The UFC’s new years eve card, going down December 29 though, will be topped off with two title fights. With the stacked main card; don’t overlook the prelims. Do yourself a favor and set them to record.
Jon “Bones” Jones vs. Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson
The return of one of the greatest to have done it is back in a rematch of one of his closest fights in another championship bout. Most people are talking about how long it has been since Jones has entered the octagon. Memory is a funny thing since Jon has fought two months more recently then the Mauler has.
The first fight was a close back and forth battle that was decided in the championship round. Most accounts have Bones hardly training and partying very hard leading up to this fight. One has to wonder what the fight might look like if he was focused and training like a champion. We might get that this time.
Both have similar keys to victories as they have similar tall and long body frames. Range control and setting the pace will be crucial for whoever is going to win this fight. As big of a fan as I am of Alexander, this is a tough fight to pick him for. He has gone 3-2 since losing to Jones and I am not sure has added enough to his game to make the difference. I feel like Bones is going to come back with something to prove after all of his legal troubles.
Prediction: Jon Jones by TKO in the 3rd
Cris Cyborg (c) vs. Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes (c-BW)
Probably the two best female fighters to ever enter the octagon. Both are champions making this the latest super fight in MMA. Most are expecting Cyborg to be the much bigger fighter as Amanda is coming up in weight. Looking at the stats, they are physically similar in build with the Lioness having the slightly longer reach. I’m sure Cyborg will be the heavier lady in the cage during the fight but I don’t think it will be a major factor in the fight.
Both are powerful strikers with black belts in BJJ. Amanda is known for having cardio issues earlier in her career and has seemed to figure that out in recent years. I will give Nunes the speed advantage. Wrestling should go to Cyborg and can see her pressing Nunes on the clinch for extended periods if she needs to.
Nunes is going to need to get Cyborg’s respect early without emptying her gas tank. Otherwise, I think Cyborgs pressure and power are going to be too much and win a decision. A real flip of the coin match for me and think this is the time for the Lioness.
Prediction: Nunes by decision
Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit vs. Michael Chiesa
Chiesa’s first fight at welterweight after a failure to make weight in his last fight against Anthony Pettis. Chiesa is an Ultimate Fighter winner that worked his way into the top 10 of the lightweight division with his sneaky grappling skills.
I love watching the natural born killer when he was on his way to becoming the interim champion. That said, he is 2 and 7 in his last nine fights and currently on a 4 fight losing skid. He might be forced to another organization or retire with a loss in this fight. A guy that has relied on his movement on the feet to get off his strikes. One Tyron Woodley blew his knee out in a fight, Carlos just has been his normal killer self. Father time seems to be beating another fighter.
Someone has two end their losing streak. As much as I want to believe Carlos can stop Chiesa from grinding on him or even prevent the takedown. I think Condit will have a few moments early in the first round but Chiesa is going to get the back and sink in a choke.
Prediction: Michael by RNC in the second round
Ilir “The Sledgehammer” Latifi vs. Corey “Overtime” Anderson
This is a weird style matchup for me to imagine what the hell is going to happen. Both are elite wrestlers, Latifi has the power to turn the lights off anyone. Not sure if Corey has the length and movement to avoid the power for 15 minutes.
Prediction: Latifi by TKO in the second
Chad “Money” Mendes vs. Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski
Chad Mendes used to be the best featherweight in the world not named Jose Aldo. Then he lost back to back to Conor McGregor and Frankie Edgar plus a failed drug test that put him on the sidelines for a couples years, now Chad has to work his way back up. Mendes looked like his old self against the dangerous Myles Jury with a fights round KO back in July.
Volkanozski, on the other hand, might be the next big thing coming through the featherweight division. With only one loss early in his career, he is sitting pretty with an 18-1 record.
I am not ready to write Chad off just yet. The time off probably helped him recover from the bad KOs and is only 33 years old. Chad should be the favored fighter in this one.Prediction: Chad by decision