UFC On FOX 17 takes place in Floriday this Saturday night and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.

Main Card:

Rafael dos Anjos vs. Donald Cerrone

Dos Anjos and Cerrone previously fought in the summer of 2013 with the Brazilian emerging with a relatively comfortable unanimous decision victory. Since then both have been on impressive form, so nobody’s complaining about the opportunity to see them lock horns again, this time with an extra two rounds into the bargain.

Dos Anjos rise to the top of the division has been impressive to watch as he’s really developed his MMA game from earlier in his career where he relied much more on just his grappling to get by. Nowadays he’s also an impressive striker into the bargain and the results speak for themselves.

That makes it difficult for Cerrone as there’s no clear route to victory here. Cerrone is a high level kickboxer who’s most effective working from range, though he’ll step in with some solid knees too, but RDA’s pressure-based stand-up won’t give him the kind of room he likes to operate in.

‘Cowboy’ also transitions well from striking to wrestling and has a good submission game, but he’ll have a hard time tapping a grappler of Dos Anjos caliber.

Throw in the fact that RDA is a fast starter, while Cerrone is typically slower in the early stages, together with concerns that despite his all-action, fight anyone, anytime persona, ‘Cowboy’ can sometimes struggle to keep his mental game in check on the big occasion and I have to lean towards the Brazilian retaining his title with a decision victory here. There’s no doubting it’d be a great story if it goes the other way though and would likely convince a certain Conor McGregor that his next fight should be for the lightweight title as ‘The Notorious’ Vs ‘Cowboy’ is a mouthwatering match-up.

Rafael dos Anjos to win by decision.

Junior dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem

A heavyweight match-up long in the making, and it’s unfortunate we’ve had to wait so long for it as both fighters have considerably more wear and tear now than they did back in 2013.

Both men are primarily strikers with serious knockout power, so expect both men’s chins to be tested on Saturday night. There’s real concerns these days about JDS since he’s eaten a hell of a lot of shots in his last few fights with Cain Velasquez and Stipe Miocic, but while that leaves you to wonder what kind of a toll it’s taken, he’s proven to be very durable. Overeem on the other hand undoubtedly has a fragile chin and been KO’d many times over the course of his career, so in an out-and-out firefight you’ve got to give the Brazilian the advantage there.

One trick Overeem has up his sleeve is that he’s actually a pretty solid wrestler and he’s shown a willingness to use that in the past when required to grind out a victory, and that’ll be troubling for Dos Santos as he much prefers to operate on the feet.

There’s a sense now that these two have seen better days, but they each have definitely routes to victory. Overall I’m leaning towards Dos Santos as I don’t have much confidence in Overeem’s ability to take a punch and he has a tendency to have lapses in concentration at times which JDS will punish him for.

Junior dos Santos to win by TKO in Rd2.

Nate Diaz vs. Michael Johnson

The last three years or so have been a bit of a shambles for Diaz who’s lost three of his last four fights and been on bad terms with the UFC which has left him with just two Octagon outings in the past 24 months. While his career was unraveling Johnson was compiling a solid four-fight winning streak against good opponents, though he lost out in a controversial split decision ruling to Beneil Dariush last time out.

Diaz remains an accurate volume puncher with a solid chin, but Johnson also puts together punches in bunches and is more agile and versatile in the process, with more movement, speed and kicks thrown into the equation. Diaz can get frustrated when fighters don’t battle it out on his terms and I think Johnson constantly darting in and out with combos won’t be too his liking

Johnson is a good wrestler too, so he has the option to take this fight to the mat, though he may opt to just use that to keep the fight standing as Diaz has no problem fighting of his back thanks to a dangerous submission game.

There would be more upside to Diaz here if he hadn’t been so inactive lately, but as things stand with doubt remaining about his commitment to the sport at this stage in his career I feel Johnson has the momentum, fighting style and focus to eek out a win on the scorecards here.

Michael Johnson to win by decision.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Randa Markos

A promising talent from TUF season 20, Markos looks to build on a win last time out when she faces Polish newcomer Kowalkiewicz who’s a perfect 7-0 in her career to date.

Kowalkiewicz won’t be afforded much time to settle into her high-profile debut on FOX as Markos is aggressive and while she’s not a particularly refined striker she’s willing to exchange leather and prove her toughness.

Kowalkiewicz is similar in the striking department, so the fight might actually end up being quite competitive in that regard, but I believe Markos is also the better wrestler of the two and will be offering a frequent threat with takedowns which will prove to be the deciding factor here as she gets some spells of control on top over the course of 15 minutes to help ensure that the judges decision goes in her favor.

Randa Markos to win by decision.

Prelims:

Myles Jury vs. Charles Oliveira
C.B. Dollaway vs. Nate Marquardt
Tamdan McCrory vs. Josh Samman
Danny Castillo vs. Nik Lentz
Hayder Hassan vs. Vicente Luque
Jim Alers vs. Cole Miller
Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman
Luiz Henrique vs. Francis Ngannou
Sarah Kaufman vs. Valentina Shevchenko

5 COMMENTS

  1. You picks have been good but rocky these past few cards. Nice one on the Sage Northcut pick and the Tony Ferguson. You were way off on the Aldo/Mgregor fight but so was 100% of the world with way that went down. I am thinking about starting up that experiment again with me using your picks as for gambling purposes.
    I did it in the past and it was working but then I squandered it on table games. But you were making me money for that short stint.
    I am gonna keep an eye on your picks closely for the Ceronee/RDS card and base my gambling decision for the next card based on how well your picks go on this card. So I hope you are wrong with all your picks this time so I get scared away from the idea.

    I couldnt word it the way you did but I 100% agree with your pick on Diaz Vs Michael Johnson but I just hope we are both wrong.
    I guess most would say that Diaz would be the less likeable one out of the two but I for some reason just don’t like Michael Johnson. Granted he is a good fighter and he did get screwed in his last fight via crazy decision, but even so…I just dont see anything likeable about that guy. He has absolutely no personality. I really want to see future Diaz fights over Michael Johnson anytime even if Michael Johnson is the better fighter.

    As for your Cerrone pick, I agree about how you see Cerrone and his mental game and I am not so much on the Cerrone train ride because I strongly felt he lost that fight to Bensen Henderson.
    But you brought up Cerrone’s devasting knees and that made me think he is going to land one on RDS and knock him out. A knee knockout is due for Cerrone. With as hard as both of these can hit, I dont know what you are smoking by even suggesting that this fight goes the distance. Thats another reason I am not starting this gambling project this card…because I think you so off on this main event.

  2. Hi Michael. I’d have to say those three cards in a row last week were as difficult to predict as any I’ve ever covered and from what I can gather a lot of people felt the same way.

    I was most pleased with picking Rockhold to win over Weidman and Edgar over Mendes, though I didn’t see the KO finish coming for Frankie in that one. A lot of people thought Jacare beat Romero so I’m not too salty about getting that one wrong. I don’t think anyone saw McGregor beating Aldo quite so easily. Amazing stuff, but he’s got a tough fight ahead no matter who he decides to go for next. I had a lot of faith in Tony Ferguson, I really like him as a fighter, though he took quite a few chances in that fight. My worst pick was easily PVZ over Namajunas. I regretted that almost as soon as I posted it on the site. Just a bad call!

    I feel ok about my picks for tonight, except for taking Charles Oliveira over Myles Jury in the prelims. I’m a big fan of how Oliveira fights and so took a risk with him, but the fact he had that weird neck injury last time out, then missed weight by 4.5lbs last night are red flags. Jury is the safer pick there I think.

    As for Diaz, I don’t like picking against either him or his brother as I find them hugely entertaining, but these things happen. Here’s hoping it’s a fun fight.

  3. Oh well, not a good night for me on the predictions! At least I picked Dos Anjos correctly, but you were right to say the fight wouldn’t go the distance. In my defense, RDA’s gone to a decision a lot over the past few years, Cerrone had done so in 3 of his last 4 and they fought to the scorecards in their first fight. RDA has really evolved so much since then though.

  4. Yea, I was so thrilled that Diaz beat Michael Johnson. God, I just don’t like him at all. I dont know what Diaz ranted about after the fight while talking with Joe Rogan. The entire thing was censored to what could only be due to Diaz’s colorful English language. We both bombed on picking that fight. You were more right on the RDS fight that I was but overall, my am holding off on placing any bets until you get your mojo sorted out.

  5. It was nice to see Diaz back and looking more like his old self, if not better. RDA looked impressive, JDS seemed a shadow of his former self.

    Diaz was calling out Conor McGregor in that post-fight interview, but dropped a ton of F-Bombs along the way!

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