Another month, another PPV. We’re getting the trilogy fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor which is set to be one of the most interesting fights of the year, due to their two previous fights. Let’s get started.
Sean O’Malley vs Kris Moutinho – Bantamweight Division
There’s not much to breakdown here. Sean O’Malley has got to fight someone in the top 15 after this. It seems like he only fights down instead of fighting up the division. If Moutinho wins, it would be the shock of the century. O’Malley is a much better technical striker and what he did to Thomas Almeida a few months back was brutal. I expect Sean to wrap this up quickly so we can see him fight someone in the top 15 ASAP.
Prediction: Sean O’Malley by TKO in round 1
Irene Aldana vs Yana Kunitskaya – Women’s Bantamweight Division
Irene comes into this fight 12-6 in her career so far. She’s primarily a boxer, who if she wants to win this fight, has to improve on her grappling. The last time she faced someone with moderate wrestling pedigree, she was dominated by Raquel Pennington. Even in her last against Holly Holm, she looked poor on the feet. I think Irene will improve on both sides of the fight and if she does she could pick apart Yana on the feet. Yana wins this fight if Irene doesn’t improve her takedown defence, simple as that. Tough pick but I’m going with Aldana, I think she’ll make the necessary improvements to win this one.
Prediction: Irene Aldana by decision
Tai Tuivasa vs Greg Hardy – Heavyweight Division
Tai comes into this bout 12-3 in his career so far. A boxer with incredible KO power that uses leg kicks to restrict his opponents movement before applying serious pressure with his quick hands. Hardy comes into this bout 7-3-1NC. Hardy is pretty similar to Tai in his explosive nature but in this fight, he’s got to use his wrestling and jiu-jitsu. He’s the bigger fighter and I believe Tai has the advantage on the feet, so if he can get Tai down, we could see Hardy win by decision if he doesn’t burn out. I’m 65:35 on this one, leaning towards Tai.
Prediction: Tai Tuivasa by KO in round 2
Gilbert Burns vs Stephen Thompson – Welterweight Division
This fight is gonna be a good one. We have the BJJ of Burns vs the elusive striking on ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson. This one is a relatively easy fight to breakdown. Burns needs to get Stephen to the ground and if he can’t, he’s got to starch him with one clean right or left hand. He might not be as technically sound as Thompson, but if we saw anything in the title fight with Usman, he has the power to KO Thompson as he knocked Usman down. If he can’t find that takedown or the shot, he’s screwed and Stephen will run circles around him, like he’s done to most of his opposition. This one is a tough one for me but I’m taking Wonderboy.
Prediction: Stephen Thompson by decision
Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor 3 – Lightweight Division
I CANNOT WAIT! I broke down what Conor needs to do to win in my last post, so I’ll paraphrase it here. Check calf kicks, change/alter stance so he’s not susceptible to calf kicks Takedown and so he can give Dustin different looks within the fight when on offence. If Conor can improve on these few things, I think he can come out of this fight with the win. Dustin definitely felt Conor’s power in the round one in a few of their striking exchanges so Conor can find confidence in that. When it comes to Dustin, his performance in January was near impeccable. From the early takedown, to controlling Conor on the fence and the leg kicks. I think if Dustin could keep working on his BJJ (although he’s a black belt) and look to advance positions to either look for a submission or a ground and pound, Conor doesn’t stand a chance on the floor. We also have the great equaliser in all Conor fights. His left hand. It only takes one slip up from Dustin for Conor to get a flush hit on the jaw and score a KO, but Dustin’s fight IQ is up there with the best of the best so I’m sure he’ll be focused and not make many mistakes in the fight. There’s so much to think about in the trilogy fight, but I think I’m gonna go with Conor again as I did in January. He’s got to win this and he seems determined to do so but if Dustin wins again I will not be surprised. My backup decision is a Dustin TKO in round 3.
Prediction: Conor McGregor by TKO in round 4