UFC 237 takes place tomorrow night in Brazil and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Main Card (PPV)
Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade
Namajunas has evolved before our eyes in the UFC, culiminating in her back-to-back victories over Joanna Jedrzejczyk to establish herself as the undisputed strawweight champion, but she faces a different and still extremely tough challenge this time out too.
Andrade offers a different puzzle for Namajunas to solve. She’s a powerful, very aggressive, exceptionally tough brawler who simply won’t stop coming forward looking to take her opponent’s head off.
In theory Namajunas should have an answer to that. While in the past she was often too willing to engage and get reckless, which could have proven deadly in this instance, ‘Thug’ Rose has matured into a more calculated, gameplan orientated fighter who is now adept at working on the outside, using excellent movement and precision striking, together with solid power.
However, Namajunas will also have to be wary of Andrade’s takedown threat, which is of the brute-force variety and could see her overpowered if she’s not careful, particularly if she goes to the clinch too often. That being said, while there is a takedown vulnerability, Namajunas is very crafty and agile on the mat and would pose a big submission threat to the Brazilian.
There’s strong reasons to favor Andrade here. She has an incredible will to win and her relentless pressure and having the passionate Brazilian support behind her might wear on Namajunas. However, Namajunas has been doing impressive things in the Octagon and at 26 and a year on from her last fight she is still learning, developing and growing more confident as she approaches her peak.
I think Namajunas has a tough fight on her hands here, but will come out well prepared with the skill and strategy needed to emerge victorious via decision.
Rose Namajunas wins by decision.
Anderson Silva vs. Jared Cannonier
This is a good test to see whether at 44, Silva is right to still continue fighting, despite his prime years in the sport now being a distant memory.
To be fair, Silva didn’t look all that bad last time out against Israel Adesanya and still has some tricks up his sleeve. Cannonier is a different kind of fighter. He’s much more of a straight-ahead brawler with heavy hands and a big physical presence, and with Silva’s reactions and speed not being what they once were, he has to be careful defensively here or else he could end up getting caught.
Still, that aside I do believe Silva’s superior technique and fight IQ could prove too much for Cannonier to cope with, leading the Brazilian star to a much needed decision victory.
Anderson Silva wins by decision.
Jose Aldo vs. Alex Volkanovski
This looks like being a competitive fight between a former champion who still has a lot to offer despite coming up second twice against the current titleholder Max Holloway, and a rising star in Volkanovski, who has not put a foot wrong so far in the Octagon.
Volkanovski is somewhat reminiscent of one of Aldo’s old foe’s, Chad Mendes, being a strong wrestler who also has a good striking game to go with it. And of course, it should be noted that Volkanovski actually defeated Mendes last time out, signalling a changing of the guard.
Aldo got the better of Mendes in his prime twice, but it’s worth noting that Volkanovski has a six inch reach advantage over ‘Money’, bringing him more in line with the Brazilian’s wingspan, and that will help him in the striking exchanges.
Nevertheless, Aldo remains a very high level performer on the feet, with crisp, fast hands, lazer accuracy, hard kicks, and exemplary use of movement and range management.
Aldo also has the benefit of only needing to fight for three rounds here, something that will suit his gas tank and allow him to compete at a higher tempo without fear of running out of steam.
He’ll need that as Volkanovski is an all-action fighter who will push forward aggressively, but I think Aldo’s class will shine through as he gets the better of the talented Australian on the feet and serves a reminder that he’s still one of the division’s elite fighters.
Jose Aldo wins by decision.
Thiago Alves vs. Laureano Staropoli
At 35, Alves is at the tail-end of his career, but he is still not someone who can be taken lightly.
A hallmark of Alves game has always been his hard leg kicks and against the significantly taller Staropoli he’ll surely be using that often, while his combination striking can also be potent.
Alves isn’t as durable as he once was though and Staropoli will be looking to test his chin. The 26-year-old is not the most technical striker, but he is a high-volume brawler and far less battle-worn than his veteran opponent.
Alves ability might be too much for the largely untested Staropoli, but I do favour the Argentenian’s forward momentum and high-output to play well with the judges and I’ll take him to get the nod on the scorecards.
Laureano Staropoli wins by decision.
Francisco Trinaldo vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira
Fight cancelled after Ferreira suffered kidney stones issues before weighing in.
Prelims (ESPN) [Predicted winners in bold]
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Ryan Spann
Thiago Moises vs. Kurt Holobaugh
Irene Aldana vs. Bethe Correia
B.J. Penn vs. Clay Guida
Prelims (UFC Fight Pass)
Raoni Barcelos vs. Carlos Huachin
Luana Carolina vs. Priscila Cachoeira
Warlley Alves vs. Sergio Moraes
Talita Bernardo vs. Melissa Gatto