UFC 213 is at the heart of International Fight Week. The UFC hosts some of their biggest fight cards during this week with a host of big names. Fight fans flock in numbers to Las Vegas for the event that stretches out across the week. Whether it’s the meet and greets or the big Saturday card.
However, this year doesn’t have that big fight feel. This year there is no Conor Mcgregor, no Brock Lesnar and no Anderson Silva. Instead we are left with a lacklustre main event of Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko, a fight we have already seen that failed to capture the imagination.
However, it is worth breaking the Saturday card down and finding a diamond in the rough and predict who will add a ‘W’ to their record.
The Fight Pass Prelims
Travis Giles vs James Bochnovic
Prediction: Giles by decision
Cody Staman vs Terrion Ware
Prediction: Staman by decision
Rob Font vs Douglas Silva De Andrade
Prediction: Font by KO, round 1
The Preliminary Card
Jordan Mein vs Belal Muhammad
Both men are lacking momentum, but Jordan Mein is seriously lacking momentum, losing his last two and winning only 2 of his last 5 outings. For me, Muhammad will able to control the tempo of this fight and deal with Mein relatively easily taking the win by unanimous decision.
Prediction: Muhammad by decision
Thiago Santos vs Gerald Meerschaert
Momentum may be in Meerschaert’s favour having won his last 7 fights, but I expect Santos to take this one. Meerschaert can maybe exploit Santos style by finding openings as he presses forward like a steam train. Mousasi did it to perfection but Meerschaert is not Mousasi and I question whether or not he has the tools to beat Santos on the feet, where this fight will take place. I expect Santos to win with an explosive KO.
Prediction: Santos by KO, round 1
Chad Laprise vs Brian Camozzi
Laprise is a brilliant well rounded fighter with great technique, he also has one of the best cornermen behind him in Firas Zahabi. Camozzi will be a game opponent looking to slow Laprise down with his brutal leg kicks. But I think Laprise is too good for him and will cause him problems whether it’s on the feet or on the ground.
Prediction: Laprise by decision
Travis Browne vs Oleksiy Oliynk
Browne hasn’t won since his controversial victory over Matt Mitrione in January 2016, and he has struggled to find some form since, losing his last three fights. Heading in to this fight Browne’s chin has to be questioned having lost by some brutal knockouts in his recent fights. However, I see this as the fight that gets him back in the win column, I see him outworking Oliynk and winning by a late stoppage or decision.
Prediction: Browne by KO, round 3
Anthony Pettis vs Jim Miller
This fight feels like it has come a few years too late, when it would’ve been an all out war between both men in their peak. Now both these warriors are starting to break. Before his loss to Poirier, Miller had won 3 straight and was looking to climb up the rankings. But it’s no secret he’s taken a considerable amount of damage over his career. Pettis has looked a shadow of his former self currently 1-4, in his last 5 fights, but in his defence he has faced some of the top guys at 155lbs and 145lbs.
Styles make fights and I expect Miller will look to take this to the ground whereas Pettis will aim to keep this on the feet. For me Pettis will take the fight by out striking Miller, the only thing that can stop him will be his crisis of confidence.
Prediction: Pettis by decision
Fabricio Werdum vs Alistair Overeem
This has the makings for fight of the night, it is a rubber match that dates back to 2006. The first match took place in Pride, the second fight took place in Strikeforce and the trilogy will finish in the UFC.
Overeem will need to keep this fight up on feet to have any chance of winning, if Werdum gets him on his back, it’s over, just like it was back in 2006. However, Werdum’s slick Muay Thai skills will cause problems on the feet and Overeem will need to be careful.
With the right game plan set out by Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, Overeem will take this one due to his better striking and footwork.
Prediction: Overeem by KO, round 2
Daniel Omielanczuk vs Curtis Blaydes
Blaydes is a top heavyweight prospect. He is an excellent well rounded fighter, with exceptional takedown skills.
This fight feels like it may well be an exhibition of Blaydes, as he takes down Omielanczuk at will and grinds him down for the win. However, Omielanczuk could outwork and outsmart Blaydes, using his experience, although unlikely.
Prediction: Blaydes by TKO, round 2
Yoel Romero vs Robert Whittaker
This is the most exciting fight on the card for me. And we’re lucky we get to have 5 rounds of it (possibly).
It’s safe to say that if Romero uses his world class wrestling and takes Whittaker down, it’s over and a fight with Michael Bisping will be set for the near future. But, Whittaker’s takedown defence is superb, so he may be able to hold Romero off, however unlikely.
If the fight stays on the feet, Whittaker holds the advantage. He is tactically the better striker and can cut away at Romero to slow him down. However, Romero is capable of sending Whittaker’s head to row Z at any point during an exchange. His KO win over Weidman was scarily sensational.
I have a feeling this will be the story of the young lion mauling the old lion. I think Romero will start to slow down and gas out in the latter stages of the fight allowing Whittaker to pounce with a TKO finish. But you can never count Romero out.
Prediction: Whittaker by TKO, round 5
Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko
What a year Nunes is having, this time last year she destroyed Miesha Tate to take the Bantamweight crown and in December she got her money fight blowing away Ronda Rousey and sending her into a likely retirement.
This is the rematch to the fight that took place at the famous UFC 196 card. Nunes took the win in that one, but the general consensus is that if the fight had carried on a few minutes longer, Shevchenko was winning it as Nunes had simply gassed out.
Nunes’ skills have improved drastically but we are yet to know if her cardio has improved with it, as we are yet to see her out of the first round of a fight since 196. If her cardio has improved then I have confidence Nunes can take this one and continue her amazing run of form. However, if it hasn’t I see Shevchenko taking the fight in the last 3 rounds.
If Nunes doesn’t get the KO in the first two rounds then I feel that ‘Bullet’ takes the belt off her.
Prediction: Shevchenko by decision