Main Card (PPV)
Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington
On Saturday night, Nunes will be attempting to secure the third defence of her bantamweight title Saturday night and extend her unbeaten run to seven fights against Pennington, who is coming in off a four-fight winning streak.
’Rocky’ is a solid, dependable and durable fighter who is at her best on the feet, being a capable boxer who can also work well from the clinch, but she doesn’t possess a whole lot of stopping power.
On the other hand, Nunes is fast and has fight-finishing power in her strikes together with a natural killer instinct – though cardio has been a concern for her at times in the past.
Pennington is far from helpless on the mat, but I do believe Nunes has a significant advantage there and will waste little time in swooping in for a submission if the opportunity presents itself.
Pennington has done well to get to this stage in her career, but I do feel that Nunes will prove to be a step too far and I can see her troubling ‘Rocky’ on the feet and then finding a finish on the mat inside of three rounds.
Prediction: Amanda Nunes wins by submission in Rd3 @ $31 – BET NOW
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Ronaldo Souza
Despite a belief that he’s better suited to welterweight, Gastelum has shown he has the speed and power to put people away at 185lbs.
As such, Jacare will have to be wary of Gastelum’s offensive threat on the feet, even though the Brazilian’s striking has made significant strides over the years and possesses good agility and movement.
Of course, Jacare’s biggest strength is his world class BJJ and with Chris Weidman having submitted Gastelum in the past year, together with some question marks over his ability to consistently defend takedowns, that bodes well for Souza.
Still, I think Gastelum will make a competitive fight of it and certainly could have a good chance of winning if he remains upright, but overall I feel it’s the Brazilian whose grappling prowess will enable him to emerge with a decision victory.
Prediction: Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza wins by decision @ $5 – BET NOW
Amanda Cooper vs. Mackenzie Dern
Mackenzi Dern is a decorated BJJ champion, while Cooper’s three losses to date have all come by way of submission, so it’s not hard to see what the hotly tipped prospects gameplan is going to be here.
That means Cooper has to do everything she can to stay on the feet, and if she does so then her boxing could well pose problems for Dern, who is clearly still very raw as a striker.
Dern’s defense in particular leaves a lot to be desired, so the quicker she can get the fight to the mat the better, and I think she will do just that and wrap up an early submission victory.
Prediction: Mackenzie Dern wins by submission in Rd1 @ $4.50 – BET NOW
John Lineker vs. Brian Kelleher
This should be a fun fight between two bantamweights who don’t like taking a backward step and will be constantly looking to put their opponent under pressure on the feet.
There’s no doubt Lineker has the bigger power though, and while his offense can be somewhat reckless at times he’s also got a tremendous chin, so Kelleher is going to have his work cut out for him if he’s looking to fight fire with fire.
That being said, though Kelleher doesn’t have the same punching prowess as ‘Hands Of Stone’, he is durable and has never been stopped by strikes, while he’s also got a wrestling and submission game at his disposal that he’d be wise to use here.
Still, Lineker is reasonably well-rounded too and I think landing the bigger punches on the feet will lead him to a competitive decision victory.
Prediction: John Lineker wins by decision @ $2.25 – BET NOW
Vitor Belfort vs. Lyoto Machida
For his retirement fight, Belfort goes up against another Brazilian star at the tail-end of his career in Machida.
It’s pretty obvious at this stage that neither fighter is at their best at this point. Belfort is still dangerous early with his power striking and finishing instincts, but his tendency to run out of steam is troubling and he’s also more vulnerable to being stopped than he was in the past.
Machida’s chin has also markedly deteriorated too though, and it feels like he’s not as sharp as he once was too, which is a real problem for a reactive counter-striker.
Belfort likes to play off his opponent too though, so this fight could actually end up being a bit of a stalemate at times as both look for the perfect moment to attack.
When all is said and done though I think this is the kind of fight that will better suit Machida, and though I have concerns about his ability to take a punch I believe he’ll edge out a tentative striking battle from range to emerge with a decision victory.
Prediction: Lyoto Machida wins by decision @ $2.88 – BET NOW
(Predicted winners in bold)
Cezar Ferreira vs. Karl Roberson
Junior Albini vs. Alexey Oleynik
Nick Hein vs. Davi Ramos
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Sean Strickland
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
Warlley Alves vs. Sultan Aliev
Jack Hermansson vs. Thales Leites
Ramazan Emeev vs. Alberto Mina
James Bochnovic vs. Markus Perez