Sports To Watch: UFC 214

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This Saturday will be the final Saturday of July. It also marks the last fight night of UFC Summer Kickoff lineup as we get not one, not two, but three title fights at UFC 214. In the first bout, we will see a fight for the women’s featherweight title as Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino takes on Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion Tonya Evinger. The second title fight will be for the Welterweight crown as knockout artist Tyron Woodley takes on submission specialist Demian Maia in a five round spectacle. Finally we have the fight two years in the making as Daniel Cormier takes on the former champion Jon “Bones” Jones for the light heavyweight title. This is my official breakdown and prediction for UFC 214.

Womens Bantamweight Championship: Cyborg vs. Evinger

Analysis

My first thought when seeing this matchup was that Cyborg was going to absolutely demolish Evinger as Cyborg is a legit beast when it comes to women’s MMA, even MMA to be honest. But looking at this fight more extensively, I have got to say there is a shot for Evinger to steal this one. While Cyborg has never been defeated in over a decade, Evinger does have a slickness to her where she knows what she is going up against.

Now if I’m Evinger, the goal in this fight is to avoid Cyborg’s goal, which is to cause a barnburner. I think Cyborg is going to rely solely on knockout power and while that can get her the win, which needs to not be in Evinger’s plan. Evinger needs to focus solely on using technical skills to get in significant strikes and score as many points as possible. If she can let Cyborg burn herself out, Evinger can begin to place her shots in and overwhelm her. Think for example the Romero v. Whittaker fight at UFC 213. Romero, like Cyborg, was the biggest, stronger, and faster fighter. Evinger needs to be like Whittaker and be extremely strategic, not get emotional and stick to your gameplan.

Prediction
Cyborg by Split Decision.

While many people think this fight is going to end in a KO, I don’t think the UFC fight makers would put this together if they didn’t think it was going to be a long fight. Evinger is no joke, if you look up the tape for her, she is more than capable of bringing home the W. But I have Cyborg winning because I think that not only will she be brining a slugfest, she will pace it out and pressure her to get the judges approval on the score card.

UFC Welterweight Championship: Woodley vs. Maia
Analysis

This fight is a very interesting one for a multitude of reasons. First, this fight is going to be the first in a long time that the welterweight division, one of the toughest divisions in the UFC, has a fight between two fighters who are stylistically worlds apart. Secondly, this is the third title defense for Woodley, which spells trouble for him, as no fighter in the weight class has successfully defended the belt past two fights since George St. Pierre (Woodley beat  Robbie Lawler on Lawler’s third defense, Lawler beat Johnny Hendricks on his first defense).

Demian Maia walks into this bout with a ton of confidence as he has become the submission king in this weight class. Now Woodley also walks in with confidence but knows he needs to win the court of public opinion back after his back-to-back lackluster winning performances against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. For this fight to go Woodley’s way, he needs to do the exact same thing we discussed in the Cyborg fight: keep this on the feet and go for the knockout. If this fight goes to the ground or Maia lands a takedown, expect  Maia to go into boa constrictor mode and go for the submission early. Woodley also needs to conserve energy, because Maia has a chin on him and can take a shot, so Woodley cannot just go into a flurry of punches, he needs to conserve and time his shots to win this fight.

Prediction
Maia by Submission, 4th round.

I know I’m going to piss some people off, but Maia is way too dangerous of a ground specialist for someone like Woodley. I think Woodley is going to have to pressure him in the first two rounds to look for a TKO. but Maia will slip the pressure and get Woodley to the ground. If Woodley has not worked on a scramble game, needs to develop one quickly as he won’t have time against a foe like Maia.

Light Heavyweight Championship: Jon “Bones” Jones v. Daniel “DC” Cormier 2
Analysis

Rivalries are needed in sports. Not only does it make the event more exciting, but it pulls on the heartstrings of the audience and makes you choose a side. We see in that in all sports. Lakers vs. Celtics. Cowboys vs. Giants. Yankees vs. Red Sox. And in MMA we have one of the rare rivalries in current Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel “DC” Cormier and former champion Jon “Bones” Jones. While we know the past of why this bout is even taking place, we know that this matchup was going to happen. Every other Light Heavyweight in the division is aiming for third best since this rivalry began with that infamous press conference brawl. Since then, both of these men have shown nothing but absolute dominance in the Octagon and proven why they are the Ali and Joe Frazier of the MMA.

Jones embodies Muhammad Ali, as for his size, he is an anomaly in mixed martial arts, using movements we have never seen outside of the featherweight division. Cormier is Frazier, the grind you out, blue-collar mentality that isn’t asking for your respect, he is taking it with interest. This fight comes down to who can learn the most from their last bout in 2015. Will Cormier pressure Jones smartly and not gas out, and not allow Jones to take him down during the fight? For Jones, what new tricks does he have up his sleeve since his absence from the octagon? In a recent interview, Jackson-Wink MMA founder and Jones striking coach Mike Winkeljohn said that Jones has new ways of throwing his dangerous elbow strikes, which along with his recent obsession with power lifting, could prove dangerous to Cormier. This is going to be a long fight, so get ready for some action.

Prediction
Jones by unanimous decision.

Frasier beat Ali once. Ali came back and beat him to end the trilogy with a 2-1 record. The same thing will happen here. For all intents and purposes, Jones has lost to Cormier already, just not in the Octagon. Jones lost the second fight in the arena of public opinion with his off-the-field actions and Cormier won the belt due to it, securing a win from it. The third fight is on July 29th and like Ali v. Frazier, it’s going to go the same way.

Cormier, to my eyes, has not evolved his skills as a fighter in the last four fights he has had against Alexander Gustafsson, Anderson Silva at a catchweight, and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson twice. The only thing he has gained is the ability to go five rounds, which is very important, but none of the guys he mentioned are the caliber of Jon Jones in this weight class. Cormier will pressure Jones, that’s pretty much a given, but if he pressures and get caught with an elbow or a takedown, Jones is going to smother him and hit him with devastating strikes. If Jones is able to use this power lifting training as apart of his game, Cormier is in even more trouble if this gets to the ground. You also have to think that Cormier is going up against Jones who has 2 full years without significant damage, as he wasn’t really hurt in the Ovince Saint. Preux fight.

And speaking of ring rust, I don’t think it plays a role in this fight because Jones is accustomed to Cormier and seeing how he pretty much has shown that he has watched all of Cormier’s fight since his absence, its hard to believe that Cormier will win this fight. In order for Cormier to win this and defy my prediction, he will have to KO Jones.

But remember, this is the same Jon Jones that after time away from the sport, broke the arm of  Ovince St. Preux, a top ten Light Heavyweight, with a leg kick.

A.
Freaking.
Leg.
Kick.

 

 

So those are my predictions, what do you think will happen? Leave a comment and like below, and I’ll see you guys next time.

 

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