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
UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor: One of the biggest PPVs in UFC history is about to take place and the main event is the reason for this. Khabib and McGregor’s rivalry and hate is well known and documented. The fight is for more than just the lightweight belt. The rest of the card is absolutely stacked, and we will be treated to a great night as fight fans. Most people are getting caught up in just the McGregor and Khabib hype, but this card is no joke. Mike did a phenomenal job with his picks so I will only be putting my differences in picks. If I have a different winner I will write a small analysis on why.
UFC Fight Pass 6:30 PM/ET:
Ryan LaFlare (13-2) vs. Tony Martin (12-4): Kicking off the night on the Fight Pass Prelims we see two welterweights with near identical measurements go head-to-head. This will be a very odd matchup to see as both men have completely opposite fight styles and neither has a great success rate of landing strikes or takedowns. Before joining the UFC, LaFlare won 4 fights by knockout and 3 by submission, but since then he has won all of his UFC fights by decision. Martin has 8 career wins by submission and most of them were outside the UFC as well. Three were in the UFC and his last 3 fights were won by decision. LaFlare mostly stands during his fights, but isn't afraid to work the clinch and get takedowns, when he can, to grind his opponent on the mat. However, Martin also likes the ground with his jiu-jitsu so that may be putting it right into Tony Martin's hands. I think we will see a lot of this fight take place on the ground even though LaFlare prefers the standup. Even with a lot of trouble coming from Martin, LaFlare tends to attempt way more strikes than Martin and that will push him to win this by decision.
– Mike Whitstone.
I personally think Tony Martin will land a bigger shot even with a smaller output and land a 3rd round late TKO.
- Matt Koontz
Gray Maynard (14-7-1) vs. Nik Lentz (30-9-2): This next fight will be the first of four to take place in the lightweight division. Both of these men are great wrestlers and one is a finisher while the other tends to grind his opponent to decision victories. Gray Maynard used to be a great fighter. He didn't finish a lot, but he put the work in and got wins with his wrestling background and great takedown defense. Recently however, he has only won 2 of his last 7 fights. Nik Lentz if fighting very hard to break into the rankings. He has won 7 of his last 11 fights and has 17 career finishes; even split between knockouts and submissions. With Lentz being as aggressive as he is and Maynard never being a finisher, I believe Lentz will put a beating on Maynard and walk away with a second round TKO.
- Mike Whitestone
I think Mike is right, but I have Lentz winning the first round via a vicious KO.
- Matt Koontz
#11 (12) Lina Lansberg (8-3) vs. #12 (NR) Yana Kunitskaya (10-4): "Main Eventing" the Fight Pass Prelims is our first bantamweight fight of the night. This fight should be a war because neither fighter spends much time on the ground. Lansberg has 4 wins by knockout with two of them ending in the first round. She's a Muay Thai specialist and likes to work elbows and knees in the clinch. Her opponent, Kunitskaya, has 7 wins by knockout and a win by submission. She is trained in boxing and taekwondo. Kunitskaya is a tough opponent, but Lansberg will be a similar fight style to Cyborg and I think it will end the same way. Lansberg will gain the clinch; get Yana up against the cage and land bows until she gets the first-round knockout.
- Mike Whitestone
To me Kunitskaya has been improving in her gym and has been training hard. I do not know much about how Lansberg’s camp went but I have been following Yana closely as I see a lot of promise in her. I believe she will show her improvement from the Cyborg fight and pick up a win here. Kunitskaya by way of 2nd round TKO.
- Matt Koontz
FS1 Prelims 8 PM/ET:
Scott Holtzman (11-2) vs. Alan Patrick (15-1): This fight was going to be in the Fight Pass Prelims, but due to Sean O'Malley testing positive for steroids, this fight is taking it's place. Alan Patrick is the taller fighter and has a 5 inch reach advantage. Both fighters have wins by knockout and submission and tend to finish their fights pretty quickly with 7 wins in the first round of 11 combined finishes. Holtzman is an all-around fighter with a high striking output averaging about 100 strikes attempted a fight and a solid ground game. Patrick is a decorated jiu-jitsu artist and likes to use that to his advantage in getting the stoppage. Even with a large amount of stoppages, they still go to decision more often than not and I believe that both men will try to strike for the upper hand. Holtzman will probably attempt takedowns and realize it's a bad idea with Patrick's skill-set and the fight will end in a decision. I believe Holtzman will get it because he is the more active striker in his fights and his takedowns will be like gravy for his points.
- Mike Whitestone
I believe Holtzman is the superior fighter as well and agree with a unanimous decision victory for him in this one.
- Matt Koontz
#6 (9) Aspen Ladd (6-0) vs. Tonya Evinger (19-6): Fight #2 on the prelims and the second bantamweight women's fight. This is a true case of a rookie versus a veteran, but both women are straight finishers. Aspen Ladd will be walking into her second fight in the UFC and in her career; she has won 4 fights by knockout and 1 by submission. She will have a tough fight ahead of her because Tonya Evinger has only lost 1 of her last 11 fights and it was to Cyborg. Throughout her career, she has 8 wins by knockout, 7 by submission and 8 of the 15 finishes ended in the first round. I think Ladd is going to take this one, even if it's a tough fight. Evinger hasn't fought in over a year and lost terribly. I think she is past her prime and the loss and time off will hurt her chances. I predict after a war, Ladd will get the TKO in the third.
- Mike Whitestone
Aspen wins this one because I believe she is the overall better fighter and picks up the 2nd round KO finish proving she is ready for a top 5 opponent on her way to a title fight.
- Matt Koontz
Vicente Luque (13-6-1) vs. Jalin Turner (6-3): Up next two young welterweights are ready for war. Jalin Turner is coming in off an impressive win over on Contender Series. In his short time in the sport, he has won all of his fights by finish (5 by KO, 1 by Sub) and all of his fights have ended in the first round. His opponent is also a finisher. Vicente Luque has won 6 fights by knockout and 6 by submission with 9 first round finishes. He is ranked in Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, luta livre and kickboxing. Luque doesn't really go to decision unless he loses and Turner has only gone to decision once as a loss so this will be over shortly. Luque can eat shots and past opponents say he has a really tough head so I think he has an advantage on defense. I believe Turner is going to compromise himself hunting for the shot to drop Luque and Luque will be able to find a hole and get a nasty knockout victory in the first.
- Mike Whitestone
I 100% agree with Mike on this one. I love the talent Luque has and will land a brutal finish in round 1.
- Matt Koontz
#2 (2) Sergio Pettis (17-3) vs. #6 (5) Jussier Formiga (21-5): Closing out the prelims for tonight will be an intense matchup between ranked flyweights. Both of these guys are finishers, but in different ways. Formiga is a black belt in judo and jiu-jitsu and uses them both to hunt for submissions. Pettis has a balance of both knockouts and submissions and with his black belts in taekwondo and kickboxing, plus his blue belt in jiu-jitsu he is very well rounded. Formiga will have his hands full here because he usually doesn't strike too much and just focuses on getting to his submissions. Pettis can defend takedowns well and his striking output is so much higher than Formiga that I don't think Pettis will even spend much time in a compromising position. Pettis attempts an average of 150 strikes per match and lands an average of 56.5 strikes per match. While that's a success rate of only about 30%, Formiga only attempts about 40 strikes per match so Pettis lands more than Formiga even tries for. That's why I think Pettis will come out on top with a win by unanimous decision.
- Mike Whitestone
I believe Sergio is in trouble if he lets this one go to the ground but his takedown defense will hold and he will out score Jussier in this fight. I have Serio surviving and picking up a unanimous decision victory.
- Matt Koontz
UFC 229 10 PM/ET:
#8 (8) Michelle Waterson (15-6) vs. #7 (9) Felice Herrig (14-7): Kicking off the pay-per-view is the women's fight that I'm personally looking forward to the most. These women are badasses and I think this fight will be fun to watch. Michelle Waterson is a black belt in American Karate and she uses her striking well to set up her jiu-jitsu. She has an 83% success rate with takedowns, which has translated into 9 wins by submission and 3 by knockout with 8 of them only lasting 1 round. Felice Herrig is also a blue belt in jiu-jitsu, but differs that she was a professional in both kickboxing and Muay Thai. Herrig usually ends up on the ground a lot and she ends up wearing her opponent down or getting submissions. She has almost double the amount of wins by decision as by finish. Both of these fighters excel when they can implement their striking and gain top control. I find it challenging to call what's going to happen here. I think it can go either way if the pair keep the fight standing and it could be a spectacular match. However, with Waterson's increasing usage of takedowns and how successful she is with them, I believe she will take this to the ground and find herself in a favorable position. I'm not sure how long it's going to take, but I see Michelle Waterson winning this by way of submission.
- Mike Whitestone
I 100% disagree with the winner on this one. I believe Felice is the better overall fighter and she is fighting to prove something as she believes she is title bound in 2019. I love both of these women but the fire in Felice Herrig right now I think she gets a 2nd round submission win.
- Matt Koontz
#2 (2) Derrick Lewis (20-5) vs. #5 (5) Alexander Volkov (29-6): Going into the only heavyweight fight of the night we get to see a war between two beasts. Derrick Lewis is a heavy hitter who lives and dies by the knockout. He has won 17 of his fights by knockout and lost 3 of them that way. He doesn't have a high striking output because of his knockout power and he usually doesn't have to put too much work in for the finish. His opponent, Alexander Volkov, has 19 wins by knockout, 3 wins by submission and 15 of his finishes were in the first round. Volkov is skilled in multiple types of karate and jiu-jitsu. He likes to keep it standing and has the skills to do so. I think Volkov will be able to keep Lewis out of where he is comfortable, empty Lewis' gas tank in the first, go out there, and get a TKO in the second.
- Mike Whitestone
I again disagree here as I believe Derrick Lewis will land a big nasty shot and follow it up once he dazes Volkov in the 1st and put his lights out. I think if the fight goes past 3 minutes we could see Volkov drain the energy of Lewis. I just don’t see that happening and have Lewis winning in the first 2 minutes with a pair of big shots. Lewis by KO in round 1.
- Matt Koontz
#8 (7) Ovince Saint Preux (22-11) vs. #11 (12) Dominick Reyes (9-0): This fight will be going down a weight class to the 205-pounders. Both of these guys finish over 80% of their fights. Ovince Saint Preux has 17 finishes, 11 by knockout and 6 by submission with 13 ending in the first round. Dominick Reyes has 6 wins by knockout and 2 by submission with all 8 being first round stoppages. Half of those took less than a minute. Reyes also has an 80% success rate of takedown defense and lands an average of 7 significant strikes per minute so he can keep most fights standing when he wants to. With all of Reyes' fights ending in the first and OSP usually wearing himself out in the first couple of rounds I think this will get ugly if the fight goes on too long. I believe that Reyes will use his aggressiveness to wear OSP down even quicker than usual and be able to keep his streak alive by getting a knockout or TKO towards the end of the first round.
- Mike Whitestone
Dominick Reyes is on a roll and that roll continues. Mike nailed his analysis of this one. Reyes by KO in the 1st round.
- Matt Koontz.
#3 (2) Tony Ferguson (25-3) vs. #6 (8) Anthony Pettis (21-7): Finally, we are at the co-main and the type of fight we see will be riding solely on Anthony Pettis' shoulders. Back when Pettis was Lightweight Champion, he looked almost unstoppable. After losing the title to Rafael Dos Anjos, he lost two thirds of his fights since then, never able to look himself. In this last fight against Michael Cheisa, he looked like good ol' "Showtime" again. If Pettis is still in a rut, it will be incredibly lop-sided. If the old Pettis is back, it will be tough, but it's a fight he has a chance of winning. It will be a rough fight because his opponent lives up to his nickname "El Cucuy(The Boogeyman)". Currently on a 10-fight win streak, Ferguson has won 11 fights by knockout and 8 fights by submission with 9 of the 19 in the first round. Ferguson has a good defense and can put in work on the ground, but he prefers to stand and bang. I think there is too much doubt that Pettis will be the fighter he used to be. He looked good against Cheisa, but he's been up and down and I don't think it’s good for him to go against someone like this with the issues he's having. As a fan, I hope Pettis does well here win or lose, but I believe this is going to be a mauling and Pettis will leave a bloody mess as Ferguson picks up a nasty TKO win in the second or third.
- Mike Whitestone
I have no idea which Pettis is going to show up to this fight but if the Pettis that fought recently shows up he has this one in the bag. Part of me is worried about T-Ferg’s injury and if he is rushing back too soon. I think this fight could go either way easily but I am going to take the underdog. Anthony Pettis by way of 2nd round RNC submission.
- Matt Koontz
(C) Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) vs. #1 (1) Conor McGregor (21-3): Finally, to quote Bruce Buffer, "It Is TIME!" The moment we have all been waiting for is upon us. After close to two years off, Conor McGregor is getting back in the octagon against an undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov is the current Lightweight Champion and has finished 12 of his last 17 wins. He is 8 and 8 for knockouts and submissions in his career. Khabib is a Sambo Master and experienced wrestler. He has a great striking and takedown defense and goes for a massive amount of takedowns. He excels on the ground landing more than half of his strikes in top position and with 4.5 significant strikes per minute, his works people over and lands heavy. His downfall is someone who is a better standing striker than he is as seen in his last fight with Al Iaquinta. That's where Conor comes in. McGregor has won 18 of his 21 wins by knockout and 13 of them were in the first round. His loss to Nate Diaz was his first since 2010. McGregor lands an average of 6 significant strikes per minute and 80% of his total strikes landed were on the feet. He poses a real threat to Khabib's record and the same goes for Khabib because McGregor has shown to be hot garbage on the ground. All three of McGregor's losses were by submission and he struggled greatly against Chad Mendes when Mendes had him on the ground. Sure, he broke Chad once he got up, but Mendes was using the patented Team Alpha Male "hug and hold" method so he wasn't doing much to stop McGregor, just soaking up ground control time. With Khabib it will be vastly different because he will continually hunt to get him on the ground and if he gets him there, he will drop bombs and use his skill set to make sure Conor doesn't go anywhere. We know that when Conor is stuck on the ground, he looks awful, but even though Iaquinta made it look like Khabib has a weakness standing, Khabib still outstruck him by over 100 and got 6 takedowns to Al's 0. That's why I think that even though Conor has knockout power, Khabib will be able to get McGregor where he wants him and either get a TKO in the second or expose his lack of gas tank like was shown when Conor boxed against Mayweather and pick up a staggering unanimous decision.
- Mike Whitestone
The biggest lightweight fight in UFC history is here. This fight will be the fight of these two guys’ lives. I have heard rumors both of these guys are considering retirement after this fight, but I personally believe that’s just crap talk. Conor McGregor is bringing the hype and Dana White is on the bandwagon clearly. Conor is probably the best striker in the UFC. He has a devastating left hand and phenomenal footwork. His match against Floyd Mayweather showed how well he can box but his stamina once again became a concern. His ground game is weak as hell and will be looking to avoid the mat at all costs in this one. He only has 3 career losses and all 3 of them are on the ground by way of submission. Now his opponent is on the opposite end of the spectrum here. Khabib looked terrible against Al Iaquinta when he was trying to box with him. Khabib will need to pace himself and avoid attacking McGregor early. Weather the storm of McGregor early and then land his takedown. If he can get this fight to the ground expect him to pummel McGregor for fun until he decides it is time to lock in a submission. That is exactly how Khabib needs to win this fight. This fight will be fun as hell while it lasts. McGregor will dominate the standup and Khabib will dominate the ground game. Enjoy fight fans as this is the best fight in the history of this division. I am rooting for Khabib because he fights regularly and doesn’t run to new divisions instead of defending his belt, but I have Conor winning this one in the 2nd round via TKO because Conor’s high energy will be too much to handle.
- Matt Koontz
UFC 227 Dillashaw vs Garbrandt: Okay UFC fight fans I have been slammed with work and was too busy with life as well to get an entire prediction together so here are my main card predictions for tonight’s blockbuster card.
UFC 227 Main Card (10 PM/ET):
Thiago Santos vs. Kevin Holland: A middleweight fight will grace the kick off of the main card. Santos is a banger and will look to stand and exchange. Holland is a young and confident fighter who thinks he will prove Santos is done and knock him from the ranks of the middleweight division. I believe Santos will smash his way through the confidence of his opponent and pick up a 2nd round TKO.
Polyana Viana vs. JJ Aldrich: The women of the strawweight division will both be looking to get their name into the top 15 of this division and begin their run for a title shot. Aldrich is a striking fighter who has been training with Rose Namajunas. She has shown improvement her last few fights and I believe she will show some in this one. Viana though is an extremely well-rounded fighter. She is the superior fighter in this fight and truthfully is probably title shot bound someday. Viana wins this one in round 1 by way of submission.
Cub Swanson vs. Renato Moicano: This fight is going to be a thrilling one in the featherweight division. Moicano is a submission specialist and will be outmatched on his feet, but will hold superior the ground game and be looking to get this one to the ground as much as needed to win this fight. Cub will dominate this fight if he can keep it standing and we will see Cub rebound his way into the top of the division. This fight will see some great striking as always from Cub and some shots to get the fight to the mat from Moicano but I believe Cub will fend them off and pick up a 3rd round TKO. Moicano will land 2 of his 9 takedown attempts but it won’t be enough to get the job done.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo: The Co-main event of the evening has the most important fight of both fighters careers. Cejudo worried me the first time these two fought for DJ and he has only improved since then. Cejudo showed Pettis a hard time and dominated 4 of the 5 rounds of that fight. Cejudo will still need to get this fight to the ground because his striking is still reckless and throws wide which DJ will capitalize on. He does have the power, but his best bet is to threaten with power and land a takedown. DJ is the greatest MMA fighter of all time and he will be still even if he loses this one. Nobody in UFC history will defend a belt 12-times. He has done it with perfect striking, great submission work, and great takedown defense. I believe the champ will overcome the toughest test of his flyweight career and land a round 4 TKO finish to defend a 13th time.
TJ Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt: The title fight that shouldn’t be happening is happening in the main event. TJ defended his belt when he won it but didn’t get an immediate rematch. Cody who beat two whole ranked fighters on his way to the belt did not successfully defend it one time yet got a rematch. The favoritism in the UFC is nuts as Marlon Moraes is without a doubt the man who deserved the title shot. Cody is a one trick pony, he can punch and hit hard. He has incredibly accurate striking with devastating power. His downfall last fight was that he brought his anger and emotion into the last fight and tired himself fast by throwing everything he had into every punch he threw. If Cody can keep this fight standing he will be on equal terms with TJ, but if TJ can get this one to the mat Cody will be overwhelmed and outmatched because his ground game is shaky. I personally believe in complete MMA fighters and the champion is exactly that. Dillashaw wins this one by way of 3rd round TKO.
UFC Fight Night Boise: Dos Santos vs. Ivanov: This fight card is stacked, and it is like it was kept a secret. The UFC barely advertised this card and most fans seem to know nothing about this card. It is a shame because this card will be one of the best FS1 cards of 2018. I am excited for the entire card top to bottom.
UFC Early Prelims UFC Fight Pass (6:30 PM/ET):
Jessica Aguilar (19-6) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-3): This fight in the women’s strawweight division kicks off the night. Both women with a win might find a number next to their name next week. Both women tend to let fights go the distance and I think Aguilar will pick up the split decision win.
Mark De La Rosa (9-1) vs. Elias Garcia (3-0): This fight in the flyweight division is going to represent two new fighters for the UFC. De La Rosa lost his only fight in the UFC and Garcia is making his debut in the UFC. This fight could be fun as I think both fighters are a little underrated on their feet, but this will go to the ground as both fighters are better on the mat. I have Garcia picking up a 3rd round submission victory.
#8 (7) Liz Carmouche (10-6) vs. Jennifer Maia (15-4-1): This is the main event of the UFC Fight Pass prelims and it should be a good fight. Liz is a well-known UFC vet and is coming off a loss where the judges really messed up and robbed her of a win she really deserved and will be out for blood. Carmouche is a better stand-up fighter than she is on the mat, but she can still be dangerous on the mat. Jennifer Maia is an Invicta fighter making the transition to the UFC and she is dangerous. I think Maia will pick up a nice win via unanimous decision.
FS1 Prelims (8 PM/ET):
Kurt Holobaugh (17-4) vs. Raoni Barcelos (11-1): This fight kicks off the televised prelims and will take place in the featherweight division. Raoni is making his UFC debut and for the fans who haven’t seen his fights they should know that he has fast and powerful hands. His stand-up is dangerous and could make himself a dangerous threat in this division. Kurt is making a true comeback to the UFC as he was gone for 4 years before his return in July 2017 but it was overturned to a no contest. Kurt has developed his skills and is a more complete fighter now and could be a steady fighter in the UFC. I think he will get this fight to the ground if he can because he has the superior ground game. I have to say this fight could be great and I think Barcelos picks up a 2nd round KO victory.
Justin Scoggins (11-4) vs. Said Nurmagomedov (11-1): This flyweight fight is going to be an interesting one. Said is the cousin of Khabib and his lone loss in his career is to Magomed Bibulatov. He will be making his UFC debut and is a dangerous fighter, a Russian and European MMA champion. His opponent Scoggins is a very interesting fighter with some of the most unorthodox striking in this division. He is unpredictable and dangerous on his feet but will need to avoid the mat against Said, if he does he will pick up the win. I believe Said picks up the 3rd round submission win.
#10 (10) Darren Elkins (24-5) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (17-1): This fight in the featherweight division is going to be incredible as it sets us up for fight of the night. Elkins has proven that no matter how much trouble he is in that he is still a threat. He could pick up the win no matter how rocked and out of it he is. This guy is a freaking monster and someone who keeps getting underestimated by the fans and other fighters even. His opponent Volkanovski though is extremely dangerous as well and enters this fight on a 14-fight win streak including 4-0 in the UFC. If he picks up this win you will surely find a number next to his name. I have no idea how to pick any striker against Elkins because he seems unbreakable, but I am going to take Volkanovski in this one. Volkanovski wins in the 2nd round via KO.
NR (15) Eddie Wineland (23-12-1) vs. #12 (13) Alejandro Perez (22-6-1): This is the main event of the televised prelims and takes place in the bantamweight division. Eddie is a great stand-up fighter with some really impressive striking. He has power in his hands and can end a fight quick with his strong hands. He is a wrestler but seems to use that more to stay standing and stop takedowns. His opponent Alejandro Perez is also a monster with his striking. I think Perez is better on the mat than Wineland and the more complete mixed martial artist. I believe Perez wins this fight in the 2nd round via KO.
FS1 Main Card (10 PM/ET):
#6 (6) Cat Zingano (9-3) vs. #7 (7) Marion Reneau (9-3-1): The first fight of the UFC Boise main card will take place in the women’s bantamweight division. Marion is making some noise in this division and could put herself in the top 5 with a win here and get herself one win away from a title opportunity. Cat Zingano is trying to turn around a tough loss and get back on track with a win here. This fight will be gritty and probably go the distance as these two will be very even and put on a good fight for the UFC fans. I believe Cat wins this one and starts her climb back up this division. Cat wins via unanimous decision.
#11 (12) Myles Jury (17-2) vs. Chad Mendes (17-4): The 2nd fight of the main card will be taking place in the featherweight division. Chad Mendes is making his return from a 3-year layoff following a 2-year suspension due to popping for PED’s. Chad is a great wrestler with powerful hands and is a dangerous fighter that will land takedowns just to use ground and pound. His opponent Myles Jury is a BJJ great but has some good striking. If Myles can win this one he will be in the top 10 looking for one more fight before getting a possible title shot. If Mendes can win he will find himself ranked in the middle of this division and a fight or two away from a possible title shot as well. I believe Mendes wins this fight via TKO in the 2nd round once he get the fight to the mat and uses his great ground and pound.
Randy Brown (10-2) vs. Niko Price (11-1, 1NC): Everyone be ready to watch a show because this fight is going to end in someone tapping or getting knocked out. Price might be one of the most underrated fighters in the welterweight division and I believe with a win here he will get a number next to his name. Price finishes almost every fight and he can do so with his hands or on the mat with his incredible submission skills. Brown wants to prove he is more than a Dana White looking for a fight guy. He isn’t as good on the mat and would probably find himself submitted if this goes to the ground. Brown is good fighter with the potential to become a contender in this division. I have Niko Price winning this fight via submission in round 2.
Dennis Bermudez (17-8) vs. Rick Glenn (20-5-1): This fight could be interesting in the featherweight division. Bermudez used to be royalty in this division but is riding a 3-fight losing streak and really needs to turn it around. His striking is what he needs to rely on here and try to finish this fight as he tends to let too many reach decision. Rick Glenn has been known to finish fights but has struggled to do so in the UFC and will need to against Bermudez. If Glenn can use his KO power and end this fight because Bermudez is dangerous from start to finish. I think Glenn will make this fight very interesting but Bermudez wins this one in the 3rd round by way of TKO.
Sage Northcutt (10-2) vs. Zak Ottow (16-5): The co-main event of the evening is taking place in the welterweight division. Zak will try to get this fight to the ground if he wants to survive and pick up a submission because he is the far superior ground fighter. Sage hasn’t really impressed me in his pas two wins as he has fought for the judges score card and looks like all he is fighting for is decision. Sage could become a title contender one day if he learned to push the pace and finish fights like he used to do but he seems to have picked up the scoring mentality that his gym provides. That’s why they have only 1 title and 0 successful defenses in that gym. He needs to stick to who he was and learn the wrestling and clean striking but keep his aggression. If this fight goes to the ground Zak will pick up the win but if it stays standing Sage is going to win this one. I believe Sage will keep this fight standing and pick up another unanimous decision win.
#8 (8) Junior Dos Santos (18-5) vs. Blagoy Ivanov (16-1-1): The main event of the evening surely will be an interesting fight. Ivanov is making his much-anticipated UFC debut and will be doing so against a UFC legend. Ivanov is a monstrous man with a whole lot of strength and powerful hands. Ivanov is a judo and sambo fighter and will have a true advantage on the mat and will be able to use his skills to get it there relatively simply. His opponent JDS is one hard hitting monster who can finish a fight in a matter of seconds with a flurry of punches or with just one clean shot. I am really interested by this fight and I know JDS is the favorite as he probably should be, but something tells me Ivanov is going to shock us and pick up a 4th round submission win.
UFC 226: Miocic vs. Cormier: Well this card lost what I believe was the most exciting fight on the card when Holloway had a terrible health scare and has shown some issues similar to a concussion. Ortega was offered Jeremy Stephens and I was told other fighters as well, but he turned them all down really making me lose a bit of respect for that. People can argue he had a camp for Holloway but he would be taking on a fighter without a camp at all on 3 days’ notice who would be tired from cutting the weight unexpectedly and he is supposed to be the best in the division in his own words, so he should be able to take on any opponent. The UFC then tried to schedule Edgar vs. Stephens for the interim featherweight belt. Edgar and Stephens both accepted but Edgar’s family then said there is no way he can take this fight so that fight fell through. So, moving to the co-main is Ngannou vs. Lewis and stepping up to the main card is Felder vs. Perry. Here are my predictions for this card following the weigh-in’s Friday morning.
UFC Fightpass Early Prelims (7 PM/ET):
Jamie Moyle (4-2) vs. Emily Whitmire (2-2): These two women in the strawweight division will be kicking off the night on fightpass. This fight won’t have much in it but I think we will see it go to mat a couple times and Moyle grab a 3rd round submission over Whitmire.
#14 (NR) Dan Hooker (17-7) vs. Gilbert Burns (14-2): This fight being the FIghtpass main event shows you how good the rest of the card is because this is definitely worthy of a televised prelims spot. This lightweight brawl is between two guys who don’t let their fights go to the judges often and love to finish both standing and on the mat so we could see a true war here. Hooker tends to get hit some going in and getting hit by Burns is dangerous and will be the difference maker in this fight. Gilbert Burns wins by 2nd round TKO catching Hooker going for a takedown.
FS1 Prelims (8 PM/ET):
Curtis Millender (15-3) vs. Max Griffin (14-4): We kick off the televised weigh-ins with a bang in the welterweight division. This fight could be a good start to these loaded televised prelims. Griffin will want to get the fight to the mat and take advantage of his superior ground skills. Millender is going to need to pace himself and land shots if he can do that he will come out the winner. Max Griffin wins by way of unanimous decision.
Lando Vannata (9-2-1) vs. Drakkar Klose (8-1-1): This fight in the lightweight division will definitely be a back and forth battle between two very skilled mixed martial artists. We learned in Drakkar’s last fight that if you frustrate him and can prevent him from his game plan he tends to give up and really not show the maturity he needs inside the octagon. That being said that can be fixed with good coaching and I think it will be in this one as Klose picks up the win in round 1 with a TKO.
#2 (3) Raphael Assuncao (26-5) vs. #10 (11) Rob Font (15-3): This bantamweight showdown is going to be a very technical battle and I believe we could see some slow feeling out to start the fight with the action picking up in the 2nd round. Raphael Assuncao is in the end the better all-around fighter and will pick up the win by split decision.
#10 (9) Uriah Hall (14-8) vs. #7 (10) Paulo Costa (11-0): This middleweight fight is the main event of the prelims and we will not see 3 full rounds in this one. This fight honestly should have betting odds if it will make it out of the first 3 minutes as these two absolute monsters throw heavy fists and will be looking for a quick KO. Hall will need to use his reach and speed to win this fight. He can let Costa get into bomb range otherwise he will be going to sleep from a heavy Costa bomb. Costa will need to push the pace and get in tight to win this fight which I see him doing. Costa wins this fight in the 1st by way of KO.
UFC 226 Main Card: (10 PM/ET):
Gokhan Saki (1-1) vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. (7-3): The first fight of the main card takes place in the light heavyweight division and there will be fireworks. You can bet on someone getting knocked out in this fight. The only thing to solve is who. I am so torn on this fight you can honestly flip a coin because it is razor thin but I will go with Saki pulling off the win in the 2nd round by way of TKO after a great fight in the 1st between the two.
#7 (9) Michael Chiesa (14-3) vs. #11 (12) Anthony Pettis (20-7): This fight in the lightweight division has Michael Chiesa coming in over weight after missing and not being able to cut the weight due to hydration issues. He immediately did announce he will be done at 155 after this fight and it worries me he will be gassed in this one. One fighter I would put in the top 10 of the UFC that you wouldn’t want to fight any less than 100% is Anthony Pettis. Pettis has been showing improvement lately and if he can put it together and push his pace. I have a tired Chiesa losing this one and Pettis winning in the 3rd round by way of submission.
#10 (LW) (14) Paul Felder (15-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-3): This fight was originally Mike Perry vs. Yancy Medeiros but Yancy got hurt and Felder steps in at a weight class up for him. Perry has changed gyms to Jackson-Wink and that could be huge as he needed to polish up the holes in his game and this will be the first time we have seen him since the change. He will be getting a huge test here in Felder and might be outmatched. Felder wins in round 2 by TKO.
#1 (1) Francis Ngannou (11-2) vs. #4 (5) Derrick Lewis (19-5, 1NC): The new co-main event will live up to the hype. These two man throw BOMBS. Neither one will leave this fight without some damage and I don’t see how it gets out of round 1 honestly. Be ready for a big man to go down in this one. Ngannou looked really good on the scales and energetic compared to his Stipe fight. I think Francis will win this fight in the 1st round by way of KO.
Champ: Stipe Miocic (18-2) vs. LHW Champ Daniel Cormier (20-1, 1NC): The main event is a superfight as DC technically comes up a weight class to try and win the heavyweight division. He weighed more than Miocic at weigh in’s and will use his fat weight if he can to smother Stipe and keep this fight close otherwise DC will get absolutely destroyed. DC can’t win a standing fight in this one and will need to get this to the ground. Stipe didn’t need to do much prep if any for his striking for this fight. Hopefully he worked on his takedown defense and how to defend the big man just laying on him like he loves to do on the mat. If this fight stays standing which I believe it won’t in round 1 but Stipe will keep it up in round 2 the winner will be the current HW champ. The fight goes to ground and stays there than DC will win this one. I have Stipe winning this fight in round 2 by way of KO catching DC trying for a takedown.
UFC 225: This card is incredible but the main event is no longer a title fight because Yoel Romero is the most unprofessional middleweight left on roster after missing title weight in two consecutive fights. My picks will be just who I believe wins the fight no analysis this time because I am doing this from Yellowstone on vacation.
UFC Fightpass Prelims (6:15 PM/ET):
Mike Santiago (21-11) vs. Dan Ige (8-2): This fight takes place in the featherweight division. Dan Ige wins by 2nd round submission.
Clay Guida (34-14) vs. Charles Oliveira (22-8, 1NC): This lightweight brawl is going to be incredible. Clay Guida is rolling right now and will pick up a 1st round TKO victory.
#1 (1) Joseph Benavidez (25-4) vs. #4 (5) Sergio Pettis (16-3): This fight takes place in the flyweight division and we will see why Benavidez is the top flyweight excluding the champ once he submits Pettis in the 2nd round.
Rashad Evans (24-7) vs. Anthony Smith (28-13): The main event of the UFC Fightpass prelims takes place in the light heavyweight division. Rashad Evans wins this one by way of unanimous decision.
FS1 Prelims (8 PM/ET):
Rashad Coulter (8-3) vs. Chris De La Rocha (4-2): This heavyweight fight kicks off the televised prelims. Rashad Coulter wins by KO in round 1.
#6 (7) Ricardo Lamas (18-6) vs. #10 (11) Mirsad Bektic (12-1): This featherweight fight should be on the main card as it has a ton of potential to be a great fight. Mirsad Bektic wins in the 2nd round by KO.
#3 (3) Claudia Gadelha (15-3) vs. #5 (6) Carla Esparza (14-4): These two women in the strawweight division are going to put on a great show. Claudia will have her hand raised at the end with a unanimous decision victory.
#2 (2) Alistair Overeem (43-16, 1NC) vs. #4 (5) Curtis Blaydes (9-1, 1NC): The main event of the televised prelims takes place between two top ranked heavyweight fighters. Alistair Overeem wins this one by way of 2nd round KO.
UFC 225 Main Card (10 PM/ET):
CM Punk (0-1) vs. Mike Jackson (0-1): This welterweight fight should be the first fight of the night, it’s going to be the least important fight of the night. Both fighters lost their only UFC fight so far, CM Punk wins by unanimous decision.
#11 (9) Andrei Arlovski (27-15, 1NC) vs. #9 (12) Tai Tuivasa (9-0): These two heavyweights are going to throw fists from the first touch of gloves and Tuivasa will land the finishing blow in the 1st round with a KO of Arlovski.
Holly Holm (11-4) vs. Megan Anderson (8-2): These two women will throw down in the featherweight division. Megan Anderson might the baddest woman on the planet and we will find out soon, Anderson wins by 2nd round KO.
#1 (1) Rafael Dos Anjos (28-9) vs. #4 (4) Colby Covington (13-1): This fight is the interim welterweight title fight. RDA will win this fight by way of TKO in round 4 after a lot of back and forth between the two and will go on to beat Woodley after this one.
Champ Robert Whittaker (20-4) vs. #1 (1) Yoel Romero (13-2): Yoel missed weight again and this is no longer a title fight. He was so tired he basically he had to be carried off the scales by his coach. Whittaker is going to completely dominate Romero in this fight. Whittaker wins by 2nd round KO.
UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Lee: This good card takes place in Atlantic city and should be a good one for the fans in attendance and the fans watching around the world. The main event just like last weeks could be a fight of the year candidate. Have fun fans with this card and enjoy some great fights that will entertain for sure. Here is my call for this card and analysis for the fights.
FS1 Main Card (10 PM/ET):
#5 (5) Edson Barboza (19-5) vs. #6 (6) Kevin Lee (16-4): The main event of the evening will take place between two top lightweight fighters battling to throw their name in this overflowing list of title contenders. Both fighters are coming off disappointing losses and will each have a fire in their bellies to get back on track. Kevin Lee is returning from a disappointing loss to Tony Ferguson which I believe was due to a poor weight cut during the week and it drained his energy. Kevin Lee is a phenomenal athlete and when he isn’t messing around and makes a weight cut well he is one of the best fighters in the lightweight division. Kevin Lee is a wrestler with a vastly improving striking game. His submissions are nothing to forget as this guy has stopped 8 fights by way of submission and he can pounce on one with a knockdown instead of going for ground and pound. Lee would probably be best to get this fight to the mat and avoid many striking exchanges with Barboza as Barboza is the superior striker in this fight. Edson is coming off a disappointing loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in a fight that we saw Khabib refuse the stand-up and use his weight to keep Edson on the mat as he just ate ground and pound. Edson is a weaker fighter on the mat, but his striking and aggressive fight style has been something he has been able to rely on in his career. When Edson fights he seems calm and collected and then out of nowhere will explode offensively. Barboza should enter this fight with an offensive and aggressive display and land some powerful kicks to the legs and body to keep Kevin Lee slowed down. This fight will be a lot of fun for the fans especially if it lasts longer than a round as these two will try and figure each other out. No idea who is going to pull off this win as these two have some incredible skills and we will see a display of them for sure as each fighter has something to prove in this one. If Kevin Lee has cut weight well and is in great shape this fight I have him winning this one in round 3 by submission after a back and forth fun first two rounds. I will edit this pick if he seems to struggle with his weight cut Friday morning. Edited as Kevin Lee struggled cutting weight missing weight hitting 157 and I now believe he will be tired tomorrow. I am taking Edson Barboza to win by TKO in the 2nd round.
#2 (3) Frankie Edgar (21-6-1) vs. #3 (4) Cub Swanson (25-8): The co-main event of the evening is another one of these phenomenal fights in the featherweight divisions with a ton of potential to steal the show. Both fighters just like the main event are coming off a loss and looking to avenge that loss and get back in the title picture. Both fighters are actually coming off a loss to the same fighter just with different ways they lost. This is the 2nd fight between these two in which Frankie won by way of submission in round 5 after dominating Cub in their first fight. Cub is coming off a submission loss to Brian Ortega and his last 3 fights have all been fight of the night winners which shows you that good ol’ Cub is still good ol’ Cub. He is a BJJ black-belt with an elite ground game yet only 4 submission stoppages. Cub has finished 11 fights by KO and does so normally with his aggressive striking and seemingly invincible jaw. Cub throws a lot of heavy and accurate shots while moving forward and is willing to eat shots to land shots. It makes him a very dangerous fighter to face for any opponent. If Cub wants to win this fight he needs to keep the pressure on Frankie and test his chin after Frankie suffered his first ever KO loss and test his confidence in his chin as well. Now Frankie who every single fight fan will love forever is coming in as I just said off his first ever KO loss in his career. Frankie is one tough dude and probably won’t let a loss set him back. He is a great wrestler with the ability to keep his opponent grounded under him and keep it that way. His ability to smother an opponent and land shots from the top is extremely impressive and a large reason he has been so successful in his career. Frankie’s strategy gasses his opponents and leaves them open to submissions or a TKO from ground and pound they can’t escape. This fight is going to be so fun because neither guy knows the word quit and never will. Two warriors are about to go at it and leave their hearts and souls inside the octagon. I believe this fight is going to go the distance and we will see a bloody pair of warriors standing opposite of each other, but Frankie Edgar will get the win by split decision.
Justin Willis (6-1) vs. Chase Sherman (11-4): A heavyweight brawl is going to take place in this fight in which we are almost guaranteed to see some body’s lights go out. Chase is a great athlete in the heavyweight division and lands some powerful shots with his great speed and dynamic fight style. Sherman has struggled some in his career in the UFC as he has gone 2-3 since becoming a part of the UFC. Not that I expect Justin Willis to take this fight to the mat but if he attempted it is something worth noting that Chase Sherman has never been taken down since joining the UFC. Chase has stopped 10 of his 11 professional wins, all of them are by way of KO and 9 of those are in the very first round. Chase’s opponent Justin Willis is one hard working dude who continues to improve and never settles because of a win. Justin has won his only two fights in the UFC so far and if he can pick up a 3rd straight since coming to the UFC he will find a number next to his name next week. Justin has stopped 4 of his 6 wins by way of KO and 3 of them were in the first round including his last fight. Justin is one big dude with a lot of power in his hands and hasn’t lost a fight since his pro debut. He is riding a 6-fight win streak and is looking to use his continuing growth inside the cage to prove he is ready for a ranking and top opponent after this one. I have Justin Willis winning this fight in the 1st round by way of KO and proving to the big boys above him that he is here and a force to be reckoned with.
#7 (8) David Branch (21-4) vs. #11 (12) Thiago Santos (17-5): This middleweight fight is a battle of opposite strategies. Thiago Santos is one incredibly beastly savage with knockouts on his mind whenever he steps inside the octagon. Thiago is rolling right now as he has won 4 fights in a row all 4 have been KO victories and 2 of them won him performance of the night bonuses. One thing to love about Thiago Santos is that he won just stand there and throw a flurry of punches this man will kick you in the chest, the head, and the lead leg. Santos is a monster on his feet and the only way someone beats him is either endure the beating and hope he tires or get him to the mat and submit him. His last loss was a submission loss and if David Branch wants to have his hand raised at the end of this fight he will need to find a way to safely close the distance and get the takedown he needs and work a submission victory. Now David Branch is a well-rounded mixed martial artist, but his standup game is very slow and defensive. He doesn’t push a pace on his feet, but it works for him because he has a ton of power in his hands and can catch someone coming in clean and end their night with one shot. Branch has picked up 7 wins by submission and 5 more by way of KO. Branch will need to get this fight to the mat if he wants to have an advantage though because he does own a black belt in Renzo Gracie BJJ. He is a very skilled jiu-jitsu fighter and would have a significant advantage on the mat over his opponent in this one and if he gets it to the mat he would win this fight. I believe Thiago Santos will keep this from reaching the mat and pick up a 2nd round KO of David Branch.
#8 (8) Aljamain Sterling (14-3) vs. #14 (14) Brett Johns (15-0): This fight is going to take place in the bantamweight division and should be a great one for the fans. Brett is a young, skilled, and intelligent wrestler with an unbeaten record taking on the biggest test in his career. In his UFC debut he scored 11 takedowns to avoid taking any big shots and getting the fight to a place where he could dominate it. Johns is a black belt in judo, a purple belt in BJJ, and a brown belt in Muay-Thai, he is an extremely skilled fighter who has learned many forms of mixed martial arts. I love this because it gives him a diverse set of skills and makes him hard to figure out coming into a fight as he is improving leaps and bounds between every fight. His last fight with Joe Soto was extremely fast and we saw his first stoppage win in the UFC and I believe he will become a crowd-pleasing fight finisher. Now his opponent Aljamain Sterling is a UFC vet who loves to put on a show. Aljamain is an incredibly gifted wrestler just like his opponent and he also owns a purple belt in BJJ. He lost his last fight to Marlon Moraes in a fight where we saw him get knocked out in the first round. “The Funk Master” doesn’t stay down long as this guy is a hard working determined monster, honestly a savage. Aljamain loves to lock in a RNC submission as six of his submission wins have been by way of his favorite RNC. If this fight goes to the ground it will be a true display of incredible skills and a great finish could be in store for the fans. I believe this fight will not find a stoppage though and that we will see a decision. The winner of this fight could go either way, but I am going to give the edge to the fighter with the momentum as I have Brett Johns winning this fight by way of unanimous decision.
Jim Miller (28-11, 1NC) vs. #15 (NR) Dan Hooker (16-7): This is the first fight of the FS1 main card and it will take place in the lightweight division. This fight might start out with a slow pace as these two warriors try to figure each other out and what to expect from the other. Hooker’s last win was enough to impress me moving forward and has me believing he is a talent to be watched in this division. Hooker has fought in heavyweight before and as low as featherweight but has found his proper home in the lightweight division. Hooker is a blue belt in BJJ but doesn’t play favorites to the mat as he has stopped 7 by way of KO as well as 7 by submission. I used to underestimate Dan Hooker in the past, but I will not be making that mistake moving forward as this guy has an incredible skill set. His opponent Jim Miller has been around in the lightweight division for as long as I can remember but is facing a slippery road as he has lost his last 3 fights. Jim is a great fighter and will be fighting at home and will be looking to put on a display for his fans. Jim is a black belt in BJJ and his ground game skills have been proven a lot in his career as he has grabbed 14 wins in his professional career by way of submission. This fight will be interesting for sure as Jim is looking to get back on track and Dan is looking finally prove that he deserves a number next to his name. I think Dan Hooker wins this fight in the 1st round by way of submission and I think he will lock in a guillotine choke for the win.
FS1 Prelims (8 PM/ET):
Ryan LaFlare (13-2) vs. Alex Garcia (15-4): The main event of the prelims should be a lot of fun in the welterweight division. Alex Garcia a well-rounded mixed martial artist and is coming in off a submission victory. Garcia loves the Rear Naked Choke, 6 of his wins are submission victories and 5 of them are by way of RNC. If he gets to the mat he will most likely look to lock in his favorite submission, but he still might try and keep this fight standing as he has knock out power as he has stopped 6 fights by KO. He does take shots to land shots though and would need to avoid that one in this fight. His opponent Ryan LaFlare has wrestling and BJJ both in his arsenal. He has the skill set to put on a display on the mat, but he might look to keep this standing because of Garcia’s tendency to eat shots and LaFlare having a kickboxing background makes him a dangerous opponent. LaFlare is looking to get a number next to his name with a win here and I believe he will get that win with a 2nd round KO over Alex Garcia.
Merab Dvalishvili (7-3) vs. Ricky Simon (10-1): This bantamweight fight was originally on the online prelims but due to an injury to Magomed Bibulatov this fight was added to the televised prelims. Ricky Simon is from Dana White’s contender series and will be making his UFC debut on this card after picking up a split decision victory on the contender series. He is a blue belt in BJJ which gives him some comfort if the fight goes to ground, but he is a better fighter on his feet and will most likely look to keep this fight standing. If we don’t see any UFC debut jitters he could put on an interesting display for the fans including his great takedown skill set that we saw get him 14 takedowns in his contender series fights. His opponent Merab is fighting in his second fight in the UFC after being originally discovered in Dana White looking for a fight. Merab lost his UFC debut in a split decision that I actually believed he won, he landed 11 takedowns in that fight and somehow still got screwed over by the judges. Merab is a judo fighter and loves to strike but he also has good takedown skills just like his opponent and could lead to a fight with two men respecting each other’s skillsets too much and not going after it like they normally would. This fight will be interesting to say the least as it has gained a spotlight by being on the televised card we better just hope it lives up to this spotlight. If the UFC debut jitters doesn’t get to Ricky Simon I believe he will pick up a unanimous decision victory in this fight.
Siyar Bahadurzada (23-6-1) vs. Luan Chagas (15-2-1): This is the fight that fight fans should be most excited for on the prelims because these two welterweights know how to put on one hell of a show. Luan Chagas has never let a single one of his wins go to the judges score card and he really doesn’t seem to be stopping those type of performances anytime soon. This guy is a part of the future of this division and I don’t doubt that for one minute at 24 years of age and has 9 wins by submission and 6 more wins by way of knockout. He has stopped 10 of his wins in the very first round and he could do that again in this one. He is an extremely skilled mixed martial artist holding a black belt in BJJ and a black belt in karate. This kid is something really special to watch and is really strong and part of his strength is shown by his takedown defense because he has never been taken down in his UFC career. His opponent is a one punch KO fighter with great overall skill set. Siyar has only lost two fights in the UFC both losses were decision losses and he tend to slow down as a fight goes deep and will need to end the fight early if he wants to have his hand raised, at least based on his past. Siyar is a fun fighter to watch though and this fight we could really see fireworks fly. I think Luan Chagas is the better overall fighter in this fight and will have his hand raised in the end with a 2nd round submission victory.
#12 (10) Corey Anderson (10-4) vs. #13 (11) Patrick Cummins (10-4): We kick off the televised prelims with a ranked fight in the light heavyweight division. Patrick is coming in off an impressive win over Gian Villante and looking to use this head of steam to pick up the most impressive win of his career. Cummins was two time all-American and two-time US national team member in wrestling and would have the advantage on the mat in this fight. Patrick is one of the toughest LHW fighters as we have seen him take an absolute beating and not give up and keep fighting his fight. I think his cardio, grit, and determination keep him relevant in any fight he is in and will be a threat against his opponent in this one. Corey Anderson has all the talent in the world but has become what it seems like, scared to lose so he has become a slow-paced fighter with a lack of aggression. Corey has the ability to dominate in the UFC if he just pushed the pace of his fights and was more aggressive. He won TUF 19 and won 4 of the next 5 after that but has hit a brick wall once he got ranked competition. He has lost 3 of his last 4 fights and the last two were KO defeats. Corey needs to use his big size, power, and incredible athleticism to unleash the beast inside him that we saw in the TUF season he was on. When he is having an off night, he can put on one of the most boring LHW fights you will ever watch but when he is on this guy puts on one hell of a show. Which Corey Anderson shows up this weekend is the question that needs to be answered. This fight will move one of these guys into a top 6 battle in their next fight and could cost the loser a ranking depending so this fight is important to both of them. I have Corey Anderson unleashing his skill set again here and winning this fight by unanimous decision.
UFC Fight Pass Prelim (7:30 PM/ET):
Tony Martin (12-4) vs. Keita Nakamura (33-8-2, 1NC): The only fight remaining on the online prelims after one fight moving up to the televised prelims and another being scrapped entirely will take place in the welterweight division. Keita is an incredibly talented fighter who loves to finish fights in the first round doing so 17 times in his career. Keita has 16 submission wins, but 15 of those 16 is by way of a RNC and is without a doubt his favorite move to get someone in. He does have 7 wins by way of KO and he might actually be the better off keeping this fight on his feet. His opponent Tony Martin is an incredible athlete with a very gifted set of skills on the mat which I believe he will be looking to get this fight to the ground where he should have the advantage. Tony has only stopped fights through submission otherwise his fights have gone to decision, I love this fight as a start off to the night because it doesn’t look like it will be one going to decision. I have Tony Martin winning this one in the 2nd round by way of submission kicking off the night with a good fight.
FOX Main Card
(#5) Dustin Poirier (22-5) vs. (#6) Justin Gaethje (18-1): The main event is between two top ranked lightweights. Justin Gaethje has only been in the UFC for two fights and is already one of the top ranked even though one of those fights is a loss. Gaethje has won 15 of his fights by knockout and one fight by submission with six first round finishes. He is one of those fighters that just charges ahead and swings hoping to come out on top. It has always worked for him, but a fighter with the right mobility and heavy hands could probably change that. Gaethje also has a vicious leg kick, but he telegraphs the shit out of it. His opponent is a veteran of the UFC. Dustin Poirier has 11 wins by knockout and six wins by submission with 12 first round finishes. He also has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu so he might be able to contend against Gaethje's wrestling. Poirier moves alot and won't back down from Gaethje's assault like some of his past opponents. I think Poirier can win this fight, being able to dodge and land strikes of his own. He is also able to control the clinch and the ground if it gets to that. The way both of these guys fight I say Poirier will get the knockout before the end of the first.
(#12) Carlos Condit (30-11) vs. Alex Oliveira (17-4-1): The co-main for tonight could be a barn-burner. Both men are coming off some losses, but they are dangerous fighters. Alex Oliveira works both the stand up and the clinch to work his striking. He doesn't have a high success rate for takedowns, but he attempts so many that he usually still gets a couple per fight. Oliveira has 11 wins by knockout and three by submission with nine finishes in the first. He is a rough, nasty striker that punches his way out of bad situations. His opponent does the same and manages to almost always get a finish. Carlos Condit has 15 wins by knockout and 13 by submission meaning only 2 of his 30 wins are by decision. Condit was a great fighter, but he has won in three years so I believe after a tough battle Oliveira will get a TKO in the third round.
Israel Adesanya (12-0) vs. Marvin Vettori (12-3-1): Next up is matchup between two guys relatively new to the UFC middleweights. Marvin Vettori has won eight fights by submission and two by knockout with all ten finishes in the first round. He has shown to be a good striker usually beating his opponents before slipping on a choke for the win. Israel Adesanya is currently undefeated. All of his wins have been by knockout or TKO and five of them were in the first round. Before MMA he had a kickboxing record of 75-4 with 29 knockouts. He also had a 5-1 boxing record. Vettori is a good striker, but his only chance against Adesanya is tuck his chin, throw bombs and hope he can take a beating. Vettori could possibly neutralize his opponent with his grappling, but he usually only pulls it out last minute and I think that will be his downfall in this fight. I'm calling that Vettori will think he can stand with his opponent and get knocked out in the first.
(#7) Michelle Waterson (14-6) vs. (#10) Cortney Casey (7-5): Kicking off the main card is a top ten strawweight matchup. Both women are coming off losses and are strikers so this could be an intense fight. Cortney Casey has three wins by knockout and three by submission with all of them in the first round. She is an aggressive striker and lands an average of almost five significant strikes per minute. My only issue is from the highlights I've seen she isn't a very mobile fighter. Her opponent will be the exact opposite with a black belt in freestyle karate. Michelle Waterson is also a threat on the ground with almost all of her takedowns successful and nine wins by submission. As long as Waterson can stay moving she can win here. Waterson will need to wait for an opening in between Casey's relentless striking and when Casey gets tired, Waterson will get the takedown, land some shots and pull out a submission in the second.
Tim Boetsch (21-11) vs. Antonio Carlos Junior (10-2): We are closing out the prelims with a middleweight fight between two guys on the verge of being ranked. A win here will probably set up a ranked opponent next on the winner's way up. After hitting a rough patch, Carlos Junior came back strong with four straight wins and submission after submission. He has eight career wins by submission with four happening in the first and he uses strikes to get what he wants on the ground. Tim Boetsch is a veteran of the sport, but never really got enough momentum to climb the ranks. Don't let the lack of rank fool you because he's fought with many top guys over the years and he's made sure to put some in their place. He isn't great on the ground, but he is dangerous standing with big, heavy fists. Boetsch can work the clinch and has a daunting presence when on top, but Carlos Junior might be able to make his magic happen if Boetsch isn't careful. Carlos Junior has shown to use his striking to set up his grappling and that's going to be a big problem here. He is going to stand or try and clinch and Boetsch will always be there to out-strike him. I'm calling Carlos Junior making it through the first, then Boetsch getting a knockout in the second.
Muslim Salikhov (12-2) vs. Rickey Rainey (13-4): The welterweight, Rickey Rainey is making his debut in the UFC, previously competing in Bellator. He is a striker with seven wins by knockout. His opponent is a Russian kickboxer further proving athletes from Dagestan are monsters. Salikhov had a kickboxing record of 185-13-1 with 76 knockouts. He also has 10 wins by knockout in his MMA career. His only fight in the UFC was a loss via submission so that may be the way to go here for his opponent. However both of these guys are really only standup fighters. I believe this fight will stay standing and in the second or third Salikhov will pick up a TKO victory.
(#6) Wilson Reis (22-8) vs. (#10) John Moraga (18-6): Next up is two top 10 guys in the flyweight division. Both of these men will be coming back from a six month break. Reis has lost his two most recent fights while Moraga won both of his. Moraga is a good striker and uses his collegiate wrestling to set up a vicious ground game that has gotten him eight wins by submission. Wilson Reis doesn't have a big striking game, but is a much bigger threat on the mat. He has 10 wins by submission and seven of them were in the first round. While both fighters are good on the ground I believe Moraga and his team will want to keep this fight standing as long as possible. Reis will need to get this to the ground and hope to do his work without letting Moraga up. Reis has faced the top of the division multiple times while Moraga hasn't been there in a while so even though Reis lost his last two fights I think his able to gain ground control will be easier than Moraga trying to keep it standing. I say Moraga can keep Reis off of him for the first round, but Reis' relentless attempts will gas him and Reis will get the submission in the second or third.
(#13) Krzysztof Jotko (19-3) vs. (#15) Brad Tavares (16-5): We are kicking off the prelims with a middleweight fight against two ranked middleweights. Jotko is working to get in the win column currently facing back-to-back losses while Tavares has a streak of three wins going for him. Both of these men are strikers with 10 knockouts between them and they are quick workers with 10 first round finishes all together. Both guys attempt way more shots than they land and don't have the best defense with edge going slightly to Jotko. Tavares has one more win by submission than Jotko, but Jotko is much more comfortable in those positions. He spends more time in the clinch and on the ground landing more strikes and sweep and transitions better. I think this could be a wild standing fight, but it would be smart for Krzystof to take advantage of his grappling tools to finish this on the ground. I think it will stay standing at first with clinch initiated by Jotko turning into takedown attempts and Jotko controlling on the ground. He may hunt for a submission, but most of the work will be done with their fists. Jotko will win by unanimous decision.
UFC Fight Night Glendale: Poirier vs. Gaethje: The main event of this card is going to be incredible. A fight I personally believe is worthy of being on a PPV main card. The Co-main was originally Condit vs. Brown but Matt Brown tore his ACL and replacing him is Alex Oliviera. This card also has Waterson on it and two rising stars in the middleweight division Vettori and Adesanya squaring off. I personally love this card and can’t wait for Saturday to happen. Here is my prediction for this card!
UFC Fight Pass Prelims (3:30 PM/ET):
Luke Sanders (11-2) vs. Patrick Williams (8-5): The first fight of the night takes place in the bantamweight division and it should be a good one to kick off a loaded card. Patrick is a 2-time former state champion wrestler. Patrick went to Arizona state where he was teammates with some of the best wrestlers the UFC has seen like Cain Velasquez, Ryan Bader, CB Dollaway, and John Moraga. This guy is a powerful wrestler with great takedowns and so far, hasn’t been taken down in his career in the UFC. His last fight he was doing well with Tom Duquesnoy before he got caught and got knocked out. He needs to improve his stand-up if he wants to become a well-rounded complete mixed martial artist. His opponent Luke Sanders is a skilled well-rounded martial artist. His last two fights he faced two tough losses, but they shouldn’t discourage him as he will turn it around and become a star in this division if he keeps polishing off his skill set. Sanders has stopped 6 of his wins in the first round. Sanders is a great athlete, but his takedown defense hasn’t been good in his career in the UFC and he will needed to have worked on it hard in camp for this fight or he will find himself in trouble on the mat early and often. I think this fight will take a little bit to get going but once it does Sanders uses his great striking skills to keep Williams from being able to shoot much and will land a late KO/TKO in round 1.
Matthew Lopez (10-2) vs. Alejandro Perez (20-6-1): This will be the 2nd straight fight in the bantamweight division. Alejandro Perez is 4-0-1 in his last 5 fights. Perez has struggled of late to finish fights, but he has the ability as he has stopped 10 in the first round and 14 overall. Perez is only really known for some reason for his boxing skills and striking inside the cage, but he has 5 submission finishes in his career. I do think Perez will look to use his boxing and footwork in this fight to win by way of KO and keep his hot hand of late. His opponent Matthew Lopez is a wrestler without a lot of power and I believe he was going to pull off a win in his last fight against Assuncao but he wound up getting TKO’d in round 3. That fight was easily the biggest test of his career, but I think it will have taught him a lot and he is going to utilize his new skills and lessons in this fight. He has proven to be mentally tough in the octagon so far and believe he will handle his loss the same way outside the octagon. I like what this fight brings for the fans. I think Matthew Lopez wins this one by way of 2nd round KO and moves into the top 15.
Arjan Singh Bhullar (7-0) vs. Adam Wieczorek (9-1): This heavyweight fight will be between two guys fighting for the 2nd time in the UFC for each of them. I hate to bash fights but if they both fight the way they did in their first fights in the UFC this fight will be the least exciting one on the card. Adam, I believe could become a good fighter in the UFC as his one pro loss was to Marcin Tybura before they were both in the UFC. Adam has stopped all but one of his professional fights 5 of which by submission and 3 by KO. In his UFC debut he withstood Anthony Hamilton’s takedowns and outlasted him for the lone non-stoppage and picked up a unanimous decision. One thing I really see as a positive for Adam is that he has the skill set to fight on the mat which a lot of younger heavyweights seem to be lacking. Adam also has some pretty incredible stamina and a gas tank in the heavyweight division is a great thing to see. Now his opponent Arjan is undefeated and an Olympic wrestler for Canada. Arjan is openly confident in himself and will be coming into this fight very confident he can handle this one and make a bigger name for himself. I think Arjan will need to improve his striking skills to become a complete and well-rounded fighter in this LHW division. I believe this fight will be slower paced but it could still be a decent fight because I believe both fighters had octagon debut jitters in their last fights and could make something of this fight. I have a feeling Adam Wieczorek is going to win this fight by unanimous decision giving Arjan his first professional MMA loss.
Dhiego Lima (14-6) vs. Yushin Okami (34-11): For this fight we step into the welterweight division between two UFC veterans who have recently returned to the octagon. Yushin is making his second appearance in his second stint in the UFC. Before he left the UFC in 2013 he was part of the organization for 6 years and now has returned after 4 years away in other organizations. His return fight was at light heavyweight which he shouldn’t be fighting at and didn’t last long as he was submitted by OSP in round 1. I am excited to see his official UFC return to his natural welterweight division. Yushin if he is back to his normal self has a great cardio and sets an aggressive pace because he knows he can rely on his cardio to back him. I expect we will see him go for takedowns and take a dominant position on top and use his phenomenal ground and pound. I love watching Yushin dominate and drop heavy hands and elbows from top position when he takes his opponents down. Now his opponent Dhiego Lima is also making his 2nd fight in his 2nd stint in the UFC after losing to Jesse Taylor in TUF redemption finale. Jesse Taylor eventually had his blood work come back tainted which makes me wonder if the fight would have gone slightly differently. Lima is a well-rounded fighter with 8 stoppages under his belt 5 by way of submission and 3 by KO. His biggest weakness entering this fight is his takedown defense and he will need it because as I said if Okami gets top position and can land his shots this one won’t last long at all. Lima would be best off keeping this fight standing and avoiding this fight going to the mat unless he can get dominant position on the mat then he is a threat to submit Okami. I really think this fight could be worth the subscription fee of UFC.tv alone. I am really excited for this one. I think Yushin will use his size advantage and take this one to the mat and get his ground and pound going early. I believe Okami wins via 1st round TKO in his return to his welterweight division.
Shana Dobson (3-1) vs. Lauren Mueller (4-0): This fight in the women’s flyweight division should be a good one as Shana got herself ranked with her first fight in the UFC until Ashlee Evans-Smith broke into the rankings this week, and she will be taking on a good young flyweight Lauren Mueller. Lauren has a good striking game and has only one stoppage being a KO but it still needs some slight improvement if she wants to find her way up in this division. Mueller is a blue belt in BJJ and I believe is continuing to improve her BJJ skills and could become a dual threat in this division soon. She should have the advantage in this fight on the mat and might look for a takedown after she establishes her threat standing. Her opponent Shana is a very skilled striker and her head movement and ability to keep herself on the outside is pretty impressive. Her one career loss is to the current Flyweight champion Nicco Montano. Shana is coming off her KO/TKO win in her UFC debut and her first stoppage finish in her career. Now this fight will be fun for the fans as we get a glimpse of two women trying to get themselves into the rankings to stay. I believe Mueller will find a way to win this one and it will by way of unanimous decision.
Gilbert Burns (12-2) vs. Dan Moret (13-3): The main event of the UFC fight pass prelims is going to take place in the lightweight division. Dan Moret is making his UFC debut here and draws a really tough opponent to make a debut against. Moret is a well-rounded fighter, he has a purple belt in BJJ. Moret has seven wins by submission and only two by way of KO, he has stopped 6 fights in the first round in his professional career as he doesn’t tend to come out slow. This fight will be interesting as both fighters have great skill sets on the mat. Now Moret’s opponent is Gilbert Burns. Gilbert is a 4-time world Jiu-jitsu champion and he loves the armbar. Now his standup is underrated because of how good his takedown and ground game skills are but, he has a ton of power in his fists and can land some devastating shots on his feet to end fights. He won his last fight by KO/TKO displaying his powerful hands and striking skills. I know a lot of fans find fights that stay on the mat to be fairly boring but personally I hope this fight goes to the ground and these two put on a show for us all. I think in the end Burns has the superior skill set and the size advantage and will pick up a 2nd round submission victory.
FOX Prelims (6 PM/ET):
#14 (13) Krzysztof Jotko (19-3) vs. NR (15) Brad Tavares (16-5): We kick off the televised prelims in the middleweight division between two UFC.com ranked fighters. Brad Tavares has seemed to put things together lately as he has picked up 3 wins in a row, but I believe he needs to do more as he has let the judges decide his fate in the last three. Tavares is a tough fighter who is really hard to prevent his moving forward regardless of the damage he receives during a fight. Tavares needs to work on his gas tank a bit because he seems to fade midway through round 2 and continues to fade as the fight goes. Tavares does have the skill set though to dominate a fight and impress the fans watching and in attendance. Now his opponent Jotko is coming in on a 2-fight losing streak after getting knocked out by Uriah Hall. Jotko is an unpredictable striker with an unorthodox style. His unique striking style could surprise Tavares and make it hard for him to use his aggressive style. Jotko if he takes his opponent to the mat lands impressive hammer fists and elbows from top position. This fight could go back and fourth as either fighter can rock the other a little bit but keep coming. I am excited for this one and, I believe in the end we will see Jotko’s losing streak come to an end and pick up a 2nd round KO/TKO.
#7 (6) Wilson Reis (22-8) vs. #10 (10) John Moraga (18-6): This ranked flyweight battle will most likely go to the mat and be a great fight. John Moraga is coming in on a 2-fight win streak and his last win was very impressive. Moraga is a powerful striker with an improving stand-up between each fight we see him. I do think regardless that Moraga has the advantage in this fight on his feet we will see him use his wrestling skills and takedown abilities to get this to the mat. Once he gets the fight to the mat he will use some ground and pound to open Reis’ guard and slip in a submission. I know a few fights ago Moraga debated retiring and it made me sad to think of that, but I am glad he changed gyms and is now firing on a new cylinder. His opponent Wilson Reis is a very strong powerful fighter with a phenomenal ground game. Wilson is coming into this fight on a 2-fight losing streak, one of which is to the champion Demetrious Johnson. Reis is a black belt in BJJ who has some good ground and pound as well. Reis has some decent boxing skills but has not finished polishing them off as he has never finished a fight by KO as all 10 of his finishes have been by way of submission. This fight might be interesting if they keep this one standing, but if it goes to the mat we will see BJJ vs wrestling which lately has seemed to favor wrestling. This fight will be interesting. I have Moraga pulling off his 3rd straight win which he will get by way of unanimous decision.
Muslim Salikhov (12-2) vs. Rick Rainey (13-4): This fight will take place in the welterweight division between two knockout artists. Rick Rainey will be making his UFC debut in this fight. Rainey is coming in on a 2-fight win streak before his anticipated UFC debut. His nickname sniper is appropriate because this guy has a 77-inch reach which is huge for this weight class. This guy has the ability to land and keep himself untouched by his opponent which makes him a very dangerous opponent and he will have a full 7 inches in this fight. Rainey has stopped 6 fights in the very first round and 8 fights total of his 13. His striking abilities are impressive but with that reach it goes without saying and his clinch skills are great and if he gets in trouble he can rely on the clinch to get his head back and still do damage. Now his opponent Muslim Salikhov lost his UFC debut and is looking for a way to turn it around in this fight. Muslim has the issues of starting to show fatigue after the first round and hopefully has worked on his conditioning coming into this fight. He has stopped all 12 of his wins, all 12 have been stopped in the first round. He has picked up 10 KO’s of those 12 stoppages. His Kung-Fu skills are incredible, he is the only non-Chinese fighter to win the Wushu Sanda King’s Cup. He is a 5-time Wushu Sanda world champion and an Olympic Sanda tournament champion. This fight will be an extremely interesting fight on the feet and the striking battle will be insane. I am hoping if there is no octagon debut nerves for Rainey and this fight goes as the skill sets say it could go. This fight is hard to call because of the range difference and the unknown factor of the ability to close the distance for Muslim. I think in the end we will see the distance work and Muslim tire trying to close the distance. Rick Rainey wins his UFC debut in the 3rd round through a KO/TKO victory.
Tim Boetsch (21-11) vs. Antonio Carlos Junior (10-2, 1NC): The main event of the FOX prelims will be a battle of opposites in the middleweight division. Antonio Carlos Junior is a great fighter but his stand-up needs to improve if he wants to become a true contender in this division because he has become fairly one dimensional. His ground game is so impressive though because he is an offensive Jiu-jitsu fighter. He does have really powerful hands and the ability to drop people, but he just hasn’t figured out how to close a fight with his striking yet. I believe this fight will be a true test for him as he will be facing the true barbarian of the UFC. Tim Boetsch a true UFC vet with an aggressive pace and powerful hands will be looking to keep this fight standing and close the 5-inch reach gap between him and Antonio Carlos Junior. Boetsch is a truly powerful fighter with the ability to stop fights with one punch and he never seems to slow down no matter the damage done to him. This fight on the feet could be one-sided and, on the ground, it could be a little lopsided as well in the other direction. I believe that the 5-inch reach could be a little too much for Boetsch and Carlos Junior will get a knockdown in which he will take advantage on the mat and pick up a submission in round 3.
UFC FOX Main Card (8 PM/ET):
#8 (7) Michelle Waterson (14-6) vs. #11 (10) Courtney Casey (7-5): We start off the main card in the women’s strawweight division. Courtney Casey is a well-rounded fighter who lost her last fight to Felice Herrig. Casey has stopped all 6 of her stoppage victories in the first round, 3 by submission and 3 by KO. She is a former soccer player whose career was cut short by injury and has picked up MMA and keep improving and I believe we will see her improve even from her last fight. Courtney is so well-rounded that it won’t matter where this fight goes she will still have the ability to win against most opponents, but she will want to keep this fight away from the mat. Now her opponent Michelle Waterson, “the Karate hottie”, is also an extremely well-rounded fighter. Michelle uses her very impressive speed of her hands and her Karate skills to make opponents respect her and fear charging her. Waterson will have a 5-inch disadvantage when it comes to reach but she will use her legs to keep the distance factor to a minimum, at least she should. Now Waterson has stopped 9 of her 12 stoppages by submission and if this goes to the ground we will most likely see her lock in another one. That being said I truly think this will be a back and fourth battle between two women looking to turn around their luck. I think Waterson wins this fight using her superior skills, striking and ground game both. Waterson wins by way of 2nd round submission.
#15 (NR) Israel Adesanya (12-0) vs. Marvin Vettori (12-3-1): This fight will take place in the middleweight division and is a battle between two young prospects of this division. Marvin Vettori is the much bigger fighter in this battle and normally uses his power to wobble an opponent and then shoot for a takedown and lock in a submission. Vettori is a brown belt in BJJ and is continuing to improve. Each time I have watched him fight I have seriously been impressed and he has me very excited for his future in this division and the UFC. Vettori is going to be facing a massive disadvantage in reach and honestly striking skills alone. He will need to use his takedowns and get the fight to the mat and force his weight to tire Isreal and land a submission win once he tires Isreal. Vettori is a massive favorite on the mat for sure. That being said this fight as all fights start on the feet and if Vettori can’t get this one to the mat he will need to land a big heavy hand which he has the power to do and hope that Isreal doesn’t have a granite chin. Now his opponent is making his 2nd appearance in the UFC and is considered to be the UFC’s most exciting prospect. Isreal Adesanya has a gaping weakness on the mat but I believe greatly that he is improving his ground skills and will become a complete mixed martial artist. He is a creative fighter and throws shots from unpredictable angles. His Muay-Thai skills are incredible and his ability to finish a fight with those skills in obvious as he has stopped all 12 of his fights by KO/TKO. If this fight stays standing he will have a 6-inch reach advantage and a superior skill set. If it goes to the ground, we will see Vettori use his weight to smother and exhaust Adesanya and pick up a submission win. This fight is as simple as where does this fight go. I think we will see the reach advantage be the X-factor and keep Vettori from being able to close the distance and land the needed takedowns. I believe Israel Adesanya will win by way of 1st round KO.
#13 (12) Carlos Condit (30-11) vs. Alex Oliveira (17-4-1, 2NC): The Co-main event of the evening will take place in the welterweight division. Well this fight would steal the show from most cards but with the main event that is on this card it will be nearly impossible, but it is possible with this one. This fight will be a complete and utter war. This fight was originally Condit vs Matt Brown, but Brown tore his ACL and we got blessed and Oliveira stepped in and gave the fight fans a truly incredible fight. Condit is always ready to put on a war and willing to get bloodied, and never stop fighting regardless of the amount of damage he received. Oliveira has been in some pretty incredible brawls himself and will always be able to put on a display against his opponents as well. This fight will be a lot of back and fourth fun. I think both fighters will leave the night bloody and battered. I know he is the underdog, but I feel he is always underestimated and Oliveira will pick up the win in the 3rd round by way of submission once he knocks down Condit.
#3 (5) Dustin Poirier (22-5, 1NC) vs. #6 (6) Justin Gaethje (18-1): The main event of the night will take place in the lightweight division! I believe this is honestly the front runner for fight of the year before it even happens. These are two incredible fighters with no quit in them. Dustin is a powerful yet clinical and nearly flawless striker. Gaethje is a psycho and his striking is much more wild, and will eat 3 or 4 shots to land one and keep smiling. Neither fighter ever really seems to tire in their fights and both always march forward and land. If this fight goes to the ground at all it will be only due to a knock down which I believe we could see multiple knockdowns in this fight and see blood fly during it. If you want to know what to really expect in this one Israel Adesanya said it best, “light a match and step back”. This will be an incredible fight and I think clinical beats sloppy and a granite chin. Poirier wins this one in the 3rd round after a back and forth bloody brawl and a fight of the year candidate.
UFC 223: Khabib vs. Iaquinta: All right well I had my predictions done for the original card before Conor McGregor went crazy and acted like a thug or a child with a temper I am not sure which one is more accurate. All I can say is he is a disgrace and a pathetic excuse for a man. So I will keep my predictions on the website under this one but here are my updated projections for UFC 223’s new card. First off here are the fighters who are no longer on this card. Ray Borg due to glass in his eye from Conor, Michael Chiesa from lacerations due to glass thanks to Conor, Artem Lobov for being involved in the childish acts with Conor, those are the three fighters removed from being directly involved somehow by either being innocent bystander or in Artem’s case a moronic participant. The other fighters off the card are Alex Cacares who was supposed to fight Lobov and win, Brandon Moreno who was supposed to fight Borg in what would have been a great fight, and Anthony Pettis who was supposed to fight Michael Chiesa. Paul Felder is now off the card as well because Iaquinta moved up to the main event when Holloway was declared unfit to fight by NYSAC when they didn’t have a doctor make that decision which raises a lot of questions. Pettis was originally offered the title fight with Khabib to keep Felder and Iaquinta on the card but he was low balled by the UFC money wise for trying to save the main event. Felder then offered to take the fight but NYSAC is so dumb and said he can’t because he isn’t ranked on UFC.com’s rankings but is elsewhere including our personal rankings. Iaquinta according to NYSAC will not be fighting for a title shot only Khabib will be but that is because he weighed in at 155.2 lbs instead of 155 exactly with his underwear or shorts on. He didn’t need to use the towel because he wasn’t fighting for a title when he originally weighed in. Then went back to start hydrating and over an hour later found out he could fight for the title. If you ask anyone with common sense the underwear/shorts he was wearing would have been the .2 LBS and would have hit title weight without them. MMA fighters around the world were tweeting that but NYSAC has no brain cells and declared otherwise thankfully Dana White has a brain and said Iaquinta will be fighting for the belt regardless of NYSAC recognition as champion. So my predictions will be just who I see winning as my analysis for the fights are still up on the website.
FS1 Prelims (8 PM/ET):
Devin Clark (8-2) vs. Mike Rodriguez (9-2): Mike Rodriguez wins this LHW fight in the 3rd round by KO/TKO.
#15 (14) Evan Dunham (18-6-1) vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier (11-2): Olivier Aubin-Mercier wins this lightweight showdown by unanimous decision.
Bec Rawlings (7-7) vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith (5-3): This flyweight women’s battle I have going to Ashlee Evans-Smith picking up the win by way of unanimous decision.
#3 (4) Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2) vs. #6 (8) Felice Herrig (14-6): This women’s strawweight battle I have Felice Herrig winning as the underdog AGAIN via a 3rd round submission.
UFC 223 Main Card (10 PM/ET):
Joe Lauzon (27-15) vs. Chris Gruetzemacher (13-3): I have Joe Lauzon winning in round 1 by submission in this lightweight battle.
Zabit Magomedsharipov (14-1) vs. Kyle Bochniak (8-2): Zabit Magomedsharipov wins this one in round 2 by way of submission in this featherweight battle.
#12 (11) Renato Moicano (11-1-1) vs. #14 (13) Calvin Kattar (18-2): Calvin Kattar wins this featherweight fight in round 2 by KO.
Champ Rose Namajunas (8-3) vs. #1 (1) Joanna Jedrezejczyk (14-1): Rose Namajunas retains her strawweight belt in the 4th round with a submission win.
#2 (2) Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0) vs. #11 (11) Al Iaquinta (15-3): I think it is crazy to call Al a huge underdog as Khabib hasn’t faced anyone as aggressive, powerful, and skillful as a wrestler as Al is. I do love what Al brings to this fight but I still think Khabib has the slight edge and will win the lightweight title by way of 2nd round TKO.
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