Check out our UFC 205 preview.
This has been a huge year for the UFC and it’s ending in fine fashion. On Saturday, the UFC is back in New York at Madison Square Garden with arguably, the most stacked card in UFC history. Right before the new year, Ronda Rousey returns at UFC 207. We’ll be able to talk more about Ronda after this show because right now, it’s Conor McGregor’s time. With Floyd Mayweather retired, McGregor is the biggest draw in combat sports right now and I’m not sure it’s all that close.
We’re not going to waste any time. Let’s get to what we consider to be the biggest fights.
(Right as we writing, Kelvin Gastelum missed weight and the fight with Donald Cerrone is off.)
Here’s how we’re doing so far:
Here’s our UFC 205 preview:
Khabib Nurmagomedov Vs Michael Johnson
Heidi: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Of the non-title fights, Khabib Nurmagomedov-Michael Johnson definitely has my attention. Khabib has been vocal about wanting a title shot next since he’s undefeated. He’s threatened to look at his options outside of the UFC if he doesn’t. But Johnson is no slouch. He’s coming off of a finish over Dustin Poirier and could shake up the top of the lightweight division if he takes it. However, I think Nurmagomedov is too crafty. He wrestles with bears. There’s no one who has been able to figure him out in the octagon yet, or how to avoid his takedowns. Therefore, I give it Nurmagomedov.
Duan: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Alan: Khabib Nurmagomedov
John: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Alex: Khabib Nurmagomedov
GG: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Jim: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Frankie Edgar Vs Jeremy Stephens
GG: Frankie Edgar by decision
I think the worry here for me in trying to predict this fight is wondering what Edgar’s fight at UFC 200 against Jose Aldo meant. I think many (and just about all of us) thought Edgar would win, but Aldo beat him in one-sided fashion. Was it because Edgar was slowing down, or because Aldo is just as excellent as he’s always been? I’m going to choose the latter. Stephens is always fighting the best guys in the division and because of it, he’s been basically a .500 over the last three years. That gives me enough confidence that Edgar should win.
Duan: Frankie Edgar
Alan: Frankie Edgar
John: Frankie Edgar
Heidi: Frankie Edgar
Alex: Frankie Edgar
Jim: Frankie Edgar
Miesha Tate Vs Raquel Pennington
GG: Miesha Tate by decision
At first glance, this looks like an easy Tate win. But on second glance, it doesn’t look so easy. In Tate’s first title defense, she lost her belt to Amanda Nunes and wasn’t really in the fight at all. Nunes’ striking was amazing and Tate looked out of her league. But Tate’s tougher than leather and I fully expect her to not only bounce back, but fight a much smarter fight, utilizing her wrestling a bit more. Pennington is also as tough as a two dollar steak, so I think she’ll pose a solid threat. But I still think that Tate’s talent level is just a bit higher and she’ll win a decision.
Alan: Miesha Tate
Alex: Miesha Tate
Duan: Miesha Tate
John: Miesha Tate
Heidi: Miesha Tate
Jim: Raquel Pennington
Chris Weidman Vs Yoel Romero
Alan: Chris Weidman by 2nd round submission
Chris Weidman is a tough, gritty, hard-nosed fighter. Yoel Romero is a physical freak with gifts from the heavens. This is not a clash of styles but rather a clash of fighter design. It’s going to really be interesting to see which side wins out. It’s nearly a year since these two last stepped in the cage – both on the same stacked card at UFC 194. Both will surely be chomping at the bit come the start of the fight. I think this work’s in Weidman’s favour. If Yoel comes out all guns a blazing, you know that gas tank will be tested. Chris is a smart fighter and if he weathers the storm and doesn’t try to match Romero’s fire out of the gates, then he will most likely pick the Cuban off as the fight progresses. I look for Chris to finish a gassed out Romero in round 2 via submission.
Alex: Yoel Romero by 2nd round TKO
I am happy Bisping won the world championship. It doesn’t seem that his matchups are deciding who the best fighter in the division is. Matchups like this will be seen by most to determine who the best is. Yoel Romero has a limited gas tank, but outstanding wrestling and a massive knockout power. Weidman isn’t the best striker, but has good wrestling and grappling. I feel that Weidman’s path is to stick and move and wait for Romero to gas. That isn’t an easy feat because while tired, Romero has still shown he has a lot of power. Wrestling might not play much of a factor, but I feel like Romero would get the best of those exchanges. I think Romero’s wrestling ability and power will be too much for Weidman, but the former champ may simply outlast Romero.
Jim: Chris Weidman by 3rd round TKO
This is largely a pick ’em fight. Romero’s power is a huge asset in this fight. If he lands early and lands often, he could drop Weidman and hand him his second loss. His power does not come without its downside though. Romero tends to fade later in the fight. If he can’t finish Weidman early, he could be in real trouble after the midway point in the match. Weidman is very durable and can take a punch. He also has good cardio and can go the distance without much problem. I think Weidman smothers Romero, clinches, takes him down and makes him work hard early in the fight. If the submission presents itself, he will take advantage, but my prediction is that Weidman drags the fight out a couple rounds and takes Romero out on the feet in the third.
Duan: Chris Weidman
John: Chris Weidman
Heidi: Chris Weidman
GG: Chris Weidman
Joanna Jędrzejczyk Vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz
GG: Joanna Jędrzejczyk by 2nd round TKO
The hard part about this prediction is not really knowing who Kowalkiewicz is. We’ve seen her outpoint The Ultimate Fighter competitors like Rose Namajunas, Heather Jo Clark, and Randa Markos. Maybe she should call herself the TUF killer. But the level between those fighters and Jędrzejczyk is wider than wide. Jędrzejczyk’s boxing is at another level altogether. I think the only thing keeping Jędrzejczyk from knocking her out in round 1 is Jędrzejczyk.
Duan: Joanna Jędrzejczyk
Alan: Joanna Jędrzejczyk
John: Joanna Jędrzejczyk
Heidi: Joanna Jędrzejczyk
Alex: Joanna Jędrzejczyk
Jim: Joanna Jędrzejczyk
Tyron Woodley Vs Stephen Thompson
GG: Stephen Thompson by decision
I think this is the most intriguing fight on the card. I think Woodley is something. He has an underrated star power that he might be able to transition into money if he keeps winning. It’s untapped. But the problem is that division. The welterweight division features fantastic fighters, though maybe not a single killer anymore now that Robbie Lawler lost. I have a feeling that belt may pass through a few more hands before the end of next year.
What this fight actually reminds me of is a fight from UFC 98. Rashad Evans was on the rise, beating Michael Bisping, Chuck Liddell, and Forrest Griffin in succession. In beating Griffin, he won the light heavyweight title. On UFC 98, he faced off against Lyoto Machida. I remember being at that show, thinking that Evans was the new breed of fighter who utilized a strong wrestling base with talented hands. But Machida’s striking freaky in comparison. That’s my worry for Woodley here. Woodley’s wrestling is his strength, though he has knockout power. I just think Thompson’s striking will be too much. I don’t know if it will be one-sided, but I think Thompson will win the middle rounds, and not need a finish. Thompson, and not Woodley, has actually gone the distance in a five round fight. That might be something to keep an eye on if this thing does go into the later rounds.
Duan: Stephen Thompson
Alan: Tyron Woodley
John: Tyron Woodley
Heidi: Stephen Thompson
Alex: Stephen Thompson
Jim: Stephen Thompson
Eddie Alvarez Vs Conor McGregor
Duan: Conor McGregor by 2nd round TKO
I have always liked this match up for McGregor. If you had to pick a top lightweight for him to beat, Alvarez is the one you would choose every time. Eddie is an extremely tough guy and a hell of a fighter, but there’s nothing in his arsenal from a skills perspective that should really trouble the UFC’s brightest star. If Alvarez can hang tough, he may get a shot as the Irish man fades late, but I favour McGregor to break him down before that can happen.
Alan: Eddie Alvarez
John: Conor McGregor
Heidi: Conor McGregor
Alex: Conor McGregor
Jim: Conor McGregor
GG: Conor McGregor