UFC 201 takes place tomorrow night in Atlanta, Georgia and you can check out predictions for all the fights below.
Robbie Lawler vs. Tyron Woodley
Lawler is heading into his third welterweight title defense tomorrow night, and while Woodley isn’t the biggest name in the division, he’s definitely a significant threat.
Woodley has speed on his side, and the kind of power in his hands that can trouble any 170lb fighter, though his use of leg kicks could be just as troubling for Lawler as he’s never dealt well with that kind of offense throughout his career.
Lawler is the more technical striker though, is capable of landing devastating bombs on his opponents, and counters well as well a showing a level of comfort trading in the pocket that few can rival.
Woodley holds the wrestling advantage in this fight, and that could be his best route to victory here, though I think the champion can keep on his feet more often than not over 25 minutes of fighting.
The biggest intangible heading into this one is the two men’s completely opposite fight schedule over the past couple of years. Lawler has been very active and has been in no less than four 25 minute wars in a row, and while he’s emerged on top each time, that’ s going to catch up with him at some point.
On the other hand, Woodley has been on the sidelines for 18 months and was only on a two fight winning streak prior to that, so he has little momentum heading into the biggest night of his career.
I definitely have concerns that at 34 years-old, Lawler’s largely unexpected, but thoroughly enjoyable ride to the summit of the welterweight division may soon come to a halt, but if he’s able to keep this one standing I believe he’ll be able to outstrike Woodley and notch up another win on the scorecards.
Robbie Lawler to win by decision.
Rose Namajunas vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
At 24 years of age, Namajunas shows a tremendous amount of potential, and has gradually been maturing as a fighter in the Octagon, though there’s still some rough edges to her game.
Kowalkiewicz is talented too and while she doesn’t have a great deal of power or the kind of finishing instincts that ‘Thug’ displays’ she does push a tremendous pace and her high volume approach makes her difficult to deal with.
Namajunas is not one to back down, so that should lead to some spirited exchanges on the feet, but I think it could be Namajunas’ crafty ground game that could pay dividends here, and I’m leaning towards her claiming a submission victory here.
Rose Namajunas to win by submision in Rd3.
Matt Brown vs. Jake Ellenberger
With just one win in his last six fights, Ellenberger is hanging on for dear life to a spot on the UFC’s roster, and with that in mind, Brown is a terrible match-up for him.
To be fair, Brown has lost three of his last fights, but they’ve been against the top guys in the division, and with the exception of Demian Maia, he’s given everyone a tough fight.
Brown is extremely consistent, has no glaring weaknesses and is as tough as they come, so Ellenberger has his work cut out for him.
A few years ago Ellenberger was a major player in the 170lb weight class with heavy hands and good wrestling, but inexplicably he’s just fallen off a cliff since then and looks a shadow of his former self and is severely lacking in confidence.
It would be quite something if Ellenberger was able to emerge victorious here, and it could be just the spark he needs to bring his career back to life, but I just don’t see it happening and think Brown will send him packing from the UFC with a second round TKO victory.
Matt Brown to win by TKO in Rd2.
Francisco Rivera vs. Erik Perez
Rivera has only won once in his last five fights, but it’s a record that makes him look worse than he really is.
Rivera packs a big punch for a bantamweight and that’ll be his biggest weapon in this fight, but in general he’s very comfortable on his feet and is not easy to take down.
Perez can’t match Rivera’s power, but he too is happy strike and should have better cardio down the stretch, in addition to being the better grappler of the two.
I think Rivera will be able to keep this one standing though, and with his heavy hands and crisp counter-striking, I like him to land the bigger shots and possibly even find a finish too.
Francisco Rivera to win by TKO in Rd2.
Ryan Benoit vs. Fredy Serrano
A late call off left a gap in the UFC 201 main card, and for some reason this flyweight encounter was somehow chosen as the unlikely opener for the pay-per-view action tomorrow night.
Benoit is a short notice replacement and holds the striking advantage here, but despite his lack of MMA experience, Serrano has the wrestling credentials to pose him problems and emerge with a decision win.
Fredy Serrano to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Ed Herman vs. Nikita Krylov
Ross Pearson vs. Jorge Masvidal
Anthony Hamilton vs. Damian Grabowski
Wilson Reis vs. Hector Sandoval
Michael Graves vs. Bojan Velickovic
Cesar Arzamendia vs. Damien Brown