UFC 245 is coming to the T-Mobile Arena this Saturday Dec. 14 and the main card is stacked with not one, not two, not four... don't get greedy... but an impressive three title fights. The Women's Bantamweight belt is on the line between champ Amanda Nunes and #1 contender Germaine De Randamie. After that is the Featherweight title bout between champ Max Holloway and #1 contender Alexander Volkanovski. The card is topped off with a battle for the Welterweight strap between champ Kamaru Usman and #2 contender Colby Covington.
So, let's take a closer look at the main card matchups and I'll give my predictions so you can bet your life savings accordingly. Disclaimer: I'm kidding. Please don't do that.
Petr Yan (13-1) vs Urijah Faber (35-10)
If this fight was several years ago, it would be easier to break down. Faber went 1-2 in 2016 and looked like he was gonna call it a career when he beat Brad Pickett but then last July, The California Kid made an impressive comeback stopping a then 15-1 Ricky Simon via 1st round TKO. We didn't learn a lot about where Faber is at in 2019 other than he's still dangerous. Yan, is on an 8 fight win streak and his lone loss is a split decision in 2017. Faber has always been an elite well-rounded fighter always loitering around title contention in the latter part of his career. While we don't know where Faber is skillwise in 2019, one thing I think gives him the advantage here is experience. Yan hasn't fought someone with Faber's level of skill and experience.
I'm gonna give it to Faber via 3rd round submission -but I might just be nostalgic.
Marlon Moraes (22-6-1) vs Jose Aldo (28-5)
This should be interesting as both guys have similar skill sets -although Aldo's ground game is more talked about than seen. Obviously, a big factor is Aldo's puzzling drop to Bantamweight. He looked damn emaciated and we're talking way before weigh-ins. How will that affect his punching power? We don't know but I think it will almost definitely affect his cardio and tough weigh cuts can make for weak chins. If this fight was at Featherweight, I'd say, "Aldo all day" but I'm not liking what looked like a brutal cut against a fighter with the power and skills of Moraes.
I got Moraes by 3rd round KO.
Amanda Nunes (18-4) vs Germaine De Randamie (9-3)
Amanda is keeping the belt. Next. Okay, fine. I'll explain the obvious. Now, I don't want to sound like I'm disrespecting De Randamie. She is a helluva a fighter and a bad ass. She could kick my ass blindfolded with one hand tied behind her back. But Nunes is next level. Nevermind that she already beat GDR -that was six years ago. The "Lioness" has been on a four year win streak in which she's destroyed some of the best of the best. Including a 1st round KO of Cyborg which no one thought was even possible. Rousey, Holm, Tate, McMann: Legends and all stopped by Nunes inside the 1st round. Only Valentina Shevchenko had the right mix of skills to give her any trouble and even so, Nunes beat her twice. So, I'm not sure how De Randamie wins. She's a great fighter and crafty but she's likely going to be on the defensive the whole time which makes it hard to implement much strategy.
Nunes by 1st round TKO.
Max Holloway (21-4) vs Alexander Volkanivski (20-1)
"Volkanovski is like a younger Frankie Edgar which is terrifying for anyone not named Max Holloway." - @DirectorPatrickI mean that about sums it up, Patrick. Volkanovski is great he's just not Max great. Which of course makes him a dangerous fight because if Holloway should drop the ball at any point, Volkanovski will certainly capitalize on it. But Holloway is rarely off his game.
I think Holloway gets the unanimous decision.
Kamaru Usman (15-1) vs Colby Covington (15-1)
Welterweight Champ Usman takes on everyone's favorite/most hated heel, Colby Covington. Covington gets under people's skin. From his unapologetic MAGA/Trump support to his trash talking of beloved fighters and teammates like Jorge Masvidal. How much of it is an act? Who knows but it it's effective either way. Covington has riled up the fans and gotten himself the attention and paydays that he's after. For the most part he's been able to back it up with a 7 fight win streak. Colby has used his wrestling and unrelenting pressure to smother and dominate his opponents. Can he do that against Usman who is an accomplished wrestler in his own right? On paper, Usman is a better fighter. His striking is better and he's a more versatile fighter. He adapts to his opponent's gameplan and his takedown defense is at 100% (at least in his time in the UFC). Usman hasn't lost since his only defeat in 2013 in his 2nd pro fight. Covington's lone loss was a more recent submission loss to Warlley Alves in late 2015. Covington has one main skill but it's a damn good one --unrelenting and constant pressure. He controls and smothers his opponents and overwhelms them. He was superglued to Robbie Lawler for 5 rounds in his last fight, neutralizing Lawlers dangerous striking. However, such a style is very draining for him as well as the fighter he's competing against. While he never stops the constant pressure, it does tend to wane in intensity as the fight goes on. Usman will be much harder to control than any of Covington's previous opponents and I believe the champ will use those openings to land strikes and turn the tables in the later rounds. Colby is never going to stop coming forward and putting the pressure on so you can never count him out but Usman should be able to pull ahead on points as Colby slows down and the champ adjusts to his offense.
I have "The Nigerian Nightmare" retaining his belt by unanimous decision.
That's what I think and why I think it. Enjoy UFC 245 and we'll see how well my predictions hold up. Join me next time for a UFC 245 wrap up where we'll break down how the fisticuff festivities actually went down. Best of luck to all the fighters and let's hope they all bring their Diamonds and protect their jewels.