Finally, the beast that is UFC 226 has finally arrived. However, not without a visit from apparently a voodoo doctor that has plagued UFC cards for years. Not everything can be perfect, but for the love of god, could the biggest and baddest card not have a fight removed? One in which is between two of the very best talents in the UFC. One in which is a five round fight for the Featherweight Title! Of course not!
After showing concussion-like symptoms during fight week, the UFC pulled Featherweight Champion Max Holloway from his title fight against Brian Ortega. I for one am so glad this was caught before the fight, as those two men healthy will undoubtedly provide us with what could be one of the best fights ever. They are so talented and skilled, I could very well see this becoming a trilogy down the road.
A bummer that fight got scrapped, but at least we still have the headlining superfight between UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier. A fight which almost was taken away from us by the Voodoo doctor, as after a press conference, Cormier tripped over a speaker and took a hard spill. He claims he’s alright, but he had to be helped up and was clearly grimacing. We’ve already seen wires take out Tony Ferguson and his Interim Lightweight belt.
Anyways, this superfight is going to be a doozy. Miocic is arguably the greatest Heavyweight of all-time, holding the record for UFC Heavyweight title defenses currently at three. Meanwhile, Cormier minus Jon Jones is one of the very best competitors to ever grace the octagon in not just one weight class, but two. Cormier has the chance to elevate his legacy in this fight, as a victory over Miocic earns him the “baddest man on the planet” moniker, the Heavyweight title, the recognition of being only the fifth UFC fighter to capture belts in multiple weight classes and only the second to hold two belts simultaneously. As for Miocic, while a victory doesn’t get him all those accolades, it does earn him more respect. With more respect comes money. After this fight, Miocic should demand the house and Brock Lesnar.
Alright, enough talk! Prediction time!
UFC 226 PPV Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic vs. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier – I’ve already talked enough about this fight above, so I’ll keep this short. For whatever reason, I have Cormier winning. He’s smaller in stature, has a reach disadvantage and doesn’t remotely have the power Miocic has. Cormier also hasn’t been hit by Francis Ngannou with everything and the kitchen sink and lived to tell about it like Miocic has. So why am I picking Cormier? At the end of the day, in a five round fight, Cormier puts on an incredible pace and has an ability to break down fighters. If he can survive the power of a Miocic in the first two rounds, I think he wears down Miocic over the last three to edge out a decision victory. How bout that?
265 lbs.: Derrick Lewis vs. Francis Ngannou – This is going to be fireworks for however long it last and it might only last one punch. In my opinion, Ngannou wins this fight. Both men have serious knockout power, but it’s Ngannou who’s speed advantage should allow him to land more and eventually put away Lewis.
155 lbs.: Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis – I have Chiesa here. Pettis seemingly will never learn how to stop a takedown. Against a grappling heavy based fighter like Chiesa, I just don’t see how he wins. So with that, I have Chiesa via decision.
205 lbs.: Khalil Rountree vs. Gokhan Saki – This ends in a knockout and early. On the basis of it being a one round fight, I edge Rountree. He’s too athletic and has remnants of wrestling enough to help him out of sticky situation. So with that, I have Rountree via KO.
170 lbs.: Paul Felder vs. Mike Perry – I think Perry’s actually a good fighter, but the blueprint on beating him is out. A blueprint in which Felder doesn’t need to really study, as his style is essentially it. He’s a striker, who’s technical and keeps distance. Perry can’t seem to figure out those who stay on the outside and I need to see improvement in that aspect if I’m going to pick him again. So with that, I have Felder via decision.
UFC 226 FOX Sports 1 Prelims (8 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Paulo Costa vs. Uriah Hall – After nearly being finished last fight, Hall’s killer instincts finally came out. Unfortunately that was against the light hitting Jotko. Costa is a massive behemoth of a man, has bricks for hands and will pressure you till you fall. Considering it takes being on the brink of unconsciousness for Hall to fight, there’s no way I’m picking him. So with that, I have Costa via KO.
135 lbs.: Raphael Assuncao vs. Rob Font – This is a tough fight to call, but I’m edging Assuncao. He’s just too well rounded and consistent for me to believe he drops this potential opportunity to claim a title shot with a victory. This is no knock on Font, he’s a polished striker who can very well out point Assuncao. However, the stakes for Assuncao are too high for me not to believe he does whatever he can to win. So with that, I have Assuncao via decision.
155 lbs.: Drakkar Klose vs. Lando Vannata – Man, Vannata is fun to watch, but he fights down to his competition. I mean, this guy nearly put away the former Lightweight Interim Champion Tony Ferguson. Then he fights guys like Daniel Teymur and Bobby Green and drops the ball. Against Klose, I think he does the same. However unlike those previous opponents, Klose can actually grapple. So with that, I have Klose edging out a close (pun intended) decision.
170 lbs.: Max Griffin vs. Curtis Millender – Griffin looked excellent in his last fight against a dangerous Mike Perry. However, Millender is a serious problem at welterweight. He’s massive for the weight class and his technical striking tied in with devastating head kicks is going to be a headache for any opponent. So with that, I have Millender via knockout.
UFC 226 Fight Pass Prelims (7 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Gilbert Burns vs. Dan Hooker – I’m edging Burns here. I think Hooker has feasted off opponents that don’t have similar strength and athleticism abilities like Burns has. Also, Burns striking has come a long way and his ground game is excellent. I don’t expect Hooker to get steamrolled here, but edged out via decision.
115 lbs.: Jamie Moyle vs. Emily Whitmire – Close Fight, but ultimately I think the wrestling of Moyle will aid her in a decision victory.