UFC 193 takes place tomorrow in Melbourne, Australia and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm
If this were purely a stand-up fight this would be a very intriguing match-up. Rousey’s worked hard on her boxing and while she lacks refinement in the heat of the battle and is often quite hittable, she’s proven that she has genuine knockout power and the predatory instinct of a natural born winner.
Despite all her boxing credentials Holm doesn’t have that kind of stopping power. In fact in the Octagon it’s actually her varied arsenal of kicks her endless cardio and constant movement that are her best weapons, though if for some reason they do end up just trading punches for extended periods then Holm’s level of comfort in that situation will be far greater.
This is far from a stand-up fight though and that’s a huge problem for Holm. Talented fighters with far more experience and credentials on the mat than her have tried and failed to get anywhere with Rousey on the mat, so being taken down spells doom for her.
Holm could try to stick and move for five rounds, attempting to keep Rousey at bay with kicks from range, but can she really do so for 25 minutes without Rousey at some point getting close enough to grab a hold of her, execute an instinctual judo throw to set-up that inevitable armbar finish? It seems highly unlikely that she can.
So really it becomes a question of how long will Rousey take to execute the finish? After so many quick, easy finishes and with a big KO finish last time out she’ll be more tempted to stand and trade for a while and give the expected 70,000 fans their moneys worth. I suspect she’ll quickly tire of chasing Holm around the Octagon though and will swoop in for the kill within two rounds.
Ronda Rousey to win by armbar in Rd2.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valerie Letourneau
Letourneau seemed a bit of an choice to fight for the belt given that she’s still ranked just No.9 in the strawweight division, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have anything to offer in this fight with the impressive champion, Jedrzejczyk.
Letourneau is big for the division, even spending a significant part of her career at 135lbs, and is a tough, gritty fighter on the feet who’ll get into the thick of the action and look to trade strikes. That’s just as well as while she’s also capable of mixing some grappling into the equation, Jedrzejczyk’s takedown defense has been practically impenetrable so far against higher caliber ground specialists.
So, in all likelihood it will be a stand-up fight, and that will suit Jedrzejczk just fine as she is as an elite striker with slick, rapid-fire combinations coming from all angles, propelled by excellent footwork and an effortless sense of distance and timing. Despite being just 115lbs she’s also got the power to finish fights, something that her opponent lacks.
Letourneau will do her best to make a fight of it, but Jedrzejczyk is just on another level and will ruthlessly pick her apart, leading to a third round TKO stoppage.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win by TKO in Rd3.
Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva
Credit is due to Silva. The first time they fought I assumed it was only a matter of time before Hunt KO’d him, yet they slugged it out for five full rounds. Then more recently I was convinced Silva was on the way out after suffering two KO losses in a row, yet someone he’s managed to bounce back with a very respectable TKO win over Sao Palelei.
I do still have my reservations about him though, and with Hunt also having suffered a couple of tough losses in the mean time I’d be very surprised if they make it to the final bell again tomorrow night.
Silva’s actually surprisingly capable on the mat for such a big man, so he’d be advised to take the fight there early in often as that’s Hunt’s biggest weakness, but another firefight on the feet is more than likely on the cards instead.
In that instance I have to still favor Hunt who’s still got huge power in his hands and seems to have taken this fight very seriously, slimming down and looking in the best shape we’ve seen him in for quite some time. I predict he stops ‘Bigfoot’ in his tracks in the first round.
Mark Hunt to win by KO in Rd1.
Uriah Hall vs. Robert Whittaker
Just a couple of months after his stunning comeback victory against Gegard Mousasi, Hall is back in action looking to continue his momentum against Whittaker who’s also on a high following at three fight winning streak.
It would be nice to think that Hall’s devastating finish against Mousasi will finally give him the self-believe to really go out and show what he’s capable of, but it’s far from a guarantee. Whittaker on the other hand is much more reliable and his natural style will be to push a hard pace, stay busy offensively and put Hall on the back foot for three rounds which looks like a smart strategy on paper.
You definitely can’t ignore Hall, he’s got devastating weapons at his disposal if he chooses to use them, but with Whittaker giving him little room to operate and boosted by 70,000 fans cheering him on, the Aussie seems the safer bet here to win by decision.
Robert Whittaker to win by decision.
Jared Rosholt vs. Stefan Struve
While Rosholt has some power in his hands he’s a limited, rough-and-ready sort of a striker who’ll likely have difficulty landing strikes often against the ‘Skyscraper’ who, as always, will have a huge height and reach advantage.
Therefore, Rosholt will be relying on his wrestling prowess to clinch up, get Struve to the mat and smother him for three rounds. The Dutchman will offer a constant threat with submissions from his back, but Rosholt takes few chances on top, so if he gets them there I suspect he’ll afford him few opportunities to lock anything in.
If Struve was better at using his physical advantages to maintain distance and keeps this fight standing then he’d likely find Rosholt to be very hittable on the feet, but he always struggles to utilize that range effectively and I think that could prove to be his downfall here as Rosholt grinds to a decision victory that will fail to start the main card off with a bang.
Jared Rosholt to win by decision.
Akbarh Arreola vs. Jake Matthews
Kyle Noke vs. Peter Sobotta
Anthony Perosh vs. Gian Villante
Danny Martinez vs. Richie Vaculik
James Moontasri vs. Anton Zafir
Steve Kennedy vs. Rich Walsh
Daniel Kelly vs. Steve Montgomery
Ryan Benoit vs. Ben Nguyen