UFC 214 on Saturday may not have the buzz of Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather’s lucrative Aug. 26 boxing match, but it may be better designed to create more bang for buyers’ bucks.
The event, emanating from Anaheim, boasts a trio of title fights and some reliable action fighters. The pay-per-view showcase is widely considered the most stacked MMA event of the year.
Read on for predictions for UFC 214’s five-bout main card.
Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones
Light heavyweight champion Cormier looks to avenge his only loss to embattled ex-champ Jones, whose legal trouble and failed drug test have kept him out of the cage for all but one fight in 2 1⁄2 years.
Jones beat Cormier handily in 2015. And while DC has been more active, he’s 38 and his weight cut to 205 pounds is difficult.
Assuming the fight goes on as planned — these two were supposed to fight last July before Jones’ failed test scrapped it three days out — it’s hard to pick against an all-time great like the 30-year-old Jones.
Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia
Woodley finally moved on from two tough welterweight title defenses against kickboxer Stephen Thompson and now faces one of the best jiu-jitsu players in MMA history in Maia.
If Woodley can stymie Maia’s takedown attempts without tiring, he should cruise to a striking-heavy decision that could be over sooner. If not, Maia should wear the champ down and submit him in the later rounds. Expect the latter in an upset.
Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino vs. Tonya Evinger
Cyborg is a Tyson-esque wrecking ball, and she’s finally going to get her chance at wearing UFC gold with the vacant featherweight belt up for grabs. No offense tough-as-nails Evinger, but Justino is going to smash her early.
Robbie Lawler vs. Donald Cerrone
A front-runner for Fight of the Night, ex-champ Lawler and ever-active Cowboy are known for fireworks. Even if this one goes the distance, it’s hard to see it being boring. The real winner will be the fans, but look for Lawler to score a KO.
Jimi Manuwa vs. Volkan Oezdemir
This light heavyweight matchup is a boom or bust candidate. Both have shown fight-ending power, but the heavier guys don’t always produce if a finish fails to materialize. The pick is Manuwa, but this is pretty close to a pick ’em.