UFC FIGHT NIGHT PREDICTIONS: MacDonald vs Thompson
While Garbrandt vs Almeida was a main event to see that pitted two undefeated Bantamweights up against one another the UFC “one-upped” themselves with this main event. The clash between Rory MacDonald and Stephen Thompson is a PIVOTAL fight for both men and it is a real rarity that we the fans get to see the number one and number two ranked fighters in any division go head-to-head with a UFC Welterweight title shot at stake. So as Mike Goldberg would say and HERE WE GO!! Let’s dig deep into the main and co-main event as I will predict who will win and why.
MacDonald vs Thompson
As I said up top this fight could very well determine the next Welterweight title challenger with MacDonald ranked as the number one contender and Thompson coming off of a huge knockout victory over former Welterweight champion Johny Hendricks. While one fighter brings WILL the other brings SKILL. Rory MacDonald is the toughest s.o.b. in the UFC Welterweight division besides current Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler who is slated to take on Tyron Woodley at UFC 201 on July 30th. MacDonald is responsible for one-half of one of the best fights I have ever witnessed in my entire life. MacDonald gave everything he had in his first career title shot trading blow for blow with a nasty striker like Lawler. Rory was winning on all three judges scorecards heading into the 5th and final round, but his face was in far worse shape than Lawler who left the octagon with a split lip. One straight punch was all Lawler needed to land on Rory’s face which at that point featured eyes swollen shut and a broken orbital bone. If that isn’t proof that Rory is more than just tough I don’t know what does. The aftermath led to MacDonald and Lawler sitting in hospital beds next to each other. While his performance vs Lawler was a true testament to his toughness, I have more question marks about Rory than ever before. Mainly due to the fact that once you leave that much of yourself in the octagon how much do you truly have left? While I don’t question Rory’s motivation, I do question if he can put himself in deep waters like that again if needed. I have never seen a fighter in the UFC take that many punches to the face and keep coming and while it is honorable that Rory showed that much heart and determination, I believe a piece of Rory was left in there that might not ever come back.
While Lawler came straight at him looking for a slug fest (which he got) Thompson will not “Wonderboy” he will look to keep it standing but at a distance using his kickboxing experience to his advantage. While Rory has fought guys that throw kicks very well, Stephen Thompson is a new breed. In the challenger’s last performance vs Johny Hendricks let’s just say ‘Wonderboy’ won this writer some money. Why did I bet on Thompson? Mainly because I believe Stephen Thompson is the number one contender currently and the guy I see that could easily become the next UFC Welterweight Champion. While that is a bold prediction his skill-set is unlike any that I have ever seen. His ability to move away from punches and land so freely is truly unique and this ability is only seen by some of the best ever. He throws punches and kicks much like Anderson Silva but the fluidity of his punches and kicks is what makes him so dangerous. When thinking of this fight I don’t know what plan Rory will have that could really catch Stephen off guard. I feel Rory’s best advantage would be taking this fight to the ground and trying to keep it there while avoiding big shots from Thompson. With that said, I believe Thompson knows that is MacDonald’s best chance to win as well and Thompson will be ready for it. With this fight being the last on Rory’s UFC contract a win could get him re-signed and another crack at the Welterweight title. With a loss it could mean a debut in Bellator MMA. This is a huge fight for both guys but especially for Rory. Unfortunately I see Thompson as the winner.
Prediction: Thompson 3rd round TKO
Cerrone vs Cote
A fight that I never saw happening. Mainly because for the majority of both fighters careers they represented two weight classes that are 30 pounds between each other. Cote at one point fought Tito Ortiz at Light Heavyweight (205 lbs) but has mainly fought as a Middleweight (185 lbs) challenging Anderson Silva for the belt back in 2008. Donald Cerrone however, recently moved to the Welterweight division after his Lightweight title fight loss to Rafael Dos Anjos. Both Cerrone and Cote have been fighting under the Zuffa banner for quite some time. So for all the hardcore UFC fans that have been there since the beginning like myself, this fight is a real treat.
With Cerrone and Cote being in under the Zuffa banner fighting the best in the world we have seen flaws. Cerrone is most known for keeping his head straight up in the air while striking– something that was exposed by Dos Anjos in 64 seconds. If there is any such thing as “luck” in fighting, it certainly has not been on Patrick Cote’s side at least during his first stint with the UFC. From the moment he entered the Ultimate Fighter house to today, Cote has suffered many injuries DURING fights. Case in point a torn ACL during his title fight with Anderson Silva and re-tearing his ACL three year’s later in a regional promotion fight vs Crafton Wallace. This injury many thought would end his chances at a UFC return. But like the true fighter that he is, Cote has always found a way to come back. Cote currently in his second stint with the UFC has won his last three fights finishing two by technical knockout.
Cerrone entering this fight with Cote would make this his 21st appearance inside the UFC’s octagon since 2011. Simply put Donald Cerrone is insane. He was born to fight. While Cerrone loves living life on the edge outside the cage, inside the cage he loves making his opponents feel as if their life is coming to an end finishing 21 of 29 career opponents– 16 by submission. Nighty Night. One key factor I feel in this fight is weight. Does the weight increase help or hurt Cerrone? Or does the weight decrease help or hurt Cote. That is the question of this fight. Power advantage goes to Cote but speed goes to Cerrone. Timing beats power, precision beats speed. One guy said that, I can’t remember who. Sarcasm aside if Cerrone keeps his chin up the way he has over the course of his career I see Cote landing a hard enough shot to finish it. But I also see Cerrone winning this fight if he can avoid the big shot.
Prediction: Cerrone by Unanimous Decision
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