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