The UFC returns to Boston when the two baddest men on the planet go head to head in the main event of the evening. Here are my picks and predictions for how all of the main card fights of the night will go down:
These two fast paced strikers will not let this fight anywhere near the judges as you can surely expect a knockout. Thomas Almeida so far has only lost to top contenders Jimmie Rivera and Cody Garbrandt (which is nothing to be ashamed of). Meanwhile, Rob Font is an up-and-comer who utilizes his boxing to wear down his opponents and isn’t afraid to go for takedowns either. The big difference between these two will be speed. Almeida clearly has the faster hands that can surely put Font’s lights out in this one. Font would also be overwhelmed by Almeida’s constant push and ability to stand and trade in the pocket. The ground game is also a no-no for Font as Almeida is a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Expect a quick win for Almeida via his sharp and accurate punches.
Predicted winner: Thomas Almeida via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1
This fight could be sleeper as both Gian Villante and Francimar Barroso are known for their conservative striking approach in the octagon. The difference of the two is that, even though Barroso has a Black Belt in both Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Villante just seems a bit more faster and accurate with his strikes. His striking isn’t always pretty but I feel it will get the job done against the tentative Barroso. Also, Barroso won’t be able to utilize his Jiu-Jitsu because Villante’s takedown defense is superb. Villante does have a chance to get a knockout but I think the fight goes the distance as Barroso will mainly play defense to ensure a knockout from the lethal Villante does not happen.
Predicted winner: Gian Villante via Decision
A third striker vs. striker match on this card makes me wonder if the UFC is looking for all knockouts here in Boston. Regardless, this one has two men on impressive win streaks going head-to-head. Both Shane Burgos and Calvin Kattar has utilized their impressive boxing to defeat their foes inside the octagon. Burgos, however, has the greater defense of the two as he is able to roll with the punches thrown at him and also is great at baiting his opponents in to throwing at him so that he can counter. A big question that I have about this fight is ‘who is going to be the one pressuring in this fight?’ This could be the determining factor for ho wins but I still have to go with Burgos who is undefeated and may also shoot for some takedowns if he ever gets in a jam. A finish seems possible, but I think Kattar’s skills should last him to the final horn.
Predicted winner: Shane Burgos via Decision
I once predicted that Volkan Oezdimir would get a title shot, but I didn’t say he will win it. Daniel Cormier is one of the best wrestlers the UFC has ever seen. I have total confidence that DC will be able to land a takedown on Oezdimir in “No Time.” This will zap the energy right out of Oezdemir as he struggles to get up. This would result in Oezdemir losing his devastating knockout power. He might be able to survive the first, but I predict the second round being where DC puts him away with a submission similar to how DC did against Anthony Johnson (twice).
Predicted winner: Daniel Cormier via Submission in Round 2
This matchup is frustrating to pick due to both guys being able to knock each other out. It is all about who is faster on the draw. After watching their footage repeatedly and very closely, I have to go with Francis Ngannou on this one. My reasoning is that Stipe Miocic has been to hittable in his fights where as Ngannou has been great at defense. Miocic can definitely put anybody down with his hands but I feel he will have to eat a few shots before it happens. And if those shots come from Ngannou, then I do not see a clear path for victory. Then again, Miocic does have an impressive wrestling pedigree that can put “The Predator” on his ass. However, I see this being only to stall as I don’t think he can keep Ngannou down or do enough damage from the top. So in the end, I see Ngannou putting Miocic to sleep via one of those devastating nukes he calls fists early in the fight
Predicted winner: Francis Ngannou via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1