Amid the controversy surrounding Jon Jones and has the last second venue change, the rematch will go on as planned. And as crazy as it is to wrap your head around all that’s happened this week, I for one am happy that this fight is a go. The first fight between the two, is still to this date one of the top five fights ever in UFC history. This one is a mystery though given the drama that Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson has had to deal with all week. Add that fact that both haven’t competed in over a year and is hard to decipher what to expect. However, both men are of the elite in the division and are bound to put on a show.
Anyways, to the Predictions!
UFC 232 Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
205 lbs.: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson for the vacant Light Heavyweight title – In my opinion, as long as Jon Jones steps into that octagon, no man has what it takes to beat him. Gustafsson is elite, but he’s going to be backpedaling in this fight like he did against DC. While that fight was close, it was clear Gustafsson isn’t comfortable while backing up. Jones is going to land enough offensive outpoint and in the clinch, I could see him battering Gustafsson. In the end, Jones gets his hand raised via decision in a less competitive fight then the first time.
145 lbs.: UFC Featherweight Champion Cristiane Justino vs. UFC Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes for the Featherweight title – This is by far the toughest fight of either’s career. Both women posses fight ending power, but it’s Cyborg whom is stronger and a more technical striker. Add in her excellent cardio and pace she puts on in fights and I’m not sure Nunes can get the job done. Now, Nunes was known to have cardio issues, but of late it’s vastly improved. Then again, Cyborg will offer a different pace and pressure to this fight that will most likely zap Nunes. So with that, I have Cyborg retaining via late TKO.
170 lbs.: Michael Chiesa vs. Carlos Condit – While this fight leans towards Chiesa due to his wrestling and Condit’s lack there of takedown defense, it’s Condit whom I’m siding with. At the weigh ins, he looked like the old “Natural Born Killer” I’m used of. I expect him to be less hesitant on the feet than usual and even if Chiesa gets him to the mat, his active guard strikes are going to lead to mistakes for him to get back up. At some point, Condit cuts open Chiesa and gets a doctor stoppage. Condit via TKO.
205 lbs.: Corey Anderson vs. Ilir Latifi – In my opinion, Anderson has all the tools it takes to challenge for the belt at 205 lbs. The only thing holding him back is his questionable chin. Against Latifi, a human bull, he’s going to need to protect it. The “Sledgehammer” hits like a truck and has excellent wrestling abilities to compliment his power on the feet. In a tough call, I lean Anderson. I feel like if he keeps Latifi on the outside, he can outpoint him. The further the fight goes, a tired Latifi will be easier to keep at bay. So with that, I have Anderson winning via decision.
145 lbs.: Chad Mendes vs. Alexander Volkanovski – At first, I was leaning Volkanovski in this fight. However, Mendes is the better striker with way more power and his wrestling should easily neutralize Volkanovski’s. Mendes via decision.
UFC 232 “Prelims” on FOX Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Andrei Arlovski vs. Walt Harris – Either Arlovski shrugs off Harris on the feet and uses his wrestling to grind out a win or Harris lands one of his power shots early and knocks out Arlovski. I’ve got the latter… Harris via knockout.
135 lbs.: Cat Zingano vs. Megan Anderson – I’m conflicted here. On one end, Anderson is big and hits hard on the feet. On the other end, Zingano despite her willingness to strike is a grappler whom offers excellent ground-and-pound and submissions while in top control. In a tough call, I’ll go with Zingano via decision.
135 lbs.: Douglas Silva de Andrade vs. Petr Yan – This fight has fireworks all over it and despite the odds, this should be close fight. I’ve got Yan though. I believe that de Andrade has the clear power edge on the feet and is the better grappler. However, if de Andrade can’t hurt Yan early, his cardio will fade with the pace Yan puts forth. So with that, I have Yan winning via decision.
155 lbs.: Ryan Hall vs. B.J. Penn – On one end, I could see Hall stick to the outside and use his speed to outpoint Penn on the feet with just leg kicks. On the other, I can see Penn crack Hall and force him him to pull guard, in which Penn maintains top control en route to a decision victory. I’ll go with the latter…
UFC 232 “Prelims” on Fight Pass (6:15 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Andre Ewell vs. Nathaniel Wood – Tough fight, but I believe that Wood will get inside of Ewell’s distance striking and land the heavier blows en route to a close decision victory.
185 lbs.: Uriah Hall vs. Bevon Lewis – Don’t know much about Lewis, but this is a must win for Hall. From being dubbed the next Anderson Silva to potentially dropping five of his last six fights won’t cut it in the UFC. So with that, I have Hall winning via knockout.
170 lbs.: Siyar Bahdurzada vs. Curtis Millender – This should be an awesome fight. Bahdurzada is an absolute bull and throws his hands with fight ending intentions. Combined with solid hand speed, power and accuracy, anyone who dares strikes with him often gets clipped at some point. Millender too is a striker, but he uses distance to set up his long strikes and kicking game. In what should be a fun fight, I think Millender counters Bahdurzada often and in the third round, head kicks a tired Bahdurzada into oblivion. So with that, I have Millender winning via knockout.
135 lbs.: Brian Kelleher vs. Montel Jackson – This could end up a close fight, but it’s the more experienced Kelleher who should get the nod via decision.