The Ultimate Fighting Championships is returning to Canada tonight for the first of two pay-per-views in the month of December. This event will be headlined by the potential crowning (Pettis missed weight) of a new interim featherweight champion as Max Holloway faces Anthony Pettis. Also, Donald Cerrone faces Matt Brown and Tim Kennedy makes his return to the octagon after a long layoff.
UFC Interim Featherweight Title Decision Fight (Holloway Only Eligible To Win Title)
Max Holloway (15-3-0) vs. Anthony Pettis (19-5-0)
Holloway will enter the bout riding a nine fight winning streak, with some notable wins coming over Cole Miller, Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira, Jeremy Stephens and Ricardo Lamas. Pettis is a former UFC Lightweight Champion, he successfully defended the belt once before losing it to Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 185. Holloway previously held the X-1 MMA Lightweight Title, but relinquished it when he signed with the UFC. Pettis is currently undefeated since dropping to the featherweight division, having defeated Charles Oliveira at UFC On Fox 21.
Prediction: These two are almost duplicates of each other when it comes to their fighting styles, the main difference is Pettis likes to fight as range and Holloway likes to come forward. Pettis uses his leg kicks and striking to keep Holloway at bay for a little while, but then Holloway works his striking and ground game to notch a close decision win.
UFC Welterweight Division Fight
Donald Cerrone (31-8-0) vs. Matt Brown (20-15-0)
Cerrone has been undefeated since moving to the welterweight division, defeating Alex Oliveira, Patrick Cote and Rick Story. Brown will enter the fight on a two fight losing streak and he hasn’t earned a victory in well over a year. Cerrone has previously challenged for the UFC Lightweight Title, but he lost to then champion Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC On Fox 17. Brown hasn’t put a winning streak together in well over two years, he has only won just one of his last five fights.
Prediction: This one is going to be a potential fight of the year candidate, Cerrone is better at mixing up his strikes with a solid ground game when compared to Brown, Cerrone submits Brown in the second round.
UFC Featherweight Division Fight
Doo Ho Choi (10-0-0) vs. Cub Swanson (23-7-0)
Choi has already earned three victories in the UFC, defeating Fenix Puig, Sam Sicilia and Thiago Tavares. Swanson will be entering the fight on the strength of a two fight winning streak, defeating both Hacran Dias and Tatsuya Kawajiri. Choi spent the majority of his career in the DEEP promotion out of Japan, when none of his fights went past the second round. Swanson will be competing on a UFC pay-per-view card for the first time in over three years, his last PPV appearance came at UFC 162 in July 2013.
Prediction: This one is going to be very similar to the Cerrone/Brown welterweight fight, Swanson has the range advantage, but Choi mixes it up better and Choi notches a razor thin decision win.
UFC Middleweight Division Fight
Kelvin Gastelum (12-2-0) vs. Tim Kennedy (19-5-0)
Gastelum is currently undefeated as a middleweight in the UFC, having defeated Nate Marquardt at UFC 188. Kennedy will be competing for the first time in well over two years, his last fight was a controversial TKO loss to Yoel Romero at UFC 178. Gastelum has earned a total of six wins as a welterweight in the UFC and he was the winner of the UFC Ultimate Fighter 17. Kennedy has headlined two of the five UFC cards he has competed on, he defeated Michael Bisping and Rafael Natal in those main event bouts.
Prediction: Gastelum is a late replacement in this fight and he has quality wrestling skills and Kennedy is an even bigger question mark because he hasn’t competed in over two years, Gastelum out wrestles Kennedy to win a decision.
UFC Middleweight Division Fight
Emil Meek (9-1-0) vs. Jordan Mein (28-10-0)
Meek will be making his UFC debut in this fight and he will be doing so while on the strength of a three fight winning streak. Mein will be competing for the first time in over two years, he announced his retirement in January 2015 after a TKO loss to Thiago Alves. Prior to signing with the UFC earlier this year, Meek defeated UFC veteran Rousimar Palhares at Venator FC III. Mein has won three of five fights under the UFC banner, most notably defeating Mike Pyle at UFC Fight Night 49.
Prediction: Meek is just going to come forward and swing away as he looks to knockout Mein, Mein is a better counter striker and he finishes Meek with strikes late in the first round.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Nikita Krylov over Misha Cirkunov
Olivier Aubin-Mercier over Drew Dober
Valerie Letourneau over Viviane Pereira
Matthew Lopez over Mitch Gagnon
Lando Vanatta over John Makdessi
Rustam Khabilov over Jason Saggo
Dustin Ortiz over Zach Makovsky