After more than a year away from the sport, former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey is back at UFC 207. The main event of the final UFC event of 2016 will see UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes defend against Ronda Rousey. Also, Dominick Cruz defends the bantamweight gold against Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw faces John Lineker.
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title Fight
Amanda Nunes (13-4-0) (Champion) vs. Ronda Rousey (12-1-0)
Nunes will be making the first defense of her championship, which she won by defeating Miesha Tate via first round submission at UFC 200. Rousey will be competing for the first time since losing the women’s bantamweight title to Holly Holm at UFC 193 last year. Nunes will be entering the fight riding a four fight winning streak, a streak that has lasted over two years. Rousey will be competing in her tenth straight title fight, it has been over five years since she has competed in a non-title fight.
Prediction: Rousey’s mental state and how much her striking has improved are the major questions in this fight, because we know what Nunes brings to the table. Rousey will try to pressure Nunes early and Nunes will evade her like Holm did, Nunes submits Rousey in the third round to keep the gold.
UFC Bantamweight Title Fight
Dominick Cruz (22-1-0) (Champion) vs. Cody Garbrandt (10-0-0)
Cruz will be making the second defense of his championship, he last defended it against Urijah Faber at UFC 199. Garbrandt has already won five fights in the UFC, those victories came over Marcus Brimage, Henry Briones, Augusto Mendes, Thomas Almeida and Takeya Mizugaki. Cruz never actually lost the bantamweight title in his first reign, he was stripped of the gold after not defending the gold for three years due to injury. Garbrandt has held gold before as a professional MMA fighter, as he is a former Pinnacle FC Bantamweight Champion.
Prediction: Garbrandt does have the power to put anybody in the bantamweight division to sleep, but Cruz has the best movement in maybe the entire UFC, Cruz dodges Garbrandts power shots and picks him apart from the outside to earn a decision.
UFC Bantamweight Division Fight
TJ Dillashaw (13-3-0) vs. John Lineker (26-6-0)
Dillashaw has been undefeated since losing the bantamweight title to Dominick Cruz earlier this year, his last win came over Raphael Assuncao at UFC 200. Lineker will enter the fight riding a six fight winning streak, a streak that has lasted nearly three years time. Dillashaw became the bantamweight champion at UFC 173, when he defeated Renan Barao to win the gold, he defended the belt twice before losing it. Lineker is coming off of his first ever main event appearance for the UFC, that was a win over John Dodson at UFC Fight Night: Lineker vs. Dodson.
Prediction: This fight will be the three round version of Cruz/Garbrandt, with Dillashaw picking apart the more powerful Lineker to earn a decision win.
UFC Welterweight Division Fight
Dong Hyun Kim (21-3-1-1NC) vs. Tarec Saffiedine (16-5-0)
Kim has won six of his last seven fights heading into this encounter, with some notable wins coming over John Hathaway, Erick Silva, Siyar Bahadurzada and Joshua Burkman. Saffiedine has won two of four fights under the UFC banner, defeating Hyun Gyu Lim and Jake Ellenberger, while suffering defeats to Rory MacDonald and Rick Story. Kim will be competing on his first UFC pay-per-view card in well over a year, his last UFC pay-per-view appearance came at UFC 187. Saffiedine was the final Strikeforce Welterweight Champion, he defeated fellow UFC veteran Nate Marquardt to win the gold in 2013.
Prediction: Saffiedine has some violent leg kicks that Kim needs to worry about, but Kim works his wrestling game and scores multiple takedowns to get the decision win.
UFC Flyweight Division Fight
Ray Borg (9-2-0) vs. Louis Smolka (11-3-1)
Borg has won three of his last four in the UFC, defeating Shane Howell, Chris Kelades and Geane Herrera, while suffering a defeat to Justin Scoggins. Smolka is coming off of a huge upset loss to Brandon Moreno at UFC Fight Night: Lineker vs. Dodson, that loss ended a four fight winning streak for Smolka. Borg is a former Sugar Creek Showdown Flyweight Champion, he defeated Jeimeson Saudino to win the belt in 2013. Smolka is a former Pacific Xtreme Combat Flyweight Champion, he won the belt in 2013 by defeating Ale Cali.
Prediction: Smolka is not going to be reckless like he was in his last fight, he uses smarter takedowns to set up his ground game and submits Borg in the second round.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Neil Magny over Johny Hendricks
Antonio Carlos Jr. Over Marvin Vettori
Mike Pyle over Alex Garcia
Niko Price over Brandon Thatch
Tim Means over Alex Oliveira