Welcome back to another installment of Fightin’ Words, a column in which I take a look at the monthly UFC pay per view main card fights. This month, we take a look at UFC 210 emanating this Saturday from Buffalo, New York. With all of that being said, how about we take a look at the card?
UFC Lightheavyweight Championship: Daniel “DC” Cormier (18-1) vs Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-5)- This is a rematch from a fight that took place almost two years ago in which Johnson lit up and almost finished Cormier only for Cormier to weather the early storm and submit Johnson to a rear naked choke. Since the loss to Cormier, Johnson has defeated Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader and Glover Texeira all by knockout in one sided fights making it difficult not to give him another title shot while Cormier has beat Alexander Gustafsson and Anderson Silva both by unanimous decision. Johnson is what you can consider a one round fighter with maybe the most one punch knockout power in all of MMA and he says that he’s been working on his cardio but it’s tough to tell if he’s actually bettered himself in that area as he’s never gone more than two rounds since the first fight with Cormier. If Johnson can land early in this fight the way he did in their first encounter then he may be able to finish Cormier this time but if he gets overly aggressive and stays less composed then he needs to then he may gas himself out and leave himself susceptible to the same rear naked choke that has plagued him his entire career. Cormier may be 38 year old but he still has a lot of steam in his engine and knowing that he was able to survive a scare in the first fight with Johnson only to drag the fight into deep water and snatch the submission should give him a great deal of confidence going into this rematch. Cormier is one of the best wrestlers that this sport has ever seen and I think he can get the takedowns against Johnson again here but he’s likely going to eat some big punches and kicks in attempting the takedowns. Much like the co-main event, I’ve gone back and forth on this fight since it was announced but I feel that Johnson has corrected some hole’s in his game enough since their first meeting and he should be able to put Cormier away in the first or second round for another highlight reel stoppage and await the return of Jon Jones in his next fight later this year.
Prediction: Johnson by knockout
Chris “All American” Weidman (13-2) vs Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi (41-6-2)- Fantastic fight between a former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman coming off two TKO losses in a row against top ten middleweight Gegard Mousasi whose won six of his last seven. Weidman is a big middleweight with a terrific wrestling game but he’s also very sound on his feet and comfortable with a fight playing out there while Mousasi is a very good striker with an aggressive ground game which should make this fight pretty entertaining. Despite being solid on the feet Weidman should look to take this one to the mat and keep Mousasi on his back as Mousasi is far more talented than Weidman if the fight remains upright. Mousasi has never been known for his takedown defense but he is very active of his back with submission attempts, elbows and up kicks all of which could give Weidman problems. Once a dominant middleweight, Weidman has fallen on tough times as of late with back to back losses to Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero and even though Mousasi may not be as great of a fighter as either of them, he’s still capable of beating Weidman. Since this fight was announced I’ve gone back and forth on it but I currently side with Mousasi who may surrender the first round or two but eventually find his groove and light up Weidman on the feet for a late stoppage due to strikes.
Prediction: Mousasi by TKO
Cynthia Calvillo (3-0) vs Pearl Gonzalez (6-1)- Strange fight to have on the main card between two young prospects in the UFC’s women’s straw weight division. Both of these girls are finishers as eight of their ten fights have come via stoppage and it’s likely that this fight ends similar. Despite having less experience than Gonzalez, Calvillo has already fought inside the UFC picking up a first round submission victory over Amanda Bobby Cooper whereas Gonzalez is making her UFC against Calvillo. Given the fact that “UFC jitters” is a very real thing, I think Gonzalez’s first foray into the octagon does not go the way she expects and Calvillo’s training with a top camp like Team Alpha Male sees her snag another early submission victory moving her up in a very competitive division.
Calvillo by submission
Pitbull” Alves (21-11) vs Patrick “The Predator” Cote (23-10)- Great bit of match making here between two hard hitting strikers in need of a win. After a failed drop to lightweight, Alves returns to welterweight on Saturday against Patrick Cote whose coming off a loss to Donald Cerrone in his last fight. These guys are both good on the ground but it’s likely that this one plays out on the feet where it will come down to the heavy hands and solid chin of Cote against the thunderous leg kicks of Alves. Alves has spent a lot of time in the last couple years on the sidelines nursing various injuries and at this point it almost seems like he’s got one foot out the door when it comes to his career and Cote is not the type of fighter you want to face if your second guessing the amount of time you have left in this sport. Cote may not be the fighter he was a couple years ago but he’s still a very durable and will not fade whereas Alves has always had cardio issues and tends to fade as fights progress. I can see either guy getting the knockout victory here but I think Cote is the logical choice to take two of three rounds or get the late stoppage via strikes.
Prediction: Cote by unanimous decision
“Ill” Will Brooks (18-2) vs Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira (21-7-1)- This is a pretty interesting fight as several failed attempts at making weight in the featherweight division has led to Oliveira forced to move back up to lightweight. Brooks is 1-1 inside the UFC since coming over from Bellator and he didn’t exactly look great in either of those fights. A former Bellator lightweight champion, Brooks has so far failed in proving that he’s a top five lightweight but a win here will put him back into contention. Brooks has solid hands and a great wrestling game both of which will have to be perfect against the lanky submission specialist in Oliveira. If Brooks can keep Oliveira at a distance and choose his takedowns and strikes from the outside wisely then this is a good match up for him but if he’s careless then Oliveira has all the tools to finish this one on the mat. Tough fight to call but I like Oliveira for the first or second round submission.
Prediction: Oliveira by submission
Myles Jury (15-2) vs Mike de la Torre (14-6-1)- Prediction: Jury by TKO
Kamaro “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman (9-1) vs Sean “Tarzan” Strickland (18-1)- Prediction: Usman by unanimous decision
Patrick “Durkin” Cummins (8-4) vs Jan Blachowicz (19-6)- Prediction: Blachowicz by TKO
Katlyn Chookagian (8-1) vs Irene “Robles” Aldana (7-3)- Prediction: Chookagian by unanimous decision
Charles “Boston Strong” Rosa (11-2) vs “Hurricane” Shane Burgos (8-0)- Prediction: Rosa by split decision
Gregor “The Gift” Gillespie (8-0) vs Andrew Holbrook (12-1)- Prediction: Gillespie by unanimous decision
Josh Emmett (11-0) vs Desmond “The Predator” Green (19-5)- Prediction: Emmett by unanimous decision
“Gladiator” Magomed Bibulatov (13-0) vs Jenel Lausa (7-2)- Prediction: Bibulatov by unanimous decision
Well that’s it that’s all for this edition. Hopefully you enjoyed the column and make sure to pop in next month for a preview of UFC 211: Miocic vs Dos Santos 2. Take care everyone!