The day is nearly upon us as what may be the biggest UFC card in the promotions history is just under 24 hours away from taking place. The event will be headlined by a trio of title bouts in the lightweight, welterweight and women’s strawweight divisions. Also, Chris Weidman faces Yoel Romero and Miesha Tate faces Raquel Pennington.
UFC Lightweight Title Fight
Eddie Alvarez (28-4-0) (Champion) vs. “The Notorious” Conor McGregor (20-3-0)
Alvarez will be making the first defense of his championship, a championship he won by defeating Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 90. McGregor is the current UFC Featherweight Champion and he has held two belts before, that came in the Cage Warriors promotion. Alvarez is also a former two-time Bellator MMA Lightweight Champion, he signed with the UFC while holding the belt for the second time. McGregor won the featherweight title nearly a year ago at UFC 194, but he hasn’t defended the title as of yet.
Prediction: Alvarez gets hit a lot and his clinch game might trouble McGregor for a round or two, but McGregor puts Alvarez to sleep in the third round.
UFC Welterweight Title Fight
Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley (16-3-0) vs. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (13-1-0)
Woodley will be making the first defense of his championship, which he earned by defeating Robbie Lawler at UFC 201. Thompson will enter the fight riding a seven fight winning streak and he has not suffered a defeat in over four years. Woodley has earned a total of six wins in the UFC, with three of the wins coming over former champions or title challengers. Thompson will be competing in his fourth straight five round fight, only one of the previous three went to the judge’s scorecards.
Prediction: Woodley needs to get in close for his wrestling game to be effective, Thompson uses his karate game to keep Woodley at a distance before finishing him with strikes in the fourth.
UFC Women’s Strawweight Title Fight
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (12-0-0) (Champion) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-0-0)
Jedrzejczyk will be making the fourth defense of her championship, she previously defended it against Jessica Penne, Valerie Letourneau and Claudia Gadelha. Kowalkiewicz has already won three bouts in the UFC, defeating Randa Markos, Heather Jo Clark and Rose Namajunas. Jedrzejczyk already holds a victory over Kowalkiewicz, that happened in an amateur MMA fight in 2012. Kowalkiewicz also fought once in Invicta FC, defeating Mizuki Inoue by unanimous decision at Invicta FC 9.
Prediction: Kowalkiewicz is essentially a less technical version of Jedrzejczyk, Kowalkiewicz keeps things interesting for a round or two, but Jedrzejczyk finishes her with strikes in the third.
UFC Middleweight Division Fight
“All American” Chris Weidman (13-1-0) vs. Yoel “Soldier Of God” Romero (11-1-0)
Weidman will be competing for the first time since he lost the UFC Middleweight Title to Luke Rockhold at UFC 194. Romero is currently undefeated under the UFC banner, with notable wins coming over Derek Brunson, Tim Kennedy, Lyoto Machida and Ronaldo Souza. Weidman did defend the middleweight title three times before losing it, defeating Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort. Romero has had all but one of his UFC bouts go to the third round, the one that did not was a first round TKO finish of Clifford Starks at UFC On Fox 7.
Prediction: Romero will dominate Weidman with his striking and wrestling game for two rounds, but then gas out in the third and Weidman takes advantage for the come from behind TKO win.
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Division Fight
Miesha “Cupcake” Tate (18-6-0) vs. Raquel “Rocky” Pennington (8-5-0)
Tate will be fighting for the first time since losing the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title to Amanda Nunes at UFC 200. Pennington will enter the fight riding a three fight winning streak, defeating Jessica Andrade, Bethe Correia and Elizabeth Phillips. Tate is a former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion and former Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion, she is only one of two women to hold both belts (other is Ronda Rousey). Pennington only suffered two defeats under the UFC banner, one of them came to former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm,
Prediction: Pennington is a scrappy fighter, but she will have no answer for Tate’s wrestling and ground game, Tate gets the decision in this one.
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