Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson
This fight was always going to be a blockbuster, being the return of Jon Jones. At his best, and he usually is, Jones is very likely the best mixed martial artist there has ever been. What makes this fight a bit more interesting is the fact the Alex Gustafsson pushed Jones farther than anyone else has. Also the fact that Jones just tested positive again, yes they are saying that it’s remnants from the failed test 18 months ago but honestly who knows and it all seems very shady.
Jones is technically very good with amazing use of range, very good defensively and hugely creative. He is near flawless up to now. What Jon also has is size and when he fought Gustafsson the first time he was up against someone who more than matched his height and reach and it was a hell of a fight and a lot of people think that Gus beat him. This rematch has been a long time coming.
The biggest question surrounding Jon Jones is the extent of his PED usage, considering this is his third infraction. Some believe that we may only have seen a clean Jon Jones against Ovince St Preux and that night he looked very ordinary. That’s just opinion though and also kind of a moot point because judging by this most recent test he’s not exactly clean this time either, who knows. Very hard to pick against Jones, although Gus has great boxing and timing, Jon’s fight IQ and the fact that he has already fought Gus gives him the edge in my opinion. I would love for Gustafsson to knock Jones out I don’t see it happening, instead I think Jones dominates the second half of the fight and gets a submission.
Prediction : Jones by submission
Result : Jones by TKO
Cris Cyborg vs Amanda Nunes
Champion vs champion. 145lb vs 135lb. The first UFC women’s ‘Superfight’.
Let’s get right into it. Nunes is technically better, better movement and quicker and she has more tools at her disposal. The question is whether she can deal with Cyborg’s size and strength. Remember when someone said Cyborg fights like a man? It’s true and it was meant as a compliment. She’s huge and hits like a truck.
Nunes does train and spar with a lot of men so it’s not like she’s not been hit hard before but sparring ain’t fighting. Nunes also has a stalking style, like hunting girls down ready to pounce not really a hit and run deal that would probably suit her better here. I think Amanda Nunes has success in the first round, she manages to land on Cyborg well while staying out of trouble but as the fight goes on I see Cris catching up to her, outmuscling her against the cage, landing knees and elbows and wearing her down.
If Nunes is to win she needs to do damage early then fight the perfect fight for the rest of it. More likely though is Cyborg doing damage in the second and third and getting the finish on either the forth round or late in the third.
Prediction : Cyborg by TKO
Result : Nunes by KO
Carlos Condit vs Michael Chiesa
Condit used to be one of the top of the tree at Welterweight. Violent and entertaining and effective all at the same time. Seems like a lifetime ago now. Right now he is on a four fight skid and has only won two of his last nine. Only 34 years old but fight age is a hell of a thing. Chiesa is on a two loss streak as well, two submission losses in a row.
Four or five years ago Condit would’ve taken this without much trouble but now, who knows. I think Chiesa is going to perform better at the higher weight class and I still think he will be a touch quicker than Condit with better reflexes. Don’t think Chiesa has the power to finish the fight with strikes but he can out grapple Condit and catch a sub.
Prediction : Chiesa by submission
Result : Chiesa by submission
Ilir Latifi vs Corey Anderson
This will be close if Latifi doesn’t dominate then I don’t see him winning a back and forth battle. Anderson is a good enough wrestler to keep it on the feet and I think he can do enough for the decision.
Prediction : Anderson by decision
Result : Anderson by decision
Chad Mendes vs Alexander Volkanovski
I like Alexander Volkanovski, he has the skill set to be really successful in the UFC but in Chad Mendes he’s facing someone with similar skills an gamelan and by far his hardest test to date. Mendes was out for two years for a USADA violation but he erased any question of ring rust when he obliterated Myles Jury in his return fight in one round. Very impressive.
Make no mistake, Volkanovski is a stud. He’s on a 15 fight win streak, undefeated in the UFC (obviously) and convincingly beat Darren Elkins last time out. Problem is, once again, all the things Volkanovski is good at, Mendes is better. Volkanovski will not dominate the wrestling against Mendes and even if you don’t want to say Chad is a better striker overall, he is more dangerous and has more power in his hands, more outs.
Don’t see Volkanovski winning unless he catches Mendes cold. Its a big step up in competition, a steep learning curve and I think he will learn from it but I don’t think he’s getting the win here.
Prediction : Mendes by TKO
Result : Volkanovski by TKO
Andre Arlovski vs Walt Harris
Who would have thought, watching Arlovski rise through the ranks in 2004 that he would still be around near the top 15 years later. That’s a lot of wear on a body but he’s wearing it well. Harris won’t be a walk in the park, he’s a huge guy who hits hard and Arlovski’s chin has been questioned before.
I still give Andre the edge here, yes Walt hits hard but he is slow, plodding and one dimensional and Arlovski still has decent movement. Arlovski will evade and counter well, mix up kicks and punches and win a decision.
Prediction : Arlovski by decision
Result : Harris by decision
Cat Zingano vs Megan Anderson
Megan Anderson is big, that’s about all I got to say about her. To be fair she does have decent hands and OK knees as well but let’s be honest she is successful mainly because she is huge. Zingano is a good striker and excellent grappler. She finished Meisha Tate and current champion Amanda Nunes back to back.
Zingano is far more skilled but can she overcome the size? Anderson’s striking is basic and can be slow but also effective at times, especially as the opponent tires. I think Cat needs to get inside and if she can put Anderson on her back then it’s a big plus.
If Zingano doesn’t gas I think she wins. More tools and more ways to win.
Prediction : Zingano by decision
Result : Anderson by TKO
Douglas Silva DeAndrade vs Petr Yan
Big fan of Petr Yan and I think this one maybe a barnbuner. Both guys a very good strikers, very solid. Douglas DeAndrade is probably a bit quicker and hits harder, puts more on every strike but he does slow slightly towards the end of fights.Yan is just as good a striker, maybe more creative. He’s not afraid to get stuck in and scrap.
The difference will be that DeAndrade seems like a bit of a flat track bully, if you know what I mean. He preforms differently when he knows he can beat someone up but he’s not going to have it his way with Yan. Yan is also defensively better and although he sometimes ducks to his left to avoid punches in exchanges he has a good chin and reflexes.
Both will look good in the first round but as the fight goes on I expect Petr to open up and start scoring move. I think his volume in rounds two and three will win him the decision.
Prediction : Yan by decision
Result : Yan by TKO
BJ Penn vs Ryan Hall
It’s not an exaggeration to say that BJ Penn is one of the greatest of all time, a genuine legend of the sport. He was the first American to win gold at the World Brazilian Jiu Jitsu championships, one of four men to capture UFC gold at two weight divisions. Inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. I mean the guy fought Machida at heavyweight for god sake.
To say he has dropped off lately is an understatement. One of those where its difficult, for we who go back far enough, to watch him get beat. At least here, whatever happens from his opponent, it won’t be violent and it won’t be damaging. Hall is a well decorated BJJ competitor who has adapted his skills very well for MMA. He doesn’t have spectacular striking but it good enough and he has a knack of not being hit much.
Honestly don’t know how this is going to go. BJ is the biggest underdog on the card and I don’t know if that is right. It could be closer than people think, especially rounds one and two. Be interesting to see where the fight takes place. Be interesting to see how Bj would do in straight grappling against Hall. To be honest as well I don’t think this is going to the ground unless the guys both want it and I guess on the feet I give the edge to Hall because he is more elusive and he will start to pull away late on for a decision win.
Prediction : Hall by decision
Result : Hall by submission
Nathaniel Wood vs Andre Ewell
If Ewell starts against Wood the way he did against Barao, I could see him getting out pointed. Ewell has a lot of reach on Wood and he punches well but he needs to pull the trigger from the start. Nathaniel Wood has that youthful energy and aggression and although he can get caught at times, he can usually recover well enough. Ewell also struggled on the bottom against Renan Barao , now Wood ain’t the grappler Barao is but still something to think about.
I think Ewell starts much better this time round and takes advantage of the size and range to win most of the striking exchanges. Wood will make it competitive but Ewell wins a close decision.
Prediction : Ewell by decision
Result : Wood by submission
Uriah Hall vs Bevon Lewis
Uriah Hall must be one of the biggest wastes of potential in MMA history. It’s a bit misleading to say ‘waste’ because its not all his fault, we should probably say ‘unfulfilled’ potential. That’s better. Hall still has great skills when he’s up for it. He’s strong, fast and explosive with power in his punches and kicks. Only thing is he can seem mentally weak at times, gunshy, hesitant.
Then we have Bevon Lewis who is a big athletic with a good punch. Also I think, it seems Lewis has improved a lot in the last year, now we have to see if that’s enough.
In my opinion the best Uriah Hall beats the best Bevon Lewis. Will we see the best Hall here, or ever again, that’s the question. It’s honestly a coin toss to me. Give the nod to Hall on big game experience. He catches Lewis in the second and put him away.
Prediction : Hall by KO
Result : Hall by KO
Curtis Millender vs Siyar Bahadurzada
I really like Siyar but the only way I see him winning this is if he catches Millender big and put him away. I mean he absolutely is capable of that but to be honest, outside of that, Millender is too long, too fast and too slick.
Prediction : Millender by decision
Prediction : Millender by decision
Brian Kelleher vs Montel Jackson
Montel Jackson has some potential but I see Kelleher not giving him time or space to perform the way he would want to. Kelleher throws hard punches and will mix up takedown attempt, always having Montel on the back foot. If Kelleher let Jackson get loose, and use his range then he could have trouble. Don’t see it though, Kellhers pressure and pace will get him a decision.
Prediction : Kelleher by decision
Result : Jackson by submission
Correct Picks 7/13