April 8th in Buffalo, New York, the UFC returns with an awesome PPV card topped off with a light heavyweight championship plus a couple elite middlewieghts.
Light Heavyweight Championship
Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson
Almost two years ago these two men fought for the vacant 205 lbs championship that Daniel won in impressive fashion. He took some of Anthony’s biggest shots and then starts to bully him around and eventually got the tap middle of the third round to a physically and mentally exhausted Johnson.
Since losing his first bid for the title, Anthony reminded everyone why he should be feared in the cage rattling off three vicious KOs to three top ten opponents. Only one of them barely got out of the first round. The problem is, Anthony didn’t have the opportunity to show off improvements in the one thing most people believes he will need against the champ. That is cardio. He has successfully gone the distance in a three round fight before but he usually gets the KO in the first making it a none issue.
I can’t image Cormier is going to deviate from worked the first time they fought which is his normal fight strategy. Avoid the power early as best as possible while putting pressure and trying to get the takedown. He does have very smooth boxing most people underlook but that is not the game he wants to play here.
I would love to see Johnson punch Cormier’s face off because that sounds super exciting (no shade on Daniel) and he has a good chance to do it too. I don’t see how this fight goes any different than their first encounter.
Prediction: Cormier by TKO in the third
Chris Weidman vs. Gegard Mousasi
Just over a year ago, Weidman was undefeated with two title defenses under his belt until getting dispatched by Luke Rockhold in a grueling fight. He returned to right the God of War in the UFC’s first fight in New York only to be finished by one of the craziest flying knees in the history of MMA. I know he is pretty mentally tough with a long wrestling career but this is a bad spot to be in. Where will his head be mentally after getting KTFO like that will be a big part of this fight? Even though he has a pretty good chin, Chris only took four and half months since his last fight so he will be more chinny than normal.
Mousasi has been taking out the middle of the 185 lbs division for some time now only losing to the elites (plus getting caught by Uriah Hall which he avenged the loss in his last fight). This is the marquee win he needs to be pushed for a title shot. He has a ton more experience with 49 fights under his belt and a year younger. This helps him keep his composure in the cage to find the opening. He is on a four-fight win streak and the last three win came via TKO so he has a ton of confidence coming into this bout.
Stylistically, Mousasi has had troubles with strong grapplers but it has been three years since his submission loss to Jacare in Strikeforce. Mousasi does have really good judo so don’t be surprised if he stops the takedown in the clinch. The striking battle will be interesting with Gegard with a very smooth traditional dutch kickboxing style but Chris finished Anderson Silva on the feet.
Logic says Chris will smoosh him for three rounds but something tells me this is too quick of a turnaround for him and Mousasi will catch him with something on the feet to set up the finish.
Prediction: Mousasi by RNC in the second
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Pearl Gonzalez
Cynthia is a cute little thing (not that it matters) fighting out of Team Alpha Male and is undefeated with a solid win in the UFC against Amanda Cooper.
Don’t have a ton of information on Pearl but she is 5-1 with 4 wins by armbar and 6 more amateur wins by armbar. Fair to say she will want this fight on the mats.
Calvillo should be the more well-rounded fighter coming from the better camp and has youth on her side.
Prediction: Cynthia by decision
Thiago “Pitbull” Alves vs. Patrick Côté
What a fun throw back a fight that still makes sense. Bellator should be taking notes on this match up and card placement. Both of these guys like to throw down so this should be a fun striking battle.
Cote is only slightly taller with a tiny bit more reach. Both guys have big power so it will be interesting to see who leads.
I really hope to see the old pitbull like Alves from old but I think the time off and injuries did their toll. Cote has only lost to the elite in recent years and taken care of everyone else.
Prediction: Cote by KO in the second
Will Brooks vs. Charles Oliveira
I love the story these men bring to this fight. Brooks is super talented having beaten Michael Chandler twice to become the Bellator champ but has had a tough time adjusting to the UFC. He won an uninspiring decision against Ross Pearson and then got finished to Alex Oliveira to make his record 19-2. Granted Alex came in overweight and is now a welterweight. Charles Oliveira is back to the lightweight division after 7-5 in the featherweight division plus missed weight three times.
Will Brooks is a very dynamic athlete with a strong wrestling background training with American Top Team. Oliveira is a submission artist with a very willing kickboxing game.
I don’t see either of these two guy finishing each other on the feet. So I see this fight taking place mostly on the feet with Brooks changing levels enough to edge out rounds. Oliveira is either going to snatching a submission up or lose a decision.
Prediction: Brooks by decision