This welterweight bout should determine the next title contender for Tyron Woodley. Well I love Demian and I would normally say a lot about a guy who is bound for the title but this is all I need to say. If this fight goes to the ground Maia wins, end of story. Masvidal on the other hand is one of those guys who had his struggles and has seemingly put it all together and he will need to keep this fight standing at all costs. He can stop this fight with one clean strong punch as we saw against Cerrone this dude is one hard hitting beast. Now I think the momentum is on both sides and one will have to falter here. I believe the better fighter in this fight is Maia and he will grab this win. Maia wins via 2nd round submission.
(Champ) Joanna Jedrzejczyk (13-0) vs. #1 (3) Jessica Andrade (16-5): This is the one true test for the queen of all women fighters in the world, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Jessica Andrade is unbeaten since coming down a weight class and she looks like a complete savage warrior who is ready to decapitate someone with one punch and she should be a real test for Joanna with her aggressive style. Jessica can hit harder than any woman on the planet at this weight and she is a good ground fighter to boot and should be a complete test and one that if she gets the title could hold it for a long while. Now that being said the queen is the queen for a reason. She is the women’s version of Demetrious Johnson, by that she is the best champ of women. I love what she brings in her skills, a chin, a motor, stamina, KO power, take down defense and good skills on the mat that are underrated. I am going with the defending champion to retain via a 4th round TKO after she tires Jessica Andrade.
(Champion) Stipe Miocic (16-2) vs. #3 (4) Junior Dos Santos (18-4): HERE WE GO THE HEAVYWEIGHT FIGHT OF THE YEAR, unless they give Francis Ngannou a title shot later this year. JDS is back to the top and he is here for another title shot because he believes that belt is his again. The striking skills of JDS are amazing and he could pick apart most fighters with his abilities but I believe Stipe isn’t one of those guys as we saw Stipe can wait for his shot against Werdum. This fight is going to be a fist fight and I can guarantee that it will end with one guys eyes closed face down on the mat in la-la land. This fight has me so excited. I have Stipe Miocic winning this one via 2nd round KO and I hope they start to schedule him to fight more because he brings so much excitement. Miocic with this win will tie the heavyweight record of 2 title defenses as it has never been defended more than 2 times in UFC history.
Polo Reyes (8-3) vs. James Vick (10-1): This first fight on the prelims kicks off with the lightweight division. James Vick is coming into this fight off of a win after losing his undefeated streak to Beneil Dariush. Vick has five wins by submission and one by knockout with five of the total in the first round. Vick is a long and tall fighter who likes to use his range for strikes and initiating a quick clinch to land heavy knees. He uses his aggressive striking to stun his opponent and sink in the submission. His opponent is Polo Reyes who has been undefeated since entering the UFC. Reyes has won six fights by knockout and one by submission with two first round finishes. I think Vick will be able to take this fight because he has wonderful distance and can control all of his fights so far with a first round TKO.
Chas Skelly (17-2) vs. Jason Knight (19-2): Here we see two featherweights looking to start climbing the rankings. Jason Knight is on a three fight win streak and seems to be getting better with each fight. He has 13 wins by submission and two by knockout with eight finishes in the first. Knight likes to use strikes and knees to set up his groundwork, which is evident by his significant strikes per minute being at almost 4. His opponent, Chas Skelly, has won six of his last seven with his only loss to Darren Elkins. He has won ten of his fights by submission and three fights by knockout with six in the first round. This will probably be a mostly ground oriented match. These two will look to get a submission and there will be a lot of rolling and technique work. I think Jason Knight will take this because he has the advantage with strikes and I think he will mix that in to gain a submission in the third.
(#3) Eddie Alvarez (28-5) vs. (#9) Dustin Poirier (21-5): The main event for the prelims is between two high ranked lightweights. Dustin Poirier is trying to get his streak going again after losing to Michael Johnson last September. If he can get on a roll with these higher ranked guys his name will start to belong in title opportunity talks. Poirier has ten wins by knockout and six by submission with 12 in the first round. Poirier is constantly moving and loves to set his own pace landing an average of 5 significant strikes per minute. His opponent is former lightweight champ, Eddie Alvarez. Eddie never successfully defended his title with his first defense being a loss to Conor McGregor, but he managed to do something most people thought he wouldn't which is take care of Rafael Dos Anjos. He treated RDA the way RDA treated most of his opponents that were viewed as better than Eddie at the time. So even without the belt he still needs to be considered near the top of this weight class. Alvarez has 17 wins by knockout and five by submission with 14 finishes in the first round. Eddie is another guy that likes to set a fast pace and he likes it standing with a 92% defended takedown rate. These two are going to go one of the two usual ways. The first way is the obvious that they will both come out, metaphorical guns blazing, and leave a lasting impression on what to expect for the rest of the night, or see something similar to Woodley vs. Thompson II where both guys are so afraid of getting knocked out that they just kinda dance for 15 minutes. I don't see Poirier as the kind of guy to let that happen though so I think he might dictate the fight early. With the way these guys swing, early might be all there is and believing Poirier will be the one to dictate this fight I see Eddie forced to throw haymakers as he's backing up and it will leave him open enough for Dustin to get in there and drop him with a knockout towards the end of the first.
(#9) Krzysztof Jotko (19-1) vs. David Branch (20-3): The first fight of the main card will be number 9 ranked Krzysztof Jotko versus UFC newcomer David Branch. This fight was in the prelims, but is now kicking off the main card due to injury. Branch is actually coming back from a 2-2 run in 2010 and the division has changed a lot since then so we will see if he can do better this time. He owns a 12-1 record since leaving and is currently on a 10 fight win streak. Branch has won seven fights by submission and five by knockout with five of them in the first round. He doesn't have a high takedown defense or strikes per minute, but those are only recorded from his four fights in the UFC so there may be something here we aren't seeing. His opponent is also on a win streak, with five. Jotko has six wins by knockout and one by submission. He is also very good at defending takedowns so this may prove to be a rough night for Branch. I think Jotko will able to keep Branch standing and just beat him down with a TKO in the second round.
(#2) Frankie Edgar (20-5-1) vs. (#7) Yair Rodriguez (11-1): This next fight is a ranked fight for the featherweight division. We are going to see another fighter, this time in Yair Rodriguez, try to solidify his spot in the top five in his division. Rodriguez is on an eight fight winning streak and has been rolling through the UFC since winning The Ultimate Fighter in 2014. He has four wins by knockout and two by submission with four finishes in the first. Rodriguez is a warrior the way he comes at people mixing quick punches and devastating kicks. Across from him will be former lightweight champ, Frankie Edgar. Edgar is the full package being able to handle any situation. However his kryptonite is title fights because, not including Gray Maynard, his only losses since joining the UFC in 2007 were title fights. Frankie has five wins by knockout and four by submission making just over half of his wins coming from decision. Rodriguez is an absolute terror in his fights, but my biggest concern is the biggest name he fought is B.J. Penn and he is definitely not in a good part of his career. Nobody he fought is ranked and Frankie is in a completely different league than unranked fighters. This fight may go the distance and I see Edgar grinding through this to pick up a victory by decision.
(#3) Demian Maia (24-6) vs. (#5) Jorge Masvidal (32-11): This night intensifies as we move to some big stuff in the welterweight division. Masvidal has won ten of his last 14 fights and currently three in a row. He has 13 wins by knockout and two by submission with seven in the first round. Masvidal is a crazy striker that only uses enough grappling to keep striking. This could prove costly for him because his opponent tonight could be arguably one of the best grapplers ever in the octagon. Demian Maia has evolved into a monster in MMA with his six-fight win streak. Maia was always terrifying on the ground with 12 career submissions and it's no surprise because he is a fourth-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Recently he has gained major success with his striking. In three of these wins he out-struck Matt Brown, Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny. Masvidal is a force to be reckoned with while standing, but Maia is becoming a complete fighter and I think he will be able to get Jorge on the mat and from there it is over. I see Demian Maia picking up a submission victory in the second.
(C) Joanna Jedrzejczyk (13-0) vs. (#3) Jessica Andrade (16-5): We move on to the co-main as we see the first of two title fights tonight. Joanna is looking to make her fifth title defense against the person I feel most capable to beat her, Jessica Andrade. Joanna Jedrzejczyk is a great fighter and has made some top ranked people look like garbage, but she has a big hole in her ground game. She rarely goes for takedowns and when she does all it is is ground-and-pound. On top of that nobody has really been able to put her on the mat with an 82% defense and excellent stand-up skills. This is where Jessica Andrade comes in. Andrade has won 13 of her last 17 fights, won seven by submission, five by knockout, with seven in the first round and is built like a 115-pound Cyborg. This fight is tough to call because Andrade is an amazing fighter, but Joanna has a way to completely neutralize any opponent and just tear them apart. The deciding factor for me is who is on their records. Andrade has lost to people you would think she wouldn't and has gone the distance with people fans may think she should finish and I see that as inconsistency or something lacking. On the other hand, Joanna is undefeated and it's not just a weak schedule because she has been champ for four fights now. Andrade could take this, but I think Joanna will get in, hold the clinch and just work away for as long as it takes to keep her champion.
(C) Stipe Miocic (16-2) vs. (#4) Junior Dos Santos (18-4): Finally at the main event we see the second title fight on the complete opposite end of the scale. Junior Dos Santos has won 12 of his last 15 fights. He has won 13 fights by knockout and one by submission. Dos Santos has been a big deal in the division for a long time. He was champ for a short while and has fought almost every big name in the division since 2008. His opponent is looking to be the sixth person to defend the title twice. That doesn't sound like a big deal except no fighter has ever defended the heavyweight title three times. Stipe Miocic has won seven of his last eight fights and the only loss was to Dos Santos by decision. Five of those seven wins were by knockout and 13 of his total wins were by knockout. This doesn't raise any concerns about his endurance though because he has achieved knockouts in all of the 5 possible rounds. Junior Dos Santos is an exceptional standup striker and he will always be remembered for that, but there is a big problem in his ground game. Sure he has a great takedown defense, but when he gets put on the ground like Cain did in two separate fights, he loses. It almost looks like a completely different fighter and Stipe needs to lay his collegiate wrestling on thick in this match and ground-and-pound his way to victory. I think this fight will start standing with both fighters confident they can knock the other out. I think Stipe's coaches will be well aware of this weak spot and try to get Stipe to tire Dos Santos in the first and work his ground game in the following rounds. Dos Santos is a tough guy though and there is a reason he was once champ. He will still be able to defend takedowns and pile shots on. Miocic will have to keep working his angles and get Junior to drain more stamina than himself. I believe this fight will eventually be decided in the fourth with Stipe getting a win by TKO.
This fight should have been first on the main card, but due to Cejudo's injury it was scrapped. This is how I called it.
(#2) Henry Cejudo (10-2) vs. (#6) Sergio Pettis (15-2): Sergio Pettis is spearheading a group of flyweights that are working their way up the rankings and may have the ability to reshape the flyweight top ten about a year. Henry Cejudo is looking to stay in the top 5, but if he loses tonight it's not going to look good being his third loss in a row. Sergio Pettis has been grinding for this opportunity with most of his fights being only on fight pass prelims and his last fight being his first on a main card. He has three wins by knockout and three by submission with only one of them not being in the first round. He swings way more than he lands, but he has a good defense to back it up. He is a young fighter at 23, but he has the experience that could give him the tools for this possible win. His opponent is currently one of the top in this division and potentially a huge obstacle. Cejudo had a perfect record and looked unstoppable until a crushing defeat to Mighty Mouse. From there he faced Joseph Benavidez and lost again by split decision. With a perfect takedown defense and a streak like he had it's easy to see why he is at the top, but with these two defeats, one can see why a loss here could start a shift in this division. Cejudo has four wins by knockout and all of them were in the first. He likes to use his Olympic level grappling to get takedowns and from there just beat his opponent until the ref pulls him off. He can stand and strike too, but it's a massive weapon that would always allow him to gain the upper-hand. Sergio is going to be big one day and that day may be soon, but because of how close the Benavidez fight was, I see Henry coming in, working his ground game and just keeping Pettis there with a win by TKO in the second.
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