The UFC heads back to Las Vegas for their final Pay-Per-View (PPV) event of the year with Cyborg vs Holm for the undisputed women’s featherweight title.
Typically the UFC likes to end the year with a stacked blowout PPV card with some of their biggest stars fighting on the same card. Faced with many of their biggest stars either on the mend, taking a sabbatical, or suspended the UFC could have scrapped the pay-per-view and done a thank you to the fans with a free fight card to end the year. However, it’s the fight “business” so they cobbled together a card and will try to sell the women’s featherweight division title as a main event. UFC 219 will never get confused with any of those previous blockbuster end of the year cards. However, despite the card lacking real depth or star power, there are a few really tasty matchups on the card. We will turn to the ‘Litzen’-Burger-A-Meter. Get it? Litzenberger, Litzen-Burger-A-Meter to look at the fight matchup (how good is it, how important, how entertaining) and associate it with its hamburger equivalent. I’ll breakdown the main card by relating it to its “burger form” and offer some fight predictions to hopefully help your bank accounts. Let’s get to the card:
(100% Imported Kobe Beef Burger): Ridiculously luxurious & best of the best
Kabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov (2nd) vs Edson “Junior Barboza (4th) (Lightweight 155lbs)
Preview: Now that Tony Ferguson has the interim lightweight belt and no clear return date for Conor McGregor the winner of this fight in all likelihood will get a shot at Ferguson early in 2018. Edson Barboza has quietly worked himself back into title contention with three straight impressive victories after losing to Tony Ferguson two years ago. This is likely Barboza’s last run at a title shot so I expect him to come out looking to test Nurmagomedov’s chin from the opening bell. Nurmagomedov is one of the most talented 155lbs fighters on the planet but his inability to make weight has hampered any real potential to market him as a star in the division. He also looked a vulnerable in his last fight against Micheal Johnson. He eventually submitted Johnson but was caught several times in that first round with clean straight left hands that appeared to give him some problems. Nurmagomedov will likely rely on his greatest asset: his wrestling, to take Barboza into deep waters forcing him to exert energy defending against multiple takedowns. Barboza will have a significant 5 inch reach advantage which if he uses it correctly could make Nurmagomedov pay dearly for every takedown attempt. I think the first round will determine who is going to implement their all on the other, so expect some possible early fireworks in the first minute or two. This is a possible career altering fight for both men so I expect it to deliver as the fight of the night.
Odds: Barboza (+240) vs Barboza Nurmagomedov(-280)
Prediction: It’s completely understandable why Nurmagomedov is the favorite in this fight, he’s never lost and a deserving favorite. However, I always worry about guys who struggle to make their weights particularly as they age because if you could not make-weight in your 20’s, it doesn’t get any easier in your 30’s. Add into the mix that Nurmagomedov has been out of the octagon for over a year and I think he is in a vulnerable spot to get upset by a very skilled and motivated Edson Barboza. If Barboza can find a home for his reach advantage in the first minute and get the confidence that he can stuff a Nurmagomedov takedown we could see an epic fight capped off by a big upset win for Barboza. It would not shock me to see Barboza get a late stoppage of “the eagle”.
(In & Out): Lives up to the Hype & always worth it
None which is a bummer for a PPV.
(Home Cooked Burger): Solid, reliable, and hits the spot
Cris Cyborg (Champion) vs Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm (2nd) (Women’s Featherweight Title 145lbs)
Preview: It pains me to see a main event as just “solid & reliable”, fans work hard for their money and when they plunk down $60+ for a pay-per-view they should get top shelf fights. I like Holly Holm and Cris Cyborg a lot. They are extremely talented fighters who are great to their fans and are true mixed martial artists. I just can’t muster any fake excitement for this title fight. This is clearly Cyborg’s toughest opponent in her career but that isn’t saying much when you look at some of her past opponents. This is not Cyborg’s fault, she can only fight the women who are brave enough to get into the cage with her but we also can’t pretend like she’s fought upper echelon fighters for most of her career. Holm will present the first legit counter-striker of Cyborg’s career which adds some intrigue as Cyborg typically bulldozes her opponents with her sheer athleticism, physicality, and powerful striking. Even with all that I still don’t think Holm has enough to beat Cyborg which makes the fight a little anti-climatic to me. Holm is no stranger to shocking the MMA world with an unexpected upset but I Cyborg is not Rousey, she is there to bang and will welcome exchanges if Holm tries to deliver another famous head kick. In all likelihood Holm’s best path to victory is similar to how she fought against GDR. She will have to pick her spots, score, and get as far away from Cyborg’s heavy hands as she can. Holm must frustrate Cyborg and get her to tire or start taking wild chances opening her up for counter shots. This is a strategy many others have attempted to employ but have all failed to do. Cyborg is just a force of nature who overwhelms her opponents and I do not see Holm having enough power to keep the champion from walking her down. Another underrated aspect of Cyborg’s game is her ground game and ju-jitsu. If for some reason she cannot win the exchanges with Holm on their feet, she very likely will take Holm to the mat where she struggled mightily against Miesha Tate. It’s a real possibility that Holm may find herself in deep waters trying to fight off her back only to find a bigger, badder, and more talented version of Tate on top of her.
Odds: Cyborg (-360) vs Holm (+295)
Prediction: I think Holm could make it interesting in the first few minutes of the fight by mixing up her counters and keeping Cyborg off balance early. However, unless Holly can truly hurt Cyborg I think she begins to figure out Holm’s timing and walks her down with some brutal striking. I fear this one won’t end well for the Preacher’s daughter, Cyborg will eventually clip her and put her lights out. (Cyborg by KO/TKO -130)
Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit (#8) vs Neil Magny (#12) (Welterweight 170lbs)
Preview: If this fight happens a year ago it’s easily a 4 or even 5 burger type of fight. Both men love to bang, have crazy heart, and were toying with top 5 status within their division. However, both men have lost two of their last three fights and now are looking more like talented gatekeepers at a 170lbs. It still should have some fan friendly action as both men are desperate for a win in hopes of jump starting their careers and getting another crack at a top 5 opponent if they can win this fight. It’s tough to know exactly what type of fight Magny will bring when he steps in the octagon, as he’s had so many surprising wins and losses, the only stable thing you can count on from Magny is his cardio. If he’s conscious and his heart is beating he’ll keep coming after Condit. He’ll have a huge reach advantage but Magny strangely does not utilize it in some of his fights. Condit knows he can hurt Magny, whose been stopped in previous fights. He will likely try to get Magny to exchange with him where he trusts his sharper striking to give better than Magny can take.
Odds: Condit (-160) vs Magny (+140)
Prediction: I don’t think this fight goes the distance, which is something fans always enjoy. Condit is really good about getting his opponents timing so I think after maybe an initial round of feeling him out he’ll key in on what Magny is attempting to do and go to work. I like Condit to catch Magny with something really clean and possibly force the ref to jump in to save Magny from himself, as he won’t quit unless he’s out cold. (Condit -160)
(Waffle House Burger): It won’t kill you but high quality it is not
None this time
(Gas Station Burger): Hello darkness my old friend
Dan Hooker vs Marc Diakiese– Is this a UFC fight pass prelim or a main card PPV? Pass
Cynthia Calvillo vs Carla Esparza– I mean cmon, two non-contenders in a division filled with them and this is a UFC main card PPV fight?! I love MMA and I may go take a nice long food break while this one is on.
Prediction Record since 2016 to Date (62-46-1) (+$1128.50)
- UFC Record & predictions based on Win vs Loss predictions only. Unless specified otherwise I use increments of $100 (for + odds predictions) & $110 (for – odds bets) as hypothetical wagers for each prediction.
- UFC Predictions & Records are for entertainment value only
- Stats provided from http://UFC.COM & http://www.fightmetric.com/
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