CURRENT RECORD 162-91-3
Fresh from Fight Night 102 on Friday, UFC 206 follows up in Toronto, Canada on Saturday. This card has suffered a bit with a lack of appeal beginning with the early flirtations of GSP making a return to now Daniel Cormier and “Rumble” Johnson’s title fight being cancelled through injury. The decision has now being made that Saturday’s main event will contest for the interim featherweight title, even though Conor McGregor was stripped of his title and Jose Aldo became the new champion, so what need is there for an interim champ? Do the UFC not do “number one contender” fights anymore? Do they just hand out belts whenever they feel necessary? Who knows? But what I do know, despite all this, is we have an excellent card that is topped off with a thrilling main event between Max “Blessed” Holloway; who is on a nine fight winning streak and former lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. In the co-main event Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will make up for the disappointment of his cancelled fight at UFC 205 when he takes on Matt Brown in a Welterweight bout. Elsewhere on the card there are interesting match ups between the returning Tim Kennedy and Kelvin Gastelum, two top light-heavyweight prospects will throw down as Nikita Krylov and Misha Cirkunov clash and Cub Swanson and Doo Ho Choi will do battle in a Featherweight fight. A stellar line up of fights that’s not to be missed, so be sure to be tuned in.
As always, I will now break down all the main card fights, give my predictions and of course, put my own “Armchair Expert” title on the line.
MAX HOLLOWAY vs. ANTHONY PETTIS
This is a match made in featherweight heaven. Max Holloway finally gets his chance at earning a belt (an interim belt) but a belt nonetheless. The Hawaiian native has been cleaning out the division since losing a decision to Conor McGregor in 2013, winning nine straight. Holloway has the whole package as a mixed martial artist; his boxing is impeccable and his skills on the mat are just as dangerous. This will be surely his toughest fight to date though as he takes on the former lightweight champion; Anthony Pettis. “Showtime” only defended the lightweight belt once, before being dethroned and dismantled by Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 185.He then followed that loss up with another pair of losses to Eddie Alvarez and Edson Barbosa before making the drop to featherweight where he successfully debuted by submitting Charles Oliveria. On his day Pettis is one of the finest fighters on the roster; he has the skills in abundance and a host of highlight reel knockouts but in those three losses in a row, he was made to look ordinary. Pettis works best from range but in those three defeats his opponents got up close and bullied him; something I expect Holloway to do. Holloway won’t sit back and let Pettis dictate the pace of the fight and I expect “Blessed” to hit and move throughout this fight and frustrate Pettis. Neither of these men have ever been knocked out and I don’t think that will change here, I think Holloway does enough damage throughout the five rounds to win the decision.
Holloway by decision.
DONALD CERRONE vs. MATT BROWN
“Cowboy” will be raring to go after the frustration of UFC 205 and despite the strange and unexplained eye injury he seems to have, will be looking for his fourth victory at welterweight. This match up will suit Cerrone better as he is taking on a fighter who is in decline. Matt Brown is still a dangerous opponent to face but “Cowboy” is just about better than him in all aspects of the game. Cerrone is virtually the complete fighter; his hands are solid, his kicks are wicked, he is comfortable anywhere on the ground and he just loves a fight. Matt “The Immortal” Brown has only won once in his previous five fights and has been submitted and knocked out in his last two. Brown is an experienced fighter with a feared ground game but nothing has been clicking for him as of late. Brown always brings the fight and he will be a tough hurdle for Cerrone to overcome but I expect Cerrone to have enough in his locker to pick him off and perhaps even get the finish. I’m going with a complete domination from “Cowboy” who gets the nod from the judges.
Cerrone by decision.
CUB SWANSON vs. DOO HO CHOI
“The Korean Superboy” Doo Ho Choi is one of the rising talents of the featherweight division. At only 25 years of age, Ho Choi has amassed a record of 15-1; 12 of which has come by knockout and is currently on a 13 fight win streak. He is a fearsome striker with lightning quick hands and swift combinations. His opponent on Saturday is Cub Swanson, a former title challenger who has fought and beaten some of the best at 145pounds. After winning six straight, “Killer Cub” then experienced back to back losses for the first time in his career but has since bounced back with two consecutive decision victories. Swanson is one of the toughest and grittiest featherweights around and he has serious power but he often leaves himself open for the counter and that’s something I think Ho Choi will capitalise on consistently. If Ho Choi could get the finish he would be making a big statement but Swanson’s not an easy fighter to finish and I’m sticking with a hard fought decision victory for “The Korean Superboy”” here.
Ho Choi by decision.
TIM KENNEDY vs. KELVIN GASTELUM
Both these fighters suffered disappointments at UFC 205 but for very different reasons. Tim Kennedys fight was cancelled because of Rashad Evans not getting medical clearance whereas Kelvin Gastelum’s fight was called off because he was, yet again, obnoxiously over the weight limit. Because of his failure to make weight Gastelum is now moving up to middleweight; a division he has fought at before. Gastelum is young, hungry and a real handful and if he could just manage his weight issues he could be a serious contender. He is a strong southpaw with a good wrestling base; something that will come in handy against Tim Kennedy. Kennedy is a 37 year old army ranger who hasn’t fought in over two years; when he lost to Yoel Romero, a fight more commonly known as “Stollgate”. Kennedy is steady on the feet but his pedigree is his wrestling and I expect him to utilize this for this fight. I don’t think Kennedy will look to stay on the feet too long with Gastelum and will take every opportunity to take the fight to the mat. If he gets him down and keeps him there he will look to lock in a submission and end this early. I think Kennedy will be successful and should win it by submission.
Kennedy by submission.
JORDAN MEIN vs. EMIL WEBER MEEK
Emil Weber Meek will don the Reebok uniform for the first time as he prepares for his UFC debut as he takes on Canadian Jordan Mein. Weber Meek holds an 8-2 record; 7 by knockout and in his last outing he surprised the world by stopping submission machine Rousimar Palhares. “Valhalla” is a tough fighter with crisp boxing, his wrestling isn’t on par and still needs improvement but he seems to be progressing with each fight. Jordan Mein is a veteran of 39 fights; 29-10, he has a solid game based around his heavy hands and decent wrestling. Mein will surely look to exploit Weber Meeks ground game and test his abilities but if Weber Meek reacts like he did to Palhares’ takedown attempts this could be a quick fight. I think Weber Meek will be expecting the takedown and looking to catch Mein as he dives in resulting in yet another stoppage victory for the Norwegian.
Weber Meek by knockout.
Best of the Rest.
Nikita Krylov vs. Misha Cirkunov
Krylov to win.
Oliver Aubin-Mercier vs. Drew Dober
Aubin-Mercier to win.
Valerie Letourneau vs. Viviane Pereira
Letourneau to win.
Mitch Gagnon vs. Matthew Lopez
Gagnon to win.
John Makdessi vs. Lando Vannata
Vannata to win.
Jason Saggo vs. Rustam Khabilov
Khabilov to win.
Zach Makovsky vs. Dustin Ortiz
Makovsky to win.
Bet of the Day.
The adventurous bet: all 12 predictions in an accumulator is about 336/1.
The inbetweener bet: Makovsky, Khabilov, Vannata, Ho Choi, Cerrone and Holloway all to win is 10/1.
The conservative bet: Holloway to win on points is 8/5.
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