Kamaru Usman (c) vs. Colby Covington for Usman's UFC Welterweight championship
Usman is the welterweight king. He is 19-1 and that one loss was his second fight in mma back in 2013. Since then he has been dominant. He has a wrestling background and holds an edge in that department over everyone he faces. Cormier tells stories of how Usman was hanging around the Olympic team back when he was a child. Not only does he have the wrestling, but his striking has come a long long way. He knocked Masvidal out cold (something that has never been done) in his last fight. That is really the first time we’ve seen the power of Usman, but if you watch the tape it was coming. He has really learned footwork and timing when it comes to striking. Has a great jab and can hang with everyone on the feet, especially with the threat of the takedown. Only 34. Is now training with Trevor Whitman and I LOVE that move
Colby is 16-2 and has given Usman his biggest test to date. He is brash, loves to talk shit and doesn’t mind being the heal. He rocks a MAGA hat and that has become a part of his character. He also has a wrestling base, but has learned to strike. He smothers opponents with pressure. Constantly throwing volume and attempting takedowns. Always moving forward. It’s an exhausting pace. After his loss to Usman he went and put a beat down on tyron woodly. Now woodly was way over the hill so who knows how much stock to put in that.
This is a rematch between two similar fighters. The first fight saw their wrestling neutralize (neither guy even tried for takedowns) each other. We saw the volume striking of Colby early and he was giving Usman some major problems. He hit him with a TON of strikes and wobbled the champ multiple times. Usman had his jab going early and was peppering Colby with it. Usman also did something I love and committed to body shots early. The jab paid off and opened up some more strikes for Usman. He broke colbys jaw with a nice straight right hand. Neither one of these fighters wanted to go backwards so we saw a ton of action and a crazy pace in the first fight. Both fighters threw well over 100 strikes and Colby actually out landed Usman. Cardio held up for both men, but Usman was able to finish Colby with only 50 seconds left in the fight. Colby was hurt bad, but I will say the ref called it pretty fast. Didn’t give Colby much a chance to last only 50 more seconds. I don’t expect the second fight to be similar. Usman knows Colby can cause problems for him on the feet and I think he will go for takedowns in this fight. Usman has also shown that he is still improving and I think his straight punches trump (pun intended) colbys more looping volume shots. Usman by finish in 3 rounds
Rose Namajunas (c) vs. Zhang Weili for Namajunas' UFC Women's Strawweight championship
Rose is the champ! She is still only 29 years old and is 10-4. She has fought ridiculous competition including two wins over Joanna, she fought andrade twice and got her revenge with a split decision in their second fight. She is super well rounded and is part of the new bread of fighters who started with training in multiple disciplines. She is a Submission ace. Legit a threat for a submission everywhere. She even has a flying armbar finish in her career. She is extremely athletic and her striking has become a problem for opponents. She is married to pat berry, who was known for his striking and you have to think it’s helped her. Her knockout of zhang was BEAUTIFUL. This is her second time as ufc champ and she claims she learned a lot from defeat and her road back. She is mentally tougher now. She also trains with Trevor Whitman who I love and he has multiple fighters on the card which I like.
Weili is 32 years old and she is 21-2 in her career. She is the former ufc champ and she is getting her rematch! Her road in the ufc has not been an easy one. She went through tecia Torres, Jessica andrade and Joanna before losing to rose in her last fight. Weili had some excuses for the fight and claims that the boos threw her game off. Going into the rose fight I was very high in weili. She had looked so good in all her fights, I didn’t see her losing anytime soon. She is very strong, has excellent stand up and is just good everywhere. She is now training with Henry Cejudo and the countdown show did a great job of showing how he is helping her with the mental aspect of the game.
I’m excited for this rematch. Are weilis excuses justified? Or are they just excuses. Has rose really improved this much? Can she handle being champ now? She says she can, but we shall see. On paper they match up so evenly it is hard to pick a side. I love that zhang is training with cejudo. He is working on her wrestling and overall mma game. Not only that but I think he can help her overcome this loss. I think we are in for a 5 round war and that is where I think the bet lies. Take the over. I also am debating taking zhang as the dog. Will be last minute bet
Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler; Lightweights
Gaethje is a guy we all know and love. He is 22-3 and is coming off a loss to khabib that saw him get dominated. Gaethje has a wrestling background that he legit never uses offensively. He likes to stand and bang. He is tough as hell and hits as hard as anyone in the division. He loves to throw leg kicks and he actually hit khabib with some big ones. He put a massive massive beat down on Tony Ferguson and his knockout against James Vick is one of my favorite highlights. He’s got some good wins in his career, but his best wins are against an over the hill Ferguson, an over the hill cowboy and he beat Edson who is better suited in the lighter weight classes. When he takes real steps up he has lost. He lost to Eddie Alvarez via strikes. He lost to Dustin via strikes and he got choked out against khabib. Gaethje does get to train with Usman everyday and they are fighting on the same card so both got the advantage of doing a camp together
Chandler is one of the most athletic and explosive athletes that the ufc has. His knockout of Dan Hooker was beautiful. He hits soooooo hard and is ridiculously fast. He has excellent boxing with great footwork. He can knockout anyone. His only problem is his chin. He can get hit. In his last fight he was beating Olivieras ass in that first round and almost got the finish. He went out in the second round he got caught by Oliveira and finished. This is exactly how Chandler fights. He lives and dies by the sword. He is not one dimensional and has excellent wrestling, good subs and brutal ground and pound. He uses strength and explosion in everything he does. Trains at Sanford mma
I see paths to victory for both guys. Chandler should have the edge in wrestling and can most definitely take Gaethje down and dominate there. Chandlers other path is to explode in and catch Gaethje with a power shot. Using his speed advantage to land his power shots first. Gaethjes path is to land his leg kicks, make it a little dirty and if it’s a firefight Gaethje has very heavy hands and can most definitely touch the questionable chin of chandler. I like chandler as the dog. Gaethje loses those true step ups in comp and I think this is one. Chandler by ko. A great bet is fight to not go the distance. One of these guys is getting finished
Shane Burgos vs. Billy Quarantillo; Featherweights
Burgos is coming off that brutal ko loss to Edson Barboza. It was one of the weirdest kos ive ever seen. Burgos had a delayed reaction and it was a little scary to watch. It’s only been 6 months since that loss and I have to wonder if that is a long enough break. He’s 13-3 and he’s coming off two losses in a row. He’s fought tough comp in the ufc, but he has loss to every step up. He’s a striker and is huge for the division. He looked pretty good in his loss to katar and katar is a great striker. Burgos rips to the body and has a nice jab. He’s aggressive and is willing to stay in the pocket. He is however hitable. He says he’s bringing a must win mentality into this fight. He has an amazing chin, but I think that might be starting to fail him. He relies on it too much
Billy Q is 16-3 and is a guy who is easy to like. He’s super aggressive, stays in his opponents face. Wings big looping punches, but also has a nice jab. He is constantly touching his opponents. He is a bjj blackbelt and is super tricky on the ground. He is crazy good in transitions and is a threat to finish the fight on the ground with subs or strikes. He has been training with legendary boxer Antonio tarver for this fight
This is a great matchup. We have Burgos who is huge and will have a 5.5 inch reach advantage in this fight vs wild man Billy q. Burgos will be able to counter Billy’s looping shots, problem is Burgos gets hit by everything. I don’t think Burgos took enough time off after his last brutal ko loss. Burgos has taken so much damage in his fights I think it’s adding up. Billy q will also have a wrestling and grappling advantage in this fight. Too many paths for an underdog. Give me Billy Q!!!!
Frankie Edgar vs. Marlon Vera; Bantamweights
Frankie is one of my favorite fighters of all time. He combines good wrestling, good boxing and a warrior spirit to make an “iron”. Fighter. He’s 40 years old and still doing the damn thing. He has fought as high a level opposition as you can in a career. He’s been successful at multiple weight classes, made his money and still has the will you compete and believes he can still be the champ. He’s one and one in his last two with his win coming over Pedro Munoz and his loss coming to Cory Sandhagen. We didn’t learn much from the Sandhagen fight because Frankie got caught with a perfectly timed flying knee that would have knocked anyone out. The Frankie that beat Munoz is a tough out for anyone. He’s super fast, has crisp hands and mixes in takedowns so well. At 40, coming off a knockout loss, you have to wonder how is already somewhat questionable chin will hold up. This is Frankie recounting the knockout to sandhagen “I didn’t really come to until I was in the back,” Edgar explained. “That is the first thing I remember. I’m sitting around the doctors going through that whole process with them, Mark and Ricardo are next to me and I’m like, ‘Mark, what happened?’ He’s like ‘You fought,’ and I kind of figured that but, I couldn’t remember who the f*ck I fought. I’m like ‘Who did I fight?’ He’s like ‘Sandhagen.’ I’m trying to remember training for the guy and I could not remember training for him. Since when was I supposed to fight him? I thought maybe I just took this fight on short notice or something. He’s like ‘Bro, two months. You’ve been training for this guy for two months.’ I just couldn’t wrap it around my head.” Scary stuff
Vera is 28 years old and is 2-2 in his last 4. He has been right on the cusp of contention. He just hasn’t been able to get the high profile win he needs. He won 5 fights in a row all by finish and then lost to song yadong. He then beat sean omalley, but that came with a controversial ending. Was it a fluke? Was it not a fluke. Then he fought Jose Aldo and lost to him. He fought Aldo tough in the standup, but got dominated in the grappling. Aldo back packed him for an entire round. His most recent fight was a decision win over davey grant. Vera is good everywhere. He has good submissions, but he shines in the standup. He rips to the body and throws heavy shots. He impressed me in his fight against Aldo.
This is a changing of the guard fight, but I’m not sure Frankie is ready to give it up so easy. Frankies best path is to put wrestle marlon and marlons best path is to out strike and hurt Frankie on the feet. I’m not sure Frankie is completely done but chito is a hard fight for him. Picking one side is tough because I like both fighters so much. I think it goes 3 rounds though. Take the over
Alex Pereira vs. Andreas Michailidis; Middleweights
Pereira is a 34 year old Brazilian kick boxer. He is only 3-1 in mma losing his first fight by rear naked. His 3 wins are all by tko. He has a tko win over Israel Adesanya by tko. This dude is a monster on the feet. He has been training with Glover Teixeira and Glover has been singing his praises. This is a quote from Glover "That guy is scary you know. He is scary with those four ounce gloves. Very strong, very powerful and very dedicated. He's incredible, man, the way he learned things. This is his first fight in the UFC [UFC 268], probably there's little nerves, little everything. But no doubt he's gonna be one of the top contenders very soon”
Andreas is 33 years old. He’s a Greek mma fighter with a record of 13-4 and he’s 1-1 in his short ufc career. He got knocked out by modestas Bukauskas and got a decision victory over kb bhullar. I have not been impressed by Andreas. He showed some decent power back in the day but nothing crazy.
Andreas only path to victory is to get this to the ground right away. Pereira will knock him out on the feet if he can’t and I’m pretty sure he won’t be able to. Pereira will be much stronger and more athletic and training with Glover has to help. Pereira by ko round 1
Al Iaquinta vs. Bobby Green; Lightweights
Raging Al is a tough dude. He’s 34 years old and is 14-6-1. He has fought very tough opponents in the ufc including Dan Hooker, khabib, Kevin Lee and Jorge masvidal and he was 2-2 in those fights. He arguably gave khabib his toughest fight and that was on very short notice. He’s a great boxer and has a wrestling background as well. Trains with Matt sera and ray luango. He hasn’t fought in the ufc since 2019 and said he has found that “depressing” he also does real-estate on the side and apparently does real well with it. He did compete in submission underground against Mike perry in a grappling fight. Perry was much bigger than al and al still almost won. Match went to OT and raging al had perry in an armbar at one point. Raging al is a well rounded fighter who is always a tough opponent
Bobby green is 35 years old 27-12-1 and is another guy who is a tough opponent for anyone. Brings the Diaz style and attitude to the cage, has great boxing and great submissions. Fights off his back well. He’s another one who has fought real good competition in the ufc. He is on a 2 fight losing streak to Moises and Fiziev. Bobby greens striking is slick though and I think he will have a big edge in the stand up
This should be a fun fight. Both guys like to talk some shit and I imagine neither guy will want to back down in this fight. I’m leaning toward Bobby Green, but the over prop is the bet all day. I would even like a sprinkle on a split decision prop if you can find anywhere that has that
Phil Hawes vs. Chris Curtis; Middleweights
Phil Hawes first introduction to the ufc was a head kick loss to Julian Marquez on dwcs. After that fight he won 3 in a row before getting a second chance on dwcs. He won this by first round tko. He’s an excellent wrestler. Junior college champ and wrestled briefly at iowa. He has tremendous power and a 77.5 inch reach. His last 2 wins were impressive over Imavov and Kyle Daukaus. He did get rocked in both of those fights and relied on his wrestling to get him through. Tons of round 1 knockouts. Fast twitch athlete
Chris Curtis is a striker and he’s bad ass. He accepted the fight with Hawes at ufc Vegas 39 on 2 days notice, made weight and then Hawes did not accept the fight. He trains with Sean Strickland and Strickland “begged” the ufc to keep him on the roster. He gets his shot against Hawes at Madison square garden. He’s 26-8 and has been fighting in the pfl. He’s 34 years old and he’s on a 5 fight winning streak with 4 stoppages. He has been out wrestled before. Curtis is a striker. He knows this is a style clash and has this to say “We are complete opposites. He’s a wrestler who is learning to strike and I’m a striker learning to wrestle. At the end of the day, though, he’s a wrestler, he does have the one KO, but he’s not really a guy to knock people out. I think he will come out, play for a little bit, and I will hit him and he will start wrestling. The question is who can do it longer? Can he wrestle longer or can I defend longer? I’ve fought a lot of wrestlers in my time so it’s nothing new to me and I’m the most experienced guy he has fought by far. I’m not too worried about it.”
Striker vs wrestler and I tend to favor the wrestler here. Hawes is a beast and has some good wins in his ufc career. He has been rocked standing, but has the wrestling to overcome that. I think he takes Curtis down early in this fight and dominates. He has a ton of power too. Hawes def wins and probably gets a finish
Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Nassourdine Imavov; Middleweights
Edmen is somehow still only 23 years old. He was a crazy prospect coming into the ufc undefeated and training “with” ronda rousey. He beat some good opponents in the ufc including Darren Stewart, Charles Byrd, jack marshman and brad Tavares. He is now on a two fight losing streak including Brunson and jack Hermanson. He showed massive massive heart in the Hermanson fight and I remember saying that this is someone I will bet on more going forward. He is a striker with heavy hands and super hard kicks. He’s still so young and he now has been spending a lot of time training at the performance institute and more importantly AKA. He has the work ethic, athleticism and toughness to be great.
Imavov is another young guy I am high on. He’s only 25 years old. He’s a Russian striker and he is 10-3. He’s 2-1 in the ufc with his one loss coming to Phil Hawes. He whooped Ian Heinisch in his last fight. He’s fast athletic and has power in his hands. Nickname is the Russian sniper and its a fitting nickname. He throws hands like a sniper.
This is a tough one to call. Two up and coming guys. I’m probably going to stay away from this one. I’m leaning Edmen. I think he may have a wrestling edge in this fight. Especially early. I suspect Imavov may be a little sharper on the feet, but both hit hard. Could be a fight to just sit back and enjoy
Ian Garry vs. Jordan Williams; Welterweights
Garry is an Irish fighter and he’s only 23 years old. He’s 7-0 with 5 finishes. He trains at Sanford mma and is a legit prospect. He won the cage warriors belt and he did it without a corner. His team Abandoned him (kind of sketched me out actually. Like wtf happened with that. Makes me question him mentally a little) and he went in and still fought and won a gritty fight. He is a standup fighter and is now working with henri hooft in that area. That can only make him better. He is also working with the coaches at Sanford and Gilbert burns, chandler and they are helping him in the grappling aspect.
Jordan Williams is 9-5 and just got dominated by Mickey gall. Williams has power in his hands and is a big dude. That is all he has going for him. He is not a good fighter
This is a set up fight for Garry. UFC wants to show him off and that’s why they picked Williams. They want him to be the new “Conor” Irish prospect at 23. Sky is the limit. I expect a dominant fight from Garry
Gian Villante vs. Chris Barnett; Heavyweights
Gian is NOT a heavyweight. He spent most of his ufc career at 205 and that’s where he belongs. He’s 0-2 at heavyweight and you have to wonder if he still puts in enough time in the gym to have a successful ufc career. He hasn’t fought high level comp at heavyweight either. Trains with Matt sera and those guys so he will have a teammate on the card. I usually take that as a positive. I guess we will have to see how out of shape he looks at weigh ins. He’s actually not a bad fighter anywhere it’s just is he dedicated.
Barnett is another fighter who should not be a heavyweight. He is only 5’9. He does have a 75 inch reach. Dude has long arms. He is a fat heavyweight. He does however, have fast hands. He’s very athletic, surprisingly and can do things you would not expect a guy of his size to do
Gian will be the bigger guy at heavyweight for once and I still think he loses. Barnett is going to be too fast and he is going to hit gian with some big shots. I think Barnett gets the finish here. I refuse to bet on a lazy heavyweight gian.
Dustin Jacoby vs. John Allan; Light Heavyweights
Jacoby is 33 years old he is 15-5-1 and is undefeated in the ufc with a draw against ion cutelaba (I thought he lost that). He proved me wrong in his last fight and looked excellent against Darren Stewart. He throws heavy leg kicks, has power in his hands and has good cardio. He is a meat and potatoes type of fighter. Good wrestling too
John Allan is 13-6 and is 0–1 in the ufc (he actually got a win over Mike Rodriguez, but it a nc because Allan popped for an estrogen blocker.) with a split loss to Roman dolidze. He’s a striker and has big power in his hands. Has good submissions too.
John Allan drew a very tough last minute replacement in Jacoby. His fight with Camur was way more winnable. I see Jacoby being better everywhere and maybe even getting a finish
melsik baghdasaryan vs bruno souza
Melsik is a killer. He has a TON of first round finishes with a bunch in under a minute. He’s a striker and throws heavy everything. Loves spinning techniques and throws everything with intent to kill. Has gassed before
Souza is taking this fight on short notice and is Lyoto Machidas understudy. He has a karate style and is a striker. He’s not bad, does not have the same power machida had
Melsiks biggest tests are against wrestlers that can tire him out. He can strike with anyone and will get a tko here. Like it in round 1
CJ Vergara vs. Ode' Osbourne; Flyweights
CJ Vergara is on a 5 fight win streak all by tko. He won in the first round, knee to the body on dwcs. He’s an exciting fighter with wins such as a spinning back kick followed by a flying knee. He has heart as well and has shown a tremendous chin in fights. Despite showing some good wrestling he prefers to keep it standing and does not shy away from a war. Really like Vergara as a solid addition to the ufc
Ode is 29 years old and is 9-4 in his career. He was a big time prospect with some very fancy submission wins. He’s very long and athletic. Has power in his hands, which we saw against Jerome Rivera. He has no good wins on his record. He has faced two very legit dude in the ufc in Kelleher and kape and he lost in the first round to both of them. He wanted to erase the loss to kape and is getting right back in there. He has been training at syndicate mma now for about a month. Have to wonder why he changed camps so close to fight time, but I do like syndicate .
Vergara is tough and I can see him dragging ode into deep waters and finishing him on the feet. He has the power to do it. I can also see ode being too big and too long and catching Vergara in a sub. Ode looked improved before getting finished by kape. I like the under and if ode wins I think it will be round 1