UFC 190 is here and we have a crazy amount of action on this card. We see the grappling great Demian Maia fighting in the prelims against Neil Magny. We see Jessica Aguilar make her debut in the UFC and is already going against the #1 ranked fighter in the division. We will get to watch The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Finale and see the winner of the bantamweight and lightweight brackets. We get to watch the return of Minotauro Nogueira and later in the card watch his brother fight the dangerous Shogun Rua. Then we get to see Rousey and Correia finally butt heads after almost months of trash talk. If you weren't excited for this card, you should be. So buckle up because they will show you tonight why they call this the most exciting sport in the world.
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
Hugo Viana vs. Guido Cannetti: This is the first fight of the whole night and it kicks off in the bantamweight division. First up is Hugo Viana who has a record of 8-3. Viana is a heavy striker with a below average strike completion at 39%. Viana also has not attempted one takedown in his five UFC fights. Viana has one win by knockout and the rest of his wins were by decision. His opponent is the 6-3 Guido Cannetti. Cannetti has finished all of his wins, all of them were in the first round and they were split evenly with three by knockout and three by submission. Cannetti lands five significant strikes per minute as opposed to Viana only landing three and a half per minute. I think Cannetti will come out the overall better fighter and be able to stop Viana in the first round with a TKO.
Vitor Miranda vs. Clint Hester: The next fight will take place in the middleweight division. Both fighters have a professional record of 11-4. Miranda used to fight at heavyweight and is currently 1-0 at middleweight. Miranda has eight wins by knockout and two by submission and has won six of his last seven fights. Miranda has a black belt in Muay Thai, a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a silver glove award in savate. Despite his extensive grappling experience he has not attempted one takedown in the UFC and only has a defense rate of 22%. He has proven to be an amazing striker with his eight knockouts and his pro kickboxing record of 23-8-1 with 18 of those wins by knockout. His opponent, Clint Hester, is looking to come back from his loss in his last fight, breaking his four fight win streak in the UFC. Hester has won seven of his last eight fights, with eight wins by knockout and three of them in the first round. Hester has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and was a professional boxer before MMA. So both fighters will be ready to go to war on their feet and can adapt to any situation that takes them to the ground. I think this fight will mostly be a striking fight and will go into the second round. Once in the second round I think Hester will be able catch Miranda with a knockout and get back to work on his path into the rankings.
Fox Sports 1 prelims
(#13)Iuri Alcantara vs. Leandro Issa: Now we are in to the televised portion of the event and we kick the night off with another bantamweight fight. I will start off with the newer fighter in Leandro Issa. Issa has a professional record of 13-4 and has won 10 of his last 12 fights. Issa has won eight fights by submission and two fights by knockouts with six first round finishes. Issa has a second degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so I predict many more submission finishes in his career. His opponent, the #13 ranked Alcantara, has a professional record of 31-6. Alcantara has 25 wins by stoppage and they are almost equal with 13 wins by knockout and 12 wins by submission. Alcantara also has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so I predict this is going to be a very technical grappling matchup. I think the first two rounds are going to be very technical with the rounds going to either man. Then going into the third Alcantara and his coaches will decide for him to work the standing game and seek for the knockout. I then predict that Alcantara will walk out of the cage with a TKO victory in the third round.
Warlley Alves vs. Nordine Taleb: The next fight on the card will be a welterweight matchup. Warlley Alves is coming into this fight at 9-0. Alves is a kickboxer and an excellent wrestler. He has defended 100% of his opponent’s takedowns. Alves has three first round finishes out of five finishes total. Four of those finishes were submissions while the fifth was a knockout. I really enjoy seeing wrestlers who can pull off submissions because, in case you didn’t know, wrestling is one of the few grappling styles that do not teach submissions so it shows that they have a diverse understanding of grappling techniques. His opponent is Nordine Taleb who has a record of 10-2. Taleb leans more toward his striking skills while fighting with all five of his finishes by knockout and two of them were in the first round. Regardless of this he still works on his grappling by mixing wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and it shows in his fights with 12 successful takedowns out of 14 attempted. Taleb has won eight of his last nine with no losses since his transition in the UFC. I believe this will be a close matchup with both fighters looking to take this to the mat and work to wear each other down with strikes. Since Alves is Brazilian, I believe the crowd will give him the surge to overpower Taleb and pull out a third round submission.
(#10)Rafael Cavalcante vs. (#14)Patrick Cummins: The third fight of the prelims will take place in the Light Heavyweight division between two fighters toward the bottom of the rankings. I will start with the lower ranked Patrick Cummins who has a professional record of 7-2. Cummins is an amazing wrestler. He wrestled for Penn State in college, was the runner-up in the NCCA National Championship, two-time All-American and a two-time US National Team Member. Unfortunately Cummins is having a hard time offensively with a takedown success rate of only 50%, but his success rate of takedowns defended is at 75%. Cummins has three finishes by knockout and two by submission. His opponent is the 12-5 Rafael Cavalcante. Cavalcante has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but prefers to spend his time in the cage battering his opponents. All 12 of his wins are by knockout and seven of them were in the first round. I think Cavalcante is going to be well aware of his opponent’s readiness to grapple and go in with his heavy hands and do what he does best. I predict that Cavalcante will pick up his thirteenth knockout in the last seconds of the first round.
(#6)Demian Maia vs. (#13)Neil Magny: Now we move into the main event of the prelims and with that we see a ranked matchup in the welterweight division. The #13 ranked Neil Magny is coming into this fight at 15-4. Magny is on a seven fight win streak and is tied for the record of most wins in a calendar year. He also has 10 wins by stoppage, seven by knockout and three by submission. His opponent is the veteran, Demian Maia. Maia has a record of 20-6 and is possibly the best grappler in the UFC. He has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and nine wins are by submission. This is the classic striker versus grappler matchup. If Magny can keep this fight standing he has a chance, but if the fight goes to the ground its over for him. I think that Magny will try to keep this fight standing, but Maia will get him on the ground and work his Jiu-Jitsu. Once on the ground Maia likes to work quickly so I predict that he will gain the submission victory towards the end of the first round.
(#1)Claudia Gadelha vs. (#15)Jessica Aguilar: The time has come for the main card and the first fight is in the strawweight division between two amazing fighters. I am going to start, as usual, with the lower ranked Jessica Aguilar. If you are curious why the 15 ranked is fighting the number 1 ranked is purely because Aguilar has yet to fight in the UFC. Aguilar is 19-4, on a 10 fight win streak and has not lost since 2010. Aguilar has seven wins by knockout, three by submission and has six first round finishes. If these quick finishes doubt her ability to last into later rounds she has gone the distance and won a total of nine times. Two of those fights were five rounds while defending her title with her previous organization. Her opponent is the #1 ranked Claudia Gadelha. Gadelha has a professional record of 12-1. She has six wins by submission and two by knockout with seven first round finishes. Both fighters will be fired up going into this fight because they both feel they deserve a shot at the title with a win here tonight. It is hard for me to call this fight so I will predict the winner based on who I would like to see fight the champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Jedrzejczyk has a very aggressive and brutal fighting style and I think Aguilar will be a better matchup for that style. Aguilar is also a striker so she will be able to defend and fire back better than someone who would want to grapple and most likely end up getting swarmed and put against the cage. Therefore I am going to predict that Aguilar will win this even matchup for hope of a more interesting title fight for everyone else.
(#12)Antonio Silva vs. Soa Palelei: The Next fight on the card will be a fight in the heavyweight division. Soa Palelei is coming into this fight at 22-4 and is unranked. Palelei is a striking powerhouse with 19 wins by knockout and three more by submission. 16 of his wins were first round finishes and seven of them in less than a minute. All of his wins were wins by stoppage. His opponent is the 18-7 Antonio Silva. Antonio Silva has been going through a rough patch only winning five of his last 11 fights. On the other hand he also has 14 wins by knockout and two wins by submission. Silva also has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so he can go to the ground if he needs to. This fight could go one of two ways depending on the type of Antonio Silva we see tonight. If he comes out like he has been then it will be an easy win for Palelei and if it’s the other Silva then we will have a slugfest on our hands folks. I hope for everybody that “Bigfoot” has gotten out of his funk and we see these two brawl. Unfortunately I believe that regardless Palelei will be able to out strike his opponent and gain a third round TKO.
(#15)Stefan Struve vs. Minotauro Nogueira: The next fight is another heavyweight matchup between two amazing heavyweights. The first fighter is one of the Nogueira twins and the first to fight tonight. Minotauro has a record of 34-9-1. He is only 5-5 in the UFC, but he is regarded as one of the best heavyweights ever. Minotauro has 21 wins by submission and three wins by knockout. He has a black belt in both Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has an iron chin that makes him almost unfinishable by way knockout. His opponent is “The Skyscraper” Stefan Struve. Struve towers over almost all of his opponents at seven feet tall. He has a professional record of 29-7. Struve has won four of his last six, but those two wins were both of his last two fights. Struve has finished 23 of his fights with 16 wins by submission and seven by knockout. I predict this fight will take a long time for either fighter to finish their opponent. I think this fight will go into the third round and both fighters will attempt wins by any means through various aspects of the game. I actually think this will go the distance and Stefan Struve will win by decision.
Reginaldo Vieira vs. Dileno Lopes: The next fight on this card is a bantamweight fight. Both fighters will be debuting in the UFC tonight. Reginaldo Vieira has a professional record of 13-3. All ten of his victories by stoppage are by submission and eight of them were in the first round. He is also on a three fight win streak. His opponent is Dileno Lopes who has a professional record of 19-1. Lopes has 12 wins by submission and four by knockout with 12 first round finishes. He is currently on a six fight win streak. These fighters both fought on season four of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil and are fighting to determine the victor of the bantamweight bracket. I think that this fight will be very technical and both fighters will be looking to end it with a submission. This could actually be a generally exciting match just watching both fighters hunt for another first round submission to add to their extensive lists. I think that Dileno Lopes will get the victory by second round submission and think both of these fighters will be put on the watch list for bantamweight grapplers.
Glaico Franca vs. Fernando Bruno: This next fight is to determine the winner of the Lightweight bracket on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil season 4. Glaico Franca has a professional record of 13-3. Franca is on a three fight win streak, has six wins by knockout, six wins by submission and nine first round finishes. Franca is what some people call a “neck hunter” because all of his wins by submission are via chokes as opposed to joint locks. His opponent is Fernando Bruno. Fernando Bruno has a professional record of 16-2 and is on a five fight winning streak. Bruno has nine different wins by submission and five of them were in the first round. This will be another very technical fight and I believe these two will also be interested in getting a quick submission victory. I predict that Fernando Bruno will be the winner of this match by way of submission in the second round.
(#8)Mauricio Rua vs. (#11)Antonio Nogueira: The co-main event for the night is between two Light Heavyweight legends. Antonio Nogueira has a professional record of 21-6 and is the other Nogueira twin fighting tonight. Like his brother, he has a third degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Nogueira has won nine of his last 12 fights and has an even six wins by knockout and six wins by submission. This is the second time he will fight Shogun Rua. The first time he lost in what is considered one of the greatest fights of PRIDE history. His opponent, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is 22-10. Shogun has won 10 of his last 18 fights with a total of 19 wins by knockout or TKO. Shogun is the only fighter ever to score back to back knockout victories over UFC Hall of Famers. Shogun has excellent punches and is lethal with kicks and knees. Antonio Nogueira has an iron chin just like his brother so Shogun will need to come out guns blazing if he thinks he is going to get a victory by stoppage. Not saying it’s impossible, especially when talking about someone like Shogun, but he will need to bring his “A” game if he wants to avoid it going the distance. Personally I think the longer this fight goes the greater the chance of Nogueira getting the victory. I probably speak for both Matt and myself when I say I almost want to see Nogueira win for the fact that it would create Rua vs Nogueira 3 in the future. The problem with that plan is Nogueira would be in his forties by the time that fight came around, and that’s if he was still fighting. By that time I doubt we would see the same Nogueira and may make that third match something to regret wanting. With that in mind I still hope this is every bit the war it was the first time and I’m predicting that Shogun will pick up a last minute victory by TKO.
(C)Ronda Rousey vs. (#5)Bethe Correia: Now we are finally at the main event for the evening and possibly the most interesting fight of Ronda Rousey’s career. I could go on all day about everything that has happened between these two so I will try not to ramble. First off, both of these fighters are bantamweights and this is a title match. Next, both fighters are undefeated. The contender Bethe Correia has a record of 9-0 and the Champion, Ronda Rousey, has a record of 11-0. Ronda trains with a group of friends that call themselves the “Four Horsewomen.” Two of Bethe Correia’s wins are from two other members of that group, so Ronda will be looking for vengeance. On top of that, Correia has been on many interviews making this as personal as possible trying to get into Ronda’s head. Unfortunately for her I am going to paraphrase the movie Pearl Harbor because I think all that did was, “awaken a sleeping giant.” I am going to dig a little into stats for people that would like to know. Correia has two wins by knockout and the rest of her wins are by decision. She also has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a purple belt in Kung Fu. Rousey has nine wins by submission, all of them by armbar and eight of them in the first round. She has two knockout wins on top of that and her last three fights lasted a total of 96 seconds. Rousey says she finishes people quick because it is her way of showing mercy. Everybody who has been following all the hype knows not an ounce of mercy will be shown to Correia tonight and with that I think it’s certain we see a second round and possibly a third. I still think no matter how long this fight goes that Ronda is still going to keep her belt with another beautiful armbar.
UFC 190: Rousey vs. Correia
Pre-lims on Fox Sports 1 (8PM ET)
#13 Iuri Alcantara (31-6) vs. Leandro Issa (13-4): This opener to the fights on TV are in the bantamweight division. This fight has the very experienced Iuri Alcantara who has won 25 fights by stoppages of his 31 wins. Those stoppages display his very well-rounded game by having 13 KO victories and 12 by submission. He has won 3 of his last 4 fights, his last fight was the lone loss in those 4 coming by way of a unanimous decision. Iuri is a BJJ black belt and is a monster to fight and have to deal with on the mat. Iuri is a great fighter standing as well with great striking skills and the ability to end fights with good combinations. Now standing opposite of him is Leandro Issa. He is a great fast paced fighter with the ability to end fights quick and early stopping 6 of his 13 wins in the very first round. He is a stoppage machine finishing 10 of his 13, 8 by submission and 2 by way of KO making this a fight that could end quickly and could be fun for all the fans in attendance. He is a second degree black belt in BJJ which means his ground game is absolutely incredible and this will become an interesting fight if it goes to ground. I think if this fight goes to the mat it will become a technical chess match and could go all three rounds if so. I don’t believe either fighter will use their standup game too long but I think if anyone will Iuri would be happiest to stay standing of the two but I am not convinced he will want to stay there. I am taking this fight to go three rounds and go to a split decision for Iuri Alcantara.
Warlley Alves (9-0) vs. Nordine Taleb (10-2): This fight should be a really exciting clash in the middleweight division between two great fighters with less than 4 fights in the UFC, one being a young up and coming fighter. Warlley is a good coming to age 24 year old undefeated fighter with a ton of skill and a lot of things to be excited about. Warlley is entering his third fight in the UFC going 2-0 in his first two winning those by way of a submission and a unanimous decision. Warlley has finished 5 of his 9 wins 4 by way of submission and the other by KO. He has stopped 3 of his wins in the very first round all in under 1:58 in those first rounds showing how quick this kid can get on top of his opponent ending the fights. Now Alves does have a good showing of submissions in his MMA career but he has incredible striking skills with amazing footwork and extremely underrated power in his hands. Now the great thing about his striking is that he can keep it on his feet if he wants because he has yet in his 2 fights been taken down in the UFC. This kid is someone we should all be excited to watch grow in the UFC. Now standing opposite of Alves is the older fighter with very few miles on his MMA career Nordine Taleb. Nordine is entering his 4th fight in the UFC which he is 3-0 so far in the UFC and entering the biggest test of his career. He has won 8 of his last 9 professional fights and just on fire with his wins as of late. Now he has finished 5 of his 10 wins all of them by KO. He has not finished a fight though in the UFC all three of his wins have been by decision, 2 unanimous and the other being a split decision. Nordine isn’t the best fighter on the mat and I believe it would be in his best interest to keep this fight standing up if he wants to have a chance of winning here. I think this fight will be either a grind out fight and go all three rounds or be a quick ending but either way I see the same ending. I think the beast Alves is going to be just too much for Taleb and end in the first round by way of a KO/TKO improving to 10-0 and probably getting himself ranked in a stacked division.
#10 Rafael Cavalcante (12-5) vs. #14 Patrick Cummins (7-2): This fight in the light heavyweight division is between two of the older fighters in the division that are both holding on to their rankings. Rafael Cavalcante Rafael is an exciting fighter for the fans as he has won all 12 of his fights by way of a knockout. Now 7 of those 12 wins by KO are all in the very first round which displain the very first round which displays his ability to come out swinging early and often looking to finish fights quickly. Now regardless of his standing abilities being proven by way of his KO numbers but he said he is very confident in his ground game. I think Rafael’s strategy for this one will be to come out quick and look to end the fight standing with his strong and quick hands. Now standing opposite of him looking to avoid getting hit by the strong hands is Patrick Cummins. Patrick is a strong fighter with great striking and the ability to finish on the mat as well. He has finished 5 of his 7 wins 3 by KO and the other 2 by submission showing that he has the ability to finish the fight on the mat which seems to be the one unseen in his opponent. Patrick has great cardio and if it makes it out of the first round I think he is in the advantage because his opponent doesn’t seem to be in as good of shape as he is. I think this fight will be extremely entertaining if it goes to the mat it favors Cummins and if it stays standing it has a slight edge to Rafael. I am going to pick Patrick here with this fight by way of a third round submission after these two trade punches early and then take it to a striking match.
#6 Demian Maia (20-6) vs. #13 Neil Magny (15-4): The main event of the prelims is a welterweight bout between a legendary fighter in Maia and one of the most active fighters in the UFC who is on the rise and I can’t wait to see get a title shot one day. Demian is a legendary submission and grappling artist. They say that he is the best grappler in the UFC today and is seriously someone to be scared of regardless of being 37 years of age. He is 5-2 in the welterweight division. Demian is a black belt in BJJ and a three time World Cup champion in BJJ competitions and a 2 time world champion in BJJ. I know that Demian is a freak on the mat that everyone should be scared to face in the clinch or on the mat because he is just a scary good fighter. Now that being said standing up he is an underrated fighter and shouldn’t be something to overlook because standing he is a good fighter with the ability to end a fight. Now standing opposite of Maia is Neil Magny who is one of the most exciting fighters and in my opinion could become the best in the division soon. Magny is a skilled and extremely coachable fighter with great talent and he seems dedicated to the cause as he has fought 10 times in the 2 years he has been in the UFC and is looking to fight his 11th now. He is fighting his third fight in just 2015 and man this kid has heart and determination and is coming into this fight on a 7 fight win streak, smoking hot. Neil is a great mat fighter, not as good as Maia obviously but he will be a great competitor for him there if it goes there. Now standing Magny is a better fighter because is he a great striking fighter with good range and great speed. He is a national guard SGT. From the state of Illinois which helps keep him in good shape and in great condition, probably able to last all 3 rounds without tiring too much regardless of the grinding style of fight this will probably become. I think this kid is going to be fun to watch especially as he grows more and more in the sport. Now this fight is hard to call because it has come down to legend vs. uprising star which makes this fight have so much importance in this division. I am going to take the young uprising fighter though who might be a bit of an underdog but I think Magny wins this fight in a second round TKO stoppage.
UFC Main Card (10PM/ET):
#1 Claudia Gadelha (12-1) vs. #15 Jessica Aguilar (19-4): The opener to the main card is a battle in the Women’s strawweight division between two women on the opposite sides of the rankings in their respective divisions. Claudia is looking for a title fight with a win here in this one. She is a young fighter with the hopes of becoming champion one day as her last and only loss was her last fight and it was against the now champion who I think is unbeatable at this point, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Claudia has finished 8 of her 12 wins which is impressive in the women’s division because it seems a lot of the fights that don’t include Joanna go to decision. She has finished 6 of those 8 by submission and the other 2 by KO/TKO finishes. The best part is that 7 of those 8 finishes are in the very first round showing how fast she comes out of the gate and how good of a fighter she truly is. She is a great fighter standing but when it goes to the ground I think she is the best fighter on the mat in the women’s division with her BJJ black belt. Claudia should look to dominate this fight no matter where it is she will use her amazing talent and look to hold octagon control standing or on the mat. She is a really strong fighter which means she will look to overpower her opponent as well hopefully for her sake ending this fight quickly. Now standing opposite of her is Jessica Aguilar who is fighting her first fight here in the UFC. She is on a 10 fight winning streak entering this fight professionally outside of the UFC. She has finished 10 of her 19 wins, 7 of which by submission and the other 3 by knockout. She has 6 first round finishes and that means these two will be so exciting to watch early as they come at each other looking to end this fight quickly. Now Jessica has gone 5 rounds twice and has great cardio as well as great skills and could be so exciting to watch if it goes more than 3 rounds because she has the expertise in the championship rounds. Her BJJ is good but not as great as Claudia as she has a brown belt in BJJ but still could be exciting to watch when they take it to the mat. I think Claudia Gadelha will pick up a third round win by submission due to having better skills and being the overall better fighter.
#12 Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (18-7) vs. Soa Palelei (22-4): This battle in the heavyweight division has a legendary Antonio Silva against a good opponent Soa Palelei. Now the legendary Silva is looking like it is the end of his career as he has struggled of late losing his last 2 fights and the fight before that was a reversed decision that he originally won before testing positive for increased amounts of testosterone. Silva has out of this world ability at controlling his fights though and is a god given gift to watch fight due to his incredible skill set. His hands are extremely strong and has the ability to finish with one or two strong hands landing clean which could end any fight including this one out of nowhere. Silva has finished 16 of his 18 wins 14 of them display his extremely powerful hands by being by KO’s and the other 2 by submissions. He has lost 6 of his last 11 fights which is why I worry about coming into this fight and think that if he wins at home here in Brazil he should hang up the gloves and call his MMA career ending on a high note. Now opposite of “Bigfoot” is Soa Palelei another old fighter who is at 38 years of age and should be fighting one of his last fights in his career here. He has finished all 22 of his professional wins 19 of which by KO and the other 3 are by way of submissions. This guy is an extremely strong finisher with 16 wins in the very first round. He has finished 7 fights in under one minute and that alone is something for every single fan to be excited about and should be the most exciting factor of this fight. Soa is a great fighter and I think will be a real challenge between two aging fighters that can both knock out their respective opponents with just one good clean shot. I am going to pick against Silva and take Soa Palelei to win this fight in a second round KO stopping “Bigfoot”.
#15 Stefan Struve (29-7) vs. Minotauro Nogueira (34-9-1): Here is another fight in the heavyweight division in back to back fights which should keep the fans standing and excited. Stefan is a beast and absolutely ridiculously large yet still athletic. He stands at 7 foot tall and has incredible kickboxing skills that match his awesome technique which is great for a 7 foot tall athlete. He has finished 23 of his 29 wins 16 of them are through submission which is incredible for a heavyweight, the other 7 are by way of KO/TKO. I think Struve is incredibly underrated he is a very gifted athlete with great length and could truly be one of the most dangerous fighters in the heavyweight division when he is on his game. Struve could look to take this to the ground but I think he might use his range and keep this standing unless he seems to be getting outmatched standing then you could see him take it to the mat and look for the finish. Now standing opposite of Stefan is Minotauro Nogueira. Now Nogueira is a legend of the heavyweight division. This guy can fight all night long and never get tired. Just to symbolize how strong this guy is he was run over a by a truck at the age of 10 years old and he survived. Now his skills and amazing conditioning are going to have to be at their top level at 39 years of age he is coming in here with a bit of wear and tear. He is the only man in the history of the sport to hold the PRIDE and UFC heavyweight belts. Minotauro is one half of the fighting Nogueira’s in the UFC who I believe are the best fighting brothers in the UFC, yes better than the Diaz brothers. Minotauro has been training in MMA since he was 4 years old starting with Judo then at 14 years of age he started boxing, and finally at 18 he started learning BJJ. He is one of the most experienced fighters there is and his knowledge of the sport is incredible and something that is so enjoyable to watch him display. Now the worries behind Nogueira is that he has lost 5 of his last 11 fights and he is coming off an injury as well. I am convinced though that he is completely healthy and well-conditioned just due to the fact that he said he feels good. Now that being said I am going to pick Struve to pull off the win in a second round submission.
Reginaldo Vieira (13-3) vs. Dileno Lopes (19-1): Following two great fights is a fight a confusing battle in the bantamweight division, I say that because neither of these guys have fought in the UFC yet here they are on the main card over people like Demian Maia and Neil Magny. I know it’s a tough season 4 bout but I just don’t believe it should be in the main card over some of the other fights. Anyway Reginaldo Vieira is a submission artist who has finished 10 of his 13 fights and all 10 are by way of submission. He has finished 8 of those 10 submissions in the very first round which just tells you how fast he can get this fight to the mat and get control and before you know it finish the fight. He enters this fight on a 3 fight win streak professionally and will look to stay hot as he would love to kick off his UFC career with a 1-0 record. Now standing opposite of him is Dileno Lopes representing team Shogun of this season of TUF. Lopes enters his first professional UFC fight on a 6 fight win streak professionally and looks like he is getting hot at the right time. He has finished 16 of his professional wins through 4 KO’s and the other 12 by some pretty impressive submission finishes. He has also been a first round finisher with 12 finishes in the very first round but keep in mind both of these fighters have only fought lower level competition so far. This fight is hard to call for me only because I haven’t watched much of the TUF Brazil this year and what I have been able to catch, I only saw one of these two fight. So based off of the research I have been doing on the two I will make my best educated guess here. I am going to take Dileno Lopes who I know is the underdog, but I will take him in with a third round unanimous decision.
Glaico Franca (13-3) vs. Fernando Bruno (16-2): This fight is a battle in the lightweight division and is the second of the TUF 4 Brazil fights. This battle will as well be a fight then between two UFC first timers who can really bring some excitement. Glacio Franca is a great fighter with 12 finishes of his 13 professional wins. He has split those 12 exactly .500 with 6 wins by KO and the other 6 by way of submission. He comes out of the gate fast looking to finish fights as he has managed to finish 9 of his 12 stoppages in the very first round. Franca will be representing team Shogun and could pick up Shoguns clean sweep if he manages to pull off the win. Franca is a good fighter wherever the fight winds up but should get more recognition for his great striking abilities as I truly believe it’s the best element of his game. I think Franca is the more promising prospect for the UFC because in my eyes he is the more eager fighter and is only 24 years of age. Now standing opposite of him is Fernando Bruno who is 9 years the elder at 33 years of age. Bruno will be representing team Nogueira here and will be the slight underdog coming into this fight. He enters this fight the hotter fighter technically winning 5 in a row and will look to keep the hot streak going entering the UFC for the first time. Bruno has stopped 9 of his 16 wins all 9 stoppages are through submissions and really is the favorite if the fight goes to the mat. He is a great Judo artist who has been practicing Judo since he was 8 years old and will look to use Judo throws to get his opponent to the mat and if it goes there he will be the favorite. But I don’t think Franca will let the fight go to ground and I think Franca will score a first round KO and avoid the UFC first night jitters.
#9 Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (22-10) vs. #11 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (21-6): This is a battle among two legendary light heavyweight opponents that should have everyone excited because I know for sure that we are beyond excited. I truly am going to try and hold in my bias love for Shogun here and call this thing down the middle. The two coaches of TUF 4 Brazil will square off in the co-main event here and get the fans bumping before Ronda comes out in the main event. Shogun is a great fighter with an incredible aggression to his fight style that shows his love to come at his opponent and get the stoppage by wearing down his opponent. Shogun is a beast for his weight class he is one of the most built fighters you could ask for and his strength is shown in his past. Shogun is probably the second best muay Thai artist in the UFC possibly in UFC history behind Anderson Silva. Now there are things to worry about entering this fight for Shogun and to me it’s one huge thing, since his loss to Jon Jones losing his title, he has gone 3-5 in the UFC and has lost 2 in a row entering this fight. Shogun through the years though has been always been a fighter who can stop a fight early stopping 20 of his 22 victories and to me that is the one huge positive entering this fight. He doesn’t need to go full length of the fight if he can get in control because once he takes over he uses his Muay Tai so well that he will most likely get the stoppage he is searching for. Now if this fight goes to ground I know Shogun has only one submission victory in his professional career but he is a BJJ expert and should be a big threat to take to the mat. Now standing opposite of the former champion and legend Shogun is another legend of the sport in Antonio Nogueira. Antonio is like Shogun a BJJ expert, he holds a BJJ black belt. Now Antonio isn’t as much of a finisher as Shogun as he has finished only 12 of his 21 victories. Those 12 are split evenly being 6 KO finishes and 6 submission finishes in his professional career. Rogerio is a great boxer which makes him lethal having great BJJ skills and great boxing skills is what we call a double headed monster. Antonio is coming into this fight the older fighter by 6 years but he has been in a better winning shape lately winning 2 of his last 3 but that stat alone should be skipped over when making a pick because he has only fought 2 times since 2011. The two after 2011 have been split 1-1 with his last fight being a loss to Anthony Johnson in a first round KO early in the first round as well. Now this fight between two legends is going to be so much fun because it could be the last or one of the last times seeing at least Nogueira if not both fighters, though Shogun is only 33 years of age. I am not sure which one of these two will win honestly it comes down to just who is entering this fight in better shape and controls their element of the game. To help me make this pick was the small fact that Shogun has beat Antonio before and I think he will have the slight edge physically and mentally so I will pick Shogun to win by KO in the second round.
(C) “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (11-0) vs. #5 Bethe Correia (9-0): The main event we have all been waiting for and it shouldn’t disappoint unless you’re rooting for Bethe. I am going to start with the challenger here. Bethe has gone to decision 7 times and the other 2 are KO stoppages where she displayed her great ground and pound. Bethe is a purple belt in Kung Fu and a Blue belt in BJJ. Bethe has beat up Rousey’s teammates and is now targeting the final of the three horseman as they say. Her skills are pretty impressive and I believe that’s why she leapfrogged the other women in the Bantamweight division for this title shot, that and being undefeated probably was a good reason for Dana. The issue Bethe has to worry about is that I don’t think she has the skill set to match Ronda I truly believe only Meisha Tate can stand toe to toe with Ronda in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Standing opposite of Correia is Ronda Rousey. I could go on for days and days talking about Ronda and her skill set which somehow continues to get better. She is a Judo Olympian who will use her beyond incredible Judo skills to throw Bethe around like a rag doll. Ronda’s 11 professional wins have all been stoppages 9 of which are by arm bar submissions and the final 2 are by KO. She has finished eight of her 9 armbar submissions in the first round. Ronda is on a streak that is beyond hot as of late her last three wins have only taken 96 seconds to earn. I truly don’t believe Ronda is just the best female fighter in the UFC I think she is one of the top two fighters in the UFC in general along with Demetrious Johnson. Now the one thing they should teach you to never do is piss off Ronda Rousey because it will be the biggest mistake of your MMA career. Well Bethe is a little brain dead I guess because she said that she hopes Ronda doesn’t kill herself after her loss. Well suicide is never something to joke about but making that comment about Ronda to Ronda whose father killed himself was literally career suicide which is ironic. Ronda is going to fight this fight with her father in mind and make him proud and win this thing for her dad as well as the late great Roddy Piper. Ronda should be keeping her dad at heart because that comment Bethe made was really low and she can claim it was “ignorant” but I agree with Dana that it wasn’t something she was unaware of, she probably had full knowledge of what happened to Ronda’s father. Now I think Ronda is telling the truth when she said she would prolong this fight to punish Bethe but I think she still manages to end this thing in the first round by way of an arm bar.
- Matt Koontz.
UFC Fight Night on FOX: Dillashaw vs Barao 2
A free title fight gifted to us fans from Dana White should make up for the recent firing of Stitch and the lack of stripping Jose Aldo of the title. Not only a free title fight but what should be a number one title contender fight for the Womens Bantamweight title against Rousey in Tate vs Eye. The main event though between Dillashaw and Barao should be incredible. We have all been waiting for the rematch because Barao did not look like the beast we know he is when he fought TJ last time so this should hopefully be the fight the last one should have been. Now Barao has been waiting after being injured and then Dillashaw injured twice this is finally going to happen and the anticipation has Barao very excited.
Fox Prelims (6PM/ET)
#6 Eddie Wineland (21-10-1) vs #13 Bryan Caraway (19-8): The kick off to the prelims is a fight in the bantamweight division between two ranked fighters. Both fighters could be a title contender if they can put a strong performance together and an impressive win. Eddie Wineland is 31 years of age with 32 professional fights and his veteran knowledge of MMA is displayed very well in his well-rounded game. Wineland has finished 16 of his 21 wins 12 by way of KO and the other 4 by some pretty impressive submissions. Wineland has won 3 of his last 5 one of those loses being to Barao for the title. Wineland standing up has KO power in each hand with every blow he lands and has the ability to stop Caraway instantly. He can display his great striking abilities, his good footwork, and intelligence on when to throw and his combinations are incredible making him very dangerous. Wineland on the mat is a very good wrestler and has great ground and pound to match it and could make him very dangerous to take to the mat. Now standing opposite of Wineland is Caraway who is also a veteran with incredible skills. He has incredible abilities to fight on the mat and should be where he tries to take the fight because I honestly believe he is a bit better than Wineland on the mat. Caraway is one of the best at getting transitions on the mat and moving from position to position, he can also get himself into controlling positions. The excitement factor of Caraway is without a doubt there as he has finished 18 of his 19 wins, 16 of them by submission and the other 2 are by KO. Those numbers show how absolutely dominating he has been when on the mat in his MMA career it also brings up the worries of what happens if this fight stays standing though. This fight should be exciting and go one way or the other if it stays standing the edge is Wineland’s and could end quickly if this fight goes to the mat though Caraway should have the edge and pick up a submission win. Now I have to call this fight and I am having a really hard time with it but I will go with the wrestler and the striker by taking Wineland through a first round TKO.
Kenny Robertson (15-3) vs. Ben Saunders (18-6-2): This is a pretty decent fight in the welterweight division that could keep the fans excited from the opener. Kenny Robertson is a fun fighter to watch more of late. He has finished 7 of his last 8 wins, and 13 of his 15 wins overall. Kenny is a very well-rounded fighter finishing those 13 by way of 6 submissions and 7 KO’s showing that he is dangerous anywhere. He has won 4 of his last 5 and I don’t know if I am the only person that disagrees with his last loss which was a decision I truly believe he should have won that fight too. Anyway Robertson will look to grind a win out and wear out Saunders with his good wrestling skills. Robertson is a great striking fighter but once he gets to the mat his skills at passing position and getting his submissions set up are undeniable. Though once on the mat he can use his ground and pound as well to wear out his opponent. Now opposite of him is Ben Saunders a very aggressive and effective welterweight. Saunders has great ability to avoid takedowns posting a 76% takedown defense which could give Robertson issues when trying to get the fight to where he can control it. Saunders poses an interesting matchup that I always find enjoyable when it goes to the mat, by that I mean a wrestling expert vs. a black belt in BJJ. Saunders has finished 15 of his 18 fights 10 by KO and the other 5 displayed his BJJ and mat abilities with submissions. He is actually the first fighter to knock out Marcus Davis and he also stopped TUF 2’s Kenny Stevens in three rounds. Saunders is a more dangerous fighter standing than his opponent and could quickly post a KO if Robertson isn’t careful when trading shots with this monster. I think this fight is even though because it seems where they are both weak in certain spots standing and the ground game is up in the air. I am not sure who is the odds favorite but I am going to take Saunders none-the-less with a split decision.
Jim Miller (24-6) vs. Danny Castillo (17-8): This is a pretty even matchup in the lightweight division between two wrestlers. Jim Miller is an incredible fighter who I have personally always found entertaining. He can get a submission out of nowhere and truly his cardio is awesome this guy can fight all night if he is asked to. Jim has lost his last two to two people I consider title contenders, one of them I think is truly one of the best in the world, by losing to Cerrone and Dariush. He has finished 17 of his 24 fights and done so through 14 submissions and 3 KO’s. Jim is a great wrestler but a lot of people over look his black belt in BJJ and how dangerous he truly is. Now opposite of Miller is an interesting wrestling style fighter in Danny Castillo. Castillo is coming in to this fight just like Miller losing his last 2 fights and really needs to turn it around. Castillo has finished 10 of his 17 fights 7 by way of KO and the final 3 by submission. He has the ability to finish quickly then he seems to calm down and settle in by winning 6 of those 10 in the very first round. Castillo is a good ground and pound fighter with great striking skills when on his feet exchanging with his opponents. I think Castillo is entering a dangerous fight here for him because I believe Jim is better both on his feet and on the mat. I am going to take Jim here with a second round submission by way of a rear naked choke.
#15 Gian Villante (13-5) vs. Tom Lawlor (9-5): Here is a fight in arguably the weakest division in the UFC the light heavyweight division. This fight could be a brawl or a slow paced technical battle, personally I believe it will be a brawl. Gian Villante is exciting as he possesses great KO power and the ability to explode out of nowhere. He is dangerous with each blow as he can land a quick combo stun his opponent and end the fight in a matter of seconds. He has finished 10 of his 13 fights 8 by way of KO and the other 2 by submissions. Gian is gaining more and more experience as he trains with UFC champion Chris Weidman and is starting to show improvement in his development. I am excited to see him stay standing and force Lawlor to exchange with him on their feet. In the opposite corner is a fighter with phenomenal conditioning in Lawlor. He is a good wrestler and will look to grind out Villante but remember Villante trains with a wrestler who likes to grind out his opponents and will be prepared for this. He is a bit of a finisher having finished 7 of his 9 professional wins. Those 7 are split as even as they can get with 3 wins by KO and 4 more by way of submission. Lawlor should look to get this fight to the mat where he can control Villante more because is he definitely the more skilled fighter on the ground coming into this fight and should look for his opening. This fight will either end quickly in a fury standing between two very powerful fighters on their feet or it will go to the ground and be a grinding fight with a lot of ground and pound. This fight is definitely an interesting matchup for the main event of the prelims but I think it will go one way. I think both fighters will gladly stand and exchange with each other and Villante will pick up the first round KO ending the Fox Prelims early for once.
Fox Main Card (8PM/ET)
Joe Lauzon (24-11) vs. Takanori Gomi (35-10-1): This fight to kick off the main card is in the lightweight division and has one of my favorite fighters in it with Joe Lauzon. Joe is an exciting fighter especially for a submission guy who has struggled to get a streak going and seems to lose every time he seems to just be getting the ship right. But he is coming off of a disappointing loss to a kid on the rise in Al Iaquinta by way of a second round KO. His ability to finish is absolutely unquestioned by winning 23 of his 24 by way of stoppages which is incredible. Joe has finished 17 of those 23 by submission and the final 6 being by KO, his last TKO was a doctor’s stoppage after brutalizing Michael Chlesa. Now Lauzon isn’t just a finisher he does it in exciting ways, having the most post fight bonuses in UFC history with 13 of them. I am so happy to see him fighting here and think he will give the fans the excitement that they always desire. Now standing opposite of him is Takanori Gami who is a real veteran at 36 years of age with 46 fights in MMA professionally. He just like his opponent is entering this fight is coming off of a loss, his was a KO loss to Miles Fury Jury. He has only finished 19 of his 35 wins, 13 of them by KO and the other 6 by submission. He is a proven wrestler with incredible knockout power when standing and is a force to be afraid of for Joe when standing. He might truly have the most KO power in their division and is extremely dangerous. Now I am going to highlight one big worry for Gami and that is the fact that 6 of his 10 losses come by way of submission. Now normally that would be a small level worry but he is facing the submission artist and is in a world of trouble if he didn’t work on his game. I am going to pick with just pure fact that I believe Lauzon is the better fighter and will win by way of 2nd round submission and probably take home another post fight pay day.
#7 Edson Barboza (15-3) vs. Paul “the Irish Dragon” Felder (10-0): This is great fight in the lightweight division between a top ranked fighter and an undefeated Felder. Barboza is looking to bounce back from a loss to a very skilled fighter in Michael Johnson, and become a title contender. Barboza is a finisher and normally a quick on at that as he has finished 11 of his 15 wins 10 of them by KO. His speed of finishing these fights is impressive finishing 7 of them in the very first round. Barboza is looking to keep this fight standing and will be able to do so with his 83% takedown defense and if he does stay upright he is as dangerous as they come. This kid can explode out of nowhere and end a fight in a matter of seconds to combo with his explosive nature is his aggressive nature and will be coming towards and pushing the fight down Felder’s throat. Now opposite of the beast Barboza is Paul Felder who enters this fight undefeated professionally. This is his third fight in the UFC and will by far be the toughest fight of his professional career. This guy has finished 7 of his 10 fights all of those are by way of KO. The showing of his KO display is an exciting factor due to his opponents love to look for the KO and most likely desire to stand and exchange instead of taking it to the ground. He loves to put the pressure on his opponents which is exactly what Barboza will be looking to do which means we could see these two collide fast and often. Now the fun factor to the Irish Dragon is that he is knowing for his inept ability to land kicks and get kick strong and often. This fight will be a lot of fun and could be something to make sure you do not miss. I am going to take Barboza winning this fight though in a fun fast fury which will get both fighters beat up and bloody ending in the second round by way of KO.
#2 Miesha Tate (16-5) vs. #5 Jessica Eye (11-2): This fight in the women’s bantamweight division is going to be extremely fun to watch in the co-main event. I am so excited to watch Miesha fight again and I personally believe she is the best fighter in the UFC as far as competition for Rousey goes. Miesha is a great submission fighter with amazing wrestling skills and is on a 3 fight win streak after losing to Rousey for the title. Miesha is a very well-conditioned fighter having fought 2 fights in one night 2 different times in her career which is such an incredible feat on its own. Tate has finished 9 of her 16 wins 6 by way of submission and the final 3 are by KO. She is so exciting to watch fight and always makes quite a great fight and brings a lot of attention on her own as it is. She will be looking to win this fight and then set her sights on Rousey hopefully for a third fight between the two and bring more and more excitement to this division. Now standing opposite of Tate is another top level fighter in Jessica Eye who in her last fight nearly knocked her opponent’s ear off of her head forcing a doctor’s stoppage. Jessica is a consistent fighter with phenomenal striking and the ability to stop fights standing landing some strong hands. He ground game is a bit susceptible which could be an issue against someone like Miesha. Jessica has only finished 4 of her 11 wins and three of those 4 are by way of KO the final being by way of a submission. I love this fight and think it brings a lot of excitement as the co-main and will be a good close matchup. I am going to pick the most well rounded fighter to win this thing and do it in great fashion with a second round submission for Miesha Tate.
(C) TJ Dillashaw (12-2) vs #1 Renan Barao (35-2): Finally the main event of the evening and one of the most exciting title fights we could ask for as fans. The first fight between these two was disappointing because Barao looked like he was gassed the whole fight and not ready at all for his opponent which was shocking considering Barao was entering the last one on a 22 fight win streak. Barao has finished 23 fights professionally, 8 by way of KO and the other 15 by submission. Barao is in my opinion the most dangerous fighter in the UFC as he has incredible striking and amazing ground game with some of the best BJJ skills in the UFC. Barao trains with arguably the best gym in the sport and his partners make him hard to compete with because he has such high level training partners helping him improve constantly. Bararo has only been taken down one time in his UFC career and it was in his very first fight in the UFC posting a 97% takedown defense. Barao is so much fun to watch I truly can’t wait as he goes up against Dillashaw who I believe got lucky catching Barao off of his game last time they met. Now that being said TJ is a good fighter don’t get me wrong I just truly don’t believe anyone but Demetrious Johnson is at the same level as Barao when he is on his game. Dillashaw trains with team Alpha Male and the spray on tan hug and hold mentality that they train there doesn’t seem to have worn off on him yet as he has finished 8 of his 12 fights. He has finished 3 of them by submission and the other 5 by way of KO. He has won 7 of his last 8 fights his only loss coming to Raphael Assuncao as of late. His last two fights went to the championship rounds before he landed KO’s and that shows off how good his conditioning is. Now for the most interesting part of this matchup and that is that Dillashaw has never been taken down in the UFC posting a 100% takedown defense. This fight will either be standing brawl or go to the clinch and bore all of the UFC fans everywhere but with these two fighters let’s hope they just plan on keeping this fight exciting and never letting it go to the hug and hold mentality that Alpha male trains there team in. Now for the prediction which is really tough to call honestly because both fighters when they are on are nearly perfect. I am going to take the last fight between the two as a fluke and give the edge to Barao and say he gets the title back in a 4th round submission.
UFC 189 originally was McGregor vs Aldo and I truly believed someone was about to finally stop and shut up the least active champion in the UFC and win the title. Now McGregor has to fight Mendes for the “interim” title. I put the interim in quotes because I agree with Frankie the main man Edgar that it is just more of a number one contender fight since the winner’s next fight will be against Aldo for the undisputed title. This fight card in my opinion gained more interest though to me because I prefer to watch Mendes over Aldo any day of the week. I do want to say though that Aldo should never have gotten injured because your training partner should never be doing a spinning back kick 10 days before a fight. Just a braindead move and should have been stripped of the title with all honesty. Now all that being said the main event is still a must see PLUS the CO-Main is a McDonald vs. Lawler title fight and that is one hell of a fight. Now to the picks. Also this marks the first official fight card in which the fighters are required to wear the new Reebok fight gear so most fighters should have new walk-out and fight apparel.
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
Cody Garbrandt vs. Henry Briones: The first fight of the prelim card kicks off with a bantamweight fight between two fairly new fighters in the UFC. Cody Garbrandt is much newer to the sport, starting in 2012, with six wins and no losses. All of Garbrandt’s wins have been by knockout and four of those were in the first round. Before MMA, Garbrandt was an amateur boxer and he had a record of 32-1. His opponent in this fight is Henry Briones who has a professional record of 19-4-1. Briones was on The Ultimate Fighter Latin America and is on a seven fight unbeaten streak (6-0-1). Briones has won ten fights by knockout and five fights by submission with 11 of these finishes being in the first round. I predict this fight will be mostly standing, showing off both fighters striking skill and footwork. I think this fight will go the distance and Henry Briones will win by decision.
Cathal Pendred vs. John Howard: The next fight is a welterweight matchup between two unranked fighters. Cathal Pendred has a professional record of 17-3-1. Pendred went 7-0-1 leading up to competing on The Ultimate Fighter season 19 and has been 4-0 since joining the UFC. Pendred has six wins by knockout and one win by submission with two first round finishes. Pendred also has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. On the other side of the cage is John Howard who is 22-11 in his professional career. There is a lot to say about John Howard. Howard has been in and out of the UFC. Howard has a 6-6 record while in the UFC and a 6-1 record while outside the UFC. Overall he has six wins by submission and nine wins by knockout, six of those knockouts were outside of the UFC. Howard is known for coming back at the edge of defeat to score the victory and Pendred is known for keeping a steady forward pace and not letting up. This will be an interesting fight and possibly one to watch out for. I think this fight can go in any direction and both fighters will feel equally comfortable. With those in mind I will say that this fight will go to the third round and it is going to end by a TKO. As for who will be giving and who is stuck receiving I am going to say Pendred will take the victory because so far he has shown he can better handle this level of competition.
Mike Swick vs. Alex Garcia: The next fight on the card is between a fighter on a hot streak and a veteran looking to re-establish himself in the UFC. This fight also takes place between two welterweight fighters. Alex Garcia may have lost his last match, but it was only his second loss and he has 12 wins to go along with them. Among the 12 wins he has a balanced five by knockout and five by submission. Nine of those ten finishes were in the first round. His opponent is Mike “Quick” Swick. Swick is 15-5 and has not fought since 2012. Swick has eight wins by knockout and three wins by submission. He won his first four fights in a combined time of 5:01. Swick went 1-4 before taking leave in 2012. Now he is back on a mission to solidify his spot as one of the top contenders. These two fighters are both good Jiu-Jitsu specialists and we may see a great grappling matchup, but we will also see good striking between both of them. Even though most fans do not see a heavy grappling match as exciting, these fighters will add striking to create an entertaining match. I predict that this fight will go into the second round and Mike Swick will pick up the TKO victory after wearing his opponent down.
(#5)Matt Brown vs. Tim Means: The main event of the prelims is another welterweight matchup. These two fighters are seasoned in the UFC. Matt Brown is the #5 ranked fighter in the welterweight division and has a record of 21-13. Brown has 13 wins by knockout and six wins by submission and only five fights that have gone to decision. Matt Brown has also won seven of his last nine fights. His opponent Tim Means has a professional record of 24-6-1. Means has 16 wins by knockout and four wins by submission. Means has won 15 of his last 18 fights and is on a four fight win streak. Both fighters are known for intensity and are excellent strikers. I think this fight will be very high paced and the fight will actually be over in the first round. Tim Means will put up a good fight, but I predict that Matt Brown will gain the victory.
UFC 189 Main Card
(#15)Brad Pickett vs. (#14)Thomas Almeida: The main card is here and the first fight of the card is a flyweight matchup. Brad Pickett is the #15 ranked flyweight and has a professional record of 25-10. Pickett has ten wins by submission and eight wins by knockout. Pickett has lost four of his last six fights, but they were from high level contenders and most were losses by decision. His opponent is the #14 ranked Thomas Almeida. Almeida is 19-0 with 14 wins by knockout and four wins by submission. Almeida has finished 14 opponents in the first round and lands almost eight significant strikes per minute. I think match will be over quickly with Thomas Almeida gaining the victory by first round knockout.
(#15)Gunnar Nelson vs. Brandon Thatch: The next fight is the fourth welterweight matchup on the card tonight. These fighters have very similar records. Gunnar Nelson has a professional record of 13-1-1. Nelson has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a brown belt in Karate and has won many tournaments in both disciplines. Nelson has eight wins by submission and four by knockout, making only one of his wins by decision. Of his 12 finishes, ten of them were over in the first round. His opponent Brandon Thatch has a professional record of 11-2. Thatch has eight wins by knockout and three by submission, meaning he finished all of his wins. On top of that all of his finishes were in the first round and six of his knockouts were in the first minute. That creates a lot of questions about how Brandon Thatch will perform in the later rounds. An example of this concern can be seen in both his losses, one ended in the third round and the other in the fourth. I am unsure how to call this, but it will go one of two ways. Either Thatch will pick up another knockout in the first round or Nelson will pick up a submission victory in the third.
(#8)Dennis Bermudez vs. (#11)Jeremy Stephens: This next fight is a featherweight matchup between two ranked fighters. The #8 ranked Dennis Bermudez has a professional record of 15-4. Bermudez has won seven of his last eight fights and the one loss was his last fight. Just over half of his wins were finishes and they were split four and four between knockouts and submissions. In college, Bermudez was a NCAA ranked Division 1 wrestler and he prides himself in having a white belt in every martial arts style. His wrestling background shows in his 92% of takedowns defended. Jeremy Stephens has a record of 23-11 and is the #11 ranked featherweight. Stephens has 16 wins by knockout and two wins by submission. This will be his sixth fight at featherweight and his record for this division is 3-2. I think that Stephens will want to keep this fight standing to avoid his opponent’s grappling. Unfortunately for him I believe that Bermudez’s wrestling prowess will overpower Stephens and Bermudez will pick up a submission in the second round.
(C)Robbie Lawler vs. (#2)Rory MacDonald: The co-main event of the evening is a title fight in the welterweight division, making this the fifth fight in the welterweight division tonight. I will start this with the contender, Rory MacDonald. MacDonald has a professional record of 18-2. MacDonald has won nine of his last 11 fights and is on a three fight win streak. He has won seven fights by knockout and six by submission with seven of these finishes being in the first round. Of his two losses one was to the current champion, Robbie Lawler. The other loss was back in 2010 to Carlos Condit. MacDonald also has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His opponent is the Welterweight Champion, Robbie Lawler. Lawler has a record of 25-10. 19 of Lawler’s 25 victories were by knockout. Lawler also has more losses than any other champion in UFC history. This fight is going to be an absolute slugfest. I think the only way this fight goes any differently from their last fight is if Rory is able to work his Jiu-Jitsu. I am going to call this fight another win by decision in favor of Robbie Lawler.
(#1)Chad Mendes vs. (#3)Conor McGregor: The main event of the card is a fight for the Interim Featherweight Title. This fight was originally supposed to be Conor McGregor versus the Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo. Jose Aldo had to back out of the fight due to a rib injury suffered during practice. (For more on that story go to the article below.) Both Mendes and McGregor have a professional record of 17-2. Mendes was an amazing collegiate wrestler with many awards and a perfect takedown defense in MMA. Mendes has won six of his last seven fights. Mendes has also finished nine of his opponents, seven by knockout and two by submission. Conor McGregor also has a perfect takedown defense. McGregor is on a 13 fight win streak and is undefeated in the UFC. McGregor has 15 wins by knockout and one win by submission and 12 of his finishes were in the first round. McGregor has a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. There was a huge amount of trash talk between Aldo and McGregor leading up to this fight and when Mendes filled in for Aldo, McGregor continued to send shots to his new opponent. I predict this fight will be another slugfest because both fighters will be looking to hurt each other. I predict that Conor McGregor will pick up the TKO victory in the second round and become the Interim Featherweight Champion.
Cody Garbrandt (6-0) vs. Henry Briones (19-4-1): This prelim opener is a really interesting fun fight for the fans, at least it should be, in the Bantamweight division. The opener has a young 24 year old UFC bantamweight prospect in the UFC who everyone should be beyond excited about, in Cody Garbrandt. This kid is really well-rounded with great cardio with the ability to keep a fight where he wants it to stay. Cody is only in his second UFC bout coming into this fight. The one big worry for Garbandt going into this fight is that he has never gone a full 15 minutes. He has won all 6 of his professional fights by way of KO and 4 of those have been in the very first round. His first fight though in the UFC did go 3 rounds which is where he found the KO in the third round showing he wasn’t very gassed regardless of not going that far before that fight. Cody has great striking and footwork to keep himself moving and hard to hit while he lands accurately often and should be someone to fear for Henry. He is a great wrestler and knows how to fight BJJ and will be a dangerous guy to take to the ground. In the opposite corner from Garbrandt is Henry Briones a veteran in the MMA world at 34 years old. Regardless of fighting 18 more times than Cody and being the elder fighter by 10 years he is also fighting only his second UFC fight. He has finished 15 of his 19 wins and 11 of those are finished in the first round. He is a well-rounded fighter finishing 10 fights by KO and 5 by way of submission, one of them being his first win in the first fight in the UFC. He enters this fight on an 8 fight unbeaten streak going 7-0-1 as of late 1-0 in the UFC. He is an extremely dangerous fighter due to his incredibly strong hands and incredible ground and pound. Henry has the ability to finish this fight standing and by way of ground I actually think he is the better fighter on the mat over Cody and that he could use that as his major advantage. I am going to be on the edge of my seat for this one and I think I will see it end with Cody moving to 7-0 and 2-0 in the UFC when he lands a second round KO.
Cathal Pendred (17-3-1) vs. John Howard (22-11): Oh heck yes a fight I know me and mike are thrilled for. I am a huge John Howard fan and he is a Cathal fan so this could be fun to watch together. Anyway this fight in the welterweight division should be a good one. I am going to start with Cathal he is a monster I can’t lie and is 4-0 in the UFC and this fight should be right up his alley. The one thing I really hate about Cathal is his inability to finish fights, he has only 7 finishes of his 17 and that tends to lead for a boring fight if he plays for the scorecard. His 7 stoppages show his ability to become a fan favorite with 6 of them being knockouts and one by submission. He is only 27 years of age and still can show more upside and start delivering more with a finish, though 3 of his 4 wins in the UFC are by way of decision. He is the definition of well-rounded and has so many skills I just really hope he can learn to put them all together because I think he can truly become a title contender quick and move into the rankings if he wins this fight. Cathal is a good fighter standing and on the mat and the advantage to being good on the mat is that his 80% takedown defense means most the time they go to ground he is in top position since he isn’t taken down often. Now in the other corner is the man known as “doomsday” John Howard who I think brings the ability to be as exciting as they get in the welterweight division. Now John has struggled in the UFC and it’s a shame to see going 6-6 since being in the UFC which he has been in and out of. Outside the UFC he has gone 6-1 with 5 KO’s showing he has the potential to be special. He has finished 15 of his professional wins with 9 submissions and 6 KO’s, having 7 of his fights go the full distance. John is a great fighter on the mat but standing-up his boxing skills are great and he needs to learn how to settle in and use his footwork and keep himself from getting caught by Cathal. This fight really could be fun is John Howard comes out in his best form but if he is off at all Cathal will eat him alive and brutalize him. I think Howard will come out strong but I honestly sadly for me believe Cathal will figure out how to beat John. I think this will go into the second round with a KO from Cathal ending this fight and potentially John’s UFC career.
Mike “Quick” Swick (15-5) vs. Alex Garcia (12-2): In the words of Samuel L Jackson, “Hold on to your butts” this is going to be a great fight in the Welterweight division. Mike is a true veteran of the octagon who has struggled as of late losing 3 of his last 5 fights. He has 11 stoppage wins, 8 by KO and 3 by submission he truly has an incredible ability to finish the fight wherever the fight goes. Mike is returning to the Octagon on a stacked fight card and he is truly missed by us UFC fanatics though he is 36 years of age we all still love him and want to see him continue to fight. He hasn’t fought since 2012 where he lost to the “immortal” Matt Brown. Mike’s fight style is incredibly hard to fight because he has phenomenal speed and to go with his speed is his incredibly aggressive fight style which means he is always ready to stop his opponent. Heck his first 4 UFC fights were won in a combined 5 minutes 10 seconds, just show casing his aggressive fight style. Now opposite of Mike Swick is going to be Alex Garcia who will bring a true challenge to Mike. He is only 27 years of age so 9 years the younger with only 3 UFC bouts under his belt. This kid is a finishing machine finishing 10 of his professional fights 5 by KO, and 5 by submission showing off his ability to fight in any position. Alex should be safe no matter where this fight winds up and he will just need to make sure he doesn’t get caught by Mike. One of his loses came to Neil Magny, actually being his most recent fight, Magny is a top level fight I believe and will one day be a title contender so it isn’t anything to worry about. He has finished 9 of those 10 by the way in the first round which shows his aggressiveness and could make for a very interesting clash between Swick and Garcia since they both love to come out strong. The call for this fight is really close due to the ability for both fighters to be able to take it to fight anywhere and do it very well. I am going to pick against my heart and go with my gut instinct and take Alex Garcia to continue his raise through the division by catching Swick in the first round with a KO.
# 5 Matt Brown (21-13) vs. Tim Means (24-6-1): The main event of the prelims is a showdown in the Welterweight division between a top ranked Matt Brown and a man on the raise Tim Means. Matt Brown’s last two fights have been loses following 7 straight victories prior to that. Those loses were to the former champ in Johnny Hendricks and the current champion Robbie Lawler. Matt is looking to turn it around fast and get back into title contention here with this fight. This kid will never back down and will keep coming at his opponent leading with his phenomenal striking game. Matt Brown is able to go all 3 rounds if need be and look like it was still the first minute. This type of conditioning is a huge advantage for any UFC fighter and could be his biggest asset entering this one. Matt has finished 19 of his 21 victories 13 by KO and the other 6 are by submission. The one thing people notice immediately about Matt Brown is that he is an incredibly intense fighter that never seems to take anything lightly. Now standing opposite of Brown is Tim Means. Tim has a cardio almost equal to Matt’s which means neither fighter can bank on wearing down his opponent and just trying to score points not that either fighter ever does that. Tim is just as lethal a finisher as Matt is finishing 20 of his 24 wins, 16 by KO and the other 4 by submission. Tim is entering this crucial fight on a 4 fight win streak winning 15 of his last 18 to go with that. Honestly I think a win here could drop Matt to 10th and put Tim right up there in the top 12 in his division. I can honestly tell you it confuses me how Tim isn’t already ranked but this fight can prove why he should be. This guy has great footwork and ability to control fights and with that shows off his great technique and if he is on his game is one of the toughest to handle. I am going to make my pick based off of who I think is currently the better fighter and based off of what I saw last fight I can say I will go with the underdog Tim Means. I think Tim will come out strong a pick up a first round TKO.
UFC 189 Main Card
# 15 Brad Pickett (25-10) vs. #14 Thomas Almeida (19-0): To kick off the main card we have a great fight in the flyweight division between a veteran and an upcoming superstar. I am going to start with Brad who is a 36 year old veteran struggling as of late losing 3 of his last 5 fights. Brad is a finishing machine and a fan favorite due to his exciting fight style and his ability to keep the terrible judges out of the decisions often. He has finished 18 of his wins 8 by KO and the other 10 by submission which showcases his incredible ability to be a very well-rounded fighter. He has great boxing skills which obviously displays his ability to land some good shots and deliver a KO or even put his opponent on their rear ends. Now standing opposite of the veteran Brad Pickett is Thomas Almeida who I think is the future of this division. Almedia is 19-0 and only 23 years of age. Let me say this I think Almeida is the next Jon Jones in other words I think he could become the most dominant fighter in the UFC. The most impressive factor to me about Almeida is that he has finished 18 of his 19 wins 14 by way of KO the other 4 by submission. Even more incredibly he has finished 14 of those 18 wins in the first round. Thomas is in my opinion the bets flyweight fighter and he will continue to put his game together more and more. As he continues to grow and develop in one of the most stacked divisions in the UFC we could see something amazing. Thomas’ only non-finish was his very first fight in the UFC so it might have been part of the UFC gitters. Now sadly for Brad Pickett he has been struggling as of late in the UFC and it’s been a shame to see because I don’t see it getting any better here with this one. I am going to take a dominant victory for Thomas Almedia the featherweight future himself to win this one in a first round KO of Brad Pickett.
#15 Gunnar Nelson (13-1-1) vs. Brandon Thatch (11-2): As we move on through the main card we will get a showdown in the welterweight division between two good uprising fighters that are really starting to put it all together. Gunnar Nelson is coming into this fight off his first ever professional loss in a 5 round brawl with Rick Story. Gunnar is a 26 year old fighter on the raise and could be a title contender soon enough. He has finished all of his fights but one, those 12 finishes are done through 8 submission and the other 4 by KO. The man is a take is a takedown machine and should get his submission if he gets it to the ground because he will be looking for it. Now on the opposite side of Nelson is Brandon Thatch who is coming into this fight with a loss as well after being submitted in 4 rounds by Benson Henderson. Thatch is a very good striker who knows when to throw and when to defend. He has finished all 11 of his fights and they were all in the very first round, yes ALL 11. Thatch is an explosive fighter that once he sees his opening he will capitalize on it quickly. This fight could go to the ground and it wouldn’t make a big difference because Thatch is a good fighter standing and on the mat, having 8 wins by KO and 3 more by submission. This fight has the potential to be very exciting and this is one of the more difficult fights to call. I am going to take the “underdog” and do so by saying he will get a first round KO in under 2 minutes.
#8 Dennis Bermudez (15-4) vs. #11 Jeremy Stephens (23-11): This will be one hell of a showdown between two top ranked featherweights in the UFC. Dennis comes into this fight off of a loss in a round one submission to Ricardo “the bully” Lamas. Dennis is looking to get back on track to becoming the title contender that we all know he can be. Dennis is one of the tougher fighters to take to the mat which gives him the advantage of keeping the fight where he wants it posting a 92% takedown defense. Dennis has finished a little above 50% of his fights finishing 8 of his 15 split evenly 4 by submission and 4 by KO. His one loss though isn’t something to pay too much attention to he has won the previous 7 fights. Dennis will be able to go all 3 rounds if needed due to his incredible cardio and will be something to keep in mind if the fight gets through the first and second rounds. Now Dennis will look to take Stephens to the mat because once he is on the ground he can put on his display of great submission ability. His best feature on the mat though, is his extremely talented ground and pound. Now standing opposite of Bermudez is the slight underdog in Jeremy Stephens. Jeremy is a great fan fighter because he lives by the never say die attitude to a key. Jeremy is coming off of two consecutive losses where he lost both in decision. He has finished 18 of his 23 victories and tends to do so with his incredible heavy hands which go on display with his 16 KO victories. Jeremy will need to keep this fight standing though to stand a chance because if he does he could land a KO with one good quick combo due to the amazing strength in his hands. This fight should be fun no matter what just because of the incredible heart in both fighters and the amazing display these guys will have the capability to put on for all of us. I am going to take the favorite though and pick Bermudez to win this one in the third round by a submission and get his name back up in title contention.
(C) Robbie Lawler (25-10-0, 1NC) vs # 2 Rory MacDonald (18-2): Here is the co-main and Oh MY GOD it’s finally here. Lawler vs Macdonald for the welterweight title. This is the first time in a long time I can remember seeing the current champ as the underdog too which makes this even more interesting considering Lawler has beaten MacDonald. I am going to start with the challenger on this one so Rory MacDonald. Rory is a young freak and I mean that nicely. He is 25 years of age and win or lose this fight I truly believe he is one of the 3 fighters in this division along with Lawler and Woodley. Rory is extremely well-rounded having a great stand-up and a great submission game. Rory tends to control his opponents game by using his ability to avoid being taken down with his incredibly gifted 89% takedown defense. He has finished 13 of his 18 professional fights and done so pretty evenly with 7 wins by KO and 6 others by submission. He has stopped 7 of his opponents in the first round and can be considered so dangerous early in a fight. He enters this fight winning 7 of his last 8 fights and 3 of those in a row. His last loss though 4 fights ago was a split decision to his current opponent Robbie Lawler. Rory has matured beating Maia, Woodley, and Saffedine on his way to the title fight here. Now standing opposite of the lethal Rory is the “ruthless” Robbie Lawler. Robbie in my opinion dominated Hendricks because as normal he was a victim of Henrdricks let me grab you and hide game. Robbie overcame that and out preformed Johnny to take the title. This is Lawler’s first title defense and it will be one of his toughest tests. Lawler is an amazing standup fighter due to his incredibly good striking skills. He is along with Woodley probably the most powerful fighter in this division as he looks like a walking Panzer tank. I personally love who Robbie is as a fighter and his personality matches his gritty fight style which makes it more perfect almost like poetry. Robbie for having such strong hands has incredibly fast hands which is a rare combination as well as an extremely lethal one. I am beyond excited to see what these two fighters do to make this fight theirs. This fight is very close and really depends where it goes. If this fight winds up on the mat it would probably favor Rory completely. If this fight stays standing it could favor Lawler but I wouldn’t count out Rory at all. I am going to take the Challenger even though I will be sad to see Lawler lose the title I just think that Rory is the more complete fighter and is getting close to putting it all together. I think Rory will win this in the 4th round by landing a guillotine choke to take the title.
#3 Connor McGregor (17-2) vs #1 Chad Mendes (17-2): The main event is even better than it originally was in my opinion but anyway here we go for the featherweight title. McGregor is the most hyped up name in UFC history probably and I truly believe it’s been well deserved. I think Connor is the most exciting fighter in the UFC and one of the most in UFC history. He is a very well-rounded fighter and his “cockiness” is not unjustified. Everyone says oh this kid is way too confident and needs to learn to shut his mouth but why? He is on a 13 fight win streak and won all 5 since joining the UFC. Four of those five wins in the UFC are KO victories the one fight that was a decision is against Max Holloway. Connor has finished 16 of his 17 professional wins with 12 of those being in the first round. Connor is a knockout artist having 15 career KO’s. Connor is seen as an average or below average fighter on the mat but I believe that is a dumb thought because he has a 100% takedown defense so we never see him on the mat. I truly think he is the best fighter currently left in the UFC with Jones out and I am so excited to see what he does with this interim title shot. Now standing opposite of McGregor is Chad Mendes. Chad is a great fill in option for Aldo because he is the number one ranked fighter in their division and 15th in the pound for pound list. Chad also has a 100% takedown defense and boy oh boy that makes this fight really interesting considering Medes’ wrestling and McGregor being so hard to take down. Chad trains with team Alpha Male where they train you, just like the Blackzillians, hug your opponent and score points. Mendes has won 6 of his last 7 his lone loss coming to Jose Aldo. His only other loss was to Aldo as well both of them for the championship. Now that being said Chad is an incredible fighter with great speed to compliment his wrestling. Now to compliment Chad’s great speed is his beyond incredible power his hands when he throws them are extremely lethal. Now for the pick I think Chad uses his holding and wrestling too much to actually win this fight. I am going to take McGregor in the second round by way of KO after figuring out how to handle Mendes. I think this fight is going to be exciting but McGregor is going to just rock it and hold the interim title until he takes the actual title from Aldo.