Sadly, JDS got popped for a diuretic that has taken him off of the highly anticipated fight with Francis Ngannou. We still get two titles fights going down September 9 in Edmonton, Canada.
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (c) vs. Ray “The Tazmexican Devil” Borg
Instead of fighting TJ Dillashaw for an epic fight people would really care about, Demetrious Johnson gets that fight against who he believes is the true flyweight contender. Power to him as this will be a record breaking title defense if he is to win.
Hopefully, Ray Borg has his diet in check as he has missed weight twice in his last four fights. The pattern would indicate he might not make the stricter 125-pound weight limit. In non-title fights, fighters get a pound of leeway but not the case for a championship fight like this. That aside, he a very good fighter every where this goes. Ray can set a very high pace with really good movement to get into land punches. Good wrestling and what not. I am having a hard time forgetting his loss to Justin Scoggins just over a year ago. That was a three round beating though.
This is probably going to go down like most other recent Might Mouse fights, a couple possible moments in the first round or two while he adjusts to his opponent and find the opening.
Prediction: Mighty Mouse by finish in the 4th or 5th round
Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes (c) vs. Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko
A rematch to establish Amanda Nunes reign as the 135 pound female champ. These two first fought just over a year ago with Nunes wins the decision. What is so interesting about that fight is how Nunes blasted Valentina in the first and beginning of the second round. Then the Bullet started to shift the momentum clearly winning the third and almost getting the stoppage late in the fight. If that fight had two more rounds, it would looked like Valentina would have had way more in the tank and won the fight.
That was then and this is now. Nunes isn’t a big fans of decisions having only gone the full three rounds twice in her professional career. She tends to bring the storm early and overwhelms her opponents. Can she make the adjustments to get the finish on a really tough Shevchenko? I feel like Valentina is going to be better prepared for Nunes onslaught, survive and beat up a very tired Lioness.
Prediction: Valentina by decision
Jeremy Stephens vs. Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez
I really like this fight and say this with tons of respect. Both of their best fighting days are probably behind them and both need this win badly.
Jeremy was on cloud 9 after beating the brakes off of Renan Barao but that was followed by two losses. That last one was against some Brazilian no one knows. To Renato de’Silva, it was a fantastic fight (PS that isn’t his name and you didn’t even notice because who else saw that fight).
Gilbert has been a lifetime lightweight making the drop to 145 pounds for the first time. He always seemed like with a real diet, he could make the weight relatively easy. So I am pretty excited to see how he will look in the cage. He needs to kind of reinvent himself as he is on a 3 fight losing skid. Granted, all three were against the elite of the lightweight division.
Melendez should go back to his wrestling roots and mix it up more with Jeremy Stephens. Stephens would love nothing more than to shuck his takedown attempts and get in a brawl. He has night ending power but tends to be too flat footed to land any of them.
Prediction: Gilbert by decision
Neil Magny vs. Rafael dos Anjos
RDS is getting another stiff test in the welterweight division after make the 15 pound jump up from lightweight. He won a hard fought decision against Tarec Saffiedine less than three months ago. He had the strength & cardio to continue to impose his usual high pressure fight style against a top 15 opponent.
Neil Magny has slowly transformed into a very overwhelming fighter with one of the largest frames in the division. He can keep a high pace from the outside and has a very strong wrestling/top game that he uses to get a finish in the later rounds or win on the score cards. Dos Anjos is going to have to pressure hard to close the 10” difference in reach and the 6” difference in height. He will probably be looking to set up the leg kicks to slow down Magny. The grappling exchanges are what will be very interesting. RDS is a legit BJJ black belt and a very effective wrestling game. Neil Magny has slightly better takedown accuracy but has slightly worse takedown defense.
I keep going back and forth on how this will ultimately play out and think in a 3 round fight, Neil is going to win two of the rounds on points.
Prediction: Neil Magny by split decision
Ilir “the Sledgehammer” Latifi vs. Tyson Pedro
The Sledgehammer is a high level international wrestler from Sweden with some major power in his hands. At 34 years old, it is fair to say he has hit his fighting ceiling as the top 10 gatekeeper. Not a bad pace to be but is what it is.
Tyson is an undefeated fighter with all wins coming by some sort of finish (mostly a choke). His dad paved the way for MMA in Australia and has literally grown up with the sport. He stay extremely calm even in his UFC debut despite only having a few fights. If he can’t get the early finish, it will be interesting to see how his cardio holds up for 2-3 rounds against a gritty veteran.
Big test for the Aussie but I think he is going to pass the less dynamic Latifi.
Prediction: Pedro by submission in the 1st