In 1995, UFC 7 was held in Buffalo. It would be the last event held in the state of New York, as they would go on to ban mixed martial arts. However, as mixed martial arts started to go mainstream, it gained traction throughout the years. States that had barred the sport, started to come around, seeing the revenue the sport generated. After 49 states legalized mixed martial arts, only one stood it’s ground, New York. After years and millions spent on lobbying, the UFC finally broke through in New York this year. This monumental moment for the UFC would come nearly 20 years since UFC 7 in Buffalo.
With New York becoming the 50th and final state in the United States to legalize mixed martial arts, UFC President Dana White set out to make this the biggest and baddest card the UFC has ever put together. And he did just that…
Headlining the card is no other than UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor, who looks to become the first fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold both belts, as he challenges UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez. It’s a historic fight on a historic card and a fight of this magnitude is as good as it gets in the UFC.
Co-Headling the card is a Welterweight contest, as newly minted UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley looks to defend his belt against challenger Stephen Thompson. Stylistically, both fighters couldn’t be more different, which is a reason that this fight is really a toss up.
Also on the card, there is a third title fight, as UFC Women’s Strawweight kingpin Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes on rising talent and fellow Polish native, Karolina Kowalkiewicz. This should be a legit challenge to Joanna, who other than Claudia Gadelha needs another challenge. At 185 lbs., Yoel Romero and former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman clash in what should result in a title shot for the winner. With Luke Rockhold injured and Jacare Souza opponent-less, this obviously seems like a title eliminator.
Meisha Tate, Frankie Edgar, Khabib Nurmagomedov and others saturate this stacked card, but enough build up, let’s just get to the predictions!
UFC 205 PPV Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez vs. Featherweight champion Conor McGregor – This is the mother load, as Conor McGregor will attempt to simultaneously capture two UFC belts. McGregor, most recently avenged his lone UFC defeat to Nate Diaz at UFC 202. In a classic, McGregor edged out Diaz via Majority decision (48-47, 47-47, 48-47). As for Alvarez, otherwise known as the Underground King, would capture UFC gold by shocking Rafael Dos Anjos in the very first round via TKO. Alvarez is the only fighter now to capture both UFC and Bellator titles.
As for a prediction, I’m siding with McGregor. I believe that his dynamic striking abilities, ability to keep distance and technical yet precise strikes is going to present issues for Alvarez. However, Alvarez has a very clear route to win this fight. He needs to get inside and turn this into a grappling affair. He needs to forget all McGregor’s antics that might have gotten him emotional and fight smart. Implement the same gameplan you did against Anthony Pettis and win this fight, it’s the biggest fight of your career. However, I’m banking on an emotional Alvarez to get into a brawl, get clipped and knocked out in the very first round.
170 lbs.: Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson – In a fight of two men who couldn’t be more stylistically different, we are in for a fun one. The Champion Tyron Woodley most recently captured UFC gold, as he shocked fellow ATT member Robbie Lawler. It took only one round and one punch, something that Woodley has finished many with. His opponent Stephen Thompson is on a seven-fight win streak and his karate based attack has flustered every opponent. His decisive victory over Rory MacDonald proved that he is elite and legit threat to the title.
As for a prediction, I’m siding with the challenger Stephen Thompson. I believe that his karate based attack, long limbs will present issues for Woodley. If he can keep his distance and avoid Woodley from getting inside, he can pick apart Woodley. The only thing I’m nervous about this prediction, is Woodley’s ability to explode and hit you with one powerful flurry. However and again, I expect Thompson to keep his distance ala what Rory MacDonald did to Woodley and eventually knock him out in the 3rd round when Woodley tires.
115 lbs.: Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz – Fun fight for the title and a worthy challenger in Karolina Kowalkiewicz. The only thing that has me willing to make my prediction for this fight right of the gate, is that this might be too soon for Kowalkiewicz. Now I know I just said she’s worthy, as she is, but her opponent Joanna Jedrzejczyk is on another level. Jedrzejczyk’s striking, pace and ability to be there all five rounds, is something that Kowalkiewicz is not ready for. I actually believe that her skill set, can give Jedrzejczyk issues, but they need to be sharpened with time and experience. So with that, I Joanna Jedrzejczyk winning via a relatively decisive decision.
185 lbs.: Yoel Romero vs. Chris Weidman – Aww yea! This is a huge fight in the Middleweight division, as I’m viewing this as a title eliminator fight. Weidman, has not fought since losing his title to Luke Rockhold in December of 2015. They were scheduled to rematch, however Weidman pulled out of the bout due to an injury. Romero enters this contest on a seven-fight win streak, including most recently beating Jacare Souza via a controversial split decision. After the bout, Romero was flagged by USADA for failing an out of competition test. After, it was found that the tainted substance found that cause him to fail the test, was found in a supplement which did not reveal the ingredient.
As for a prediction, I have Weidman. I believe that while Romero has Olympic level wrestling abilities, is physically imposing and is gifted with heavy hands, his ability to fade in the later rounds will be his downfall. If he doesn’t swarm Weidman early, he’s going to have troubles the longer this fight goes. Weidman is an accomplished wrestler himself and he too is improving his striking. So, in terms of abilities, it’s nearly a wash. However, cardio is my main factor in this prediction and I’m very confident that Weidman can drag this fight out, eventually taking down a tired Romero en route to a TKO victory.
135 lbs.: Raquel Pennington vs. Miesha Tate – Fun fight in the Women’s Bantamweight division, as Miesha Tate looks to bounce back from her title loss against rising contender Raquel Pennington. Tate, the former Women’s Bantamweight Champion as I mentioned, most recently lost her title to Amanda Nunes at UFC 200. She was handily defeated, as Nunes swarmed Tate with flurries of punches, eventually forcing the ref to stop the fight. As for Pennington, she’s on the heels of three fight win streak and is climbing the rankings. This fight against Tate is certainly a jump into the upper echelon of the division. A win over Tate, instantly has Pennington knocking on the door of a title shot.
As for a prediction, I have Tate. I believe that Pennington is super tough, but her inabilities to distance herself from opponents have made fights much closer than they should. She doesn’t necessarily have the skill set that awes you to believe she’s capable of beating the upper echelon. Tate, while she may not be dominant, I figure is fully capable of outdoing Pennington everywhere and anywhere this fight goes. So with that, Tate via decision.
UFC 205 “Prelims” Undercard On FOX Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET)
145 lbs.: Frankie Edgar vs. Jeremy Stephens – Headlining the Prelims, is an all important fight in the Featherweight division, as former Lightweight Champion looks to rebound against Jeremy Stephens. Edgar, most notably fought against Jose Aldo at UFC 200 for the Interim Featherweight title. Aldo physically looked better than ever and showcased that in a rather decisive victory over Edgar. Another loss for Edgar here would put him out of title talks for quite some time, so this is a big one. It’s also a big one for Stephens, who has had mixed results of late, however most recently defeating former Bantamweight champion Renan Barao. A win over Edgar would instantly help Stephens crack the top five of the division, something he’s never come close to sniffing.
As for a prediction, I have Edgar. He’s one of the most complete fighters in the UFC and he’s faced a fighter of Jeremy Stephens caliber many of times. The only thing Stephens has to offer in this fight is his toughness, durability and knockout power. Edgar’s movement, pace and grappling abilities will nullify all that. And even if Stephens last into the third round, he’s going to be gassed. So with that, I have Edgar via third round TKO!
155 lbs.: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Michael Johnson – Now we enter the thick of this card, as each fight from here on out carries heavy implications. Nurmagomedov, the uncrowned king is all but guaranteed a title shot with a victory over Johnson right? Well, with Tony Ferguson extending his win streak to nine with a victory over the former Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos, this title picture is awfully cloudy.
Anyways, Nurmagomedov holds a pearly record of 23-0, including a 7-0 record in the UFC. He has also beaten the former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos, which happened before RDA captured UFC gold. As for Johnson, he recently got back on track, knocking out Dustin Piorier. It ended a two fight skid, where he was defeated by Nate Diaz and controversially Beneil Dariush.
As for a prediction, I’m siding with Nurmagomedov. Although he has had more battles with injuries than opponents of late, he’s still one of the most superior lightweights on the planet. His grappling abilities are bar none and until someone can even win one round from him, it’s hard to see him losing ever. Johnson has solid wrestling and is one of the strikers in the Lightweight division. His power, speed, pace and aggressiveness can be hard to compete with. However, his aggressiveness plays right into Nurmagomedov’s game. One in which includes a heavy dose of grappling, which will eventually lead to dominate third round submission victory.
170 lbs.: Belal Muhammad vs. Vicente Luque – This might be one of the least recognizable fights on the card, as both men are relatively new to the promotion. Since debuting in July of 2016, Muhammad has already had two fights in the UFC, going 1-1. And even in defeat against Alan Jouban, Muhammad showcased ridiculous toughness and good striking abilities. As for Luque, the former Ultimate Fighter has won three straight fights. In each fight, he’s showcased improved striking and top notch submissions.
As for a prediction, I’m siding with Muhammad. I mean, in his UFC debut, he took on Alan Jouban. He ate everything Jouban had to offer and came back in the later rounds strong, almost scoring the upset. On the feet, his striking combined with aggressiveness and pace makes him a tough out. Now Luque seems promising and is improving each fight, but if he can’t get this one to the floor, Muhammad will eventually overwhelm him. So with that, I have Muhammad via decision.
185 lbs.: Tim Boetsch vs. Rafael Natal – An interesting fight in the Middleweight contest as both men are in need of a win to stay relevant. Tim Boetsch is coming off an impressive victory over the late Josh Samman, as he used his wrestling and vicious ground-and-pound to a tee. The win was much needed too, as Boetsch had dropped three straight prior and a pink slip had all but been awaiting for him. As for Natal, he dropped a decision to Robert Whittaker, halting a four fight win streak and a chance to crack the top ten.
As for a prediction, I have Natal. The New York based fighter is very well rounded and has fared well against some upper tier talent within the division. Boetsch on the other end is unpredictable, but often leans towards under performing or just being outmatched. His strength is grappling and grinding you down, but that’s not going to work against Natal who can specialize in that too. Natal however is much more of a capable striker than Boetsch, which is where I think he will take advantage of this fight and eventually land the third round knockout!
UFC 205 “Prelims” Undercard On UFC Fight Pass (7 p.m. ET)
155 lbs.: Thiago Alves vs. Jim Miller – Originally, Al Iaquinta was set to take on Thiago Alves, but that fell through due to contract disputes. Stepping in for Iaquinta, would be Jim Miller. The grizzled veteran has enjoyed a little career resurgence, winning two in a row. Miller also seeks his third win this year, which would be the first time he’s done that since 2010. As for Alves, injuries have plagued him of late, causing him to be out of action for over a year. His last fight came against Carlos Condit, in which he looked much improved in the first round before faltering in the second.
As for a prediction, this is a tough call. For one Thiago Alves missed weight, as I don’t know how he expected to move from 170 lbs. to 155 lbs. with all that muscle. The weight cut issue could present issues if this fight were to go into the later rounds, but I don’t expect that. Now, I know Miller is one of the toughest fighters to step into that octagon, but his skills don’t compare. He doesn’t present any issues on the feet and his wrestling is mediocre, but if the fight does hit the mat, he does have wicked submissions and top control. Getting this fight there is possible, especially if Alves gasses out, but I’m going to go on a limb and say that Alves knocks Miller out in the first. Alves is going to be to big, his power is much more of threat and his kickboxing has always been sharp.
135 lbs.: Liz Carmouche vs. Katlyn Chookagian – The last time Liz Carmouche stepped inside the octagon, was in April of 2015, where she defeated Lauren Murphy via decision. Her combatant Katyln Chookagin in that same span has been relatively active, winning six fights, including her UFC debut over said Lauren Murphy.
As for a prediction, it comes down to if Carmouche can get the takedown or if Chookagin can shrug away the take down attempts and keep this on the feet. I’m siding with the latter, as Chookagin’s ability to keep distance should disrupt Carmouche from getting inside. And while on the feet, Chookagin will pick away as the limited striking abilities of Liz Carmouche. So with that, I have Chookagin winning this via decision.