I’ll tell you, there are more fights these days than you can shake a stick at. You can’t throw a dart at a calendar without hitting a date with televised fights. It’s a good problem to have, as long as the fights are worth watching. This weekend, there’s a ton of fights on, but there are five you can’t miss. So here’s what you should be watching, and who’ll win.
Bellator 154 – Saturday Night – Spike TV
King Mo vs. Phil Davis
This is going to be a fun fight, on what was supposed to be a huge card for Bellator. It was also supposed to feature a lightweight battle between Michael Chandler and Josh Thomson, but an injury forced Josh to reschedule. That doesn’t make this monster clash any less amazing though.
Phil Davis is among the best in the world at 205 pounds. He’s lost only three times in his career, and only to the elite in the sport. He’s also has his hand raised against some of the best in the sport, including, Lyoto Machida and Glover Teixeira. Phil is an elite wrestler who has added serious standup pop to his game. Add to that he’s an amazing athlete and he’s a tough out for anyone at any level. He’s made the jump from the UFC to Bellator, and has done so in his prime.
King Mo Lawal is a tremendous wrestler in his own capacity and has heavy hands to boot. He’s run off an impressive streak of seven victories since dropping a decision to Rampage Jackson back at Bellator 120. Mo is also an elite athlete and has tremendous strength and focus. The winner of this fight will get a shot at undefeated Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Liam McGeary.
This should be a great fight, and I can’t wait to see it play out. I think if I’m forced to pick a winner, I’m going to have to go with Phil Davis. I think his game might be a little more complete and he excels at a bit of a higher level than Mo does. If the fight goes to the ground, I give the ground and pound edge to Mo, but the submission advantage to Phil Davis. The standup will decide this fight though, and I expect Phil Davis to do enough to win a very tough fight. I can’t wait for this one. Go with Phil Davis and you’ll be in good shape.
UFC 198 – Saturday Night – Fox Sports 1
Demian Maia vs. Matt Brown
This is going to be good. Demian Maia has won four in a row and the last two over really solid competition. His ground game is bananas and Matt Brown is a scrappy brawler who has a solid submission game of his own. This is a fight that will be determined by whether or not Matt Brown can keep it standing, and if he’s taken down, can he survive long enough to get back to his feet.
Demian Maia has unreal submission skills. Like not just next level, but another level. He’s coming off a big win over Gunnar Nelson, and this fight could very well move the #6 ranked Welterweight into the world title picture. He has to be careful standing, because Brown is heavy handed and a very accurate striker. On the ground though, it’s Maia’s world and we’re all just living in it.
Matt Brown was a wrecking ball back in 2012-2013. His wins and style earned him a world title shot against Robbie Lawler, where he was unable to claim the sports top prize. He came after that, and lost a fight to Johnnie Hendricks which dropped him back down the ladder and found him looking for motivation. He came back in his last outing to defeat Tim Means in impressive fashion and now he faces Maia. Both men are ranked in the top ten, and both men NEED a win here. A loss would likely drop either fighter out of the top 10 and in Brown’s case, would mean losses in 3 of 4 fights. Brown is 35 and Maia is 38, so a fall from the top 10 would likely mean finishing their contracts as gate keepers.
I like this fight a lot. Demian Maia is the favorite here and he should be. He’s been more dominant lately, and his ground game makes him extremely dangerous. That being said, Matt Brown is as scrappy as anyone who has ever stepped foot in the Octagon, and something tells me he will rise to the occasion here. I expect some early standup clashes, and in one of those, I expect Matt Brown to hurt Maia and finish him. Huge win for Brown as he reintroduces himself to the Welterweight class in a big way, with a second round TKO.
UFC 198 – Saturday Night – PPV
Cristiane Justino vs. Leslie Smith
Ok, this makes the list for a different reason. I don’t expect this fight to be exceptionally compelling or even competitive. However, Cyborg’s UFC debut is not to be missed. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s finally here. Make sure you’re watching, because the baddest woman on earth is about to grace the Octagon with her aggressive, violent, presence.
Cristiane Justino is a beast. She’s a machine, who has honed her skills to destroy other women inside a cage. She’s a beast, and defines violence in every frightening way imaginable. She lost by kneebar in her MMA debut, and since then, hasn’t even come close to tasting defeat. In her last seven fights, six times she’s stopped her opponent in the first round.
Leslie Smith, well, she’s a nice person. She’s 8-6 as a professional and in her last outing, she was unable to close the deal against Rin Nakai who had all the offense of a box of kittens and still managed to go the distance with Smith. She’s 3-4 in her last seven and her most impressive win was a first round TKO against Jessamyn Duke.
This fight should be over relatively quickly, and by relatively quickly, I mean inside 60 seconds. I expect them to engage and Cyborg to immediately go into hulk smash mode and close the show in dramatic form. She’s fighting this fight at a catch weight of 140 pounds. Cyborg smashes Smith in her debut.
UFC 198 – Saturday Night – PPV
Anderson Silva vs. Uriah Hall
This fight could either be a blast, or an absolute bore. I’m going on faith and expecting fireworks. Anderson Silva is, well, Anderson Silva. He brings the big fight atmosphere with him in every outing and this should be no different. Anderson at times looked a little bit spent against Michael Bisping, but when he wanted to engage, he was looking good. I’m just hoping Anderson Silva shows up to impress and engages.
Uriah Hall is coming off of a loss to Robert Whittaker and that fight was a fun standup clash. Hall was not as fast as Whittaker and it cost him a decision. Hall however did land some big shots, and showed he has the necessary cardio to keep a solid pace through fifteen minutes. Hall has heavy hands and throws a lot of kicks, knees, and can throw that spinning stuff from time to time. His ground game isn’t a known quantity and in this fight, he likely won’t be put to the test there either.
Anderson Silva is a star. While that star has lost some luster, he’s still an exciting fighter who when he brings it, is as good as it gets. Problem is, he seems to like to cruise and play fight rather than engage more often than not. He’ll be tested in this fight, as Hall will not back down, and will push the pace.
I think this is going to be a fun fight, and I expect both fighters to have their moments. In the end, I think Anderson Silva will get the win in Brazil and do so via a late stoppage. I don’t think Anderson has many fights left, and it’s important to tune in and see what he’s able to do. I’m going Silva via 3rd round TKO.
UFC 198 – Saturday Night – PPV
Fabricio Werdum vs. Stipe Miocic
I toyed with going with Jacare vs. Vitor here, but in the end, I think that fight is going to be less interesting. I think Souza will beat Vitor handily and this fight, it could be an all-out blitzkrieg! Anytime the UFC Heavyweight Title is on the line, you know you’ve got some high drama. Werdum is a beast, and he’s often overlooked. Stipe is super talented and tough, and that combo can be very dangerous.
Werdum is a badass, and he is likely headed for a rematch with Alistair Overeem with a win here. He has beat a murderer’s row in becoming the UFC Champion. His standup is sharp and his ground game is amazing as well. He should have the necessary tools to get by Miocic, as long as he doesn’t get caught standing. That’s the danger zone for Werdum in this fight.
Stipe Miocic is a very game fighter, who is improving more and more. Stipe is coming off of an impressive performance that saw him defeat Andrei Arlovski inside of one minute, and in his previous outing, he did the impossible and stopped Mark Hunt. For those reasons, he has to be feared in the Octagon. He has very sharp standup. He throws short, accurate heavy punches.
I think this is going to be a good fight. I think Stipe will have an edge standing, but on the mat, the advantage is all Werdum’s. Werdum is smart enough to take the fight down if he gets in trouble standing, and I think he also has the ability to take Stipe down. I’d look for this fight to go deep, late fourth round or early fifth before Werdum pulls off a submission victory. Should be a good fight.