Fight Pass Prelims
Alex Oliveira (15-3-1) vs. Tim Means (26-7-1): We are kicking off the last fight of the year with a welterweight battle between two veterans. First up is Alex Oliveira who has won five of his last six fights with his loss coming from his hardest opponent in Donald Cerrone. In his career, Oliveira has ten wins by knockout and two wins by submission with nine of these finishes in the first round. He is a Muay Thai fighter who likes to strike from a distance with hooks and jumping knees. His opponent is Tim Means who has won six of his last seven fights. Means has won 18 fights by knockout and four by submission. He constantly stalks his opponent and just piles on shots. On top of that he strikes more on bottom than most people when they have a dominant position. I think both of these fighters will come out swinging, but Tim Means will get the upper hand. Oliveira is a good striker, but Means never backs down and I think it will pay off for him. I am going to call a brutal TKO in the second round by Tim Means.
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
Brandon Thatch (11-4) vs. Niko Price (8-0): We are already moving on to the televised prelims because for some reason there was only one online fight. This fight is also at welterweight. Brandon Thatch is currently on a three fight losing streak, but he has the potential to come back big. Thatch has eight wins by knockout and three by submission meaning he finished all of his wins, they were all in the first round and six of his knockout victories were in the first minute. Now his opponent is undefeated and making his debut in the UFC. Price has six wins by knockout and one by submission with six finishes in the first round. I think this could be a good setting for Thatch to get a positive streak going in the UFC. Both of these fighters are very striking oriented and I think both will look for a quick finish. I expect this fight to only take a couple minutes with Brandon Thatch getting a knockout in the first.
Mike Pyle (27-12-1) vs. Alex Garcia (13-3): We are at the third match of the day and the third welterweight fight in a row. The veteran fighter is Mike Pyle with more than double the fight experience than his opponent. Pyle has won nine of his last 14 fights, but four of his losses happened in his last five fights. In his career, he has 16 wins by submission and seven by knockout. His opponent is Alex Garcia who has won seven of his last nine fights. Garcia is a balanced finisher with five wins by knockout and five wins by submission and only one of the ten finishes didn’t occur in the first round. Mike Pyle is a very aggressive fighter and uses all of his tools to secure a victory. Alex Garcia tends to hunt the takedown then just pile strikes on until he gets the finish. I think this fight will look like it is starting slow because both will be looking for a takedown then they will both let loose. This fight will go into the second and Mike Pyle will see that Garcia prefers the ground and he will keep the fight standing, rock him and then hop on him for a quick submission in the second.
Antonio Carlos Junior (7-2) vs. Marvin Vettori (11-2): The next fight is one weight class above at middleweight. First up is Antonio Carlos Junior who has devoted his life to training. He is a very decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist and has won six of his fights by submission. His opponent is fighting his second fight in the UFC tonight and is on a six fight win streak. In his pro career, Marvin Vettori has eight wins by submission and two more by knockout with all ten in the first round. Vettori is also a decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist, but I believe he will have an upper-hand because of his striking. Before MMA, he had a perfect 8-0 boxing record so I believe his hands are more useful than his finishes make them out to be. I see this fight going through the first round with both fighters looking to take it to the ground and get a submission. Going into the second, I see Vettori see that Carlos isn’t using his hands too much and Vettori will keep this fight standing and secure a knockout in the middle of the second.
(#6) Johny Hendricks (17-5) vs. (#8) Neil Magny (18-6): We are at the main event for the prelims and we are going to see a fight between two ranked welterweights. Neil Magny is the #8 ranked welterweight. He has six wins by knockout and three wins by submission. Magny constantly advances and sometimes throws on submissions just to wear out his opponent. His opponent is the #6 ranked Johny Hendricks who missed weight yesterday at weigh-ins. Hendricks has eight wins by knockout and one win by submission with five first round finishes. Hendricks is the kind of guy that does everything he can to win enough rounds to win then he coasts. After he knows he won, he either runs away or just gets a takedown then rides out the round. Neil Magny has been asking for this fight for years and I predict that Magny will hunt Hendricks down and get a TKO in the first.
(#12) Louis Smolka (11-2) vs. (#13) Ray Borg (9-2): Now on to the main card of UFC 207 and we start off with a flyweight fight. Ray Borg is a boxer, but prefers wrestling. He has six wins by submission and one win by knockout with four of them in the first round. His opponent is only one rank higher than he is. Louis Smolka has five wins by submission and three by knockout. He is a brown belt in both kempo and judo and he puts his skill to good use showing off high caliber kicks and loves to implement trips and throws to get his opponent on the mat. Ray Borg is a slower striker, but has a lot of power behind his fists. Since he is a boxer he uses his hands most of the time and doesn’t use his feet or knees much. I see this fight going to Louis Smolka because he has a longer range of attack and strikes much more often. It might go into the second round because of Borg’s strong hits, but Smolka is going to win this with a knockout in the first or second.
(#9) Dong Hyun Kim (21-3-1) vs. (#12) Tarec Saffiedine (16-5): Moving on in the night and we are seeing the last welterweight fight for the night. Tarec Saffiedine is an experienced martial artist who is a black belt in karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Before the UFC, he had a boxing record of 12-1-1. Saffiedine has five wins by submission and one by knockout and five finishes were in the first round. He likes to check his opponents with kicks and when he feels comfortable drop big shots or knees. His opponent is Dong Hyun Kim who is a fourth degree black belt in judo. Kim has nine wins by knockout and two more by submission and is known for being very aggressive. All of his strikes are meant to put his opponent down and if he can’t get his strikes to work then he uses his throws. I think Saffiedine will try to play it cool and keep Kim at a distance, but Kim will fly in and overpower him with big strikes. I predict it will be quick and Kim will get a knockout in the first round and possibly be a contender for fight of the night.
(#1) TJ Dillashaw (14-3) vs. (#2) John Lineker (29-7): As we move on in the night we are at the first of three bantamweight fights. John Lineker is coming into this fight on a six fight win streak and has won ten of his last eleven fights. Lineker has 13 wins by knockout and four wins by submission. His opponent for tonight is former bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw. Dillashaw has won nine of his last 11 fights and is known for his fighting style. He uses his wrestling stance which allows him to switch stances very quickly and allows him to hide which side he is going to make dominant. I predict this fight will be Lineker trying to push the pace while Dillashaw will be circling and counter-striking to avoid damage. This fight is going to last a few rounds with Dillashaw keeping pace with Lineker. Then in the third Dillashaw will get the takedown and lock in a submission for the win.
(C) Dominick Cruz (22-1) vs. (#5) Cody Garbrandt (10-0): Here we are at the co-main event and the first of two title fights, interestingly enough they are both for the Bantamweight title. The first bantamweight title on the line is in the men's division and Cody Garbrandt is the challenger. Garbrandt is undefeated in MMA and nine of his ten wins are by knockout. Before MMA, he had a record of 32-1 in boxing. His opponent is Dominick Cruz who has a very similar style to TJ Dillashaw. Cruz is on a 13 fight winning streak and only lost the belt due to injuries. He has seven wins by knockout and one win by submission. This fight will have big outcomes no matter who wins because it will break a huge undefeated streak either way and could re-shape the division. Some people may think Garbrandt may need to step up the intensity in this fight, but I think he will need to slow down and play this mentally. Cruz is one of the best counter-strikers in the game and to go in head first will just get you dropped. I think this will take a few rounds because Garbrandt will try to end this quick and Cruz will land a few. Going into later rounds I predict Garbrandt will rethink his strategy and really time his shots instead of just swarming. If he can defend Cruz's countering and land the shots Garbrandt usually throws then I think he can pick up a TKO in the third round.
(C) Amanda Nunes (13-4) vs. (#1) Ronda Rousey (12-1): Time for the main event and this time it's for the women's bantamweight title. For the first time since I started calling fights, Ronda Rousey will be entering as the challenger. At one point Rousey was considered the most dominant athlete with eleven wins in the first round, nine by submission and three by TKO. She at one point even had the fastest finish in the history of UFC. After she lost to Holly Holm she took a hiatus of over a year and everyone realized that she has a big weakness in her striking. Rousey is no doubt of of the best judokas in the UFC, but she tried to out-box a boxer and got knocked out. Hopefully she has spent a lot of time on her striking because her opponent tonight is also a powerful striker. Amanda Nunes has nine wins by knockout and three wins by submission with ten finishes in the first round. I don't want to take anything away from Rousey, but I believe that Amanda Nunes will just be too much for Ronda and Nunes will get a first round TKO and keep the belt.