What Happened?

What Happened? (UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya)

Another great night of fights have ended when the baddest woman on the planet defended her belt in Paradise, Nevada. Now it is time to see how the fights went down and how my predictions fared at UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya:

Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira

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Cat Zingano has hit a major slump in her career that continued tonight when she faced off against expert grappler Ketlen Vieira. In the fight, Vieira used her superior Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo to neutralize Zingano and control her for all three rounds (just as I predicted. Zingano had a chance to rally back in the final round but was too late in trying to get the finish. Vieira could see herself getting a title shot in the very near future while Zingano needs to change something fast or her best days may have been long gone.

Winner: Ketlen Vieira via Split Decision

Stefan Struve vs. Andrei Arlovski

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Although I picked Andrei Arlovski to win this fight, the manner in which he did was surprising to me and most viewers. The stand-up fight between the two were even throughout the fight, but what helped Arlovski gain the upper hand was his ability to take Stefan Struve to the canvas. As was noted by the commentators of the fight, Arlovski got more takedowns in this fight than he did in his entire UFC career. This was a pleasant surprise as it shows he is able to mix up his arsenal to get the win. I doubt Arlovski can avoid getting knocked out by the killers at the top of the division but he definitely has a chance now. Struve, meanwhile, needs some new guidance because his style does not work anymore. He has only been Surviving on his height which can only get him so far.

Winner: Andrei Arlovski via Unanimous Decision

Sean O’Malley vs. Andre Soukhamthath

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One of the best performances of the night and one of the worst performances of the fight. Sean O’Malley dominated Andre Soukhamthouth with his superior striking skills. He nearly got the finish in the first but became too wild to get it. Around the third round it looks like he was just going to ride out an easy decision, until he hurt his leg on a botched head kick. Soukhamthath had to ability to finish his opponent but instead of standing with the one-legged man, he decided to take him down and hold him there until the round was over. Are you kidding me? He had a golden opportunity but showed low fight IQ in that moment by going for the takedown instead of the knockout. Absolutely ridiculous decision-making from a young fighter. O’Malley on the other hand needs to continue to develop because his takedown defense will be something future fighters will look to test in his future fights.

Winner: Sean O’Malley via Unanimous Decision

Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega

UFC 222: Edgar v Ortega

This had to be the biggest shocker of the night. Frankie Edgar was known for being an incredibly hard guy to finish due to his ability to keep the fight on the feet and his superb boxing. However, Brian Ortega was on a mission to capture the UFC Featherweight Championship. He got one step closer to doing that in this fight as he was able to counter one of Edgar’s patented rushing attacks with a straight elbow to the face. This seriously hurt Edgar, until Ortega was able to drop him with a vicious uppercut and then followed it up with a brief ground and pound for the win. Edgar has nothing to be ashamed of here in his first knockout loss. He lost to one of the brightest stars in the UFC today that many are considering a future champion. As for Ortega, he has all the makings of a champion but still needs to go through Max Holloway to get the illustrious title.

Winner: Brian Ortega via Knockout in Round 1

Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

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Another dominant victory for Cyborg as she dismantled Yana Kunitskaya in this fight. Kunitskaya got hurt immediately in this fight after an overhand punch from Cyborg connected. She then reacted by taking Cyborg to the ground and taking the back of the champion. The momentum quickly went back the other way as Cyborg was able to escape that position and then did what she did best. She blasted Kunitskaya with multiple punches until her opponent turtled up for her to get the victory. Cyborg has got to be the hardest puzzle to crack in MMA right now as nobody has come even close to beating her. Hopefully a rightful challenger presents themselves. As for Kunitskaya, there is always the Bantamweight division waiting for her. It’s her choice.

Winner: Cris Cyborg via Technical Knockout in Round 1

Predictions vs. Actual Results:

Here are my prediction results with some interesting stats to go along with it::

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  • 80% of winners picked correctly
  • 40% of predictions were perfect
  • Best prediction percentage since UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2
  • My predictions were so close to perfect (thanks Ortega)
Who You Got?

Who You Got? (UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya)

The UFC returns to Paradise when the most dominant Women’s champion the world has ever seen defends her belt against a massive underdog 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:

Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira

Undefeated fighter, Ketlen Vieira, looks to continue her winning streak by defeating former title challenger Cat Zingano. With Zingano being on a small losing streak as of late, this win can be do or die for her at this point in her career. I feel her losing streak will continue as both are known for grappling in their fights, and Vieira being the more superior grappler. Zingano has been taken down a few times in her prior fights while Vieira has defended roughly 90% of the takedowns shot at her in last three fights. To further back up this claim, Zingano is only a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu whereas Vieira is a black belt in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. Zingano is hard to finish, however, so I predict this fight going the distance.

Ketlen Vieira via Decision

Stefan Struve vs. Andrei Arlovski

This can’t possibly go the distance, right? Two heavyweights who are on the brink of irrelevance clash in this main card bout. Somebody is more than likely getting finished, but who? My answer: Stefan Struve. Let me explain. Andrei Arlovski finally picked up a win after a five fight losing streak. He didn’t get the finish but his opponentat the time, Junior Albini, had never been knocked out before then. So it is safe to assume that he is a hard guy to take out with strikes. Meanwhile, Stefan Struve has had a mixed record as of late with his last knockout win coming against the now released and fragile chinned Antonio Silva. His other knockout win before that, however, was against current champion Stipe Miocic. The problem is that it took place all the way back in 2012. So now let’s look at Arlovski’s recent knockout losses that led some to believe he now has a glass chin. Arlovski’s last three knockout losses were to Francis Ngannou, Alistair Overeem, and Stipe Miocic. How unlucky for him to be thrown in against those monsters. This is honestly a coin flip in terms of how likely each fighter is to win since heavyweight fights are always the most unpredictable fights on every card. But looking at Struve’s striking defense compared to Arlovski, I got to go with the ‘Pitbull.’

Andrei Arlovski via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Sean O’Malley vs. Andre Soukhamthath

The latest thing to come out of the UFC hype machine, Sean O’Malley, is set to fight Andre Soukhamthath in what should be an exciting fight. O’Malley is known for his unique striking style and impressive head movement that has made him a fan favorite. Soukhamthath is also an exciting fighter who has the power to knockout his opponents with either punches or a flying knee. The most significant factor in this fight is going to be both fighters’ striking defense. O’Malley showed, especially in his debut fight, that he is an insanely hard fighter to hit as he moves his head around in all sort of angles. Soukhamthath in contrast to O’Malley has been very hittable in his fights. Although he has never been knocked out, I think this will be the time it happens since O’Malley’s striking is lethal.

Sean O’Malley via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega

Both of these fighters each have large a legion of fans pulling for their fighter to win. Frankie Edgar is known for his impressive boxing and elite level wrestling while Brian Ortega is known for his crazy submission game. Many predict Ortega using his grappling game to submit the former Lightweight Champion. However, I see Edgar using his wrestling to keep the fight on the feet and using his boxing to outstrike Ortega on the feet. Ortega is no slouch on the feet, even though he was largely outstruck by Cub Swanson in his last fight, so I see him surviving the full fifteen minutes with Edgar.

Frankie Edgar via Decision

Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

This is considered by many a one-sided contest for the UFC title. Not one fighter has been able to even come close to conquering Cris Cyborg. Holly Holm had the best chance of any fighter and even took Cyborg to the distance for the first time since 2008. Yana Kunitskaya is a poor replacement for Holm and will probably not do as well (if you want to call Holm’s performance well). I expect a quick night for Cyborg as she takes care of business as usual.

Cris Cyborg via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1