UFC 212 takes place this coming Saturday night in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Jose Aldo vs. Max Holloway
What a perfectly balanced title unification match-up this is between two of the UFC’s very best strikers.
Both fighters are extremely technical on the feet, but Aldo has more power, which will be particularly evident with his debilitating leg kicks. He also picks his shots very well, is crisp on the counter and utilizes good head movement to his advantage.
Holloway is a terrific combination striker though and he also has youth and the cardio edge on his side, so if he can match Aldo in the earlier rounds then he could start to edge in front in the later stages of the fight.
As for grappling, if he chooses to use it, Aldo definitely has the edge there and that could be an important factor if the striking exchanges aren’t going his way or he needs to sway a round or two in his favor on the judges scorecards.
Overall I’m leaning towards Aldo here. You have to respect the fact that, Conor McGregor aside, no-one has been able to get the better of the Brazilian – not even Frankie Edgar on two separate occasions.
Holloway doesn’t have McGregor’s power, and though he has the skills to push Aldo all the way to the finishing line, I think the champion won’t allow him to be as fluid as he usually is thanks to his powerful kicks and accurate counters, helping to edge him to a decision victory.
Jose Aldo to win by decision.
Claudia Gadelha vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
This is another quality match-up between two top-flight strawweight talents.
Kowalkiewicz is very much a striker and has shown her muay thai abilities to good effect in the UFC so far. She’s by no means a heavy-hitter, but she puts together a good volume of strikes, stays active and operates well in the clinch.
Gadelha is the more well-rounded of the two and is a strong grappler who will have a big advantage if she can get the fight to the mat – and her takedown ability suggests that may well happen.
Troublingly for Kowalkiewicz, Gadelha is also very capable on the feet, so she’d have to be at her very best on the feet and avoid being taken down in order to emerge victorious here.
I don’t think that’s likely. Gadelha should be able to stay competitive in the striking exchanges, but will land multiple takedowns and enjoy periods of control on the mat to secure a convincing decision victory here to confirm beyond any real doubt that she is second only to Joanna Jedrzejczyk at 115lbs.
Claudia Gadelha to win by decision.
Vitor Belfort vs. Nate Marquardt
Talk of retirement has been surrounding both of these UFC veterans for some time now, but, perhaps against their better judgement, they are still continuing to compete for now.
Laying my cards on the table straight away, I definitely favor Belfort here. Both fighters are not what they used to be, but ‘The Phenom’ is still an extremely dangerous fighter capable of finishing fights in an instant.
That’s a big concern for Marquardt who has been knocked out cold several times in the past few years, though to be fair, he’s shown he can still stop people too and he does still have a solid all-round skill-set, even if it is more labored than in the past.
Belfort’s chin is vulnerable too now, but he is the more venemous striker and I think that will pay dividends sooner rather than later in this fight, leading to a first round KO finish.
Vitor Belfort to win by KO in Rd1
Paulo Borrachinha vs. Oluwale Bamgbose
This should be a stand-up war between two fighters who are used to dismantling their opponents quickly thanks to their aggression and firepower.
In that sort of scenario either man could likely emerge with a stoppage victory here, but I like Borrachinha’s chances of coming out on top as he’s the more technical fighter of the two and not as reckless, but either way another quick stoppage is likely on the cards here.
Paulo Borrachinha to win by KO in Rd1
Yancy Medeiros vs. Erick Silva
Silva’s career has proven to be something of a disappointment so far. Despite showing a huge amount of potential his all-action, offensive style has led to him being finished numerous times and weakened his chin in the process.
Medeiros has had something off an up-and-down UFC career as well, but he’s more dependable and less vulnerable than the Brazilian.
Talent wise I believe Silva is the better fighter overall, but this is a close match-up, and given his inconsistency and defensive deficiencies it’s hard to pick him here with any confidence, so I’m going with Medeiros to win by TKO in the second round.
Yancy Medeiros to win by TKO in Rd2.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Eric Spicely
Johnny Eduardo vs. Matthew Lopez
Iuri Alcantara vs. Brian Kelleher
UFC Fight Pass:
Jamie Moyle vs. Viviane Pereira
Luan Chagas vs. Jim Wallhead
Marco Beltran vs. Deiveson Alcantra