Another month, another UFC card. The future of the middleweight division is about to be sorted with Robert Whittaker getting his long-awaited rematch with Israel Adesanya for the title. Also Derek Brunson and Jared Cannonier will go head-to-head in a match that will surely decipher who’s next in line said title, depending on who wins the main event. Tai Tuivasa also challenges Derrick Lewis in a match that will surely be a contender for fight of the night.
Bobby Green vs Nasrat Haqparast – Lightweight Division
This is a great fight to start the card in the lightweight division. Bobby Green probably has one of the best jabs in the lightweight division as of now. He’s an extremely smart striker that will probably look to fight on the outside and use low kicks to pick apart Haqparst which will open him up for Bobby’s boxing. If Green can get into a rhythm early on Nasrat is in big trouble. Nasrat needs to make this fight a bit dirty if he’s going to win. He’s a decent boxer, but not on the level of Green. If he’s to introduce some dirty boxing that’ll definitely help him control the elusiveness of Green. I’m taking Green for the win by decision.
Prediction: Bobby Green by decision
Kyler Phillips vs Marcelo Rojo – Bantamweight Division
Phillips is a terrific striker, he’s probably one of the best strikers in the stacked bantamweight division however, his jiu-jitsu is another underrated aspect of his game, winning his second pro fight via a calf slicer. My biggest issue with Kyler is his cardio, his last fight against Paiva, he gassed out which caused him to lose by split decision. Marcelo Rojo is a decent striker who will need to get into the pocket of Phillips if he’s going to win the fight. The Argentine might have to integrate some grappling and should try and make Phillips fight on the back foot, which will help him fatigue. If he can introduce some grappling on the fence, he has a good chance of winning the fight by decision. However, I think Phillips may catch him on the way in, leading to a finish.
Prediction: Kyler Phillips by TKO in round 3
Jared Cannonier vs Derek Brunson – Middleweight Division
Derek Brunson is blonde. NEXT!
Prediction: Derek Brunson by Submission round 1
Derrick Lewis vs Tai Tuivasa – Heavyweight Division
FIREWORKS! Someone’s getting knocked out surely. Two knockout artists, Lewis has the most in UFC history, Tuivasa with 4 knockouts in his last 4 fights, this could be special. This fight is about who can find the big shot first. Tai is the much faster boxer, so if he evade or roll with a few of Lewis’ big strikes, introduce a few calf kicks, he has a big chance going into round 2 and 3. However, this is a big “if.” It only takes one clean hit for most to go down and even though Tai is tough, but this is a big step up in competition. I’m gonna go with Lewis. The great equaliser is that right hand.
Prediction: Derrick Lewis by KO in round 1
Israel Adesanya (c) vs Robert Whittaker 2 – Middleweight Championship
This could either end a rivalry or lead up to a trilogy later this year. Adesanya is arguably the best striker in the UFC. Brilliant timing, distance management and elusiveness, makes him one of the most difficult fighters to read at middleweight. With his superior reach he can pick Whittaker apart again from the outside if Rob decides to keep it on the feet, which I don’t think he will. Rob’s all round MMA game is brilliant and I’m sure he’ll look to the fact that Vettori took Adesanya down in their fight last year as confidence to try and take him down. Rob has improved his striking dramatically since the first fight, however, just like the first fight, I think he’ll need to take damage to deliver damage to the champion, simply due to Izzy massive reach advantage. If Rob can’t get Izzy down, then I don’t see him beating him this weekend. I also think if Rob gets desperate for takedowns, Izzy could catch him on the way in, similarly to how he caught Derek Brunson a few years ago. This might go longer than the first fight did, but I only see one winner, and that’s the champion Israel Adesanya.
Prediction: Israel Adesanya by TKO in round 4
Actual Brunson vs Cannonier breakdown
All jokes aside, Cannonier is a tough fighter with decent boxing and good knockout power, however on the ground he doesn’t compare to Brunson. If Brunson makes this a wrestling match, I don’t see Cannonier getting up even with his strength coming down from Heavyweight. Speaking of that strength, Cannonier can easily knockout Brunson if he lands cleanly. We’ve seen Adesanya and Whittaker pick him apart in the past and I wouldn’t be surprised if Cannonier stops the 7 fight streak of Brunson if Brunson leave his chin exposed. It’s a tough fight to call but I’m siding with Brunson. I think he’s next in line for the title with a rematch with Adesanya on the cards.
Prediction: Derek Brunson by decision