What a card we have this weekend. UFC 214 is live from Anaheim, California and is headlined by the returning Jon Jones and his biggest rival the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier. The card also sees Tyron Woodley defend his belt against Jiu-Jitsu king Demain Maia. The vacant woman’s Featherweight title is up for grabs as Cyborg takes on Tonya Evinger. And Donald Cerrone takes on Robbie Lawler in what could be one of the best fights this year.
Josh Burkman vs Drew Dober
Official Prediction: Dober via unanimous decision.
Eric Shelton vs Jarred Brooks
Official Prediction: Brooks via decision.
Kailian Curran vs Alexandra Albu
Official Prediction: Albu by unanimous decision.
Andre Fili vs Calvin Kattar
Although Team Alpha Male’s Andre Fili has got off to a rough start in his UFC career, he recently beat Hacran Dias by decision to kick start some form. In this bout he faces Calvin Kattar who has taken this fight with less than two weeks notice. And for that reason I’m picking Fili to finish this fight.
Official Prediction: Fili by TKO, round 1.
Brian Ortega vs Renato Moicano
Both fighters here have perfect records. Moicano is coming off the back of a surprising win against Jeremy Stephens. Ortega is coming back from a drug suspension. Before his long lay off, Ortega wis finishing fights for fun and Moicano could be his for the taking. Moicano could capitalise on Ortega’s octagon rust, if there is any and win via decision but I’m gunna give the nod to Ortega to continue his fine streak.
Official Prediction: Ortega by submission, round 3.
Aljamain Sterling vs Renan Barao
This fight could be a cracker. At one point Sterling looked set for a title shot before slipping out of the title picture due to back to back defeats. Barao has also slipped out of the title picture having lost 3 out of his last 5 fights.
This fight is huge for both men as the winner is likely to enter the top 5 and the loser may struggle to ever return to the top.
Sterling will need to take the fight to the ground to win this one, but Barao’s superior takedown defence won’t allow for that. Barao will stuff Sterling’s takedowns all day long and win the fight using the kicks and jabs in his arsenal.
Official Prediction: Barao wins via unanimous decision.
Ricardo Llamas vs Jason Knight
Ricardo Llamas hasn’t had a lot of luck against elite level fighters, but against good fighters, Llamas is a killer. Jason Knight is not an elite fighter.
This fight has the potential to be a great slugfest as both men will give their all whilst they brawl. However, I give the edge to Llamas due to his better striker capabilities.
Official Prediction: Llamas via unanimous decision.
Jimi Manuwa vs Volkan Oezdemir
This fight was made for two specific reasons. Number 1 is that Manuwa would have a full camp and would step in if the main event collapsed, like it often does. Number 2 is that the victor here will go on to face the winner of the main event for the Light Heavyweight crown.
Manuwa has serious power and has knocked out his last two opponents Corey Anderson and OSP. Oezdemur is looking like a good prospect but I don’t believe he will be able to hang with Manuwa here. Manuwa will win by yet another KO and set up a Championship fight with whoever it may be.
Official Prediction: Manuwa by KO, round 1.
Robbie Lawler vs Donald Cerrone
It looks like we’re finally getting this huge fight between Robbie Lawler and ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. The fight was originally slated for UFC 205 and then UFC 213.
When Robbie Lawler steps into the octagon it will have been a year since his crushing defeat to Tyron Woodley. Cerrone is also coming off a devastating defeat to Jorge Masvidal.
Most fans will have Lawler as the favourite here due to his size and power advantage as well as his ability to take a beating and dish one out. I on the other hand fancy Cerrone on this occasion. He is a technically better fighter than Lawler and has the potential to out-strike him with his beautiful combinations. Cowboy will have to watch out for Lawlers wrestling and power and if he does I think he will win via decision.
Official Prediction: Cerrone via Decision.
Cristiano Justino (Cyborg) vs Tonya Evinger
It says a lot about the Woman’s Featherweight division that the Champion was stripped after only a few months due to not fighting Cyborg. This division was made for Cyborg. But that’s not to say she doesn’t have a challenge ahead, Evinger is 100% Cyborg’s toughest opponent to date and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Cyborg is a ferocious killer. 15 of her 17 wins have come via knockout. But Evinger is on a tear up of her own, winning her last 10 fights, with 7 of them being finishes. Evinger won the Invicta Bantamweight title in July 2015 and she has held it ever since.
Whilst Evinger has the tools to pull off an upset, I feel as though Cyborg is too powerful for her and UFC 214 will be the start of a long reign for Cyborg with her Featherweight title.
Official Prediction: Cyborg, TKO round 2.
Tyron Woodley vs Demian Maia
You know what they say, styles make fights. Tyron Woodley has excellent wrestling and is good standing up, with some real knockout power. Maia on the other hand has a world class ground game.
I’d imagine Woodley will try his all to keep this fight standing up where he has a significant advantage. Maia will try the opposite and would rather the fight took place on the ground. And this is where the fight will be won, whoever can dictate the fight to the way the want it played out will leave the octagon as the Welterweight champion.
I give the advantage to Woodley, I believe his wrestling is so good Maia may struggle to take him to the ground where he is able to win this fight. Nullifying Maia’s main arsenal means Woodley will be able to dictate the fight on the feet, out-striking Maia. The smart move will be to expect a decision win for Woodley, but I’m not sure Maia will be able to hang with Woodley for 25 minutes.
Official Prediction: Woodley retains the Welterweight title by TKO in round 4.
Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones
The Jones vs Cormier rivalry is perhaps the best we’ve ever seen in MMA, the verbal onslaughts the two produce has shades of pro wrestling and has been one of the most entertaining aspects of MMA over the past 2 years.
I tell you what wasn’t as entertaining, Jon Jones beating up Daniel Cormier for 5 rounds back in 2015. In my opinion Jones won every round at UFC 182 and the judges almost agreed by scoring it 4-1 unanimously in Jones’ favour. People talk about how good this rivalry is, which it is, but they always fail to mention how easily Jones beat Cormier back in January 2015.
Since that fight Jones has fought once whereas Cormier has fought 4 times, defending his belt twice in the process. There are a lot of question marks over how rusty Jon Jones may be. People claim that Jones’ performance against OSP was terrible and that if he performed the same way against Cormier he would lost, but he still won every round that night.
I don’t think rust will be an issue for Jones, he’s just too good. In the first fight Jones’ superior reach and height caused problems that Cormier couldn’t quite solve. Jones was also able to take Cormier down, which should have been the one advantage Cormier had, his superior wrestling.
2 years on and I think these very same problems will still be prominent for Cormier in this fight. I see Jon Jones’ winning by decision even though I wouldn’t rule out a submission win in the later rounds, especially as his Jiu-Jitsu has supposedly improved according to his coaches (but that could be a ploy to get Cormier to avoid takedowns). Jones reach will cause too many problems and he will out-strike Cormier throughout the 5 rounds, leading to his recapture of the Light-heavyweight title.
Official prediction: Jon Jones by unanimous decision.