The pound for pound number one, Kamaru Usman is in action for the first time this year against Britain’s Leon Edwards for the welterweight title, a long-awaited rematch from their bout as rising stars seven years ago. Paulo Costa looks to get back to winning ways against the returning former middleweight king Luke Rockhold. Jose Aldo returns in a big fight in the bantamweight division against Merab Dvalishvili. Let’s get started!
Tyson Pedro vs Harry Hunsucker – Light Heavyweight Division
Tyson Pedro made a good return to the octagon earlier this year after two major knee injuries kept him out for four years. As a new product of City Kickboxing, I expect the low calf kicks to be double downed in this fight, especially against someone like Harry Hunsucker who has been beaten by Tai Tuivasa majorly due to the calf kick. Not to mention Pedro’s BJJ background, which happens to be his main speciality, I can only see one winner here.
Prediction: Tyson Pedro by TKO in round 1
Wu Yanan vs Lucie Pudilova – Women’s Bantamweight Division
Lucie is back from being cut from the UFC during peak Covid. She’s a good boxer who likes to stay in the pocket of her opponent, which tends to put her in trouble. However, against someone like Yanan, I think Lucie should be comfortable in the boxing element of the fight. Yanan doesn’t really carry any threat on the feet so Lucie’s only fear should be the takedown, but even there I wouldn’t say Yanan excels on the ground. Would I give her the advantage? Yes. Would I expect her to utilise that? No, not really. So in that case, I’m picking Lucie Pudilova for the win. This is definitely a fight you stay away from if you’re a bettor.
Prediction: Lucie Pudilova by decision
Jose Aldo vs Merab Dvalishvili – Bantamweight Division
This fight is a good one. Starting off with the former featherweight king, Aldo. One of the best strikers of all time, we know what to expect, an array of strikes, knees, you name it, it’s in his locker. He can hurt Merab, especially if Marlon Moraes was able to hurt Merab. However, if Merab fights smart, which is a HUGE if he could pull off the upset. He should wrestle. Just to drain the energy of Aldo. Merab is a rash fighter, He often over-commits and leaves his chin high and someone as experienced and good as Jose will take advantage of that. I think Aldo wins. His experience will come in clutch here.
Prediction: Jose Aldo by TKO in round 2
Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold – Middleweight Division
Paulo should win this fight. If he’s been practising what he’s been preaching about his head being in the right spot, Luke’s head might just fall off his shoulders. Luke’s chin is made of paper mache. Unless he wrestles he doesn’t stand a chance I’ll be brutally honest. Especially with three years out, that octagon rust will definitely be a factor in round one and if we make it to round three. I’m not trying to disrespect the former champ but surely, there can only be one winner. If the Brazilian loses, he has to get cut, it’ll be that bad.
Prediction: Paulo Costa by KO in round 1
Kamaru Usman (c) vs Leon Edwards 2 – Weltweweight Championship
My two favourite welterweights fighting each other once again. Firstly both men have severely improved from their first fight back in 2015. However, I think the fight could play out similarly. I expect Usman to go back to his roots and wrestle and I expect Leon to want to keep his distance and fight from the outside making sure Kamaru keeps him off the cage. I think Leon’s got to attack the legs of Kamaru. If he can keep blasting the legs without being taken down, that’s a huge surplus for the challenger and it can open up the hands later down the line if it gets there. Despite Leon’s wrestling improving a ton, is it good enough to out-wrestle Kamaru for five rounds? No. The same with the inverse. I don’t think Kamaru can outstrike Leon, however, he can knock him out. And this is where I give the edge to the champion. He has incredible power to go along with his improved technique and if Leon gets caught by a clean right hand, it could be over just like that. It’s a tough call but I’m backing Usman. This would be a huge scalp to take on his quest for GOAT status.
Prediction: Kamaru Usman by TKO in round 4