The UFC is back for the third straight week, as Jon Jones finally returns to action to take on short notice opponent Ovince St. Preux. It seems like the injury bug has once again hit the UFC, as originally Daniel Cormier was slated to defend his belt in an anticipated rematch against Jon Jones. However, Cormier pulled out due to an injury and in filled Ovince St. Preux. I’ll admit though, at first I was hoping that Anthony Johnson was going to be the replacement. But, I want to see Anthony Johnson with a full camp, not on short notice against perhaps the pound for pound greatest fighter Jon Jones. Anyways, to the Predictions!
UFC 197 PPV MAIN CARD (10 P.M. ET):
205 lbs.: Jon Jones vs. Ovince Saint Preux for UFC Light Heavyweight Interim Championship – Now, I love Ovince St. Preux and more often than not, I’m down with OSP. However, he is competing against the greatest living fighter I’ve ever witnessed. A fighter that will fight you at your own game and make you look elementary. A fighter that physichally looks better than I’ve ever seen before. I’m sorry OSP, but this spells trouble in the fashion of a good ole butt whipping. Jones via submission!
125 lbs.: UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo – How sick is this card, as two of the pound for pound fighters on the planet are featuring it! First off, Henry Cejudo is a formidble opponent for Demetrious Johnson. He’s got great movement and speed, his striking continues to improve and he’s a superiror wrestler. However, Johnson is all of those and some in my opinion. His fight IQ is off the charts and if Cejudo can’t beat him, who the hell will? Anyways, Johnson via decision!
155 lbs.: Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Pettis – What a sick fight, as two of the most dynamic strikers on the planet will finally collide. Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis will look to get back on track, as he’s currently on a two fight losing streak. Three loses would put him in a dangerous position, one that I’m sure he will at all cost avoid. Barboza will also look to get back into the win column, as Tony Ferguson put him away in a awesome fight that earned “Fight of the Night Honors”. I have no doubt, that this fight will do the same and earn “Fight of the Night”. As for the winner, I got Anthony Pettis. I just can’t see the former champion losing three in a row. For one, he doesn’t have to worry about a wrestler taking him down and that’s going to bring out the best Pettis. The same one who dismantled Donald Cerrone. So with that , I got Pettis via TKO!
185 lbs.: Rafael Natal vs. Robert Whittaker – Respect to Rafael Natal for the winning streak he has put forth, I mean I still can’t believe he beat Uriah Hall. However, Robert Whittaker is a terrible matchup for Natal, similar to Uriah Hall. The thing that Hall lacked though, is killer instinct….something that Whittaker is filled with. When he smells blood, he puts you away! Natal will bleed and be put away, mark my words! Whittaker via KO!
145 lbs.: Andre Fili vs. Yair Rodriguez – Great matchup and test for both young talents. Yair Rodriguez brings one of the more dynamic striking games to table, it’s honestly must watch! Andre Fili is talented grappler, with an improving striking game. Man, normally I’d go with the grappler, but I like Rodriguez’s gas tank and ability to get back on his feet when taken down. He’s got no quit in him and I love that. The future is bright and gets a little more brighter after Rodriguez was away with a TKO victory!
UFC 197 FOX Sports 1 “Prelims” (8 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Chris Kelades vs. Sergio Pettis – I hate when I do this, but Pettis all day here. The dominant performance he had on former title contender Chris Cariaso…is a telling sign that he’s budding and ready to bloom. With that, Pettis via domination!
170 lbs.: Danny Roberts vs. Dominique Steele – I love hot chocolate, which also happens to be the nickname of Danny Roberts. By default, I predict he will be the winner (He also happens to quick with good boxing).
115 lbs.: Juliana Lima vs. Carla Esparza – The former and first ever UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza is finally back! I like this matchup too, as Lima is pegged as a muay thai specialist…but all she does is grind you against the cage. Go ahead and do that against Esparza and I’m sure she’ll appreciate you wanting to grappling. In fact I guarantee she’ll eat you up like a cookie (See what I did there). With that, Esparza via decision!
155 lbs.: Glaico Franca vs. James Vick – What has James Vick done to deserve fights like this? Does Sean Shelby think he’s matchmaking for Michael Vick? I mean he’s undefeated and is a perfect 4-0 in the UFC. In Vick’s last fight, he submitted the young and talented Aussie Jake Matthews. That’s deserving of a higher ranked opponent, but I guess not. I mean, no offense to Franca, but Vick via submission and hopefully some respect afterwards.
265 lbs.: Cody East vs. Walt Harris – This is the one thing I never understood about the UFC…do you even care about your Heavyweight division? It’s basically full of veterans and hardly any young talent. Signing guys like Marcin Tybura and Cody East are good starts. As for a prediction, Walt Harris still being in the UFC is surprise to me, as he’s shown basically nothing. I think Mr. East is going to KO him and quick. He’s got legit power in those hands and Harris has the striking defense reminiscent of Bob Sapp… East via KO !
185 lbs.: Clint Hester vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima. – Someone’s taking a nap here and I think that’s going to be De Lima. It’s more so due to the fact that I still believe Hester has the potential to be something special. This is due or die though, as Hester is riding a two fight skid. If Hester can avoid the first three minutes of De Lima’s gas tank, he should be able to put him away late. Hester via TKO!
155 lbs.: Efrain Escudero vs. Kevin Lee – Lee is cocky and brash, which cost him in his last fight. I think it’s the best thing to happen to him though, not because he might of been humbled…but because it’s going to help him shore up his mistakes. Lee in my eyes is still a future contender at lightweight and Escudero is a gatekeeper. I got Lee busting through the doors and winning via submission!