Another month, another UFC PPV. This month we have a really strong card with one of the biggest main events of the year. Let’s get into it.
Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cutelaba – Light Heavyweight Division
The amount of times this fight has been scheduled and rescheduled is an absolute joke. I feel like I’ve predicted this one 5 times already. Anyways, we go again with Magomed, a brilliant grappler and a pretty good striker as well. If this fight actually occurs, he’ll be comfortable wherever it goes. Cutelaba, a fighter with a history in grappling, yet he prefers to head hunt. If Magomed can weather the early first round storm of Ion, then he’ll win this fight in my opinion. For this reason, I’m going with a Magomed submission victory in the second round.
Lauren Murphy vs Liliya Shakirova – Women’s Flyweight Division
Lauren comes into this fight 5-4 in the UFC and 13-4 in her MMA career. With some decent wrestling, Lauren has a better chance of winning this fight on the ground as she’s pretty sloppy on her feet. I didn’t know much about Shakirova, as she makes her UFC debut, so I had to watch some tape. From what I’ve seen she’s a pretty good kickboxer however, fatigue is a huge issue for her. Towards the end of fights, she slows down considerably. I think if Lauren is able to wear her down in round one, she’ll finish Liliya in the second. I’m taking Murphy by TKO in round 2.
Jacob Malkoun vs Phil Hawes – Middleweight Division
Both fighters are making their UFC debuts here and Malkoun comes into this one 4-0 in his career but hasn’t really been tested by top opposition yet. From the tape I’ve watched, he seems to be moderately good everywhere. There’s nothing that really stands out to me about him just yet, but he has a lot of time to grow as he’s only 25 years old. Hawes, comes into this one 8-2 after winning a Contender Series fight just over a month ago. He has some serious KO power and is a pretty good wrestler as well. I’ve got Phil Hawes for this one, to me he’s a better fighter and has gone up against better opposition. Hawes by KO in round one.
Alexander Volkov vs Walt Harris
I cannot wait for this fight! Volkov is a brilliant striker. I’d argue he can slip in the top 3 in the division in that category. He’s coming off a tough loss to Curtis Blaydes back in June. Harris is 6-7 in the UFC. One of the most agile heavyweights I’ve ever seen. He’s also coming off a loss coming into this fight. This was against Alistair Overeem. In my opinion, this fight will decided on if Volkov can control the distance between the two. Harris has some serious power and if he’s allowed close to Volkov, he can put him to sleep. Volkov has proved that against other strikers he’s been able to do this, so for that reason, I’m going with the Russian by decision.
Robert Whittaker vs Jared Cannonier – Middleweight Division
Another tough fight to call. Whittaker, the former Middleweight champ comes into this 12-3 in the UFC. He’s brilliant in every aspect of mixed martial arts and will be comfortable if this fight is on the feet or the floor. He’s coming off a win against Darren Till, a fight which was a perfect example of his fight IQ and technical ability. Cannonier, a man who’s fought at Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight, has incredible power and has the ability to knockout Whittaker at any point in the fight. His wrestling defence is also extremely good as well. This for me is a real toss up. Whittaker is coming back to fighting 3 round fights after only having 5 round fights for the last 3/4 years. Will that be a factor? My conclusion is that, If Rob wins, he wins by decision and if Jared wins, he wins by TKO or KO. I’m really not sure though, but I’m going to go with the underdog. Cannonier by TKO in round 3. A real 50/50 for me.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) vs Justin Gaethje (ic) – UFC Lightweight Championship
The last two fights have been extremely difficult to predict and it just gets tougher from here. The champion, arguably the GOAT comes into this fight 28-0. We all know about his wrestling and his ability to neutralise his opponents on the ground. His last two fights against Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor he sapped the life out of them before finishing both of them. Can he do this to Gaethje though? The challenger, hands down Khabib’s toughest test yet. A brilliant striker with good takedown defence and wrestling. The leg kicks of Gaethje are unmatched in the UFC. His ability to gauge distance with his kicks is next to none. I also can’t forget about his KO ability. We haven’t really seen Khabib rocked before but there’s a first time for anything. At the weigh-ins, Khabib had to completely strip just to make weight and he seemed relieved to do so. Psychologically, I think Justin has the advantage. Obviously, the unfortunate passing of Khabib’s father, who was an instrumental part of his career could be on the mind of the champion. I think if there is a time that Khabib loses, it’s now. However, when Khabib steps into that octagon, it may just be a completely different story. I’ve never gone against Khabib before but as I said before, there’s a first time for everything but that isn’t today. Khabib submission in round 4.