The third UFC pay-per-view event of the year is upon us and a light heavyweight title rematch is in the main event spot. The show will be headlined by UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier taking on the #1 ranked Anthony Johnson. Also, former middleweight champion Chris Weidman faces Gegard Mousasi and former Bellator MMA Lightweight Champion Will Brooks is in action.
UFC Light Heavyweight Title Fight
Daniel Cormier (18-1-0) (Champion) vs. Anthony Johnson (22-5-0)
Cormier did defeat Johnson in their first meeting at UFC 187 in May 2015, the win came by way of third round submission. Johnson has won three straight since the defeat to Cormier, defeating Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira. Cormier will only be making the second defense of his championship, as he last defended it against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192. Johnson hasn’t had a fight go the distance in over three years, the last fight of his to go the distance came against Phil Davis at UFC 172.
Prediction: Johnson’s gas tank will be the big question here, because MMA fans already know that Cormier can go five rounds without an issue. Johnson pummels Cormier for the first two rounds with his power striking, but Cormier hangs on before submitting Johnson in the fourth round.
UFC Middleweight Division Fight
Chris Weidman (13-2-0) vs. Gegard Mousasi (41-6-2)
Weidman will be entering the fight while riding a two fight losing streak, those losses came to Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero. Mousasi will be entering the fight on a four fight winning streak, which includes a win over former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Vitor Belfort. Weidman is a former UFC Middleweight Champion, defeating Anderson Silva at UFC 162 to win the gold. Mousasi has ended his last three fights by KO/TKO, which is the second longest streak of that nature in his career.
Prediction: Weidman has a strong wrestling game, but Mousasi has better submission and striking, Mousasi edges out a close decision win.
UFC Women’s Strawweight Division Fight
Cynthia Calvillo (4-0-0) vs. Pearl Gonzalez (6-1-0)
Calvillo has already competed once under the UFC banner, defeating TUF finalist Amanda Bobby Cooper by submission at UFC 209. Gonzalez will be making her UFC debut in this event, but she does hold a victory over fellow UFC fighter Cortney Casey. Calvillo also competed in the first ever Legacy Fighting Alliance event, defeating Montana Stewart by third round TKO. Gonzalez is a three fight veteran of the Xtreme Fighting Organization, with only one of those three fights going the distance.
Prediction: These are two fighters who have quality ground games, but Calvillo is better with the transitions and that makes the difference as she picks up the decision win.
UFC Welterweight Division Fight
Thiago Alves (21-11-0) vs. Patrick Cote (23-10-0)
Alves will be entering the fight on a two fight losing streak, having dropped fights to Carlos Condit and Jim Miller. Cote has won three of his last four fights in UFC competition, with those three wins coming over Ben Saunders, Joe Riggs and Josh Burkman. Alves returns to welterweight after a failed one fight stint at lightweight, where he failed to make weight and then promptly lost to the aforementioned Jim Miller. Cote will be competing on a UFC pay-per-view card for the first time in over two years, his last pay-per-view card appearance was at UFC 186.
Prediction: Cote has great boxing, but will have lots of problems getting past the vicious leg kicks from Alves, it will be Alves picking up a decision here.
UFC Lightweight Division Fight
Will Brooks (18-2-0) vs. Charles Oliveira (21-7-0-1NC)
Brooks has won just one of two fights under the UFC banner, defeating Ross Pearson and suffering a defeat to Alex Oliveira. Oliveira will be returning to the lightweight division for the first time in five years, earning a total of five wins as a featherweight. Brooks is a former Bellator MMA Lightweight Champion, giving up the belt when he signed with the UFC last year. Oliveira will be entering the fight riding a two fight losing streak and he hasn’t earned a victory in almost two years.
Prediction: Brooks will use his wrestling to get Oliveira to the ground, but Oliveira has an amazing submission game and he taps Brooks late in the first round.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Mike De La Torre over Myles Jury
Kamaru Usman over Sean Strickland
Charles Rosa over Shane Burgos
Jan Blachowicz over Patrick Cummins
Andrew Holbrook over Gregor Gillespie
Desmond Green over Josh Emmett
Irene Aldana over Katlyn Chookagian
Magomed Bibulatov over Jenel Lausa