TUF 28 Finale: Dos Anjos vs. Usman:
FS1 Prelims @ 8 PM/ET:
#3 Joseph Benavidez (25-5) vs. #12 Alex Perez (21-4): The first fight on the televised prelims should be a good fight in the flyweight division. Alex Perez is a 26-year-old prospect in the UFC’s flyweight division. Perez is riding an 8-fight win streak, his last fight was an impressive 1st round KO victory. Perez will be facing the toughest fight of his entire UFC career. Perez is going to get a fight to the ground and look for a submission and avoid Benavidez’s striking skills. Benavidez is a top-level fighter with superior striking skills and a good wrestling game. Benavidez is a clean and powerful striker with the ability to pick up submissions with his knockdowns. His ground and pound though can keep a fight on the mat and exhaust and batter his opponents. I believe Benavidez is slightly the better fighter in this fight though I wouldn’t be shocked to see Perez land a TKO victory. Benavidez will pick up his 6th decision fight in a row but this time will grab the win. Benavidez by split decision over Alex Perez.
Rick Glenn (21-5-1) vs. Kevin Aguilar (15-1): This featherweight fight should be a good showdown
for the fans. I do not believe this fight will go the distance as both of these guys tend to finish over 50% of their fights by way of KO. Kevin Aguilar is a UFC newcomer with a lot of hype behind him. Rick Glenn missed weight for this fight which I think could leave him tired for this fight after a round if it becomes a grueling grappling exchange. I believe Aguilar will pick up a win in this fight via 2nd round KO after a slow feeling out period during the 1st round.
FS1 TUF Main Card @ 10 PM/ET:
#11 Ji Yeon Kim (7-1-2) vs. Antonina Shevchenko (6-0): The first fight on the TUF main card is going to be an anticipated fight for fight fans as future champion Valentina Shevchenko’s sister is making her UFC debut in this on. Kim missed weight by 4.5lbs over the flyweight limit. Kim is on a two-fight win streak both wins are by decision. She has an impressive overall record, but she has issues being dominant and her ability to finish is not there. She will be up against it as she fights against Antonina in her UFC debut. Antonina is the older sister of the UFC great Valentina Shevchenko and is also trained by her. She is a well-rounded and talented fighter. I believe she will come into this fight angry about her opponent missing weight. She is the more talented fighter and as along as she doesn’t show UFC debut jitters, she will dominate this fight. I have Antonina winning this one by 3rd round TKO after some viscous ground and pound.
Darren Stewart (9-3) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (7-0): I am so excited for this fight personally as this middleweight brawl should be extremely entertaining. Edmen is a young and exciting prospect for the UFC’s middleweight division. He is only 20 years old and is coming in unbeaten. His contender series fight is truly something special to watch as he displayed his speed and power in the 40 seconds the fight actually lasted. Edmen has won all 7 fights by way of KO, and all of them are in the first round. His last 4 fights have all ended in the first 68 seconds of the fights. My only concern for Edmen is if he has any ground skills or not, if not in the Middleweight division it will catchup to him. His opponent Darren Stewart is a UFC veteran with a good chin and a ton of power. Stewart is riding a 2-fight, 2 KO win streak. Stewart is the more skilled fighter who like his opponent has a phenomenal striking game with a relatively unknown ground game. These two fighters with similar fight styles should be a great fight for the fans and possibly a fight of the night contender. Edmen has this speed in his hands that I believe will be too much for Darren Stewart and will catch him early. Edmen wins 3 minutes into the 1st round by way of KO.
#9 Pedro Munhoz (16-3, 1NC) vs. #14 Bryan Caraway (21-9): The Bantamweight fight takes place here between two guys headed in opposite directions. Caraway has been less impressive than his younger days lately. His fight with Cody Stamman showed his decline some as he was beat fairly easily. His previous fights before that Stamman fight he was just picking up decision wins, but the Caraway we are used to seeing is a submission artist. Caraway has time to get it going again and if he picks up the win here he will move back up the division ladder and get himself a shot looking into the top 5 soon. His opponent Pedro Munhoz is a great fighter who has been great in the UFC since 2014. He has picked up a 7-2 record since 2014 in the UFC, his 2 losses are to Dodson and Jimmie Rivera, so he should be confident. I don’t believe either fighter will have a true edge on the ground as they are both great submission specialists. Munhoz might have a very slim edge in the striking exchange. This fight is going to be a good one, but I believe it will go to the judges score card. I have the judges scoring a unanimous decision towards Pedro Munhoz 29-28.
Macy Chiasson (2-0) vs. Pannie Kianzad (10-3): This fight is the women’s featherweight TUF finale. These two were both on team Gastelum and developed a friendship during the season as they helped train each other for each other’s opponents. They respect and know each other’s game which sometimes leads to a slow-paced fight as neither can find an edge against one another. I believe Chiasson will find a way to pick up the unanimous decision victory winning the Women’s featherweight TUF finale, earning herself a UFC contract.
Juan Espino (8-1) vs. Justin Frazier (10-2): The co-main event is the TUF heavyweight finale. Frazier is a big boy with some impressive KO power and a slim set of ground skills with the ability to pick up submission wins. Frazier was the last pick in the house during the TUF season and yet here is he with a shot at a UFC contract, prize money, and the TUF trophy. Frazier is representing team Gastelum in a great fight that both fighters believe they could pick up a fight of the night performance. Juan Espino will be representing team Whittaker tonight and is the favorite entering this fight. Espino is an ATT fighter who reminds me of Curtis Blaydes because he has KO power, but is better with his wrestling and submission skills. In his 8 wins Espino has 5 submission victories and I believe he will be best off landing a shot and shooting for the takedown. I believe Espino and Frazier will put on a hell of a show and pick up a POTN bonus. I have Espino winning in round 3 by way of submission earning himself a UFC contract, pay day, and TUF trophy.
#3 Rafael Dos Anjos (28-10) vs. #5 Kamaru Usman (13-1): The main event of the evening is a fight that has my heart racing in the welterweight division. These two savage fighters are both true title contenders I believe that remains the case win or lose. Usman in my opinion is one of the top 3 welterweights in the world along with Askren and Woodley. Usman has the best winning streak in the UFC of all non-title holders and yet he still hasn’t received his title shot. If Usman wins this fight, he deserves an immediate shot at the belt no more screwing him over. This kid has wrestling skills that are nearly unmatched in his division with exception to Askren who has the best skills in the world. Now Usman has some incredible endurance and stamina to go the distance in this possible 25-minute fight. His striking has evolved more and more each time we have seen him in his career and he has KO power that could end a fight with a straight up KO. His opponent is a battle tested UFC veteran and one we love to watch every single time he steps inside the cage door. RDA tends to land himself some takedowns and use his ground and pound to wear out his opponent. He has the ability to finish fights on the mat as well. He has held a belt in the UFC at lightweight and battled for a belt since moving up to welterweight. His skills are extremely well-rounded, but he is a fighter that tends to go to decision by wearing out his opponent and beating them in every aspect of MMA. This fight should start slow as these two will try to figure out where they have an edge on the other. This fight will be incredibly entertaining as I believe this fight will pick up the pace in round 2 and we will see a few knockdowns between the two. I believe in the end Usman will outlast RDA’s onslaught in round 2 and pick up a vicious knockdown in round 4 where he will lock in a submission win.
- Matt Koontz
UFC Denver: 25th Anniversary: The card full of replacement fights including the main event. My picks will be just short glimpses and who I have winning each one.
UFC Fight Pass Prelims (7 PM/ET):
Mark De La Rosa (10-1) vs. Joby Sanchez (11-3): This is the first fight of the 25th anniversary of the UFC and it will take place in the bantamweight division. This fight is a little off-balanced in skill set as I believe De La Rosa is the better fighter. I think in the first we will see Sanchez land some shots in the 1st but De La Rosa will survive the 1st round. De La Rosa will take Sanchez to the ground in the first minute of the 2nd round and lock up a submission shortly after. – Matt Koontz
Joseph Morales (9-1) vs. Eric Shelton (11-5): The main event of the fight pass prelims is going to be back and forth. Shelton is in dire need of a win as the flyweight division is going to be eliminated in the next few months and he has been struggling in his own division. It is hard to see him getting signed into the bantamweight division while struggling in his own division. Morales is a good young up-and-coming fighter in the UFC. He has a great skill set as he is a great boxer and has a purple belt in BJJ. I think Morales will win this fight via 1st round submission after he gets a knockdown on Shelton. – Matt Koontz
FS1 Prelims (8 PM/ET):
Devonte Smith (8-1) vs. Julian Erosa (22-6): The first fight of the televised prelims should be a good one. I am really excited to see Devonte Smith make his UFC debut. This kid is impressive, and he was impressive in his DWTNCS win. Erosa is also a contender series alum, he was in the UFC before his contender series fight but that was 2 years ago. This fight should be back and forth as Erosa is the better ground fighter and will look for takedowns. While the fight is a striking exchange Smith will have a slight advantage. I think Smith will get his hand raised after a back and forth. Smith wins via unanimous decision. – Matt Koontz
Davi Ramos (8-2) vs. John Gunther (7-1): The lightweight division will take the spotlight here between two great fighters. Davi Ramos is one incredible fighter I believe will see a number next to his name if he wins this weekend. Ramos is a 4-time world cup Jiu-jitsu champion. He will need to land a takedown to be the dominant fighter in this one as his stand-up has holes in it. Gunther is a good fighter, but he has the gas tank to go 15 minutes. He will have the slight advantage in the stand-up game. He does need to try and avoid the ground as he will be outmatched regardless of his 1000-0 record in Llama wrestling. I believe Ramos will get it to the mat with time and patience. Ramos wins this fight in round 2 by submission. – Matt Koontz
Chas Skelly (17-2) vs. Bobby Moffett (12-3): The featherweight division is going to be on display in a great fight. These two are both great submission specialists. Skelly is coming off an 18-month layoff due to some injuries in which he also had to get Tommy-John surgery. Skelly with a win could get back on track after a tough loss to Jason Knight and see a number next to his name the following week. Moffett is a DWTNCS fighter making his UFC debut here. He has a great ground game just like Skelly and might have a slight edge on the mat. This fight on the ground will be a lot of fun for the fans as both fighters are very skilled on the mat. Skelly wins via 3rd round submission after some really good back and forth. - Matt Koontz
Ashley Yoder (5-4) vs. Amanda Cooper (4-4): This is the main event of the televised prelims and I think if the fight goes longer than 5 minutes it will slow down drastically. Yoder is the better fighter, but she is a ground specialist and if she doesn’t get the fight there will struggle to find a pace. If Cooper wants to win this fight she will need to shoot for a KO or decision. If she wants the decision win though she will need to keep the fight standing and out strike Yoder and use her takedown defense. Yoder is the superior fighter, I have her locking up an early 1st round submission. – Matt Koontz
FS1 Main Card 10 PM/ET:
Michael Trizano (8-0) vs. Luis Pena (5-0): The first fight on the main card celebrating the 25th anniversary of the UFC kicks off in the lightweight division. A battle between two undefeated fighters which should be fun for the fans. This fight is between two good young fighters that both have promise for this division. Trizano was the winner of TUF finale in July. He has KO power which is underrated due to his good mat skills. He will be on the short end of a 3-inch reach advantage, but I believe he will still have the striking advantage in this one. Luis Pena aka Violent Bob Ross is one hell of a fighter with the promise to be a top lightweight by the end of 2019 if he can get 4 fights in next year. Pena is a great grappler with submission skills to throw his name to the ranks in this division already, but he does need to improve his stand-up some to be elite in this division which I believe he is doing. I really am excited for this fight because both of these guys have the promise to be possible title contenders one day. I do believe Pena is the slightly better fighter and will come out aggressive and grab the 1st round submission after a knockdown midway through the first. – Matt Koontz
Maycee Barber (5-0) vs. Hannah Cifers (8-2): This is a fight between two strawweights that I am so excited for. Barber should go up to flyweight honestly as she has had issues making strawweight and she is only 20 years old. She could really make some noise fast in a thin flyweight division. Barber is a well-rounded skilled fighter with finishing abilities anywhere the fight goes. Barber is a 2nd degree black belt in karate and a purple belt in Gracie Jiu-jitsu. She will have the advantage on the mat and regardless of her karate skills I believe is outmatched in her standup. She is the bigger, heavier, longer fighter in this fight and that might be the advantage she needs. Hannah though is a beast I am so excited to see the fans finally get a chance to see this monster making her debut in the UFC. Strawweights pay attention to this young lady she is coming. Cifers is one of my favorite fighters in the UFC and she gained my love by being a pressure fighter. She puts pressure on her opponents and forces her pace down their throat. She has the killer instinct that will gather the attention of all fans as when she rocks someone, she knows but doesn’t gas herself going for the finish she knows how to pick people apart. Her ground game is something people don’t tend to show respect or appreciation to because she is known for her striking, but she is a good fighter on the mat and can hold her own. Her real spotlight is that she has KO power straight KO power in both hands. This fight will be incredibly fun while it lasts as we should see a good back and forth. I have Cifers pulling off the upset and making a statement with a 2nd round KO. – Matt Koontz
Beneil Dariush (14-4-1) vs. Thiago Moises (10-2): Another fight in the lightweight division is going to take place here. Beneil Dariush was once considered a title contender on the brink of the top 5 and is now no longer ranked after a tough run of late. He is 0-2-1 in his last 3 and desperately needs this win to get back on track to the title contention. Dariush is a talented mixed martial artist that has the skill set to become a great fighter that could even hold a title one day he just needs to push his pace and keep his confidence. Thiago Moises is a DWTNCS fighter making his UFC debut against a truly tough test. Moises can find himself immediately ranked if he picks up a win this weekend against Dariush. Moraes is a balanced fighter but will be best using his striking skills if he wants to pick up the win this weekend. He will be outmatched by Dariush on the mat but could land a clean shot standing if he manages to keep it there. I think this fight has the potential to go the distance, but I see Dariush landing takedowns and tiring out Moises and picking up a 3rd round submission over a tired opponent. – Matt Koontz
#3 (4) Raquel Pennington (9-7) vs. NR (5) Germaine de Randamine (7-3): The Women’s bantamweight will close out the women’s fights for the night between two title contenders in their own right. Pennington is coming off a fight where she fought Nunes for the title and was just flat out dominated but she went into that fight injured. She is coming into this fight with a fire in the belly but having a thyroid problem and female issues have made her miss weight after a brutal few attempts to cut weight. Rocky is going to dominate the standup in this fight and if she comes out aggressive like the Rocky we all know and love she will dominate this fight early and end it fast. Now Germaine will look to get this fight to the clinch and use her Muay Thai skills otherwise she could be out powered here. Germaine is a very skilled striker but her power doesn’t match up to the power of Rocky. She will have the superior gas tank in this fight though and if she can weather Rocky’s pressure early she could dominate the late stages of this fight. Nonetheless I have Rocky winning 1st round by TKO getting herself right back into the title picture. – Matt Koontz
#12 (12) Donald Cerrone (33-11, 1NC) vs. Mike Perry (12-3): The rivalry battle is on as our co-main in the heaviest weight class to fight in Denver on this card taking place in the welterweight division. Cerrone is easily the better fighter, cleaner striker, far superior on the mat, better finish instinct. His losses are just sometimes in fights he just seems not fully be himself at times. He has a fire we haven’t seen in Cerrone in a long time coming into this one and Mike Perry better be ready because he is going to be in over his head here. Mike Perry is young and can become a good MMA fighter but right now he has 2 elements. KO power like no other and a personality that is absolute trash and shows no respect and its disgusting. I am sorry but calling out your own teammate Ray Borg is pathetic. Anyway, Perry will need to use whatever takedown defense he has and keep this fight standing, avoid the combinations of Cerrone, and look for his shots to land his heavy hands. Perry truly does have some of most devastating power in the welterweight division. If Perry can land his heavy shot, we will see Cerrone’s eyes roll back, but the issue is he is coming in angry and pissed over a rivalry that has nothing to do with him it’s a issue between Cerrone and Perry’s coach. That’s the same thing we saw with Garbrandt and TJ and it will come to the same result. Cerrone wins by 2nd round submission via RNC breaking two different UFC records, one for the most wins in the UFC and secondly the most finishes in UFC history. – Matt Koontz
#4 (10) Chan Sung Jung (14-4) vs. #14 (15) Yair Rodriguez (11-2): The main event is going to be insane!!!! I am so excited to see the Zombie, Jung, back in the UFC. I missed him during his military duty for South Korea and was so happy seeing him back but its been almost 2 years again since he fought his return fight. Jung is one of the most loved and exciting fighters to watch in UFC history. He just comes at you. The Zombie has finished 11 of his 14 wins and has the only twister submission in UFC history. He will have the clear advantage on the mat in this fight and could dominate Yair and pick up a submission quick, but I believe he will stay standing for a little bit and put on a show with Yair. Yair is a big bantamweight with striking skills that amaze and dazzle everyone. He puts on a show all fight long and truly is one of the most entertaining and unorthodox fighters of all time. Yair if he can keep this fight standing will be throwing some cartwheel kicks and some crazy flying switch kicks. He is one of the best fighters for fan-fare and I am so glad he is back after an 18-month layoff due to injuries. This fight will be fun while they are on their feet. I think the Zombies granite chin and superior ground skills will take effect as the fight goes on. We will see a Korean Zombie 3rd round submission after he lands a powerful knockdown shot. = Matt Koontz
UFC 230: Cormier vs Lewis: The main event is a complete failure by the matchmakers. It should be Cormier vs Stipe, I will cover that in my prediction for the fight. This fight card is fairly weak for a PPV in NYC honestly. We could have kept Valentina on the card for the title even as the co-main. We also lost Rockhold due to injury. Anyway, here we go with our calls for the fight. The way it will work is just like last time, I will be putting my picks under Mike’s as his picks are the longer more analyzed picks.
UFC Fight Pass Prelims @ 6:15 PM/ET:
Adam Wieczorek (10-1) vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (15-6-1): Kicking off the fights for tonight is a man coming back up to heavyweight to face a man on a 9 fight win streak. Adam Wieczorek seems like the more natural heavyweight having both a 4 inch height and 6 inch reach advantage. Wieczorek has 6 wins by submission, 3 by knockout and 6 of his finishes were in the first round. He trains in kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but is not ranked in either. His opponent, Marcos Rogerio de Lima, also trains kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In his career he won 12 fights by knockout, 2 by submission and has 12 first round finishes. Both of these guys are quick finishers and statistically neither have good defense. I see this ending quickly and I believe Wieczorek should look to take this to the ground. De Lima is having troubles finding himself and Wieczorek is on a hot streak so I believe that Wieczorek will see that de Lima has the upper hand standing and take this to the ground. From there, Wieczorek will be in his element and he will get the tap before the end of the first. – Mike Whitestone
I agree 100% with Mike here. Wieczorek wins by submission in the first round as he is the all-around superior fighter. – Matt Koontz
Brian Kelleher (19-9) vs. Montel Jackson (6-1): In this fight we see two fighters that both got their stamp of approval straight from Dana White. Kelleher joined the UFC from the show "Lookin' For A Fight" and Jackson won on Tuesday Night Contender Series. Since joining the UFC, Brian Kelleher has been 3-2. He averages 5 significant strikes per minute and attempted a total average of 100 strikes per fight. Don't look at him as one-dimensional though because he is a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and lets it show with getting more submission victories than knockouts; even though it's 8 subs and 7 KO's. Montel Jackson is looking to put him to the test with his good defense and blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He also has a 9 inch reach advantage so he might be able to keep him out of distance. Jackson also prefers to control the clinch, but I don't know if that would play out in his favor given Kelleher's aggressiveness. Jackson is tough competition, but I see Kelleher's aggressiveness winning this one. I think his high strike output and tendency to land significant strikes will rock Jackson, Jackson will try to grapple and Kelleher will get a submission in the first. – Mike Whitestone
I have Montel Jackson winning this one by unanimous decision. I believe he will survive an early ground game dominance by Kelleher but pick up the win by dominating the 2nd and 3rd round. – Matt Koontz
Shane Burgos (10-1) vs. Kurt Holobaugh (17-5): Up next, we may see one of the most exciting fights of the night. These two fighters are savage strikers averaging 7 and 5 significant strikes per minute respectively. Shane Burgos has attempted an average of 200 strikes per fight in the UFC and landed an average of 85. Burgos has won 4 fights by knockout, 4 by submission and 5 of those were in the first. These and his near perfect takedown defense can be partially credited to Tiger Schulmann. Schulmann owns gyms in the New York/ New Jersey area and Burgos is the first of three fighters from Schulmann's gym on this card. Schulmann teaches a hybrid combination of jiu-jitsu, kyokushin karate and kickboxing. The other beast in this fight is Kurt Holobaugh. He has 8 wins by submission, 5 wins by knockout and 9 finishes in the first. He loves to attack the lead leg, get the opponent down and smother them with shots and submission attempts. Burgos' ability to push the pace and completely overwhelm his opponents may nullify Holobaugh's chance to keep the distance. I think these two will put a hurting on each other and Burgos will get a TKO victory in the second round. – Mike Whitestone
I agree with Mike here as well. This fight will be back and forth and see some big shots landed. I believe Burgos lands a 2nd round KO. – Matt Koontz
Matt Frevola (6-1) vs. Lando Vannata (9-3-1): Last fight before the card becomes televised and these guys can both end this fast. Matt Frevola has 3 wins by submission and 1 by knockout with 3 first round finishes. He is a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has a perfect takedown defense. His only loss is his only fight in the UFC. Well it will be a hard test to get back on your feet against his opponent. Lando Vannata is an aggressive striker with a great defense. He is a proven finisher only going to decision once and only one finish leaving the first round. He is currently 1-3-1 in his last 5 matches, but one of his losses was a short notice fight against T-Ferg and the tie should've been his in my opinion. Also 3 of the 4 times he didn't win were Fight of the Night. This guy just needs to find the something he needs to get the edge in case it goes to decision and he will become a monster of the division. Frevola may become something later down the road, but he doesn't have really any experience at this level and Vannata has experience with multiple ranked fighters. For that reason I see Vannata picking up another knockout in the first. – Mike Whitestone
I believe Frevola will keep this fight going past the first round, but get beat by the better overall fighter. Vannata will grab a 3rd round KO after a grueling back and forth. – Matt Koontz
FS1 Prelims @ 8 PM/ET:
Lyman Good (19-4) vs. Ben Saunders (22-10-2): Moving on the now televised prelims we start things with unranked, but tough welterweights. Lyman Good is the second fighter of the night from Tiger Schulmann and it shows. Good has an almost 90% takedown defense and is very aggressive landing an average of 5.5 significant strikes per minute. His 2nd degree black belt in Schulmann martial arts helped him obtain 9 wins by knockout, 3 by submission and 6 first round finishes. He will have a veteran of an opponent in Ben Saunders. Saunders is coming in with a reach and leg reach advantage. He has won 11 fights by knockout, 6 by submission and 12 finishes in the first round. Saunders is only 1-3 in his last 4 fights, but 6-4 in his last 10. I believe Lyman Good can take this fight. Saunders is a good fighter, but he is getting older and hasn't won much recently. I think he can put up a fight and take it to the second round, but Good will get a knockout or TKO victory. – Mike Whitestone
I disagree with Mike in this one. I believe this fight will be a slower fight and there isn’t a clear favorite in this one. I truly believe this goes to decision in which we will see Lyman Good pick up a unanimous decision. – Matt Koontz
Julio Arce (15-2) vs. Sheymon Moraes (10-1): This matchup showcases the third and final pupil of Tiger Schulmann for the night against an all-around badass. Julio Arce is a 2nd degree black belt in Schulmann martial arts. Like his teammates on the card, he has a near perfect takedown defense and lands an average of 5.5 significant strikes per minute. Arce has a decent amount of strikes attempted per fight, but has a poor success rate (36%). He is on a 7 fight win streak and has 5 career wins by submission and 3 by knockout so he must choose his shots carefully to land big and set up his ground game. Sheymon Moraes has learned half a dozen martial arts leading up to his MMA career. When he was young he trained in karate and capoeira. He was a Brazil Champ in kickboxing and Muay Thai. He later became a purple belt in judo, a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a brown belt in kickboxing. He has the tools to go anywhere he wants to go but likes to keep it standing which earned him 5 knockout victories with 2 in the first round. – Mike Whitestone
This fight for me is really tough to call because these two guys both excite me and should put on a fun show for the fans. I have to give a slight edge to Moraes and I believe he will pick up a 2nd round TKO. I could see this fight go either way. – Matt Koontz
(#4) Sijara Eubanks (4-2) vs. (#7) Roxanne Modafferi (22-15): This fight was one of the last fights put on this card. While what specifically happened is unclear, Eubanks was set to fight Shevchenko for the title at the last pay-per-view and nearly last minute the UFC pulled the fight, took the title opportunity from Eubanks and gave it to Joanna Jedrzeczyk for a later date. After that screwing, Eubanks demanded that she fight on this card and the rematch between these two was born. Yes I said rematch and Eubanks won by decision so I'm not sure what there is to gain from this for her. However, Roxanne Modafferi has claimed she has made some drastic changes focusing on putting on more muscle, being more aggressive and changing her coaches to approach training differently so this could be a different fight this time around. Eubanks is a newer fighter with good potential. She has 2 wins by knockout, both in the first round. She also is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is a 7 time World Champion in the sport. Modafferi is a veteran of the sport and has 9 finishes between submissions and knockouts. I hope that the changes she made does work out for her, but I feel that Eubanks will still win this. She already beat her once, looked very good in her UFC debut and is an aggressive fighter. I think Eubanks will win again and this time she will get a TKO in the second. – Mike Whitestone
Sijara Eubanks has yet again missed weight and then acted on twitter like she didn’t care she was unprofessional. I don’t believe in unprofessional fighters and I think Modaferri will survive Eubanks in the 1st and she will capitalize on an exhausted Eubanks. Modaferri wins by unanimous decision. – Matt Koontz
Jason Knight (20-5) vs. Jordan Rinaldi (13-6): Last one before we gotta pay for it and I'm not sure why it was decided this was the main event of the prelims. Don't get me wrong both of these guys have good records and finish people like madmen, but that all changed once they got in the UFC. Jason Knight started his UFC career with a loss, got 4 wins in a row, then lost 3 more. With Jordan Rinaldi, he has won 6 of his last 8 fights, but both losses were among his 3 UFC fights. In other promotions these guys are great fighters; Knight has 13 wins by submission and 3 by knockout with 8 first round finishes while Rinaldi has 8 wins by submission and 1 by knockout with 5 in the first. Unfortunately they have been unable to really make much happen here. I think both of these guys will want to take it to the ground, and we may get a quick tap or 15 minutes of hot garbage. I really don't like to pick on fighters so I do hope both men can turn this around and be who they used to in their past companies. With that, I think Jason Knight will take this one. He has spent more time in the UFC and even though it has been longer since he last won, he did have that win streak and I think tonight is where he starts to come back with a second or third round submission. – Mike Whitestone
Jason Knight picks up the win by 1st round KO as he is the superior fighter. He might be on a 3 fight losing streak but he is a monster. His wins over Chas Skelly, Alex Caceres, and Dan Hooker, show you how much talent he has. I truly believe in Knight. – Matt Koontz
UFC 230 @ 10 PM/ET:
(#6) Derek Brunson (18-6) vs. (#9) Israel Adesanya (14-0): Here we go! On to the Main Card! If you need a fight to get you hyped up for tonight then this is the one for you! Derek Brunson may not be the cream of the crop of middleweights, but he's a showstopper. Add on the fact that he's facing the Last Stylebender himself, Israel Adesanya, and god damn this is what main card fights are made of. Derek Brunson has stopped all 14 of his finishes in the first round and not only that, he finished half of them in less than a minute. He isn't great at getting takedowns, but his takedown defense is perfect. Not that it will be important in this matchup because Adesanya is a warrior of the standup. Adesanya has stopped 12 of his 14 wins and they were all by knockout. Before MMA, Adesanya was a pro kickboxer with a record of 75-4 with 29 knockouts. He doesn't have a perfect takedown defense like Brunson, but it is still great with 82% and he has a higher percentage of shots defended by 20%. I believe this fight will stay standing and these two will just brawl. I see Adesanya taking this one because he lands more shots and when he does they tend to be significant more often than Brunson's. It will be a tense fight with how powerful these guys are and Adesanya may take damage before this is one is over, but I see him walking away with a knockout towards the end of the first. – Mike Whitestone
Adesanya all day long. This kid is a freak. Adesanya wins by 2nd round KO after some brutal shots landed in the 1st. Adesanya survives and grabs that round 2 KO. – Matt Koontz
Karl Roberson (6-1) vs. Jack Marshman (22-7): Up next is the only unranked fight on the card. These two welterweights are still rather new to the UFC with only 7 fights total between the two. For Karl Roberson only one of his 7 fights have left the first round. He has 5 finishes, all in the first, and his one loss was in the first. Jack Marshman is also coming into this fight with a large percentage of finishes. He has won 13 by knockout, 5 by submission and has 10 first round finishes. He definitely prefers the standup, not opting for clinch too often and unfortunately his takedown defense is unreliable. In his 4 UFC fights, he only has defended 17% of the takedowns against him. I believe Marshman can take this easily if he can keep it standing. Sadly, he has proven almost unable to do so recently and Roberson likes to get it to the ground and make people tap. I see Roberson taking over this fight because he likes to work in the clinch and the ground which is where Marshman does poorly. I think he is going to go straight to the clinch and Marshman will end up against the cage trying to avoid the takedown. However, Roberson will still get it at some point and lock in that submission in the first. – Mike Whitestone
I agree entirely with Mike. Roberson 1st round submission. – Matt Koontz
(#7) David Branch (21-4) vs. Jared Cannonier (10-4): Jared Cannonier stepped up for this fight in a big way. Luke Rockhold was originally set to face Chris Weidman later tonight, but when Rockhold got injured, Jacare was moved into his spot to keep Weidman on the card. From there, Cannonier stepped up and filled in for Souza to face the #7 ranked David Branch. Cannonier is currently 3-4 in the UFC and 1-3 in his last 4. That means he was on a 7 fight win streak coming in and has been unable to produce the same since. He has 6 wins by knockout and 2 by submission with 6 first round finishes. He doesn't have a good takedown defense and he seems to just ride things out and work to standing. His opponent, David Branch, is coming in losing only 1 of his last 13 fights. This can be partially credited to his near perfect record outside of the UFC. Branch is comfortable in both standup and the clinch. I think this fight will be one-sided with Branch taking control of the striking then capitalizing on Cannonier's poor grappling to get the submission victory in the second. – Mike Whitestone
Cannonier is a LHW fighter stepping up going to the middleweight division to fill in against Branch here. I love this fight, but I think the heavy weight cut so fast will leave Cannonier exhausted. Branch will tire Cannonier and pick up a 3rd round TKO victory, I believe Cannonier will need to go all out and win in round 1 if he wants to win. – Matt Koontz
(#3) Chris Weidman (14-3) vs. (#5) Jacare Souza (25-6): Co-main event time and these two men believe they are fighting for the next shot at the Middleweight Title. Jacare Souza was considered the top guy in the division before his loss to Gastelum and for good reason. He has won 11 of his last 14 fights. He has 14 wins by submission and 7 wins by knockout with 18 first round finishes, which can by credited to his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Judo. Souza doesn't have a great defense, but he has massive stopping power and is arguably one of the best ground guys in the UFC. His opponent is also a prefers to go to the ground. Weidman was a 2 time All-American in college wrestling and is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He has 6 wins by knockout and 4 by submission and tries to get most of them on the ground. Weidman has a good takedown defense, but his takedown success rate is lacking. At exactly 50% he averages 6 attempts per fight and gets 3 of them. I think Weidman will want to take it to the ground like he always does and that will be the worst idea he can make. Losing 20% of Souza's total fights he has not once been out grappled and I can't see Weidman being the guy to do it. There may be a good amount of standing first because of Weidman's success rate and Souza being comfortable anywhere. Eventually I think Weidman will get him down and Souza will wrap him up and make him pay by getting a submission in the second. – Mike Whitestone
Souza is the better fighter as I believe he actually beat Gastelum in his last fight. Souza is going to dominate Weidman on all aspects of this fight. Souza wins by TKO in the 2nd round. – Matt Koontz
(C) Daniel Cormier (21-1) vs. (#2) Derrick Lewis (21-5): Finally at the main event for the evening we get a rather odd matchup. Originally Cormier claimed that he was only fighting Brock and that was it and in his last fight, Lewis said he didn't want the title fight because he didn't have enough cardio. Well both men apparently signed good deals because they both said they money they are getting is the reason they took this fight. Derrick Lewis is coming into this fight with a 4 inch height advantage and 7 inch reach advantage. He has won 18 of his fights by knockout and 1 by submission with 7 first round finishes. He has won 9 of his last 10 fights which is amazing considering how awful his gas tank is. Lewis is most effective in the first round and mostly isn't there the rest of the time until he surges at the end of the fight if he gets there. His opponent, Dan Cormier, is also a knockout artist with 10 and 4 submissions to add. Cormier has spent his whole life wrestling with National wins in college, National and World wins outside of college and even placing in the Olympics. He uses it almost like a crutch in his recent fights, taking people to the mat, laying on top of them not really striking or trying to advance, just making them work and use energy. He is still a good fighter to be able to get that many finishes, but in my mind his game plan is a bitch move. I think Lewis does have a good chance here if he can keep Cormier off of him and land in the first. The way his cardio is and the way Cormier likes to lay on people I think he is going to tire Lewis as soon as possible then pick at him until he gets a TKO in the second or third. – Mike Whitestone
Daniel Cormier admittingly took the easier fight here by taking Lewis. He admitted he couldn’t handle Stipe on a months’ notice in the rematch he deserved to have. Daniel has had a history of taking simpler fights for the most part in his career. Derrick Lewis in order to win this fight will need to hit DC hard and catch him going for a takedown as DC has no chance in hell in a stand-up brawl in this fight. When it comes down to it though I have DC winning in the 2nd round by way of TKO on the ground with ground and pound. He will gas Lewis with his wrestling and once Lewis is gassed he will put on an absolute clinic on the mat with great passing and ground and pound. I wish I could see Derrick Lewis win this one though as it be better for the UFC to have a heavyweight champ who will fight the #1 fighter not target Lesnar who hasn’t fought in the UFC in 2 years and tested positive for PED’s after that fight. Anyway DC by 2nd round TKO – Matt Koontz
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