Justin Gaethje vs. Dustin Poirier
Entertainment is virtually guaranteed when either of these two fighters step into the Octagon, so putting them in together should produce fireworks.
Though he was finished for the first time in his last fight, Gaethje remains an exceptionally tough customer who is more than willing to eat shots in order to land some of his own, and with 15 of his 18 career victories having come by way of strikes, he’s a dangerous man to go toe-to-toe with.
While Gaethje is something of a technical brawler, Poirier has a more refined approach, yet also has a high finishing rate in his fights, albeit with some of his 17 stoppage victories having come via submission.
The big concern here is that Poirier gets drawn into a stand-up slugfest, which Gaethje may well get the better of since he is the more durable of the two, although there’s always the risk that after so many wars that ‘The Highlight’s’ own ability to withstand a punch will now have diminished after his previous KO loss.
This is a close fight and Poirier could certainly win with slicker striking, being able to smoothly transitions between the different aspects of his MMA game, but I think Gaethje will be able to lure him into trading blows, and though he might find himself in trouble along the way, I think that’s the kind of fight he can emerge victorious in via a mid-fight stoppage.
Prediction: Justin Gaethje wins by TKO in Rd3 @ $12 – BET NOW
Carlos Condit vs. Alex Oliveira
’Cowboy’ Oliveira stepped in on just a couple of weeks notice to take this fight after Condit’s previous opponent Matt Brown withdrew due to an injury.
Condit has been on the verge of retiring at time recently, and after a year-and-half-out it certainly showed in his last fight against Neil Magny as he looked a step behind his former self, which doesn’t inspire much confidence.
Oliveira had an extremely tough go of it last time out himself against Yancy Medeiros, ending in a TKO defeat, and coming in on such short notice doesn’t help his chances, but he does have the striking to be competitive with Condit and crucially he can also work takedowns, which has been a notorious weak-point for ‘The Natural Born Killer.’
There’s an element of mystery about how both fighters are going to be in this fight given their respective circumstances heading into it, but I do think Condit has shown real signs of deterioration in recent years and if Oliveira shows up in relatively good shape then I think he can take advantage of that and emerge with a high-profile win on his record.
Prediction: Alex Oliveira wins by decision @ $2.50 – BET NOW
Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori
With his flashy striking style, kickboxing experience and impressive finishing record, Adesanya has quickly been marked out as one-to-watch in the UFC’s middleweight division.
This isn’t necessarily an easy match-up to get him his second win in the UFC though as the durable Vettori will be tough to put away on the feet and will be looking to get this fight to the mat, which is where the kickboxer will be at his weakest.
Vettori is definitely hittable on the feet, so I expect Adesanya to have some good moments in this fight, but I think the Italian’s forward pressure and grappling advantage will prove to be problematic for ‘The Last Stylebender’ and lead to him emerging with a decision victory.
Prediction: Marvin Vettori wins by decision @ $5 – BET NOW
Cortney Casey vs. Michelle Waterson
Waterson has been pushed as a potential strawweight title contender in the UFC, but two losses against top-flight opponents have set her back for now.
Now she’s going up against the 10th ranked Casey, who has had somewhat of a mixed run in the UFC herself so far, going 3-4 overall.
Casey will be the bigger, stronger fighter and hits harder too, though Waterson will be quicker and has good kicks.
On the ground Waterson is a threat from submissions, but Casey is no slouch on the mat and will be tough to take down, so I think this one is going to take place mostly on the feet and in the clinch, and as such I’m going with Casey to be the more active and effective there to secure a win on the scorecards.
Prediction: Cortney Casey to win by decision @ $2.40 – BET NOW
Prelims (predicted winners highlighted in bold)
Tim Boetsch vs. Antonio Carlos Junior
Muslim Salikhov vs. Ricky Rainey
John Moraga vs. Wilson Reis
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Brad Tavares
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
Matthew Lopez vs. Alejandro Perez
Gilbert Burns vs. Dan Moret
Luke Sanders vs. Patrick Williams
Arjan Bhullar vs. Adam Wieczorek
Dhiego Lima vs. Yushin Okami
Shana Dobson vs. Lauren Mueller
Ross Cole is one of the most prolific mixed martial arts writers in the world, having written more than 17,000 MMA news stories for MMA Insight, which he founded in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts, and reaching millions of die-hard MMA fans in the process. You can read more of Ross’s work at MMAInsight.com.