Alas, the motherload that is UFC 245 is here. 3 title fights and an overall hell of a card!
UFC 245 ESPN+ PPV Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington – I’m going to be honest, I’ve touted Usman since I first saw him compete in the UFC as a world champion. His wrestling was just so dominant and I knew his striking was going to catch up eventually. However, against Woodley, I thought it was the worst matchup for him. I was wrong. The worst matchup for Usman is actually Covington.
As much as Covington gets hated on for his gimmick, he’s actually a world class talent. He’s as well rounded as they come and he has a chin to boot. I truly believe the gimmick is a perfect. Fighters instinctually hang onto it and hate him, forgetting the man is highly skilled. His striking output, pace, pressure, wrestling and ability to grind down opponents has wilted several opponents.
While Usman has power on the feet and perhaps the best wrestling in the game, I believe Covington is going to wear down the champ and in the later rounds take over. In the end, the most hated man Colby Covington is your undisputed Welterweight world champion via decision. Ultimately setting up a massive grudge match between former friends and training partners, Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.
135 lbs.: UFC Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes vs. Germaine de Randamie – If GDR was a high output striker, who brought a pace to the fight, I’d believe that she could dethrone Nunes. However, she likes to hang back, which is only going to keep Nunes fresh and dangerous for all five rounds. So with that, I have Nunes winning via decision.
135 lbs.: Jose Aldo vs. Marlon Moraes – I’m conflicted, but I’m with Aldo here. The opponent isn’t ideal, as Moraes is among the elite Bantamweight’s in mixed martial arts history. However, Aldo appears to have regained his motivation after his lackluster performance against Alexander Volkanovski. At 33 years old and for a guy who was ready to walk away from the sport, he dropped down to Bantamweight (10 pounds) and made the weight. He took a fight with one of the elite in the weight class and by lord vested in me, Aldo wins this via TKO.
135 lbs.: Urijah Faber vs. Petr Yan – As much as I want Faber to turn back the clock and win this, I believe Yan just offers too much volume for Faber to win this. I’m only seeing a finish as the only route of victory for Faber, and I’m not seeing it… So with that, I have Yan winning via decision.
UFC 245 ESPN2 ‘Prelims’ Card (8 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Irene Aldana vs. Ketlen Vieira – I know Vieira hasn’t been able to stay healthy enough to keep her momentum and stock going, but she’s a dominant grappler and she’s going to have her way with a striking heavy Aldana. So with that, I have Viera winning via decision.
185 lbs.: Omari Akhmedov vs. Ian Heinisch – Tough fight to call, but I like the relentless and gritty Heinisch to edge out a split decision over an underrated Akhmedov.
170 lbs.: Matt Brown vs. Ben Saunders – I have no confidence in Saunders durability, so I’ve got Brown winning via KO.
UFC 245 ESPN+/Fight Pass ‘Prelims’ Card (6:15 p.m. ET):
125 lbs.: Kai Kara-France vs. Brandon Moreno – Fun fight! While Kara-France has garnered a 3-0 record in the UFC, this fight will mark if he’s ready to be a contender. While I think he’s got the skills necessary, I feel like Moreno’s relentlessness and grappling is going to eventually break down Kara-France. So with that, I have Moreno winning via late submission.
125 lbs.: Jessica Eye vs. Viviane Araujo – Tough fight to call. Araujo has come into the UFC hot, knocking out Talita Bernardo and then outpointing Alexis Davis. As for Eye, she recently challenged for the Flyweight Championship and was brutally knocked out by Valentina Shevchenko. Despite that, she’s one of the very best flyweight’s. Unless that knockout loss compromised her, I believe Eye should sneak this out with her striking and wrestling chops.
185 lbs.: Oskar Piechota vs. Punahele Soriano – Despite Piechota’s two fight skid and abundantly clear cardio issues, he’s the more experienced and well rounded fighter. I think Piechota takes a grappling heavy approach and eventually submits Soriano.