Main Card (PPV)
Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero
We’ve already seen this fight once before, with Whittaker extending his unbeaten record to 8 fights with a unanimous decision victory over Romero back in July of last year.
Romero has since rebounded by KO’ing Luke Rockhold back In February and that’s a testament to just how dangerous he will be in this second encounter, as his speed, athleticism and power can produce finishes in the blink of an eye.
Nevertheless, Whittaker has shown he can handle Romero already and he’s a major offensive threat himself on the feet on a more consistent basis as well as having terrific takedown defense that can foil the Cuban’s attempts to use one of his biggest weapons.
There are concerns for Whittaker though, given that he’s been out of action for a long time due to a knee injury and a bad staph infection, so it remains to be seen how he will be in that regard, but he’s never been anything but well prepared in the past, while Romero’s cardio can suffer as the fight goes on.
All in all it still feels like Whittaker is the smarter choice here by decision, though Romero can absolutely snatch the fight from his grasp at a moment’s notice with a lightning quick attack.
Prediction: Robert Whittaker to win by decision @ $3.25 – BET NOW
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington
This is certainly an intriguing interim welterweight title clash and it would be an impressive feat if the former lightweight champion Dos Anjos was able to also claim another belt in another division.
Meanwhile, Covington is looking for his first title and despite his abrasive, outspoken antics there’s no doubt that his overpowering wrestling and relentless pressure have made a big impact in the division so far.
There’s a reason that Dos Anjos has managed to do so well at both 155 and 170lbs though. He’s very well rounded, more so than Covington’s opponents to date, and though he may not have the wrestling advantage, he is stronger in most other areas and should have a particular edge with his striking.
Covington could stifle him on the mat, but if not Dos Anjos is going to win rounds with his complete mixed martial arts game and likely be the fresher fighter in the later rounds (‘Chaos’ has never gone further than the third), so I lean more towards his chances to emerge with a unanimous decision victory after 25 minutes here.
Prediction: Rafael dos Anjos wins by decision @ $4 – BET NOW
Megan Anderson vs. Holly Holm
It’s been a long time coming and now Megan Anderson does finally arrive in the UFC’s women’s featherweight division, and she heads straight into a tough fight with Holly Holm.
Anderson is going to be the one to put the pressure on here and I think that will actually suit Holm, who will be happy to stay on the outside, keep Anderson from being able to let her own offense to any great extent and will land on the counter and with short flurries of strikes to emerge victorious by decision.
Prediction: Holly Holm wins by decision @ $1.72 – BET NOW
Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa
It’s difficult to completely count out Arlovski even at this advanced stage of his career, because he continues to have a knack of getting back to winning ways even when all hope seems lost.
Nevertheless, I’m backing Tuivasa here. He moves well despite his size and hits thunderously hard, while also having a solid chin to back it up.
Arlovski is still a good technical striker and can put people away too, but I don’t have the confidence in his ability to absorb Tuivasa’s blows to pick him here.
Prediction: Tai Tuivasa wins by KO in Rd1 @ $2 – BET NOW
CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson
This may well be the worst fight on paper that the UFC has ever put on in the modern era.
Punk’s UFC debut against Mickey Gall was absolutely horrendous, but while you’ve got to admire his tenacity to have spent another year-and-half of his life preparing for his second bout, there’s little to suggest that this is going to be any better, and it’s somewhat alarming to hear him confess this week that he had too much anxiety to perform a pre-fight workout in front of a crowd.
Jackson is a novice too, and indeed he too looked awful against Gall in his debut. He does have a better striking background than Punk however, although he’s out of his depth on the mat.
Punk does have some BJJ to work with, that’s his best shot here, but the fight starts standing and I don’t have a great deal of faith in his ability to deal with any sort of a prolonged striking battle or work cohesively for takedowns. Therefore I’ll reluctantly pick Jackson to outstrike him, even though there’s not a whole lot to be enthused about from his perspective either.
Prediction: Mike Jackson wins by decision @ $4.20 – BET NOW
Prelims (Fox Sports 1)
(Predicted winners in bold)
Curtis Blaydes vs. Alistair Overeem
Claudia Gadelha vs. Carla Esparza
Ricardo Lamas vs. Mirsad Bektic
Chris de la Rocha vs. Rashad Coulter
Prelims (UFC Fight Pass)
Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith
Joseph Benavidez vs. Sergio Pettis
Clay Guida vs. Charles Oliveira
Dan Ige vs. Mike Santiago