Great Card Overshadowed by Jon Jones Drama
Typically the final UFC of the year is a big headlining show both celebrating the promotion and culminating another year with a loaded fight card. UFC 232 absolutely delivers on the star power on the card but in a theme that has become all too familiar for the UFC stories outside the actual fights have dominated the lead in to the fights Saturday night in Los Angeles. The long awaited rematch between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson headlines the card for the Light heavyweight championship but fans also will get treated to a second title fight in the Women’s Feather weight division as Cris Cyborg takes on Amanda Nunes. It’s a shame these headliners along with several other fun fights aren’t the focus of this weekend instead of Jon Jones repeating his pattern of testing positive for a banned substance before a major PPV. This time he will get to fight on the card but not without more drama of the card being moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles the week of the fight due to Jones being unable to get cleared to fight by the Nevada state athletic commission. All the drama aside this main event is worth your hard-earned PPV dollars even if Jon Jones and Dana White don’t appear to care in the slightest about inconveniencing other fighters or fans. I can take issue with a fighter’s unprofessional behavior or even the promotion while still being honest about it putting on a really fun card for entertainment purposes. No burger-meter this week so we’ll just get down and dirty into a fight predictions to hopefully help your bank accounts. Let’s get to the card
Light Heavyweight Title Fight (205 lbs)
Jon ‘Bones’ Jones (#3) vs Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson (#2)
Preview: Many fans believe Alexander Gustafsson won his first fight with Jon Jones. I had Jones winning a razor thin 48-47 decision but I’m not mad at anyone who thinks Gustafsson got the better of the two in their first fight. This rematch is long overdue and I am interested to see these two giants try to settle this controversial decision more definitively this time. Both men have question marks entering their rematch only adding to the intrigue of who will come out victorious this second time around. Neither man has fought in over 16 months, so ring rust could likely play a role for both men. Jones absence was due to his suspension for yet ‘another’ positive test for a banned substance and Gustafsson nursing a variety of injuries & awaiting a fight he found worthy of taking. The same kicks and long strikes of Gustafsson should continue to give Jones problems as they did in their first bout. Just as Jones innovative striking and noticeable speed advantage should again cause problems for Gustafsson. The first round could absolutely see some fireworks if either man wants to test the other in the early minutes to see if they are truly prepared for this high level fight.
Odds: Jones (-280) vs Gustafsson (+240)
Prediction: How can anyone pick against Jon Jones? It is fair to dislike him for a variety of reasons and think like Daniel Cormier that his presence due to his failed drug tests are a stain on the promotion. However, you cannot deny he’s absolutely one of if not ‘the best’ fighters to ever grace the Octagon. He’s never lost besides a terrible DQ early in his career. Gustafsson is equally as accomplished but has come up short against the best the division has had to offer both against Jones and Cormier. Gustafsson may truly believe he beat both men but there is a psychological edge Jones has knowing he’s never truly been beaten in the Octagon before by another man; something Gustafsson does not have. Barring a massive drop off in performance from his fight against ‘DC’ I just don’t think a prime in shape Jon Jones loses to Gustafsson. I think this fight has some holy ‘bleep’ moments that has both men on the ropes but in the end Jones gets a decisive finish over his lone remaining nemesis fans have questioned if he can actually beat. I hate giving up this much juice in a close fight so I’d probably recommend passing on the side and taking the under as I don’t think this one makes it to the scorecards this time.
(Under 4.5 rounds (-130)
Womens Featherweight Title Fight (145lbs)
Cris Cyborg (Featherweight Champion) vs Amanda ‘Lioness’ Nunes (Bantamweight Champion)
Preview: It’s tough to beat the main event when it comes to intrigue but this co-main event is awfully close of interesting match-ups. In the first real ever ‘champion’ super fight in the women’s division; fans will get a treat of two Brazilian champions and the respective best women in their divisions going toe to toe to determine who the baddest woman on the planet is. Cyborg has been searching for a legitimate foe since she’s entered the UFC and while some may point to Holly Holm who is absolutely a legit opponent I don’t think she’s fought anyone who truly posed a legit knockout chance until this fight against Nunes. Both women have nasty power for their respective divisions and they will get a chance to see who is truly the bigger puncher Saturday night. Cyborg has been chasing UFC fanfare and support from the promotion as the baddest woman on their roster while Nunes is still seeking the validation that her win over Rousey wasn’t just beating a fading star but establishing her as the premiere women’s fighter in the promotion. The winner will unquestionably be the best P4P women’s MMA fighter on the planet. Despite being the fighter in the heavier division, Cyborg may in fact be the smaller of the two fighters once both women re-hydrate and you calculate the slight reach advantage Nunes will hold over Cyborg. I don’t think this is a small thing as Cyborg’s style has been one of swarming smaller opponents and using her physicality, dirty boxing, and Jujitsu to overwhelm her opponents. I think Nunes size and power will force Cyborg to take a more technical approach or risk getting hurt if she tries to rush Nunes early. Nunes is absolutely talented enough to hurt Cyborg but like all fighters she may need to land a big shot or two to truly believe she can beat the woman many have dubbed unbeatable at a 145lbs.
Odds: Cyborg (-200) vs Nunes (+200)
Prediction: It is very enticing to take Cyborg at the lowest odds of her UFC career. She’s never lost or even appeared to be in any real trouble in any of her bouts to date. However, the odds being so low indicate to me Vegas knows this is Cyborg’s toughest opponent of her career. There’s something about Nunes style that I think is going to give Cyborg some problems. Cyborg has a tendency to throw some really wide hooks when she gets into tight windows with her opponents. She’s been able to get away with these for most of her career because none of her opponents have possessed the power or speed to make her pay when she’s missed. I think Nunes can. Cyborg may very well get the better of Nunes at some point but I like the value I’m getting on Nunes who if she catches Cyborg clean; she may find herself in a position to finish the fight. I like Nunes to catch Cyborg with a straight power shot during a wild exchange and put the 145lbs champion in the first real trouble of her UFC career. I think the Lioness possesses enough power and fight IQ to end it if she gets a chance. Nunes via TKO upset!
Micheal ‘Maverick’ Chiesa (9th) vs Carlos ‘The Natural Born Killer’ Condit (Welterweight 170 lbs)
Odds: Chiesa (-150) vs Condit(+140)
Prediction: Super fun action packed fight between two guys that love to scrap, have relentless cardio & work rates. Both men are coming off of losses so I’ll take the younger Chiesa to get the better of Condit.
Ilir Latifi (5th) vs Corey Anderson (10th) (Light Heavyweight bout 205 lbs)
Odds: Latifi (-138) vs Anderson (+118)
Prediction: Interesting fight between two men who’ve been fighting well recently both entering the fight with a two fight win streak. I like Latifi’s commitment to use his underrated power and jujitsu to finish his most recent fights. I think Anderson can survive an early onslaught but ends up going to sleep by a man who is just starting to put it all together.
Chad ‘Money’ Mendes (5th) vs Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski (10th) (Featherweight 145 lbs)
Odds: Mendes (-140) vs Volkanovski (+120)
Prediction: Someone is getting stopped in this fight. Two super hard striking but equally technical fighters will trade calculated shots until one of them can no longer stay on his feet. Volkanovski is getting overlooked in this fight in my opinion; he’s the more active between the two men in terms of fighting regularly and I think he comes in primed for the biggest win of his career against a extremely tough Mendes.
Prediction Record since 2016 to Date (74-53-1) (+$1410.50)
- 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.
- Predictions & Records are for entertainment value only
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- Stats provided from http://UFC.COM & http://www.fightmetric.com/
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