Check out our UFC 197 preview.
What a few weeks it’s been.
Originally, this show was supposed to be headlined by Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier in Jones’ comeback fight. It was a rematch to last year’s fight that Jones clearly won, but this time, he’d be coming back after his title, which Cormier won in his absense. Cormier had to pull out of the fight because of injury, which tasked the UFC with finding a suitable replacement. Rumble Johnson was on the shelf himself, so it was next man up. Except, that next man was Ovince Saint Preux, who was only ranked 6th.
Add to that, Conor McGregor dropping the tweet heard ’round the world and UFC 197 has lost quite a bit of luster.
Here’s how we’re doing so far:
Here’s our UFC 197 preview:
Yair Rodríguez Vs Andre Fili
Duan: Yair Rodríguez
Alan: Andre Fili
John: Yair Rodríguez
Heidi: Andre Fili
Alex: Andre Fili
GG: Andre Fili
Robert Whittaker Vs Rafael Natal
Duan: Robert Whittaker
Alan: Robert Whittaker
John: Robert Whittaker
Heidi: Robert Whittaker
Alex: Robert Whittaker
GG: Robert Whittaker
Anthony Pettis Vs Edson Barboza
Duan: Anthony Pettis
Alan: Anthony Pettis
John: Anthony Pettis
Heidi: Anthony Pettis
Alex: Anthony Pettis
GG: Anthony Pettis
Demetrious Johnson Vs Henry Cejudo
Heidi: Demetrious Johnson
Johnson mastered this fight before it was even booked. Why? Because he’s capable of outclassing virtually anyone on the division, at any time, no matter who they are or what their credentials are. Cejudo may have a gold medal in wrestling, but in MMA, Johnson reigns supreme. I think Cejudo is a formidable opponent, but barring any freak accident, I think Mighty Mouse retains his title.
Alex: Demetrious Johnson by decision
I would like to see the flyweight division go away. You have top contenders fleeing the weight class after losing to the champion twice. That is a sign of something being wrong, plus interest in any of the title shots have to be the lowest of any other division.
In a certain way, Henry Cejudo represents hope. Hope that a division could find interest after a new champion is crowned. Henry is a talented fighter who has emerged without going through any of the top level guys (John Dodson, Joseph Benavidez) and I think that is for good reason. No reason to spoil this matchup. But, we really don’t know how Henry will fare against someone the caliber of Demetrious. The flyweight champion is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the sport who is seemingly good everywhere, and mixes it up giving his opponents frequent new looks. Johnson was competitive in the higher weight class of bantamweight and moving down proved to be great for him. I think there is a chance both fighters come out better after having this fight. I just think Johnson is too skilled and will beat Cejudo.
GG: Demetrious Johnson by fourth round submission
Much like I do with every flyweight championship fight, I really tried talking myself into Cejudo having a chance to win this fight. He’s an Olympic gold medal winner. He’s bigger and probably will end up fighting a division or two higher as he matures. But I’ve never really been overwhelmed by a Cejudo performance. I see a guy who has a lot of tools and athleticism, but hasn’t put them all together seamlessly yet.
I felt the same way about Sara McMann when she fought Ronda Rousey. She had to take the fight because you don’t pass up fights with the champ. But I didn’t think she was anywhere near ready for it and if she went another year competing against top level competition, maybe she would’ve been ready. Similarly here, I don’t think Cejudo is as good as he will be in two years. I think Cejudo fades late and DJ catches him.
Duan: Demetrious Johnson
Alan: Demetrious Johnson
John: Demetrious Johnson
Jon Jones Vs Ovince Saint Preux
Duan: Jon Jones by 2nd round TKO
Unless Jones’ 15 months away from the sport, or his lifestyle during that period, has had a catastrophic effect on him as a fighter, he should win this handily. OSP is a solid light heavyweight but he’s way out of his depth here. The only way this fight would ever get made is as a late replacement. The curiosity is more in how good Jones looks rather than the result.
GG: Jon Jones by 3rd round TKO
OSP is an excellent athlete. Jon Jones isn’t, necessarily. But Jon has an innate ability to use all of his advantages and follow a gameplan like it was a blueprint. That’s the separator. OSP’s athleticism takes him far, but when it comes to putting it all together, he often falls short. If his first plan doesn’t work, he doesn’t really have secondary options. He’s going to need to be better than he’s ever been to be Jones, but Jones will have a counter to everything OSP throws out there. The only thing that can beat Jon Jones right now is Jon Jones’ arrogance.
Alan: Jon Jones
John: Jon Jones
Heidi: Jon Jones
Alex: Jon Jones