Roy Nelson vs. Alistair Overeem: Next we see the heavyweights take the cage with two of my favorites to watch, “Big Country” and “The Reem”. First up, is the jacked Alistair Overeem. Since 2002 this monster has gone to war with the best. He is known for brutal matchups against cage royalty including knockout losses by the likes of Antonio Nogueira, Chuck Liddell, Fabricio Werdum and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Some noteworthy fighters he has knocked out include Todd Duffee, Brock Lesnar and Stefan Struve although knockouts aren’t the only way his fights end. Overeem has won 18 fights by KO, and has also won almost as many by submission, 17. On the other side of the cage, Alistair Overeem will face off against another violent heavyweight known as Roy “Big Country” Nelson. Now if you have seen Big Country you already know the name couldn’t be more fitting and if you have seen him fight you may have noticed he isn’t the best at blocking shots to the chin. Lucky for him, it seems he doesn’t have to because whether it’s an iron jaw or maybe just “beard magic” this man has one of the best chins in the business. It would take me forever to go over all the shots that should have put Nelson on the mat, but not only does he take them, he welcomes them. Roy Nelson isn’t as experienced as his next opponent in submissions, but his record shows he can dish out shots even heavier than the ones he takes with all 14 UFC wins by knockout. This is the kind of fight fans live for and if we are lucky it will be a contender for fight of the night. These two both have reasons they should be crowned victor at the end of the night. Overeem is well-rounded and athletic and Nelson will continue to take shots all night long. Unfortunately I can’t choose a decisive prediction, but I will provide two alternatives. If Overeem wins, I believe he will have to take it to the mat and gain a submission victory. If Nelson wins, it will be because he had the stronger chin and was able to capitalize on a KO/TKO victory.
Johny Hendricks vs. Matt Brown: Coming off a loss in a title matchup, number one contender Johny Hendricks is squaring off against number five Matt Brown. Before the UFC, Hendricks was an amazing wrestler being a four time Division 1 All-American and a two time Division 1 National Champion. With only three losses in his UFC career and recent Welterweight Champion status, Hendricks is probably expecting to blow through his opponent. With a slight hold up due to a loss to Robbie Lawler, Matt Brown is rising the ranks taking on anyone put in front of him. Before his loss to Lawler, Matt Brown was on a seven fight win streak with all but one being a knockout or TKO. Known for his intensity he will work to add Johny Hendricks to his list of wins. Matt Brown’s work will be cut out for him in this difficult opponent, but I predict that he will beat Johny Hendricks in the second round.
Carla Esparza vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk: The co-main event will show title fight number one of the night, being for the Strawweight Title. Carla Esparza became the first ever Strawweight Champion by winning season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter and this will be her first title defense. Esparza was also the first ever Invicta FC Strawweight Champ before joining the UFC so it’s not her first championship status. Joanna Jedrzejczyk is coming into this fight at 8-0 with five wins by decision. I predict that this fight will go the distance and Carla Esparza will retain the title by split decision.
Anthony Pettis vs. Rafael dos Anjos: Now we move to the final fight of the evening, the Lightweight title fight. The well-rounded Rafael dos Anjos is riding a three fight win streak and has won eight out of his last ten fights. Dos Anjos has won eight fights by submission, seven fights by decision and four by knockout in his UFC career so he will be ready to take this fight wherever it goes. He also has a good defense with a 65% takedown defense and a 70% striking defense. The champion in this fight is Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. Anthony Pettis is the number five ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC and has won nine of his last ten fights. He has won five of his fights by submission and ten of his fights by knockout. Pettis is also known for the “Showtime” kick off the cage against Benson Henderson. Pettis has a better takedown defense with 69%, but his striking defense is slightly worse at 64%. I think this fight will be an even matchup for the first couple rounds and then in the third Anthony Pettis will retain his title with a KO/TKO victory.
I am going to do all the Main Card and the fights worth mentioning in the Undercards.
Sergio Pettis vs. Ryan Benoit: Can we get this kid Sergio Pettis in the Main card or at least the regular Prelims? This kid is a freak he is a monster of a fighter and one day I believe he will be equally as good as his extremely talented brother Anthony Pettis, but I will talk about him later. Sergio is 12-1 and his only loss comes to a good Alex Caceras. Sergio is a very good well rounded young fighter and has an extremely solid standing game and in improving ground game. Ryan Benoit is a new comer to the UFC and his only fight comes from the TUF 18 finale. His professional record is 7-3 and is looking to pick up his first win at the biggest level of MMA. He lost his first and only other attempt. He is a very strong ground fighter with a weakness of capability of fighting on his feet. I am going to easily without hesitation take Sergio to win this fight and call it a first round knockout.
Ross Pearson vs. Sam Stout: The Main event of the prelims. This fight could be a main card fight in a lot of other fight nights. I think both of these fighters bring a lot of awesome talent and high quality entertainment for the fans. Truthfully I think this fight could be more entertaining then the Co-Main event. Ross Pearson is an incredibly gifted striker and strong fighter. He lands about 42% of his strikes and packs one hell of a punch with each one. He doesn’t submit other fighters but he knows how to wrestle and avoid being submitted with only 2 of his 8 losses coming from submission. In the other corner opposite of Pearson is the man we call “Hands of Stone” Sam Stout. Sam is a striking machine. He will be happy to turn this into a complete brawl and it most likely will result in such. Stout has 9 of his 21 wins by KO/TKO and 10 wins by decision meaning he only has 2 wins by submission in his 21-10 record. So in other words neither of these fighters will be headed to the mat by choice. I am having a hard time taking a favorite in this fight but my gut says to go with Pearson. I am going to follow suit and go with Ross Pearson a 3rd round KO.
Chris Cariaso vs. Henry Cejudo: Let the Main card begin with a bang is what I always ask for and I believe Dana White picked a great kickoff to the event. I am excited for this fight and all true UFC fans should be. Let me start with Henry Cejudo. He is 7-0 but saying this is only 1-0 in the UFC and his win came from a decision. I am not even sure he will make weight but if he does I won’t take anything away from him and his amazing talent in this sport. Cejudo is a fast paced fighter who will be most likely controlling the octagon in this one and putting the pressure on Cariaso. His 7 professional wins are split with 3 KO/TKO, 1 Submission, and 3 decision. He is obviously very capable standing and will prove to be so again. Now on the other side of the cage is Chris “kamikazie” Cariaso. He is a veteran of the Octagon and holds a 17-6 professional record. His nickname to me would scream of someone who comes at you and throws a lot of fists. This isn’t truly the case he is a slower paced fighter and goes to decision often to do so. The proof is in the pudding 12 of his wins were by decision. He is a very solid technical fighter. He is going to have his hands completely full here with the newcomer Cejudo is going to give him a true run for his money. I haven’t seen the vegas odds or favorites but I am going to say the underdog here is probably Henry Cejudo because of his lack of octagon experience. That being said I am going to take Cejudo in this fight with a second round KO/TKO.
“Big Country” Roy Nelson vs. “the Reem” Allistar Overeem: So this is my personal co-main event. I love this fight. Without knowing this fight was coming last fight Mike W and I were talking and I told him I wanted to see the Reem take on Big Country. Then we decided to look up the next fight for them and found out it was the next fight card and was against each other. I have been excitedly waiting for this one for 2 weeks; These two fighters are just two juggernauts ready to throw some heavy hands. Roy Nelson is the biggest heavyweight by this I mean waistband size and beard size. He isn’t to be taken lightly though due to his large size he still is very athletic and extremely lethal in the octagon. Roy has arguably one of the toughest chins in the UFC meaning its nearly impossible to knock him out which is impressive due to the fact that he gets hid by the hardest hitters in the business for a living. He is known for his ability to take a punch and deliver a punch as well. Don’t look to much into the fact that he likes to stand up though because he might be 20-10 but 5 of his wins are by submission while only 2 are by decision. He also in 10 losses has never been submitted and only knocked out twice. He will be facing though arguably one of the heaviest hitters in the UFC, Alistair Overeem. The man is freakishly strong and very agile. He is known for his power in his fists but please don’t just know him for that. The man can wrestle well and fights intelligently. “The Reem” is 38-14 with 16 wins by KO/TKO and 19 wins by submission with only 3 going to the judges scorecard. Overeem is going to be smart to take this one to the mat because he is the far superior fighter on the ground. His last win was well won with Stevan Struve and will look to continue that here. I am going to take “the Reem” I think he just is the better all around fighter and will dominate Roy all over the Octagon. 2nd round Submission by Kamura.
Johny “Big Rigg” Hendricks vs. “The Immortal” Matt Brown: Johny is off his loss to Robbie Lawler, I know a lot of people say Hendricks should have won decision but I entirely disagree. I think Lawler was pushing more at the end and Hendricks was just hiding to stay in and hope for the judges help. Anyway, back to this fight Johny has to come into this fight 100% focused. He needs to entirely forget about the last fight and take Matt seriously. Johny is a good fighter and has a 16-3 record to back that, even more impressive his 3 loses are all by decision. He isn’t a very good fighter on the mat and will most likely try and keep this thing standing and exchange with Matt. “the Immortal” Matt Brown is hot as of late winning 8 of his last 10 one of those loses being to the now champ Robbie Lawler. He is 21-12 entering this fight with 9 of his loses coming to submission which is a good thing for him really because Johny isn’t going to beat him on the mat. This being said he has never been knocked out and that is not a good sign either for Johny even worse 6 of Matt’s last 8 wins have been by KO/TKO. I got Matt Brown winning this one second round KO/TKO.
Carla Esparza vs Joanna Jedrzejczynk: This is the first title defense for the strawweight title fight. This fight is going to be a good fight but I don’t see it being co-main event worthy. Carla Esparza is the first UFC strawweight title holder and this is her first defense of this title. Joanna is coming in 8-0 in her professional record. I think she is a good fighter but I don’t know if she is better the Carla. Carla is a more experienced fighter and will most likely be the more solid fighter in this one. I am going to take Carla to win by unanimous decision and successfully defend her title for the first time.
Anthony “showtime” Pettis vs. Rafael dos Anjos: AND ITS TIME!!!!!! I am beyond excited for this main event. Anthony Pettis is honestly to me the most athletic fighter in the UFC. He is a freak and his nickname “showtime” is definitely deserved as his biggest highlight is the showtime kick, a kick running off the side of the cage to the opponents head or chest, which he landed on Benson Henderson. Pettis is to me the next face of the UFC with Jon Jones and McGregor. He is 18-2 entering this fight his 2 loses being by decision, one of those loses to Clay Guida. He has 7 wins by KO/TKO, 8 by submission, and 3 by decision. He is a monster and will be the fan favorite and in my opinion the better all around fighter but that doesn’t mean his opponent can’t win this one, because his opponent staring back at him is a top 4 fighter in the lightweight division. By that I mean the Pettis, Khabib, Dos Anjos, and Cerrone being the hands down top four of the weight class. He is a good stand up fighter but on the mat he is arguably the best fighter in the lightweight class. He will entirely look to take this fight to the mat and work his game the best that he can. He claims he sees a “flaw” in Pettis’ game. I think he and a lot of people are underestimating Pettis’ ability to fight on the mat. I am going to take this fight as a very close one but I think Pettis puts away Dos Anjos and wins this thing in the 4th round with a TKO. BRING ON PETTIS VS. Khabib Nurmagomedov.
- Matt K