I’m real excited about this fight tonight and even more excited about some of the fights on the undercard, most of which could be a PPV headliner in their own rights. For the sake of my own interest, I’m only going to dish out my thoughts on the 4 fights on the main card that I consider to be headline-worthy. Don’t get it twisted though, this entire card is stacked from Fight Pass Prelims, straight through to the main event.
Let’s get started…
Robbie Lawler vs. Donald Cerrone
Jesus Christ! When they originally teased this fight a while back, and then called it off, it was a real kick in the balls. But I remained patient, and hopeful it would happen, and now here we are. These are two of the biggest bad asses in the UFC and they are the real deal. They don’t just love to dish out punishment, it’s almost like they both actually enjoy taking a beating too.
Robbie has alway been as intense as they come, but he really put on a show in that bloodbath of a fight with Rory McDonald. He then followed it up with another ballsy performance against a worthy Carlos Condit, before being taken out by the current champ Tyron Woodley and losing his belt.
Donald Cerrone is best known for his fuck-it-all, wild man personality. He really burst on to the scene when he went on a tear basically accepting, and winning, a fight every 3 to 4 months from the end of 2013- May of 2015. Which was highlighted by his 2 wins in a matter of 2 weeks in January of 2015. I still remember the story of him waiting in Dana’s office after UFC 182 demanding another fight after he effortlessly avenged his teammates embarrassing loss to Myles Jury.
It is an overused term, but these guys are both warriors in the octagon. They both have good technique, but are a little rough around the edges. Both have great stand-up skill and have shown they can take it, as well as give it. But they both have flaws and have been exposed.
Lawler seemed to peak in that fight against The Red King (McDonald), and if you saw it for yourself you’d understand when I say that I think both fighters left a bit of their careers in the octagon that night. If you didn’t, it looked something like this…
Robbie is most likely on the down-side, while Cowboy looks reborn after moving up a weight class, despite a tough KO loss in his last fight.
Whoever wins this fight is most likely going to get a look for a title fight against the winner of Woodley vs. Maia later that night. That puts a lot on the line for both guys, which is why it’s a solid candidate for Fight of the Night.
Prediction: Cerrone KO – headkick
Cyborg vs. A Sheep
I can’t even pretend to be overly hyped about the actual fight. I don’t know anything about her opponent Evinger, but I do know that Cyborg is basically a wolf in sheep’s clothing… and it appears like she is going into the ring to fight a sheep. Normally I give a lot of respect to the underdog, but in this fight I don’t see it. But who doesn’t like to see a good old fashioned beat-down?
Prediction: Cyborg – Slaughter
Tyron Woodley vs Demian Maia
The Welterweight belt is up for grabs in this one.
As much as it pains me to say this, Tyron Woodley has proved a lot since winning the belt from Lawler back at UFC 201. Both his fights since then have been against a dangerous Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. In both of these fights he showed a new ability that he hadn’t displayed before… Patience. In both fights Woodley was deliberate with his striking and didn’t over-extend, or over-exert himself. He also showed that he isn’t afraid of defending against a quality opponent by immediately agreeing to a rematch with Wonderboy after their first fight ended in a draw.
Demian Maia is on a 7 fight win streak, with 3 out of his last 5 ending in submission. He is probably the quietest killer going in the UFC today. There is no doubt that Woodley has the advantage in the striking department, but Demian is untouchable on the ground. Woodley has also shown excellent takedown defense. The only problem is, Maia will take it to the ground however he can get it, and isn’t afraid to pull guard, or even mount because of his confidence on the ground.
For me, this is the toughest fight to call, so I’m going to give you my hope rather than prediction…
Hope: Maia Submission – something awesome (but probably RNC)
Which brings us to the main event…
Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones
Here’s the thing about this fight – No one in their right mind thinks DC has a chance. You can’t possibly.
DC has had a good time pretending to be the Light Heavyweight Champ. He even defended it a couple times against some quality opponents. However, the one true champ has returned from his exile and is here to take back what is rightfully his.
Say what you want about Jon Jones outside of the octagon; He is a coke sniffin’, shit talkin’, arrogant ass dude… But the dude can fight. In fact, he should be – and most likely is – the best fighter we have ever seen enter the octagon… And fans (including myself) love him for all of it. There is just something about a guy who can party and yet perform his job a high level that people enjoy watching. His talent level and personality even allows people to look past his ugly hit-and-run incident.
While on the other hand, DC is the nerd in the office who goes about his business quietly, does everything right, and can quickly suck the life out of the office christmas party by explaining that, “I don’t need to do alcohol to have a good time.”
…Shut up, Daniel.
DC once addressed a hostile crowd of boo’s aimed at him from Jones’ fans by saying,
“Guys, I have been sober. I haven’t done all these things. I haven’t wrecked my car. I haven’t been suspended. I didn’t get stripped from my championship. I didn’t do all those things. Guys, these are normal things that adult human beings do. You cheer this guy for saying he is not going to do these things any more. I have done this my entire life, but you boo me. Thank you. Thank you!”
… Shut up, Daniel.
Obviously he was met with even more boo’s. This is the fight game. People love the bad guy, especially when the alternative is a squeaky clean do-gooder.
Now, none of that has to do with the actual fight, but honestly it is what really fuels the fire for the excitement. DC was absolutely picked apart in their first match. Jones lit him up on the feet, and completely out-wrestled him, which was the only advantage DC had going into it. Since then, Cormier hasn’t added anything to his arsenal. He is the exact same fighter… An undersized, scrappy wrestler. And he will once again be facing the most complete fighter on the planet.
Prediction: Jon Jones TKO – elbows.
There you have it. Just a few thoughts one one of my favorite cards of the year so far.