UFC 199 takes place tomorrow night in Los Angeles and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping
It’s great to see Bisping get a title shot, but facing the division’s best fighter, who’s already soundly beaten him, on just two weeks notice has left him with an enormous mountain to climb.
Despite his lack of knockout power, Bisping has been able to outstrike and outwork a number of dangerous fighters over the years, and is relatively well rounded, but the problem is that Rockhold is just better than him in almost every regard.
He proved that in their first fight, getting the better of Bisping on the feet and on the mat, and he’s now even higher on confidence following his title win over Chris Weidman. Bisping’s lack of a full fight camp also means he can’t rely on his cardio to help him win the day, so it’s difficult picturing this playing out much differently from their first encounter, with Rockhold likely getting the job done inside of ten minutes.
Luke Rockhold to win by TKO in Rd2.
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber
At least these two bantamweight stars get to compete for a third time to establish once and for all who the better man is.
Given all the injury set-backs and long layoffs he’s suffered in recent years you’d be forgiven for thinking that Cruz should now be a shell of his former self, but that’s simply not proved to be the case. Cruz has only fought twice in over four years, but on both occasions he looked on the top of his game, still as sharp and elusive as ever, with no sign of ring rust, which is a remarkable achievement.
On the other hand, while Faber has managed to stay relatively injury free, there’s been signs that perhaps at the age of 37, time is finally starting to take it’s toll on ‘The California Kid’. He’s still been able to beat everyone except for a small handful of current and former champions, but he’s had to dig deeper recently against other fighters in the division who in his younger years he would have just ran right through.
Faber is still well conditioned though and has more power than Cruz and a solid ground game, but I don’t think that will be enough on the night. Cruz is just too quick, too elusive, too unpredictable, and too tireless of a worker, and as he’s done against so many other talented fighters over the years, he’ll rack up enough points over five rounds to win on the scorecards.
Max Holloway vs. Ricardo Lamas
This is a great featherweight match-up between two of the division’s top 5 contenders.
Holloway is very much a striker, and an excellent at that one with particularly crisp, technical boxing. He’s not a power puncher, but he can piece together consistent combinations that break down his opponents. He’s also worked to improve other aspects of his game, and his takedown defense in particular is very solid these days.
Lamas has the heavier hands of the two, but generally doesn’t have the same level of output as his opponent. I think that could become an issue here, with Holloway having a real opportunity to just keep his gloves in Lamas’ face throughout the fight and simply outbox him.
Lamas could find success if he’s able to get ‘Blessed’ down, but I favor Holloway to keep this one standing and walk away with a decision victory that will extend the 24 year-old unbeaten run in the Octagon to nine fights.
Max Holloway to win by decision
Dan Henderson vs. Hector Lombard
Henderson has been dropping plenty of hints that he’s on the verge of retirement heading into this fight, and at the ripe old age of 45, with 19 years of fighting under his belt, who could blame him.
It does seem like the right time for Hendo to hang up his gloves as he’s visibly slowed down in recent years and his legendary chin is now giving out on him too, leading to six losses in his last eight fights, including the only three defeats due to either KO or TKO in his entire career.
Lombard is no spring chicken either at 38, and coincidentally is just coming off the first TKO loss of his career, but in general he feels like he’s still got more left in the tank than his counterpart here.
Power is the last thing to go, so Hendo could still land a huge fight-ending blow as he’s done so many times in the past, but Lombard also packs a punch and will be more energetic and explosive in his pursuit of it, which I think will result in a first round finish here.
Hector Lombard to win by TKO in Rd1.
Bobby Green vs. Dustin Poirier
Poirier is running high on confidence after a three-fight winning streak since moving up to lightweight, while Green is returning to action after over 18 months on the sidelines due to injury woes.
Poirier is a well-rounded, dynamic fighter who’s fluid and dangerous on the feet, but can also transition smoothly to competing on the canvas too, and together with a relentless forward drive, that makes him a real handful to deal with.
Green is a very solid striker who stays relaxed in a dogfight thanks to his good defensive skills and attempts to throw his opponents off their game by constantly taunting them verbally. He’s no slouch on the mat either, though it’s not his strongest suit.
This should be a good scrap, but I do favor Poirier, despite some hesitations based on his tendancy to get caught a little too often. Nonetheless, his high tempo style and more varied offensive approach should enable him to win on the scorecards.
Dustin Poirier to win by decision
Clay Guida vs. Brian Ortega
Beneil Dariush vs. James Vick
Jessica Andrade vs. Jessica Penne
Tom Breese vs. Sean Strickland
Cole Miller vs. Alex Caceras
Luiz Henrique da Silva vs. Jonathan Wilson
Kevin Casey vs. Elvis Mutapcic
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Polo Reyes