FS1 Prelims (8 PM/ET):
#8 (9) Felice Herrig (13-6) vs. #12 (11) Courtney Casey (7-4): The first televised fight of the night should be fun between two scrappy women. The winner of this fight should see themselves move up in this division and become a real contender. I think we will see this fight go to the ground as both women prefer the mat and are incredibly talented on the ground. This will be an even fight as far as talent goes and should be a great way to start the show. I got Herrig winning by way of unanimous decision.
David Teymur (6-1) vs. Drakkar Klose (8-0-1): This fight is going to take place in the lightweight division between two up and coming beasts. Klose is from South Haven Michigan, so this is a home fight for him. They will both look to stand and brawl as they both tend to end fights with KO/TKO’s and they will put on a absolute show for the fans. I personally think this should be the main event of the prelims. I expect to see some fireworks in this one and someone to wind up knocked out in the end. Both fighters are undefeated since entering the UFC and I will be taking Klose in this one via 2nd round TKO.
#14 (15) Alex Oliveira (17-3-1, 2NC) vs. Yancy Medeiros (14-4, 1NC): This fight is the lone fight in the welterweight division of the night. Yancy is 2-0 since coming up to the welterweight division including a win over Erik Silva, oddly enough during Aldo vs. Holloway at 212. Alex is a great finisher of fights and will most likely put on a show no matter what happens as he seems to always do. This fight could see a really fast stoppage as both fighters can end a fight quick with their hands. I can almost guarantee this one will not be headed to the judge’s scorecard. I have Oliveira winning this one by KO in the first round.
Charles Oliveira (22-7, 1NC) vs. Paul Felder (14-3): This fight in the lightweight division is the main
event of the prelims. Oliveira is a submission specialist and if this fight goes to the ground every single part of his opponent is in danger because he can submit you from any position to any part of the body. Now his opponent is a very smart fighter with a lot of cage smarts and awareness. Felder has heavy hands and could stop a fight with just one good clean shot. This will be a battle of opposites and I expect it to be a little slow to start as the fighters feel each other out. The first fighter to get comfortable with his opponent will win this one as they should push the pace and get the fight where they want it. I believe we will see Felder win this fight via 3rd round KO.
Main Card 10 PM/ET:
#5 (5) Tecia Torres (9-1) vs. #6 (6) Michelle Waterson (14-5): We kick off the main card with a barn burner as this battle in the women’s strawweight division might just very well see the winner go on to fight Rose for the belt. When we watch Waterson fight we see one of the rare women who finish more than 75% of her fights as she can dominate on her feet using her skills as a black belt karate fighter but her impressive ability to submit her opponents always seems to be overlooked due to her flashy abilities on her feet. Tecia is on a 2 fight win streak including her first ever stoppage win in her last bout over Juliana Lima. Tecia is the fastest woman on the planet when it comes to striking and her ground game is actually pretty impressive. I think if Tecia wants to win this one she will have to use her incredible hand speed and push so Waterson can’t get comfortable. I believe both of these women are incredible fighters but in the end, I have a feeling we will see Waterson get a submission late in round 3 to pick up an impressive win.
#6(4) Eddie Alvarez (28-5, 1NC) vs. #5 (5) Justin Gaethje (18-0): So this lightweight fight is going to get the fans standing and screaming the whole fight for however long it lasts. The only issue is the winner will just get logjammed as we continue to wait for Dana to gain some common sense and strip Conor of his belt as this division sits in a jam waiting for title shots. Now Eddie shouldn’t be in this fight since he should be fighting Poirier for using an illegal knee that was ruled a no contest in a fight he was losing, but here we are anyway. So with Gaethje we are going to see exactly what we expect to see a fighter who can get knocked around, bloody, and stunned multiple times all while still coming at his opponent with a flurry of shots being thrown. This guy defines excitement as fans should forget about Conor because Gaethje is one of the lightweights that actually put on a better show than Conor does and there are a few in this division you can say that about. Now Eddie Alvarez regardless of how he got here is one of the best lightweights we have seen over the past 5 years and he definitely has what it takes to hand Gaethje his first career loss. Eddie is good on his feet but if he wants to beat a savage attacker like Gaethje he will need to look for a chance to shoot and submit him though I hope that doesn’t happen because I would love to see these two both stand and exchange. Eddie just like his opponent is known for the ability to stand and absorb shots and could really make this a complete bloody brawl for fight of the year. I have to believe though that the human highlight reel will win this one in fashion as Gaethje will land a late 3rd round KO to throw himself into the top 3 title conversation.
#2 (2) Henry Cejuda (11-2) vs. #4 (4) Sergio Pettis (16-2): This fight in the flyweight division is for the next person to face the GOAT, Demetrious Johnson. A lot of fans think Dillashaw is next for Demetrious Johnson but DJ said he wants the winner of this fight to be his next opponent. Cejudo is a Olympic wrestler and loves to use his physicality of his wrestling to get close and punch his opponents as well as take them down and use his impressive ground and pound. He surprisingly regardless of his extremely impressive resume as a world class wrestler has no submission wins though in his career but a large part of that is due to how powerful of a striker he is ending fights that way comes easier in this division for him. Now his opponent the younger brother of Anthony Pettis is a future star of this division as he is climbing the ranks quickly and doing so in impressive style. Sergio is a very balanced fighter and trains in a gym that I believe is the most under appreciated gym in the world at Rufus, meaning he trains with the 2nd best P4P fighter in the world that the UFC is being dumb and not pursuing in Ben Askren as well as his brother and Tyron Woodley. Sergio is riding a 4 fight win streak including an impressive win over Brandon Moreno in his last fight. This fight will be a truly awesome display of both of these fighters skills as both are very young and will be seeing a lot of each other in their career. This one is hard to call as I believe Pettis does have a great 5 inch reach advantage on his opponent but I am not sure he is quite at the top 2 level yet. I think we will see Cejudo grab a 2nd round TKO victory and line-up a rematch with DJ for the belt.
#1 (1) Alistair Overeem (43-15, 1NC) vs. #2 (4) Francis Ngannou (10-1): I strongly believe this is the fight in the heavyweight division to not only see who fights Miocic next for the belt but to see who is that hardest hitting dude in the world. These two are two giant men packed with muscle coming in for a stand-up showdown like no other. Ngannou to me is the future of this division and the future movement might have started already because this guy doesn’t look like he has plans of losing anytime soon but if anyone can stop Ngannou from being the push forward and brawl fighter it would be the stopping power in Overeem. I am really hoping these two avoid the mat even though they could both finish a fight there because I would love to see who wins this thing in a stand-up brawl it is like a dream come true. I am and have been for over a year on the Ngannou train and I am going to stay on board here as I believe he will make Overeem uncomfortable with the 3-inch reach advantage and his aggressive pace and push the pace and stop Overeem at the end of the 1st round.
Champion Max Holloway (18-3) vs. #4 (1) Jose Aldo (26-3): Well here is the main event of the evening for the featherweight championship. This fight was supposed to be Frankie vs Max but sadly Frankie suffered an injury during camp and for some reason the UFC thought Aldo deserved a rematch after getting smoked last time so here we are again. I watched the official weigh-ins as I do about 85% of the time and Aldo looked absolutely exhausted from his weight cut. We have seen Aldo for a decade dominate in this division, but the tides have changed, and this is definitely Holloway’s division now. If Aldo wants to win this fight though because he has the skill set to do so he is going to have to be the aggressor he can’t use his sit back and land and score strategy. He isn’t Floyd Mayweather and Max Holloway isn’t someone to let you sit back and pick at him. For Max to retain his belt all he has to do is just fight his fight push and land like he loves to do and he will be the champ and could be for a long time. I think we will see the Champ retain as Aldo being so tired at weigh-in’s yesterday means we won’t see a fully energized Aldo and Holloway will pick up a KO finish in round 2.
- Matt Koontz