UFC 216 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting cards seen by the sport of Mixed Martial Arts in quite some time. While the casual fan may not see many names they recognize on this card, those who follow the sport closely are able to read between the lines. Lets go through some fights from the main card on October 7th that stand out to me and talk about some possible outcomes while even making some predictions..
Fabricio Werdum VS Derrick Lewis
While I am sure we have a GREAT night of fights to look forward to, if there was one on the main card that you can be sure will deliver, it is Fabricio Werdum vs Derrick Lewis. What you have on one end is a fighter in Werdum who unlike many of the other heavyweights his age, has actually gotten more exciting and more aggressive at this stage in his career. While on the other end, you have Derrick Lewis who is one of the most prolific KO artists the UFC’s heavyweight division has seen in a long time.
I honestly believe this fight has the making to be more competitive than some people are giving it credit for early on. However, I just do not see how Lewis can pull out a win here if this fight goes into the third or even the late second round. Yes Derrick Lewis carries his power deep into the later rounds with both his punches and surprising head and body kicks which we saw in his fight against Roy Nelson but he does begin to gas out when pressured against the cage where he fell victim to many a take down in that fight and additional punishment in his fights against Mark Hunt and Travis Browne.
If Fabricio can maintain a cool head in the beginning of this competition and utilize his front kick to the body and step in uppercut to hook combinations that we saw in his fights against Mark Hunt and Cain Velasquez, Judging by how Lewis has responded to body shots in the past, I think he can pull out the decision here or even a possible TKO.
Prediction: Fabricio Werdum Via TKO or decision.
Demetrious Johnson VS Ray Borg
Now for the sake of full transparency I feel it is necessary to inform you that I am a HUGE Demetrious Johnson fan. However, the impulsive gambler in me always wants to root for the underdog. Now while I would be blissfully surprised if Borg was able to pull off a win against Demetrious, I just cannot see it happening…
No matter how hard I try…
While re watching some of Ray Borgs previous fights it reminded me just how good he really is and I honestly think that if there was a 130 lb division in the UFC, he would be within the very top of the contenders at that class. Given Borg’s history of trouble cutting weight, I feel fighting at a heavier weight would let everyone see just how spectacular of a mixed martial artist he is. But I digress…
In the world we currently live, there is not a 130 ln division in the UFC and no immediate plans for one, leaving Ray Borg with a significant challenge ahead of him by the name of Demetrious Johnson. What fans have seen in Mighty Mouse is the best example EVER of one fighter being good at every aspect of MMA. Johnson is not only skilled, but this presents a constant question of, “What is he going to do next?” in the minds of his opponents that may even be more overwhelming than what he is actually going to do.
What really intrigues me is that in a straight up wrestling match, Ray Borg would stand a good chance against Demetrious, just as Wilson Reis would have in a Jiu Jitsu competition and Tim Elliot in a kickboxing match. In fact, where we have seen Johnson have the most trouble in the past is against unorthodox strikers, which Ray Borg is not. Borg does offer a lot of power with his left hook to powerful right uppercut combination like we saw him land many times in his fight against Jussier Formiga but I feel he has faced too many opponents who offer him time to analyze the situation and I just do not see Mighty Mouse giving him such an opportunity considering the constant forward pressure that he applies on his competition.
Prediction: Demetrious Johnson Via Unanimous decision or submission.
Tony Ferguson VS Kevin Lee
This fight was by far the hardest in which for me to make a prediction. However, it is worth noting that I have never enjoyed watching tape on a fighter as much as I did for Tony Ferguson. It is almost comparable to watching a completely different fighter every time he enters the cage as he bring so many different cards to the table.
While I believe Ferguson will be the victor of this bout, I still think Kevin Lee is not being given the credit that he deserves as he is a dangerous and powerful challenger who seamlessly closes distance on and takes control of his opponents. We have seen in his previous fights that if things are not going his way on the feet, he often has little trouble bringing his opponent to the ground where he is more comfortable and ensuing his incredible onslaught of rear naked chokes that we have seen time and time again.
On the other hand, Tony Ferguson has some of the best take down defense we have seen in the lightweight division and in all of the UFC for that matter which is going to play a huge factor here. Ferguson, coming from the strange and slippery Eddie Bravo Jiu Jitsu methodology, is not a man who is afraid to be on his back… or on his front… or upside down… He maintains a strange confidence on the ground in any situation he finds himself in and with wrestling and strength being one of the primary ingredients in Kevin Lee’s usual game plan I think this could make for a very interesting series of events.
I feel that if Kevin Lee is going to have big moments in this fight, it will take place with the two gentlemen standing in front of each other. We saw in Ferguson’s fight against Rafael Dos Anjos that he is not immune to a counter straight left and was actually caught by that particular strike many times within that fight. That being noted, Tony Ferguson has an incredible chin and has not been knocked out in his professional career. While I would love to see Kevin Lee pull off an upset here, I firmly believe that Tony Ferguson is really just too stubborn to be bullied into defeat in this match up and will soon move on from this to be the undisputed lightweight champion somewhere in the not so distant future.
Prediction: Tony Ferguson via Unanimous decision or submission.
Do you agree with my picks?
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Until next time,