Ding ding! Here we go again, another week, another punch-face championship, this one with a title on the line, and this time for the heavyweight strap, a belt moved around more times than a Barca player’s bank account details.
It’s interesting to note that the title has only been successfully defended two times in a row on four occasions in UFC history – Velasquez, Lesnar, Couture and Sylvia each achieving the accolade before the obligatory third fight loss. With that in mind, let’s break down the chances of both fighters, and the others on tomorrow night’s card.
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Stipe Miocic(c) v Alistair Overeem
So many questions. On paper, one has to give the champ the nod; he seems the more durable of the two, better wrestling than the ‘Reem, and a decent enough boxer to boot. Throw in Alistair’s infamous weak chin and propensity to fade somewhat in the later rounds, and you’ve got another win for Miocic.
However, Overeem is the better pure striker, and if he stays away from a wrestling match, uses his crisp striking to punish in the clinch and keep range, then we could see another European champion by tomorrow night’s end. I’m going against the grain (and logic) on this one, and picking the Dutch ”horse-meat” enthusiast for this one. Don’t discount the chance of a head-kick in this one.
Alistair Overeem, TKO (5/4)
Fabrico Werdum v Travis Browne
Another heavyweight fight, one with possible title implications for the winner. Former champ Werdum looked God-awful in his loss to Miocic, a world class grappler who has succumbed to strikers fever in his later years, and, if he pursues the same gameplan, he can expect the same.
Browne, on the other hand, has a great habit of losing when he should win and vice-versa. His road to this fight has been patchy so far; but as long as it stays standing, I can see Mr Ronda Rousey beating the 39 year old former champ.
Travis Browne, TKO/dec (1/2)
CM Punk v Mickey Gall
Well, it’s a freak show, but to be fair to the UFC, freak shows are more of a blip than common practice (I’m looking at you, Bellator). If you’ve every really, really needed the question ‘can a man with no fighting experience beat a man with two professional fights under his belt?’, answered, well, here’s your chance.
Training footage of Punk has been notoriously light on actual training footage, and if the rumours are true, he stinks on his feet, but is a wizard on the mats. 2-0 Gall, on the other hand, is a (somewhat) known commodity; he comes to the table with windmilling punches and the pointless jumping into range of a rank amateur. This smacks of Couture v Toney a wee bit. Let’s not talk about this too much more
Gall, TKO (11/4) (or Punk by submission if you believe. If you JUST BELIEVE!)
Urijah Faber v Jimmy Rivera
Company man Faber has been sorted with another gimme, this time against the 19-1 Rivera, whose last 3 wins have been in the UFC against respectable mid-range opponents. Both men fans of decisions, so this may well go the distance. Hard to pick, but this time I think ‘Bro’ comes a cropper, to lose to ‘El Terror’. By decision. Or you can get risky, and bet on a sub.
Jimmy Rivera, decision (15/8)/ Urijah Faber, guillotine (11/2).
Jessica Andrade v Joanne Calderwood
My bias is showing. Very hard to pick between the two, so I’m going with wee Jo, who comes into this fight with a size and reach advantage. Plus because I like her.
Jo Calderwood, unanimous decision (9/4)
And the rest…..
Eye v Correia – Correia
Lentz v McBride – Lentz
Dollaway v Barroso – tough. Do or die time for Dollaway; three losses in a row – he’ll be getting sacked in the morning if he loses this. He’s fighting a guy who’s spent most of his career at LHW, so the weight cut may play a part in this. Shag it, I’ll say Dollaway
CB Dollaway by any means necessary (oh my foolish heart)
Bye for now!