UFC on FOX 30: Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier

UFC on FOX 30: Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier

Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier

The bookmakers are all about Dustin Poirier in this one as he will enter the cage as a betting favorite at -157, whereas Eddie Alvarez is sitting at decent value of +155.

And here we go!

A brilliant rematch between Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier will headline the action at UFC on FOX 30 in Calgary, Canada, this weekend.

These two originally met at UFC 211 in May last year, but the fight somehow turned into a disaster. Poirier was leading the way and beating up Alvarez for minutes before Alvarez shockingly turned the fight around and began to claw his way back into the contest. It would take what was deemed an ‘illegal strike’ for referee Herb Dean to step in and end the fight, calling it a ‘No Contest.’ Despite what was turning into one of the better fights of 2017, it ended up resulting in a disappointing mess.

Since then, Dustin Poirier has picked up significant victories over the likes of Anthony Pettis and Justin Gaethje, finishing both inside three rounds. As for Alvarez, he also sent Gaethje down the rankings after stopping him in the third round.

These two are set to clash for the second time in just over a year, and if it’s anything like the first time they met, it’s going to be a contender for Fight of the Year.

There are many reasons to back Dustin Poirier here in this main event. In particular, his exceptional head movement kept him out of the way of Eddie Alvarez’s bombs (before eventually being clipped in the finishing sequences). He also controlled the timing and distance of the fight for the majority of those two rounds. This one has a smarter and more complete Dustin Poirier performance written all over it.

Prediction: Dustin Poirier to win inside the distance

Bet: Dustin Poirier to win (-157)

Jose Aldo vs. Jeremy Stephens

Former champion Jose Aldo is the slight favorite for this co-main event at -125, while Jeremy Stephens is a marginal underdog at +110.

Jose Aldo, who is possibly the greatest featherweight in UFC history (or even mixed martial arts history) will attempt to break out of an unfortunate streak when he meets Jeremy Stephens this weekend. Aldo lost his title and suffered his first defeat in almost eight years when he was knocked out by Conor McGregor in 13 seconds at UFC 194. Since then, it looked as if Aldo would get back on track when he scored a big win over Frankie Edgar at UFC 200. However, the former champ has now lost two-straight against Max Holloway, the new king of the featherweight division.

As for Stephens, he’s been inching closer and closer to a title shot in the UFC’s 145lbs division. He’s currently riding a three-fight winning streak with victories against Gilbert Melendez, Doo Ho Choi, and Josh Emmett. Moreover, those last two fights were excellent knockout finishes of the adamant Choi and a rising Emmett. A win here against Aldo will shoot him up near the very top of the featherweight division.

As for the fight itself, I think many people are going to be surprised to see that Jose Aldo hasn’t at all declined. Rather, he looked relatively bad against Max Holloway – a guy who has been dominating the featherweight division for a very long time. Expect Aldo to bounce back to winning ways.

Prediction: Jose Aldo to win by unanimous decision

Bet: Jose Aldo to win (-125)

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Tecia Torres

Another former champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, will begin as a betting favorite this weekend as she can be locked in at odds of -260 against Tecia Torres (+240).

It wasn’t all that long ago when Joanna Jedrzejczyk was considered not just the best female strawweight in the world, but possibly one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world, as well.That sounds like a bizarre take right now, we know, but it’s certainly amazing how quickly things can change in mixed martial arts.

Since losing to Rose Namajunas – twice – Jedrzejczyk is now in desperate need of a victory. Her opportunity will come against Tecia Torres, who had been storming through the division. With wins over Bec Rawlings, Juliana Lima, and then Michelle Waterson, Torres earned a shot against top contender, Jessica Andrade. Yet, she then fell short against Andrade when it mattered.

A win for either Jedrzejczyk or Torres here puts them near the top and within range of a championship fight with Rose Namajunas.

You know what? This is a very tough matchup for Tecia Torres. Jedrzejczyk made a name for herself by dominating everyone not named Rose Namajunas, and this could very well be another example. We are prepared to see a motivated Jedrzejczyk execute a smart game plan and cruise to victory.

Prediction: Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win by unanimous decision

Bet: Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win (-260)

Alexander Hernandez vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier

Rising star Alexander Hernandez is a slight underdog (+100) against Olivier Aubin-Mercier (-124).

25-year-old Alexander Hernandez made a massive statement in his UFC debut when he finished Beneil Dariush in just 42 seconds at UFC 222. Nearly no one saw that performance coming from Hernandez, who entered the fight with an 8-1 record and minimal levels of hype attached to his name.

And then there’s Olivier Aubin-Mercier, who is a rising prospect in the division as well. Unlike Hernandez, he’s not new to the UFC; however, it’s only been recently that “The Quebec Kid” has made waves in the division. Now, with four victories in a row, Aubin-Mercier is undefeated since June 2016.

Hernandez could be an up-and-coming star in the division, but we have to give him some time to develop further. Aubin-Mercier will likely get over the line in this three-round fight.

Prediction: Olivier Aubin-Mercier to win by unanimous decision

Bet: Olivier Aubin-Mercier to win (-124)

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UFC on FOX 30 fight card

UFC on FOX 30 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 4:00 pm ET (8:00 pm GMT) on Saturday, July 28.

FOX Main Card (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Dustin Poirier [-157] vs. Eddie Alvarez [+155]
  • Jose Aldo [-125] vs. Jeremy Stephens [+110]
  • Joanna Jedrzejczyk [-260] vs. Tecia Torres [+240]
  • Alexander Hernandez [+100] vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier [-124]

FOX Prelims (6:00 pm ET / 10:00 am GMT)

  • Jordan Mein vs. Alex Morono
  • Hakeem Dawodu vs. Austin Arnett
  • Kajan Johnson vs. Islam Makhachev
  • Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Ion Cutelaba

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (4:00 pm ET / 8:00 pm GMT)

  • John Makdessi vs. Ross Pearson
  • Alexis Davis vs. Katlyn Chookagian
  • Dustin Ortiz vs. Matheus Nicolau
  • Randa Markos vs. Nina Ansaroff
  • Devin Powell vs. Alvaro Herrera

UFC Fight Night 134: Mauricio Rua vs. Anthony Smith

UFC Fight Night 134: Mauricio Rua vs. Anthony Smith

Mauricio Rua vs. Anthony Smith

Ahead of this main event in Germany, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will be stepping inside the cage as a moderate underdog (+200) against Smith (-230).

After Volkan Oezdemir was pulled from this bout with Mauricio Rua just a few weeks ago, Anthony Smith was deemed the man most suitable to step up and challenge “Shogun” without much preparation.

The contest, which doesn’t scream importance, actually holds major implications for Rua, who might throw himself into the mix for a shot at Daniel Cormier and the UFC’s Light Heavyweight Championship if he manages to score a win here in Germany. As for Smith, it might just mean he gains the respect he deserves as a tough contender in the division after recently moving up from middleweight and defeating Rashad Evans in the first round.

There’s a real chance that Mauricio Rua can withstand Smith’s pressure and beat him up in the second round.

Prediction: Mauricio Rua to win inside the distance

Bet: Mauricio Rua to win [+200]

Glover Teixeira vs. Corey Anderson

Glover Teixeira is the man that many expect to win this one and he sits at -190, while Corey Anderson is valued at +183.

Moments before that main event, there’ll be another fascinating light heavyweight battle as Glover Teixeira steps into the Octagon with Corey Anderson.

Teixeira has long been regarded as one of the most feared and heavy-hitting strikers in the 205lbs division in the UFC. He’s tough, somewhat durable for his size, and has shown an ability to get guys out of there with strikes early or take them the distance and have his hand raised. After being flattened by Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in 2016, Teixeira returned to form with a win over Jared Cannonier. But then, his rise came to another end when he was on the wrong end of an Alexander Gustafsson masterclass. Most recently, he scored a big win over Misha Cirkunov and now wants to put his name back in contention with a win against Anderson.

Anderson, much like Teixeira himself lately, has been in this strange position inside the division in which he is defeating the mid-tier and lower-tier guys, but can’t score wins over anyone ranked inside the top five. He lost to Jimi Manuwa and Ovince Saint Preux in 2017 but managed to snap that losing streak earlier this year when he faced Patrick Cummins at UFC Fight Night 128. Without a doubt, this would be the biggest win of Anderson’s career if he gets over the line vs. Teixeira in Germany.

Prediction: Glover Teixeira inside the distance

Bet: Glover Teixeira to win (-190)

Vitor Miranda vs. Abu Azaitar

Abu Azaitar is considered the favorite (-184) while Vitor Miranda can be found at odds of (+160).

Vitor Miranda’s been for a while now, and that’s saying it politely. At the age of 40, Miranda is still stepping into the UFC’s Octagon and competing against up-and-coming monsters in the middleweight division. Most recently, his record fell to 3-3 in the UFC after losing a unanimous decision to Marvin Vettori at UFC Fight Night 112. His three win streak of KO/TKO victories has come to a close since 2016 and without another spectacular win this weekend in Germany, Miranda might be on the verge of an ending to his career in the UFC.

Abu Azaitar will be stepping into the UFC’s Octagon for the very first time this weekend. With a record of 13-2-1, Azaitar has done most of his best work at WSOF. He’s riding an eight-win streak that started way back in 2013. Come this weekend, Azaitar will have the full support of the German crowd at Barclaycard Arena. Azaitar is stocky and powerful, and he’ll attempt all sorts of looping punches.

Prediction: Vitor Miranda by unanimous decision

Bet: Vitor Miranda to win (+160)

Marcin Tybura vs. Stefan Struve

Marcin Tybura has everyone behind him in this contest and he is a -218 favorite while Stefan Struve and his plentiful experience is +205.

Here’s a brilliant battle between two very skilled heavyweight fighters. Marcin Tybura will step into the cage for the first time since losing to Derrick Lewis earlier this year. That defeat was Tybura’s second consecutive shortcoming and a quick end to the hype behind him as one of the newest title contenders in the heavyweight division. Before then, Tybura had managed wins over Andrei Arlovski, Luis Henrique, and Viktor Pesta.

And then there’s Stefan Struve, who was beginning to look much better than he had done in previous years. However, much like Tybura, he’s now on a two-fight skid thanks to losing to Alexander Volkov and Andrei Arlovski. Struve, known as “Skyscraper” stands at 7’0” (214cm) and is freakishly large, even for the biggest category in the UFC.

Prediction: Marcin Tybura to win inside the distance

Bet: Marcin Tybura to win (-218)

Nasrat Haqparast vs. Marc Diakiese

Nasrat Haqparast is a moderate underdog in this lightweight bout at +185, and Marc Diakiese is the favorite at -190.

While most of this card is filled with aging veterans or people at the very top of their game (or past), this lightweight bout is sure to be an action-packed contest between two fighters with high ceilings. By that, we mean that while they are still developing, they can reach major heights and their potential is seemingly unlimited.

Nasrat Haqparast has just stepped foot inside the UFC’s cage one time so far, but he made quite the appearance. He battled with experienced veteran Marcin Held and took him to a relatively close decision late in 2017. Nasrat has excellent boxing ability and has rounded out his game with the team at Tristar in Canada.

And Marc “Bonecrusher” Diakiese was previously storming through the division but recently ran into a series of defeats at the hands of Drakkar Klose and Daniel Hooker. The Klose fight was a relatively even contest, but Diakiese was outworked by the pressure of his opponent. And then, against Dan Hooker, Diakiese was submitted by the rising lightweight star in the third round.

Prediction: Nasrat Haqparast to win by unanimous decision

Bet: Nasrat Haqparast to win (+185)

Danny Roberts vs. David Zawada

There’s a large margin between these two fighters as Danny Roberts is -320 and David Zawada is +336.

After Alan Jouban was removed from UFC Fight Night 134 with a neck injury in the lead-up to this fight, David Zawada will now step in and replace Jouban in a fight with Danny Roberts.

Zawada, a German fighter with a 16-3 record, will be making his UFC debut in front of his fans in Germany.  At the age of 28, Zawada has managed five consecutive victories through KSW, GMC, and Respect FC. He’s somewhat of a brawler and is known for trading heavy hands with opponents.

Roberts will be returning for the first time since defeating Oliver Enkamp with a brilliant KO/TKO finish at UFC Fight Night 127 earlier this year. The win was a much needed one for Roberts who has been swapping between wins and losses since 2016.

Prediction: David Zawada inside the distance

Bet: David Zawada to win (+336)

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UFC Fight Night 134 fight card

UFC Fight Night 134 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 10:30 am ET (2:30 pm GMT) on Sunday, July 22.

FS1 Main Card (2:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm GMT)

  • Mauricio Rua [+211] vs. Anthony Smith [-210]
  • Glover Teixeira [-181] vs. Corey Anderson [+165]
  • Vitor Miranda [+150] vs. Abu Azaitar [-151]
  • Marcin Tybura [-218] vs. Stefan Struve [+205]
  • Marc Diakiese [-190] vs. Nasrat Haqparast [+185]
  • Danny Roberts [-320] vs. David Zawada [+336]

FS1 Prelims (12:00 pm ET / 4:00 pm GMT)

  • Nick Nein vs. Damir Hadzovic
  • Emil Meek vs. Bartosz Fabinski
  • Khalid Taha vs. Nad Harimani
  • Justin Ledet vs. Aleksandar Rakic

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (10:30 am ET / 2:30 pm GMT)

  • Davey Grant vs. Manny Bermudez
  • Jeremy Kimball vs. Darko Stosic
  • Damian Stasiak vs. Pingyuan Liu

UFC Fight Night 133: Junior Dos Santos vs. Blagoy Ivanov

UFC Fight Night 133: Junior Dos Santos vs. Blagoy Ivanov

Junior Dos Santos vs. Blagoy Ivanov

Junior Dos Santos is the betting favorite at -168, while Blagoy Ivanov can be found at +158.

It’s been a while now since we’ve seen Junior Dos Santos enter the UFC’s Octagon, but here we are. After a six-month suspension from USADA kept Dos Santos on the sidelines ever since he fought Stipe Miocic at UFC 211, “JDS” now returns and will face a UFC newcomer in the main event here in Boise, Idaho.

Blagoy Ivanov is a former WSOF/PFL champion from Bulgaria, and has great plans to become the UFC’s heavyweight champion. There’s possibly no better way to test his abilities straight-up than a five-round war with Dos Santos, either. Don’t be fooled by his lack of experience in the UFC, because Ivanov is a monster who is capable of terrifying the heavyweight division.

While “JDS” has crisp, technical boxing, Ivanov has destructive power in his hands and will happily wait for an opportunity to launch some bombs. “JDS” should be too good for Ivanov, however.

Prediction: Junior Dos Santos to win inside the distance

Bet: Junior Dos Santos to win (-168).

Sage Northcutt vs. Zak Ottow

It seems like bookies and fans are expecting Sage Northcutt to get the job done against Zak Ottow. He’s currently the favorite at -127, while Ottow is +125.

It seems like every time we see Sage Northcutt lately he has improved greatly. Most recently, his move to Team Alpha Male has resulted in the creation of a very strategic and well-rounded fighter who used his striking techniques and well-timed takedowns to control the contest against Thibault Gouti at UFC Fight Night 126. While it wasn’t an impressive finish like we have seen from Northcutt previously, it’s clear that he is growing into a very talented mixed martial artist.

And for this fight, he’ll be moving up a weight class to the welterweight division to take on Zak Ottow. Ottow firmly believes that he’ll crush Northcutt with his sheer strength and size, and will be looking to slam Northcutt onto the mat and beat him up down there. While standing, it’s hard to see how Ottow can hang with Northcutt’s striking excellence.

Prediction: Sage Northcutt to win by decision

Bet: Sage Northcutt to win (-127)

Dennis Bermudez vs. Rick Glenn

Dennis Bermudez is the heavy favorite in this contest and is sitting at -258 during fight week. Rick Glenn’s odds are upward of +200 at the moment.

Dennis Bermudez is in desperate need of a victory. There’s no other way to say it. Bermudez has been on the losing end of three-straight fights, being defeated by Chan Sung Jung, Darren Elkins, and then Andre Fili. Our expectations of Bermudez have changed dramatically from his form of 2013, but he’s still certainly capable of defeating the likes of Rick Glenn.

Rick Glenn has accumulated at 2-2 record with the UFC since joining in 2016. After four fights with the promotion, he’s now going to be facing his toughest test when he steps into the cage with Bermudez. Yes, Glenn did score an impressive underdog victory against Gavin Tucker, but his efforts against Myles Jury prove that he might have difficult staying with Bermudez through three rounds.

Prediction: Dennis Bermudez to win by decision

Bet: Dennis Bermudez to win (-258)

Randy Brown vs. Niko Price

An interesting fight here if you are leaning either side. Randy Brown is -120 at the moment while Niko Price is the slight favorite at -104.

In a relatively insignificant main card matchup, Randy Brown will do battle with Niko Price. Brown was gaining some momentum after defeating Erick Montano and Brian Camozzi, but lost it all when he faced Belal Muhammad at UFC 208. However, he clawed back a victory by defeating the highly-regarded Mickey Gall in a pick-em’ match at UFC 217.

He’ll be facing Niko Price, who has experienced his own fair share of ups and downs recently. After defeating Alan Jouban at UFC Fight Night 114, Price then lost to Vicente Luque. It didn’t take long for him bounce back to winning ways, though, and he scored a second-round submission win over George Sullivan at UFC on FOX 27 earlier this year. That defeat to Luque remains the only blemish on Niko Price’s career so far.

Prediction: Niko Price to win inside the distance

Bet: Niko Price to win (-104)

Myles Jury vs. Chad Mendes

Myles Jury doesn’t bring the same name value that Chad Mendes does and is sitting as a moderate underdog at the moment (+212). Mendes can be had at -260.

Was it really that long ago when Myles Jury was considered one of the best prospects in the UFC? After Donald Cerrone dominated him and then Charles Oliveira submitted him in the first round, Jury took an extended break away from the sport. He fought twice in 2017, and looked impressive on both occasions by defeating Mike De La Torre and Rick Glenn consecutively. But now, he’s up against another of the top contenders in the featherweight division, Chad Mendes.

Mendes is returning from his own break of sorts. The featherweight was suspended for two years due to violating USADA’s drug testing policies. The sport has moved on since Mendes last entered the cage – a clash with Frankie Edgar – so it remains to be seen whether Mendes still has what it takes to hang in there through three rounds.

It won’t be easy, but Myles Jury stands a real chance to upset Mendes in this fight.

Prediction: Myles Jury to win by decision

Bet: Myles Jury to win (+212)

Cat Zingano vs. Marion Reneau

This seemingly close battle will open up the main card, as Cat Zingano is a very slight underdog (+101) against Reneau (-120).

Former UFC title challenger, Cat Zingano will collide with Marion Reneau in what should be a fascinating way to start the main card in Boise, Idaho.

While Zingano hasn’t been in the best of form, she provided a very tough challenge for a rising star in the division when she took Ketlen Vieira to a split decision at UFC 222. The defeat marked her third consecutive loss and she now will be looking to score her first win since she defeated Amanda Nunes in September 2014.

That momentum is much the opposite of Marlon Reneau who is appearing to have some sort of career resurgence right now. Reneau hasn’t lost since February 2016 and most recently defeated Talita Bernardo and Sara McMann.

Everyone seems to be all over the place when it comes to picking a winner here, but we’re going to side with Cat Zingano to return to form.

Prediction: Cat Zingano to win inside the distance

Bet: Cat Zingano to win (+101)

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UFC Fight Night 133 fight card

UFC Fight Night 133 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm ET (10:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, July 14.

FS1 Main Card (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)

  • Junior Dos Santos [-168] vs. Blagoy Ivanov [+158]
  • Sage Northcutt [-127] vs. Zak Ottow [+125]
  • Dennis Bermudez [-258] vs. Rick Glenn [+205]
  • Randy Brown [-104] vs. Niko Price [-120]
  • Myles Jury [+212] vs. Chad Mendes [-260]
  • Cat Zingano [+101] vs. Marion Reneau [-120]

FS1 Prelims (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Eddie Wineland vs. Alejandro Perez
  • Darren Elkins vs. Alexander Volkanovski
  • Justin Scoggins vs. Said Nurmagomedov
  • Kurt Holbaugh vs. Raoni Barcelos

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:30 pm ET / 12:30 pm GMT)

  • Liz Carmouche vs. Jennifer Maia
  • Mark De La Rosa vs. Elias Garcia
  • Jessica Aguilar vs. Jodie Esquibel

UFC 226: Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier

UFC 226 Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier

It’s International Fight Week, and that means the UFC will feature their biggest and best stars here in Las Vegas, Nevada. The UFC 226 main card is jam-packed with outstanding fights, and the preliminary card is good enough to be a main card on any other day!

Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier

Stipe Miocic is a moderate betting favorite at -240, while Daniel Cormier sits at +230.

Superfights don’t come around often in mixed martial arts. In fact, we might not have ever seen one of this quality before. The UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, will defend his strap from the challenging Daniel Cormier, who currently reigns over the UFC’s light heavyweight division. It’s a winner-takes-all matchup for Daniel Cormier, who could go home as a two-division champion after UFC 226.

However, to say that Cormier is going to be tested is a vast understatement. Cormier is going to need to bring the very best version of himself if he wants to hang in there with Miocic, who is currently regarded by some as the best heavyweight mixed martial artist of all-time. Add to that, Miocic is running wild at the moment and steps into the cage this weekend on a six-fight winning streak that was most recently capped with a dominant five-round battering of Francis Ngannou. Before that, he defended his title successfully against heavyweight greats Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos.

The challenger, Daniel Cormier, recently scored a significant victory of his own when he stopped Volkan Oezdemir inside two rounds. Cormier made sure to showcase his strengths and dismissed of Oezdemir with relative ease after grounding him and finishing the fight with many unanswered shots.

Now, at UFC 226, these two giants will collide. Will Cormier’s pressure and clinch work be effective against the heavyweight champion, or will Miocic’s strength and size prevail?

Prediction: Stipe Miocic to win by KO/TKO

Bet: Stipe Miocic to win

Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega

Max Holloway is a slight betting favorite at -145, and Brian Ortega is great value at +138.

Moreover, if that spectacular main event isn’t enough, it’s backed by a fantastic co-main event that will see featherweight champion Max Holloway defend his title from Brian Ortega. This matchup between two young stars who are just hitting their peak is likely to be one of the most anticipated title fights in UFC featherweight history.

Holloway earned his belt by defeating Jose Aldo, the greatest UFC featherweight of all-time. To cement his case as the best featherweight in 2018, he then defended the title from Aldo not long after. Holloway’s striking precision, power, and determination to finish fights before the final bell have proved to be not just incredibly exciting, but also very dangerous for his opponents.

At UFC 226, Holloway will be facing another entertaining fighter who has made a career out of finishing opponents. Brian Ortega, who trains under the renowned Rener Gracie, has possibly the most creative arsenal of submissions and jiu-jitsu techniques in the UFC. We’ve seen this on display when he wrapped up the neck of Cub Swanson and submitted him with ease. However, then, Ortega did something that none of us expected and flattened Frankie Edgar with a series of punches that was enough to earn him a shot at Holloway and the title.

Max Holloway is a remarkable athlete and a very dangerous featherweight, but it’s hard to see how he can contain the many weapons of Brian Ortega at UFC 226.

Prediction: Brian Ortega to win by submission

Bet: Brian Ortega to win

Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis

Francis Ngannou is a significant betting favorite (-345), while Derrick Lewis hasn’t been given much chance (+325).

Francis Ngannou, who might just be the hardest-hitting fighter in the UFC, will attempt to bounce back from a disappointing effort against Stipe Miocic earlier this year when he faces Derrick Lewis at UFC 226 this weekend.

You might have heard it before: “Francis Ngannou hits harder than a Ford Escort going at full speed…” Those were the words of UFC President Dana White in the build-up to that fight with Stipe Miocic, and while that is clearly an exaggeration, not many fighters would be willing to step in there after seeing what “The Predator” did to Alistair Overeem last year.

There is one man who has wanted to get his hands on Ngannou for a long time now, though, and that’s Derrick Lewis. Lewis has made a career out of crushing skulls with his hands and is not one to care for a grappling match.

So, it looks like Ngannou and Lewis will be operating in their desired territory and they’ll be able to exchange heavy punches for as long as they remain conscious. And although the blueprint to defeating Ngannou is out there for the world to see, we’re not sure whether Lewis is capable of meeting the requirements.

Prediction: Francis Ngannou to win by KO/TKO

Bet: Francis Ngannou to win

Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis

Michael Chiesa is the favorite in this one (-147), while Anthony Pettis comes in as the underdog (+150).

Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis is a lightweight fight that holds plenty of significance within the division. It’s a fight that was initially scheduled to take place a couple of months ago, but the impacts of Conor McGregor’s latest rampage forced Chiesa out of the event due to injury.

Now, these two will be able to step into the cage for the first time in 2018 as they lock horns in what could be the ‘Fight of the Night.’ Chiesa enters this contest after claiming to be robbed by referee Mario Yamasaki in his fight with Kevin Lee. The lightweight looked to be seconds away from being choked unconscious, but Yamasaki stepped in and stopped the bout before Chiesa had a chance to submit.

And Anthony Pettis, a former champion, desperately needs a win at UFC 226 to move past what has been a recent struggle for him. Having won just two of his last seven fights, Pettis has shown just glimpses of his potential and hasn’t managed to put together a complete performance.

Prediction: Michael Chiesa to win by submission

Bet: Michael Chiesa to win

Gokhan Saki vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.

Gokhan Saki is the favorite in this opening fight (-145), while Khalil Rountree Jr. sits at +138.

To get the UFC 226 main card started, Dutch-Turkish former kickboxer Gokhan Saki will stand toe-to-toe with Khalil Rountree Jr.

Saki, who is a former Glory Light Heavyweight Champion, has recently made the switch over to mixed martial arts and made a successful UFC debut in September last year by defeating Henrique da Silva in an entertaining scrap. Fans witnessed some of Saki’s high-level striking combined with fight-finishing power, as he ended Silva’s night with 15 seconds remaining in the first round.

He’ll be facing Rountree Jr, who made a name for himself during The Ultimate Fighter 23 and has recently been in decent form. Yes, his last contest was a unanimous decision defeat (later overturned to No Contest), but before then he had crushed Paul Craig and Daniel Jolly with his powerful strikes.

Although Rountree is the more experienced mixed martial artist, it’s difficult to see how he will have an advantage against Gokhan Saki for as long as this fight remains standing.

Prediction: Gokhan Saki by KO/TKO

Bet: Gokhan Saki to win

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UFC 226 fight card

UFC 226 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm ET (10:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, July 7.

Pay-per-view (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)

  • Stipe Miocic [-240] vs. Daniel Cormier [+227]
  • Max Holloway [-145] vs. Brian Ortega [+138]
  • Francis Ngannou [-345] vs. Derrick Lewis [+325]
  • Michael Chiesa [-147] vs. Anthony Pettis [+150]
  • Gokhan Saki [-145] vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. [+138]

Fox Sports 1 Prelims (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Uriah Hall vs. Paulo Costa
  • Paul Felder vs. Mike Perry
  • Raphael Assuncao vs. Rob Font
  • Curtis Millender vs. Max Griffin

UFC Fight Pass Prelims (6:30 pm ET / 10:30 pm GMT)

  • Dan Hooker vs. Gilbert Burns
  • Lando Vannata vs. Drakkar Klose
  • Jamie Moyle vs. Emily Whitmire