UFC 223: The Cursed Card – Preview and Predictions

UFC 223: The Cursed Card – Preview and Predictions

I don’t know where to start.

It was all going so well just 10 days ago…

Quick timeline since then:

  • Tony wears sunglasses in doors and trips over some stuff and destroys his knee – out of UFC 223
  • UFC scrambles to find a replacement – In steps Max Holloway to save the day
  • Will Max make weight?
  • Khabibs crew rolls up on Artem Lobov (Conor’s friend) and slaps him or some shit? I dunno.
  • Conor hears about the confrontation – fills up a plane with Ireland’s finest and flies to Brooklyn.
  • Conor and his crew attack Khabibs bus, Conor throws a steel dolly through the passenger window and several fighters get injured by broken glass.
  • Max Holloway is denied medical clearance to fight – apparently the doctors thought it would be unsafe to continue his weight cut.
  • UFC scrambles to find a replacement – The world cries out for it to be Conor McGregor – In steps Anthony Pettis, after his opponent was injured in the Conor attack and removed from the card
  • Pettis can not make weight/was denied – UFC scrambles to find replacement
  • Only options left on short notice are Lightweights Paul Felder or Al Iaquinta – In steps Al Iaquinta… Poor guy.
  • Pettis and Felder are teammates so they will not fight – both fighters removed from the card.
  • It’s noted that Iaquinta weighed in at 155.2 lbs even though he was announced as 155 at weigh-ins. This means under NYSAC law he is OK to fight, but not officially eligible for the lightweight title on account of the extra .2 lbs.
  • Dana White says he doesn’t care what NYSAC says, if Al Iaquinta wins this fight he will make him the UFC Lightweight Champion.

And there you have it.  This once all-time card has been completely nerfed by several factors, mostly stemming from Tony Ferguson’s need to be a total dink and wear glasses in doors.  I honestly blame this all on him.

HOWEVER! This is still a good card. It isn’t what it could have been! But it is still a good card. Let’s take a look at the top 3 fights shall we?

Renato Moicano vs. Calvin Kattar

Renato Moicano vs. Calvin Kattar

Sleeper fight of the night. I’m willing to bet most people haven’t heard much about either fighter, but I have followed Calvin Kattar due to his local ties (from and fighting out of Methuen MA).  Kattar has won both of his only 2 fights in the UFC.  In both fights he was a sizeable underdog, and in both fights he completely dominated with a combination of great timing, accuracy and pace.

On the other hand, Moicano is coming off a shocking last minute loss to Brian Ortega.  In that fight Moicano had controlled most of the action in the 2nd and 3rd round but got caught by a guillotine choke after a half-hearted takedown attempt.  Moicano is certainly dangerous and looking to get back on track.

This is a tough fight to predict because I’m not sure we have seen enough Calvin Kattar to know what he is going to do on a consistent basis, and we have seen Moicano stand toe-to-toe with Jeremy Stephens and walk away victorious. With that said, I’m going with the local kid.  If he can stay consistent and put together another fight like his most recent one against Shane Burgos then I think he outlasts the power of Moicano and picks him apart.

Prediction: Calvin Kattar – Decision


Thug Rose vs. Joanna J

Thug Rose vs. Joanna J

With all the action surrounding the main event and everything happening with Conor McGregor, this fight has become an afterthought, and that’s borderline criminal.  This is a huge HUGE fight, and will cement someone’s legacy for better or worse.  There is no question that Rose soundly defeated Joanna to win the belt in their last fight, but there is question about whether or not she can do it twice.

In her time as champ Joanna defended the belt ferociously and looked mostly unstoppable. Joanna talked the talk and walked the walk.  When it came time to fight Rose her confidence and bravado were at an all-time high.  She was definitely drinking her own kool-aid.  Joanna went on to get KO’d by Rose and that put an end to all the noise.

This fight will either prove Thug Rose as a formidable champion, or put Joanna back in the driver’s seat of the division after a quick bump in the road.  I am more inclined to think it will be the latter, but would not be surprised either way.  I’m expecting this to easily take Fight of the Night bonus.

Prediction: Joanna J – TKO Punches


Khabib vs. Al Iaquinta

Khabib vs. Al Iaquinta


To think of what almost was… oh well.

Any chance to watch Khabib fight is a good day in my book. He is as dominating a presence as the UFC has ever seen.  Khabib is single handedly rewriting the science of ground and pound. He might even be the pioneer of GNP Science.  Sure, a lot of fighters have made their money off GNP, but none have been as physically dominating and technical as Khabib. It looks simultaneously effortless and impossible.  The pace and precision of his attacks are unmatched.

Al Iaquinta?  He has a puncher’s chance, I suppose… but then again so did most of Khabib’s opponents, and his 25-0 record would indicate that you need more than a puncher’s chance to beat this guy.  You need deadly striking. – You need a fearless approach – And you need a scary ground game…

– You need to be Tony Ferguson.




Prediction: Khabib – TKO GNP

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