UFC 184 takes place tomorrow night in Los Angeles and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Ronda Rousey vs. Cat Zingano
It’s great to see Zingano finally getting her title shot, but I don’t see her emerging with the belt around her waist when the pay-per-view draws to a close tomorrow night.
Don’t get me wrong, Zingano is a talented, well-rounded fighter who’s particularly good in the clinch and on the mat. She’s also very mentally strong and has shown great resolve to come back from fights she was losing against the likes of Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes to emerge victorious.
The fact that those opponents got the better of her early in those fights is a real concern though as Rousey is a notoriously fast starter and won’t let her off the hook if she’s in trouble. Only Tate has ever been beyond the first round with ‘Rowdy’ and on that occasion it looked like the champion was just deliberately toying with her rival before finally sealing the deal.
Zingano’s offensive clinch game should be shut down by Rousey’s judo and on the mat there’s little anyone in the division can do once she gets a hold of an arm. Rousey’s boxing is improving, but she’s still quite hittable and that could be her biggest weakness, but Zingano won’t have either the time or the power to really take advantage of that. That leaves us with the somewhat inevitable conclusion…
Ronda Rousey to win by submission in Rd1.
Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington
Holm is seen as one of the division’s great new hopes for a future challenger to Rousey’s throne. First things first though, she has to get some wins under her belt with Pennington being first up and potentially offering a threat to her.
Of course Holm is famed for being a decorated boxing champ and also has experience in kickboxing, so no prizes for guessing that she wants to keep this fight standing. While good with her hands it’s actually her kicks that have been most effective in her MMA career to date. The key here is that she does what others often forget – to set up her head kicks with punches and it’s really paid dividends for her so far.
Other aspects of Holm’s MMA game are clearly going to be a weak link after a career spent entirely on her feet and that’s where Pennington has a chance to win this fight. She has decent wrestling, so closing the distance and and getting her down will be a top priority. It’ll be interesting to see how Holm fares, but I expect that she will, for the most part, be able to keep Pennington at bay with her striking and aggressive instincts. Not so sure she’ll finish this one inside the distance though.
Holly Holm to win by decision.
Jake Ellenberger vs. Josh Koscheck
In this fight we find two welterweight’s who’ve hit upon hard times. In Ellenberger’s case it seems to be at least partly a mental issue. He seems to retract into his shell all too easily in fights, something we were not accustomed to seeing from him in the past, and he can’t seem to snap out of it.
As for Koscheck, I don’t think he’s ever been quite the same since GSP jabbed him to death at UFC 124 leading to an orbital fracture. He doesn’t take a punch as well anymore and has lost a step or two and perhaps some of his hunger along the way too. That prompted a lengthy layoff following back-to-back first round knockout losses and now we’ll find out a year and half later what he’s got left in the tank.
So, picking either of these two is risky giving their recent history, but I favor Ellenberger who’s still got the kind of power that should give Koscheck real problems and I think he can stop him inside the distance.
Jake Ellenberger to win by KO in Rd2.
Alan Jouban vs. Richard Walsh
Jouban should have the striking advantage in this match-up, but he’ll have to watch out for Walsh’s grinding style which could see him tied up in the clinch and taken to the mat.
Both men like to push the pace and I’d expect it to be a competitive match-up, but there’s more upside to Jouban’s game and I like him to keep this one standing for the most part and outstrike Walsh for a decision win.
Alan Jouban to win by decision.
Tony Ferguson vs. Gleison Tibau
Certainly a striker vs grappler match-up on show here to start off the main card with Ferguson taking on the late replacement Tibau.
Ferguson is fun to watch on the feet with crisp boxing combinations mixed in with kicks. He’s also fairly adept at keeping his fights on the feet and that will be very important against Tibau who’ll be constantly looking to bring him down to his world.
Tibau is very big and strong for the weight class, but he does have cardio issues and that could be more evident than normal here given that he’s coming in on short notice after a three round fight just a month ago. I think that could be the key here as Ferguson weathers the early storm and then makes effective use of his striking and movement to get the better of the increasingly weary Tibau.
Tony Ferguson to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winner in bold)
Roan Carneiro vs. Mark Munoz
Roman Salazar vs. Norifumi Yamamoto
Dhiego Lima vs. Tim Means
Derrick Lewis vs. Ruan Potts
James Krause vs. Valmir Lazaro
Masio Fullen vs. Alexander Torres