UFC 199: Preview and Predictions
Another great UFC event has come and gone with UFC FIGHT NIGHT: Almeida vs Garbrandt. My pick-em wasn’t too shabby right? Few take away’s Garbrandt has cemented himself as a top 10 in the Bantamweight division along with Brian Caraway (I want Caraway vs Garbrandt next), Jeremy Stephens showed up vs Renan Barao and has put himself in line for another huge fight at 145 lbs. Anyway’s this Saturday we have a HUGE event, UFC 199, on deck regardless of the fallout of the original main event let me lay it all out for you.
Rockhold vs Weidman 2 is a great fight but Rockhold vs Bisping 2 will fit the bill just fine. In fact I prefer this fight. Weidman facing Luke Rockhold twice in a row is a scary thought for the future of his career, more so what has been widely documented is that this is the first UFC title shot in a 10 year career for Michael Bisping. Simply put, it was well deserved as I stated in an earlier article he deserved the call and Michael Bisping answered the phone. Bisping at this point is at the highest point of his career at age 37 coming off of a victory over Anderson Silva which is his 3rd straight, his last loss was in November of 2014 vs his next challenge and current Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold. Rockhold has a focus unlike any and a mental confidence that is so natural and not in the slightest way fake— he know’s his skillset and he is ready to seize his prime. Both men want to prove that they are the best and when that happens the fight eventually speaks for itself.
We have a HUGE Co-Main Event as well with the conclusion trilogy match between Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber. This fight is the conclusion of a 10 year rivalry that dates back to the wonderful day’s that were the WEC. This fight was slated for 2012 but the story is well-known Cruz was fighting himself with his injuries outside the octagon while Urijah continued to remain one of the top 5 Bantamweights in the world today. One piece is missing from the Hall Of Fame career of Urijah Faber: A UFC belt. He’s going to have to go through Cruz one final time to get it. The build up to this fight is palpable with mini series episodes like UFC: Bad Blood, you can honestly tell that these two guy’s simply do not like each other and we will finally get the conclusion we have been waiting for. Add in intriguing matchups like Halloway vs Lamas, Dan Henderson vs Hector Lombard and Dustin Poirier vs Bobby Green, UFC 199 is going to be a great event. My prediction? PAIN. With all of these fights we will see plenty of blood sweat and maybe even some tears. The pace that these men fight at will be a sight to see, but seriously besides pain here is my prediction for the five main card bouts.
Luke Rockhold vs Michael Bisping 2
Rockhold has really shown that he is the man at 185 lbs but I can’t help but wonder if Chris Weidman had not thrown that ill-advised spinning back kick would the fight have been decided by a finish? Who knows. But the kickboxing game of Luke Rockhold is his bread and butter and vs a guy like Bisping who tends to get caught flat-footed from time to time Rockhold could easily end this in the 2nd or 3rd round. Bisping needs to move his feet, circle, counter, and move. I expect a very focused and determined Michael Bisping being that this could be his first and last title shot and I expect Bisping to give Rockhold a tougher time this 2nd time around. In the end I see Rockhold getting his hand raised in a fight that ends with Rockhold giving Bisping the respect he deserves.
Prediction: Rockhold by 4th round technical knockout
Dominick Cruz vs Urijah Faber 3
Dominick Cruz has a diverse and elusive striking ability that I haven’t seen many men be able to even touch him only one man has. Urijah Faber. In Cruz vs Faber 2 the challenger rocked Cruz several times. While Cruz landed take downs, Urijah was on his back for maybe a millisecond before he transitioned and got to his feet. Urijah has the ability to close the distance vs Cruz with his short overhand right and his ability to land elbows and punches in the clinch game. While Cruz is younger he has had his fair share of injuries. But let’s give credit where credit is due no fighter has a higher fight IQ than Dominick Cruz. He has the mental edge over the majority of his opponents, always being a smarter fighter using angles while throwing strikes and setting his strikes up with full precision. I see this fight being an easy ‘fight of the year’ candidate. This one could easily go the distance, Urijah has the edge in pure power to finish the fight but can he land that punch? We will have to see, but if Urijah can take Cruz to the mat he has a shot…but will Cruz let him? No. Urijah again will be the aggressor in this fight. But Cruz is too fast and his style is very tough to figure out. With questions left more unanswered that a fourth fight could be justified. Faber offers what Cruz can’t and Cruz offers what Faber can’t, that itself is what makes this one of the best MMA rivalries of all-time. This fight will be close, and it is a very tough fight to call.
Prediction: Cruz by Split Decision
Max Halloway vs Ricardo Lamas
This is one heck of a fight in the Featherweight division. Max Halloway has gone the distance with Conor McGregor and he has finished many men inside the octagon, while Lamas has been a component of the featherweight division for years. Whoever wins this fight easily keeps themselves in that contender discussion. I give the edge to Halloway he has more of an ability to finish the fight with his hands using a clean strike. Lamas has been knocked out by Chad Mendes before, but this is as close a match up as any with 4th best featherweight vs the 5th best featherweight according the UFC’s ranking system. With that being said my prediction leans toward Halloway.
Prediction: Halloway by 2nd round knockout
Dan Henderson vs Hector Lombard
A slug-fest between two guys that can hit and hit HARD. This could be the swan song for one of the greatest Mixed Martial Artists of all-time in Dan Henderson. Might I say he was, is, and always will be a huge idol of mine. Henderson is one of the most accomplished MMA fighter’s ever but approaching the halfway point of his fourth decade on earth and what is almost his 30th year competing in events around the world, Henderson deserves to go out on top. I think we will see that here with Hector Lombard a guy that comes straight at you. Lombard dipped his toes in the Welterweight Division and he showed glimpses of greatness and glimpses of mediocrity. With Dan Henderson across from him I don’t think Lombard will get the chance to show either side. Although 185 is a better weight class for Lombard, Henderson’s right hand defies logic. If Lombard comes forward too fast, Dan the Man can put the lights out real quick.
Henderson by 2nd round knockout
Dustin Piorier vs Bobby Green
Since his loss to Conor McGregor at 145 lbs. the ‘Diamond’ Dustin Piorier has been nothing short of a monster at 155lbs. He has run through anybody and everybody assigned to him. Winning his last three fights with his final one coming against one of the few men to defeat Conor McGregor in Joe Duffy. At 155, it appears to be a natural fit for Dustin and I expect his run at that weight to continue versus an always game Bobby Green. Green is coming off a loss vs Edson Barboza himself. Bobby has the ability to make it a tough fight for Dustin no question about it but I see the ‘Diamond’ continuing his dominance in the weight division of 155 lbs and sinching a spot in the top 10 of the Lightweight Division.
Poirier by 3rd round submission
There you have it my friends! My UFC 199 Preview and Prediction… keep you’re eyes open for my postfight piece The Thomas Transition: UFC 199!
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