Arguably the biggest MMA card of 2017 is upon us in the form of UFC 214, which is going to be headlined by three title bouts. The three title bouts are going to see Daniel Cormier defend the light heavyweight title against Jon Jones, Tyron Woodley defend the welterweight title against Damien Maia and Cristiane Justino faces Tonya Evinger for the vacant women’s featherweight title. Also, former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler faces Donald Cerrone and two top light heavyweights go to war.
UFC Light Heavyweight Title Fight
Daniel “DC” Cormier (19-1-0) (Champion) vs. Jon “Bones” Jones (22-1-0)
Cormier is going to be making the third defense of his championship, having previously defended it against Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson. Jones is competing for the first time since being suspended by USADA for failing a drug test prior to UFC 200. Cormier enters the fight riding a four fight winning streak and his lone defeat as a pro came to Jones in their first bout at UFC 182. Jones is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and a former UFC Interim Light Heavyweight Champion.
Prediction: Cormier has improved his striking since the first fight and his wrestling game is top notch, why Jones exceeds with using his range and mixing it up on the ground. Cormier succeeds early in getting Jones down, but Jones takes over in the second round and dominates from their to get a decision win.
UFC Welterweight Division Fight
Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley (17-3-1) (Champion) vs. Damian Maia (25-6-0)
Woodley is going t be making the third defense of his championship, having previously defended it twice against Stephen Thompson. Maia is competing for the welterweight title for the first time in his career, but he has previously challenged for the UFC Middleweight Title. Woodley hasn’t suffered a defeat in over three years, with that last loss coming to Rory MacDonald at UFC 174. Maia enters the fight riding a seven fight winning streak and that includes a win over former UFC Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit.
Prediction: Woodley will dominate early with his wrestling and striking, but Maia eventually works his Brazilian jiu-jitsu to tap Woodley in the third round.
UFC Women’s Featherweight Title Decision Fight
Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (17-1-0-1NC) vs. Tonya “Triple Threat” Evinger (19-5-0-1NC)
Cyborg is currently undefeated under the UFC banner, having previously defeated Lina Lansberg and Leslie Smith. Evinger is going to be making her UFC debut in this fight and she is a former Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion. Cyborg has also held some gold before in her career, as she is a former Invicta FC Featherweight Champion and a former Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion. Evinger has suffered five defeats as a professional MMA fighter, with three of those losses coming to UFC veterans Sara McMann and Alexis Davis (twice).
Prediction: Cyborg comes to the Octagon with a powerful punching style and great defensive wrestling, while Evinger has a solid ground game. Cyborg clobbers Evinger early with a plethora of strikes, but Evinger recovers to ground Cyborg for a good portion of the fight and to earn a close upset win by decision.
UFC Welterweight Division Fight
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (32-8-0-1NC) vs. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (27-11-0-1NC)
Cerrone has won four of his last five fights heading into this encounter, with notable wins coming over Patrick Cote and Matt Brown. Lawler is competing for the first time since losing the UFC Welterweight Title to Tyron Woodley at UFC 201. Cerrone has previously challenged for the UFC Lightweight Title, losing to then champion Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC On Fox 17. Lawler did defend the welterweight title twice before losing it, defeating the duo of Carlos Condit and Rory MacDonald.
Prediction: Cerrone has issues with fighters who come forward and pressure him, which is exactly what Lawler does. This fight is going to be a potential “Fight Of The Year,” but Lawler knocks out Cerrone early in the second round.
UFC Light Heavyweight Division Fight
Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa (17-2-0) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (14-1-0)
Manuwa is going to be entering the fight riding a two fight winning streak, defeating both Corey Anderson and Ovince St. Preux. Oezdemir is currently undefeated under the UFC banner, having defeated both Ovince St. Preux and Misha Cirkunov. Manuwa has only seen one of his UFC bouts go the distance and three of his fights in the UFC have ended by fighter injury or fighter retirement. Oezdemir also competed twice in Bellator MMA, defeating Josh Lanier and suffering a defeat to Kelly Anundson.
Prediction: This fight is going to be a strikers delight, but it is going to be Manuwa catching a swinging Oezdemir with a counter punch to put his lights out and get the knockout win.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Ricardo Lamas over Jason Knight
Aljamain Sterling over Renan Barao
Brian Ortega over Renato Moicano
AndreFili over Calvin Kattar
Alexandra Albu over Kailin Curran
Eric Shelton over Jarred Brooks
Drew Dober over Josh Burkman