UFC 192 takes place tomorrow night in Texas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Daniel Cormier vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Cormier attempts to make the first defense of his 205lb title tomorrow night against Gustafsson who gets this opportunity despite the fact he’s actually coming off a first round TKO loss to Anthony Johnson back in January.
While Cormier is known primarly as a wrestler he’s developed a solid striking game over the years and has good power. His short, stocky build is in complete contrast to Gustafsson though who’ll enjoy a 6″ height and 7″ reach advantage on the night which plays right into his technical, rangey striking game and means he holds the edge in this area of the fight.
Having previously fought at heavyweight we’ve seen Cormier deal with much bigger opponents than himself before and that generally comes from his strong, grinding clinch game and elite wrestling skills. Gustafsson has very good takedown defense, so it’s possible that we’ll see more of the former rather than the latter, but Cormier is relentless and I do believe he will find at least occasional success in bringing the Swede down.
Gustafsson has tools here to keep this fight on the outside which could take him to victory, but overall I do still favor Cormier to be relentless enough to close him down and employ a stifling clinch-heavy approach against the cage en-route to a decision victory.
Daniel Cormier to win by decision.
Ryan Bader vs. Rashad Evans
The outcome of this fight largely depends on how well Evans has recovered from the repeated knee surgeries that’s kept him out of the Octagon for the past two years. We’ve seen him come back impressively with no sign of ring-rust before – smashing Tito Ortiz at UFC 133 following a 15 month lay-off, but that was over four years ago and ‘Suga’ is now 36 years-old.
On his day Evans is certainly the better fighter in pretty much all aspects of this fight, though Bader is currently in the best form of his UFC career with four-wins in a row against the likes of Phil Davis, OSP and ‘Feijao’, so he can’t be discounted at a time when Evans is perhaps more vulnerable than usual.
Still, even considering his injury woes you’d still have to think Evans is going to be the quicker, more dynamic fighter on the night and I see him being able to pick out the cleaner shots here and make a welcome return to the light-heavyweight mix with a decision win.
Rashad Evans to win by decision.
Shawn Jordan vs. Ruslan Magomedov
In Jordan Vs Magmomedov we have a heavyweight match-up with two fighters who are looking to fight there way into a top 15 spot on the official rankings.
Jordan is the more experienced of the two, especially in the Octagon where he’s met a number of well known fighters with varying degrees of success. He’s relatively agile for his size and has KO power, though he’s not exactly what you’d call a technician and is lacking defensively.
Magomedov is a more refined striker, lacking the raw power of Jordan, but employing a more measured approach with effective counter-striking which makes him the safer bet here in a purely stand-up battle and he’s got solid enough takedown defense to ensure this one does remain on the feet for the most part.
It’s possible this one goes to the judges, but Jordan’s chin has been cracked several times in the past, so I believe Magomedov can eventually find a late finish here.
Ruslan Magomedov to win by TKO in Rd3.
Jessica Eye vs. Julianna Pena
One of two intriguing female bouts on the UFC 192 fight card, here we see TUF winner Pena taking a significant step up in competition against the bantamweight division’s current No.6, Eye.
Eye is a talented striker, landing with authority from range with straight punches while maintaining distance and setting up striking opportunities with good footwork. She’s capable on the mat, but it’s not her strong suit and she’ll look to keep this fight standing.
There’s no real finesse to Pena’s game at this stage in her career, but like VanZant at strawweight, she has athleticism on her side and is something of a force of nature with her straight-ahead, aggressive, pace-pushing style.
In a purely striking affair she’s likely to come up second-best against Eye, but she generally uses her rapid-fire punches to shock and awe her way into the clinch where takedown opportunities arise and she can unleash her ground and pound assaults. I’ anticipate that all of this will throw Eye off her own game and allow one of the up and coming talents in the division to take another big step up the ladder
Julianna Pena to win by TKO in Rd2.
Ali Bagautinov vs. Joseph Benavidez
Due to Johny Hendricks pulling out of his fight with Tyron Woodley due to weight cutting issues this fight between former title contenders Benavidez and Bagautinov gets pushed up to the evening’s main card.
Bagautinov is a good fighter, but this is a tough match-up for him against a fighter in Benavidez who’s been one of the best and most consistent performers in the division for a long time. Couple that with the fact that Bagautinov has been out for the best part of 16 months following an EPO suspension he’s got his work cut out for him.
The Russian has notable firepower in his right hand and is a good wrestler, but Benavidez is the busier fighter with who can push the pace while offering up a greater volume of strikes offensively and is also excellent on the mat too. I’d expect him to be able to outwork Bagautinov here wherever the fight goes and do enough to ensure he gets the nod from the cage-side judges.
Joseph Benavidez to win by decision.
Daniel Hooker vs. Yair Rodriguez
Alan Jouban vs. Albert Tumenov
Angela Hill vs. Rose Namajunas
Islam Makhachev vs. Adriano Martins
Chris Cariaso vs. Sergio Pettis
Derrick Lewis vs. Viktor Pesta
Sage Northcutt vs. Frank Trevino