I successfully managed to go 4/5 for my UFC 208 picks with an emotional Anderson Silva victory a win for all UFC fans. I started to draft my predictions and was digging through reports and news when I found out that the interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov had been cancelled. Nurmagomedov was hospitalised for complications regarding his weight cut and has since been released, but it’s a massive blow to fans who were excited about this match up. That being said Vegas still plays host to an exciting card on Saturday night.
Heavyweight – #3 Alistair ‘The Reem’ Overeem (41-15-1NC) vs. Mark ‘Super Samoan’ Hunt (12-11-1)
THE first fight of the main card has plenty of storylines surrounding it, yet most of them have nothing to do with the fight. Mark Hunt filed a lawsuit against Dana White, the UFC and Brock Lesnar after it was reviled Lesnar tested positive to a banned substance in the lead up to their clash at UFC 200. That makes you wonder if Hunt’s head will be entirely focused on this clash with the once formidable Alistair Overeem. Based on form and the gradual decline of the fighters, this bout hasn’t gathered the following and promition it once could have if these two heavyweight giants were to do battle. This is poised as Hunt’s fight to lose and I’m predicting ‘The Reem’ will be seemingly in control until a Hunt hook/uppercut ends his night.
VERDICT: HUNT W
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Lightweight – Lando ‘Groovy’ Vannata (9-1) vs. David Teymur (5-1)
LAST July Lando Vannata came close to causing a monumental upset against Tony Ferguson in the lightweight division, proving that he belongs on the pro circuit. His unique, unusual style and game plan has many skeptics tipping him to be a flash in the pan, but ‘Groovy’ is slowly building his way up the rankings. His opponent David Teymur is in a similar spot in regards to establishing he belongs in the big boys league rather than the regional circuit. Expect this fight to be fast, furious and finish quickly with Vannata claiming win #10.
VERDICT: VANNATA W
Middleweight – Rashad ‘Suga’ Evans (24-5-1) vs. Daniel Kelly (12-1)
PART of me has always loved Rashad Evans. The former light heavyweight champ is a victim of father time, slowly declining in performances and how he approaches this fight will dictate the result. He has the potential to easily win if he can perform the way we have seen in the past. I have to get patriotic and talk up the chances of Aussie born Dan Kelly though. Kelly’s main advantage is on the ground and if he going to stand a chance of getting a win against a ‘name’ on his resume, then he needs to avoid Evans superior striking. Kelly isn’t a household name by any means and approaching the age of 40 is dying to get some exposure. If he can make the most of his opportunities he is in line for victory here. Evans hasn’t done much lately to convince he ‘will’ win, but he still ‘should’ win given his experience and prestige in the octagon.
VERDICT: EVANS W
Interim Lightweight Title – #1 Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov (24-0) vs. #2 Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson (23-3)
I was looking forward to this fight SOOOO much, but for the 3rd time Nurmagomedov/Ferguson has been called off. It’s such a shame that Nurmagomedov can’t fight as fans have been looking forward to this bout for years. The first time the fight was cancelled was in December 2015 when Nurmagomedov was forced to withdraw with injury, then in April 2017 it was Ferguson who pulled out due to a lung issue. Fourth times a charm?
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Welterweight Title – C Tyron ‘The Chosen One’ Woodley (16-3-1) vs. #1 Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (13-1-1)
A lot has changed since ‘The Chosen One’ and ‘Wonderboy’ last fought at UFC 205 in November, 2015. One thing that hasn’t changed though is the excitement levels of fans anticipating an incredible fight. Their last meeting was just the second draw in modern UFC title fight history, and a rematch was always an exciting prospect. After surviving the first bout, Thompson will enter Saturday’s bout with a much better education of how to beat Woodley. Using his range and being more engaged/active will be the key for Thompson, but I’m all aboard the Tyron Woodley express. He is so fast and powerful that he poses an immediate threat to ‘Wonderboy’s’ chin and his chances of victory. Thompson can stand around and strike from range, but Woodley’s overall game and strength will lead to a date with the canvas for Thompson.
VERDICT: WOODLEY W
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