CURRENT RECORD: 57-33-1
This weekend the UFC will make its long awaited return to Buffalo, New York for UFC 210. Headlining this stacked card is a light-heavyweight title fight between the champion Daniel Cormier and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. These pair first met at UFC 187 with Cormier taking on the heavy hitting Johnson for the vacant light-heavyweight title. After an early reminder of the power “Rumble” possesses, Cormier then reverted back to his roots; dragging Johnson to the mat and ultimately making him tap in the third round to claim the belt. Acting as co-main event will be a barnburner of a middleweight showdown between former champion Chris Weidman and “The Dreamcatcher” Gegard Mousasi. Elsewhere on the card, there are fantastic match ups between Thiago Alves and Patrick Cote, Patrick Cummins squares off against Jan Blachowicz and in the lightweight division Will Brooks will take on Charles Oliveira. An exciting night of fights, topped off by a thrilling title fight, so be sure to be tuned in so you don’t miss out.
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.
DANIEL CORMIER vs. ANTHONY JOHNSON
In the absence of Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier has established himself as the king pin of the light-heavyweight division. The only blemish on the record of DC is that loss to Jones but since then he has won three straight, including defeating Anthony Johnson. When Johnson and DC first squared off, the fight played out as many expected, “Rumble” caught DC early but Cormier weathered the storm and eventually ground Johnson down, forcing the tap to claim the victory. Just like the last encounter; this match-up is effectively raw power versus dominant wrestler. Cormier has now felt the power of Johnson and I doubt he will want to feel it again, so I’m expecting him to come looking for the takedown from the get go. The best chance for “Rumble” here is to clip him early again but be careful not to gas himself out with the follow up; he can’t run out of steam and most importantly he needs to avoid those takedowns. Johnson has a lot more about his game then just knockouts but I don’t believe he can out class Cormier anywhere else. For me I feel this fight will go much the same as the last, Johnson will chase the knockout, empty his gas tank, get taking down and possibly submitted again.
Cormier by submission
CHRIS WEIDMAN vs. GEGARD MOUSASI
This is the perfect matchup for a middleweight division already littered with potential title challengers. Mousasi has been on a tear of late; after suffering a surprise defeat to Uriah Hall in 2015, he bounced back by winning his next four straight and the last three of those by knockout. “The Dreamcatcher” is a finishing machine; ending 34 of his 41 victories early. While Mousasi has been riding high, the same cannot be said for Chris Weidman. “The All-American” went 10-0 to claim the middleweight strap in 2013 and followed that up with three successful title defences, before Luke Rockhold put him to the sword at UFC 194. After an eleven month absence due to injury, Weidman next stepped inside the octagon to face Yoel Romero at UFC 205 but again he would suffer defeat, this time by a brutal flying knee knockout. After recording two consecutive stoppage losses, Weidman is in desperate need of a victory; his back will be up against the wall for this one. Gegard Mousasi generally doesn’t have many weakness’ but the one thing that has let him down in the past, and could be a major factor in the outcome of this fight, is his wrestling. Weidman is an exceptional wrestler and I expect him to play it safe here and stick to his strengths. But I still feel that once Mousasi is able to stay off his back, he will be able to inflict enough damage to claim the victory, and possibly another knockout too.
Mousasi by knockout.
CYNTHIA CALVILLO vs. PEARL GONZALEZ
Cynthia Calvillo impressed in her UFC debut, submitting Amanda Cooper in just three minutes to extend her unbeaten record to 4-0. Despite only having four pro fights to her name, Calvillo boasts and amateur record of 5-1 and the product of Team Alpha Male comes highly regarded by head coach Urijah Faber. Calvillo, like most at Team Alpha Male, is an extensive grappler but more recently she has shown progress in her stand up. Making her UFC debut opposite Calvillo on Saturday is Pearl Gonzalez. After losing her MMA pro debut in 2012; Gonzales has since racked up six straight victories, five ending inside the distance. Gonzales is another with a solid wrestling background and is always searching to set up a submission. This fight will most likely be determined by who gets the advantage on the ground, for me I think that will be Calvillo. The team and individuals she trains with are far superior to that of Gonzales, that coupled with the strong improvements in Calvillo’s overall game leads me to believe she will be victorious come Saturday. I’m going with Cynthia Calvillo to remain undefeated and continue her rise up the strawweight ladder.
Calvillo by decision.
THIAGO ALVES vs. PATRICK COTE
Both these fighters are wily veterans of the sport with a wealth of experience inside the octagon. Thiago Alves returns to the welterweight division after an unsuccessful attempt at dropping to lightweight; missing the weight limit by seven pounds. In his prime, Alves was one of the finest strikers in the division, once racking up five consecutive TKO victories caused by knees, but a long injury layoff seems to have curbed his predator instincts of late. Patrick Cote has been in and around the top end of the rankings for some time and has fought some of the best talent the division has to offer. Prior to losing to “Cowboy” Cerrone, Cote had won three straight, the last two by TKO. This will mark Cote 21st UFC appearance, having gone 10-10 thus far. Both these fighters are now on the wrong side of 30, both are coming of losses and both will be eager to show they can continue fighting with the UFC. If Alves lets the shackles off, I can see him cruising this but Patrick Cote can never be counted out, he has shown a knack for grinding out decision victories before. But I’m sticking with Thiago Alves doing enough to get the win.
Alves by decision.
WILL BROOKS vs. CHARLES OLIVEIRA
This is one of the standout fights on the card and has all the ingredients to be Fight of the Night. Will Brooks moved from Bellator to the UFC in early 2016, with a big reputation and an impressive record of 19-1. After an unspectacular debut win against Ross Pearson, Brooks then suffered his first defeat in three years; a KO loss to Alex Oliveira. Brooks is a very versatile fighter, with controlled explosiveness but so far he has been too restrained and will need to let go of the reigns if he is to fulfil his title aspirations. Charles Oliveira has had a bad dip in form of late, only winning once in his last four. “Do Bronx” is a submission specialist but has been on the receiving end of his own expertise the last twice, tapping out to both Ricardo Lamas and Anthony Pettis. Oliveira will have a three inch reach advantage for this fight and this becomes important because everything he does comes disguised behind his jab. Brooks will need to work inside quickly and most likely tie him up and force him to the mat. If the fight gets there it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s over because Oliveira is still dangerous working off of his back so Brooks will need to remain wary. For me, I give the overall edge to Brooks and I’m expecting him to grind out another decision victory.
Brooks by decision.
Best of the Rest.
Myles Jury vs. Mike De La Torre
Jury to win.
Kamaru Usman vs. Sean Strickland
Usman to win.
Charles Rosa vs. Shane Burgos
Burgos to win.
Patrick Cummins vs. Jan Blachowicz
Blachowicz to win.
Gregor Gillespie vs. Andrew Holbrook
Holbrook to win.
Josh Emmett vs. Desmond Green
Emmett to win.
Katlyn Chookagian vs. Irene Aldana
Chookagian to win.
Jenel Lausa vs. Magomed Bibulatov
Bibulatov to win.
Bet of the Day.
The adventurous bet: All 13 predictions in an accumulator is about 513/1.
The inbetweener bet: Bibulatov, Emmett, Blachowicz, Jury and Cormier to win is 7/1.
The conservative bet: A Double Chance on Gegard Mousasi to win by KO or submission is 12/5.
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