After a weeks absence, the UFC is back! They make the trip up north, as the TD Place Arena will host the promotions first event in Ottawa, Canada. Headlining the event, is the return of Canada’s own, Rory MacDonald. It’s been eleven months since MacDonald last fought, as he participated in one of the best fights in UFC History against Robbie Lawler. His opponent is in the form of Welterweight contender Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. After shockingly dismantling former UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks in the first round, Thompson finds himself a win away from a title shot.
In the co-headliner, Donald Cerrone and Patrick Cote lock horns in what has “Fight of the Night” written all over it. Cerrone will look to build off his win over Alex Oliveira, while Cote looks to extend his winning streak to four. At 205 lbs. The Boss is back, as former hockey enforcer Steve Bosse takes on Sean O’Connell in what should promise a knockout. Also on this card, the UFC introduces the Women’s Flyweight division, as former strawweight title challenger Valerie Latourneau takes on Joanne Calderwood. This is an intriguing fight, as these two are top of line in the striking department. Anyways, Let’s just get to the Predictions!
FOX Sports 1 Main Card (10:30 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Rory MacDonald vs. Stephen Thompson – An all important Welterweight contest, as a title shot hangs in the balance. For MacDonald, it’s been an important eleven months, as he took time to recover and craft his already sharpened tools. The loss against Robbie Lawler last July was a brutal and grueling fight, so it’ll be interesting to see what’s improved in an already elite fighter. As for his opponent, Thompson is riding a six fight win streak, knocking off the likes of Johny Hendricks, Jake Ellenberger, Patrick Cote, Robert Whittaker, etc… The emerging contender is most certainly within the grasp of fighting for the Welterweight strap. As for the fight, MacDonald is one the most well rounded fighters in all of mixed martial arts. Stylistically, MacDonald is a nightmare for anyone. However, Thompson brings to the table a karate style that’s very unique. He uses distance well and his stance has baffled many of his opponents. Thompson’s takedown defense is also a factor, as he’s been consistenly working on it with former Middleweight champion Chris Weidman. The odds in this fight have to be dead even because I honestly just don’t know. But, a prediction is required. So with that, I’m going to predict that Stephen Thompson defeats Rory MacDonald via decision in five round classic.
170 lbs.: Donald Cerrone vs. Patrick Cote – This one has Fight of the Night written all over it, as these two veterans are the definition of entertainment. Cowboy Cerrone is never in a boring fight, as he brings a “not a single f given” attitude into every fight. His opponent, Cote might have the best chin in the UFC, as he’s never finished due to strikes (TKO to Anderson Silva due to Injury) in his 32 professional fights. I can’t even remember him ever being rocked either, which is ridiculous. As for the fight, this is going to be a close one. Cote is riding high on a three fight win streak and seems to putting it all together. He’s also a huge welterweight. Man, I usually don’t pick against Cerrone, but I think Cote is going to make this one ugly and win via a close split decision.
205 lbs.: Steve Bosse vs. Sean O’Connell – Can you say knockout? This fight should be an early slugfest, as the former hockey enforcer Steve Bosse looks to one up his viscous knockout of James Te-Huna. O’Connell on the other hand will look to rebound from his 30 second defeat at the hands of Ilir Latifi. As for a prediction, it’s really who lands first. I’m a say that Bosse does, so I got him winning via KO! Either way, don’t blink in this one guys!
155 lbs.: Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Thibault Gouti – Another sacrifice here, as Aubin-Mercier should easily and dominantly get back into the win column. He’s had a recent setback, but the Canadian is ever improving as a mixed martial artist and is going to win via submission in this fight.
125 lbs.: Valerie Letourneau vs. Joanne Calderwood – So we got ourselves a new women’s division finally? It’s about time, as I’m sure there are many fighters not competing in their rightful division. As for the fight, the former women’s strawweight title challenger Letourneau is extremely durable and tough. She took Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s best punches and kept coming. Her opponent, Calderwood is a top notch striker who also is extremely tough. Her toughness is from her lack of striking defense though, as she takes too many punches for my comfort. I actually at one point thought she would was championship material, but she doesn’t use her distance well and is often overly aggressive. Letourneau is technical and packs a punch, which is why I think she’s going to pick apart Calderwood en route to a late TKO victory.
FOX Sports 2 Prelims (8:30 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Jason Saggo vs. Leandro Silva – I’m not entirely sure why this is your Prelim headliner. Not to discredit them, but what impact does this fight have on the landscape of the division? Anyways, this is a grappler against grappler fight. It’s going to boil down to who takes who down and I’m going to side with Silva being able to take Sappo down. I’m not entirely sure why either, but anyways, Silva via decision
205 lbs.: Misha Cirkunov vs. Ion Cutelaba – The wolves are out in this one, as Cutelaba is being sacrificed for the rise of Cirkunov. With that, I have Cirkunov via submission.
170 lbs.: Krzysztof Jotko vs. Tamdan McCrory – This might be the most underrated fight on the card. You have a hidden gem in Jotko, who keep in mind has won three straight fights. And then you have a resurgent veteran in McCrory, who has also won three straight fights. As for the fight, Jotko is well rounded with great cardio. He has the ability to keep the same pace for the entire fight, which has aided him in the later rounds while his opponents faded. The one knock on Jotko, is his inability to finish his opponents. He actually reminds me of Jon Fitch to tell you the truth. Anyways, his opponent McCrory has developed himself into scary striker. It’s technical and the combinations he puts together can be devastating (ask Brennan Ward). His ground game and submission prowess is his backbone, so I don’t see him getting smothered by Jotko. Man, I keep going back and forth here, but I’m going to go with the hidden gen Krzysztof Jotko!
135 lbs.: Joe Soto vs. Chris Beal – This is what we call a pink slip fight, as Soto looks to avoid four straight defeats and Beal three straight defeats. Now, I had high hopes for the TUF 18 cast member Beal, as he started out 2-0 at 125 lbs. However, tough times in the flyweight division of recent forced him back up to bantamweight. And unfortunately, I don’t see how he beats Joe Soto here. Soto is better everywhere, which is why I’m going to predict that Soto wins via decision.
UFC Fight Pass Prelims (6:30 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Elias Theodorou vs. Sam Alvey – This is a fun fight in the middleweight division, as both fighters look to bounce back from defeats. The previously undefeated Theodorou took a stumble when Thiago Santos edged him out via decision. It was a learning process for the romantic cover model, as it seemed he was over confident heading into the bout. His opponent, Alvey looks to erase a brutal defeat to Derek Brunson that saw him bouncing around the canvas. As for the fight, I’m going to side with Alvey. Now I know that Theodorou is the more talented fighter, but I don’t think he any one skill that he excels at. Alvey is a technical striker, with legit power in his hands. I also like his experience in this fight, as he’s seen a Theodorou before. So with that, I have Alvey winning via split decision.
115 lbs.: Randa Markos vs. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger – I can’t seem to figure out why Markos keeps losing, as she has the skillset to be a contender in the Strawweight division. This is a tough matchup though, as Jones-Lybarger is super durable, tough and aggressive. She’s one of those fighters that might not have the talent of their opponents, but makes a fight so ugly that they come out on top (Think Aljamain Sterling vs. Bryan Carraway). However, I have to believe that Markos puts it all together here. She’s a loss away from being cut, so with her back against the wall, I’m going to say that Markos wins via decision.
170 lbs.: Colby Covington vs. Jonathan Meunier – I’ve never heard of Jonathan Meunier, but Colby Covington is one of the best wrestlers at 170 lbs. I’m going to predict that Covington takes him down whenever he desires, keeps top control and tries for submissions. I think he gets it too, so I got Covington via submission.
125 lbs.: Ali Bagautinov vs. Geane Herrera – Ever since seeing Geane Herrera fight Ray Borg, I’ve always thought this was a flyweight with real potential. I still believe that, but this fight is a tough task. Former Flyweight title contender Ali Bagautinov is one the more well rounded fighters in the division and has fought the very best in the division already. Herrera is being fed to the wolves here, but a win over Bagautinov would instantly vault him to contender status. Unfortunately I don’t think that will happen, as Bagautinov’s wrestling/sambo based attack is going to be overwhelming en route to a decision victory.