Main Card (PPV)
Daniel Cormier vs. Derrick Lewis
It’s fun to see Lewis make his way to a heavyweight title fight, but really this feels like a fight that was put together simply to fill a space rather than because it makes sense or is likely to be competitive.
Of course Lewis possesses huge power in his hands, so Cormier will have to be wary of that all times, as even though ‘The Black Beast’s’ cardio is dreadful, he’s still dangerous even when he’s running virtually on empty.
Aside from that Lewis has nothing for Cormier though and it’s likely to be a long night for him if the champion uses his enormous grappling advantage to wear his opponent out against the cage, take him to the mat and maul him.
Lewis gets tired quickly anyway, but someone like DC will sap him even quicker than he’s used to, and he can contend with him on the feet too if he so chooses.
Essentially Cormier can pick his route to victory here, and which ever way he goes I’d expect it to be all over and done with inside of two rounds – with a submission being the most likely finish.
Prediction: Daniel Cormier wins by submission in Rd2 – BET NOW
Chris Weidman vs. Ronaldo Souza
‘Jacare’ was brought in on relatively short notice for this fight, but the good news is that he was already preparing to fight David Branch on the main card, so he’s still in peak condition to face the former champion.
That being said, ‘Jacare’s’ ‘peak’ perhaps isn’t what it once was at almost 39-years-of-age, showing signs of slowing down and having a diminished gas tank in some recent outings.
The 34-year-old Weidman has also had his issues though, being stopped several times by strikes over the past few years, something that simply hadn’t happened before then, although he did have a morale-boosting win over Kelvin Gastelum last time out.
Striking wise both fighters like to apply pressure, but I favor Weidman to be more effective at striking, and also to have the better cardio in order to continue to push the pace later in the fight as well.
Of course Souza is also an exceptional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist, but Weidman is also an excellent grappler in his own right and has the wrestling edge, so he won’t be afraid to go to the mat if required.
I see this being a close fight, but I believe Weidman will have the edge, particularly in the second and third rounds as ‘Jacare’ starts to run out of steam, leading him to a decision victory.
Prediction: Chris Weidman wins by decision – BET NOW
David Branch vs. Jared Cannonier
Cannonier comes into this fight on short notice and is also dropping down a division to middleweight after initially starting out as a heavyweight and then moving to light-heavyweight.
Cannonier has good power and it’ll be interesting to see how that translates at 185lbs. However he’s vulnerable on the mat and that’s likely to be an issue against Branch, who is something of a jack-of-all-trades, but tends to be at his best when it comes to grappling.
Branch’s takedowns aren’t the best, but neither is Cannonier’s defense and so he should be able to get him to the mat and from there he will be in control and a submission victory could well be within his grasp before the fight ends.
Prediction: David Branch wins by submission in Rd3 – BET NOW
Jack Marshman vs. Karl Roberson
This fight was originally scheduled for the prelims, but was risen up to main card status due to other match-ups falling through.
It’s more than likely that this fight will play out entirely on the feet, though Roberson does pose a submission threat should he be coming off second best standing.
Marshman is a tough customer with far more experience and he’ll be willing to trade toe-to-toe in search of a finish, but based on what we’ve seen of him so far I favor the fresher, hard-hitting Roberson to land the shots that will lead him to a TKO stoppage victory in the second round.
Prediction: Karl Roberson wins by TKO in Rd2 – BET NOW
Israel Adesanya vs. Derek Brunson
The undefeated Adesanya is a lot of fun to watch with his flashy, creative kickboxing style and even in his relatively brief tenure in the UFC to date he’s also shown noticeable improvements in his wrestling too.
That makes him a tricky opponent for Brunson, who has big power, but lacks solid technique behind it and his telegraphed offense and flimsy defense could make him an easy target for Adesanya’s precision striking.
Meanwhile, Brunson’s best bet would be to try and test Adesanya’s wrestling, but recent fights suggest the kickboxer’s takedown defense is improving and there’s a good chance Brunson will get lured into the striking battle instead and get picked apart and finished inside of 10 minutes.
Prediction: Israel Adesanya wins by TKO in Rd2 – BET NOW
(Predicted winners in bold)
Jason Knight vs. Jordan Rinaldi
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Sijara Eubanks
Julio Arce vs. Sheymon Moraes
Ben Saunders vs. Lyman Good
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
Matt Frevola vs. Lando Vannata
Shane Burgos vs. Kurt Holobaugh
Brian Kelleher vs. Domingo Pilarte