UFC 230 takes place tomorrow night in New York City and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
Main Card (PPV)
Daniel Cormier vs. Derrick Lewis
Essentially Lewis heads into this fight with a punchers chance, and with his heavy hands and ability to still swing heavy leather even when he looks completely spent in the later rounds that makes him a potential banana skin for Cormier.
However, it really would be something of a disaster if Cormier were to lose, as this is a fight he should win handily.
He can strike with ‘The Black Beast’ if he needs to, but it would not be in his best interests to do so. Instead he will utilize his Olympic level wrestling to wear out the bigger man, with clinchwork against the cage, takedowns and stifling control on the mat all being areas that Lewis will not be comfortable in, and will get increasingly exhausted attempting to break free from.
Lewis’ gas tank is notoriously quick to run empty as it is, and DC will only force that to happen more quickly than normal, and if required he can keep pressuring for the full five rounds, but I think he might only need as little as two, before locking up a submission finish.
Daniel Cormier to win by submission in Rd2.
Chris Weidman vs. Ronaldo Souza
Despite being a short notice replacement, ‘Jacare’ is only stepping up from a fight with David Branch earlier in the evening, so cardio and weight-cutting shouldn’t be an issue here for the Brazilian.
It’s a good fight too, although both men have been showing signs of decline in recent years in terms of their ability to take a shot and their overall athleticism.
At almost 39 years of age ‘Jacare’ isn’t as fast as he once was, which is good news for Weidman who I believe has the overall advantage in terms of his boxing ability and will apply the greater pressure on the feet, putting the Brazilian on the back foot.
Of course Jacare has tremendous Jiu-Jitsu, but Weidman is actually also strong in that regard and importantly is a significantly better wrestler, which I believe will stand him in good stead should the fight go to the floor.
Overall I expect a close fight here, but I’ll take Weidman to land more strikes over the course of three rounds to emerge with a decision victory.
Chris Weidman to win by decision.
David Branch vs. Jared Cannonier
Cannonier moves down to middleweight for the first time on short notice to fight Branch after having had previous stints at both heavyweight and light-heavyweight.
Cannonier’s power should translate well down at 185lbs, while he’s also got good speed. However I think he’s going to find the going quite tough against Branch, who has a well-rounded skill-set and has proven himself at a higher level.
Branch can hold his own on the feet, but I think it’s the grappling that will really enable him to take control of this fight. While his takedowns aren’t his strongest suit, he shouldn’t have too much difficulty against Cannonier’s questionable takedown defense and from their I think he’ll be in the ascendency and will gradually wear out his opponent and set up a submission finish late in the fight.
David Branch to win by submission.
Jack Marshman vs. Karl Roberson
Marshman holds a significant experience advantage here, but he’s not a particularly well-rounded fighter, instead relying on toughness and brawling style to get by, which generally will only take you so far in the UFC.
Roberson is also likely to be focused on striking here, though he is also a threat with submissions too in the unlikely even the fight goes to the floor.
Roberson is the younger, fresher fighter here and hits hard, so I think he will come out on top in the stand-up battle to emerge with a second round TKO victory.
Karl Roberson to win by TKO in Rd2.
Israel Adesanya vs. Derek Brunson
The undefeated Adesanya has been marked out as a potential future star for the UFC thanks to his eye-catching, flashy yet effective kickboxing style, and he’s shown improvements in his wrestling too, which bodes well for his future.
In Brunson he faces a fighter whose striking style is far less refined, bringing power to the table, but not the skill and technique to harness it effectively, either proving to be overly aggressive and telegraphed, while completely abandoning any thought of defense, or being too passive.
Against Adesanya both approaches are likely to pose problems for Brunson, who is likely to be picked apart by the superior striker, so he may have to resort to his wrestling if he’s to mmake headway here.
However, Adesanya’s wrestling has improved at a good rate and Brunson doesn’t always fight as strategically as he should, so I can see him being lured into the stand-up battle and that won’t end well for him with Adesanya stopping him inside the second round.
Israel Adesanya to win by TKO in Rd2.
Prelims (FOX Sports 1) (Predicted winners in bold)
Jason Knight vs. Jordan Rinaldi
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Sijara Eubanks
Julio Arce vs. Sheymon Moraes
Sultan Aliev vs. Lyman Good
Prelims (Fight Pass)
Matt Frevola vs. Lando Vannata
Shane Burgos vs. Kurt Holobaugh
Brian Kelleher vs. Domingo Pilarte