UFC 232 takes place tomorrow night in California and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Main Card (PPV)
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Over five years since their last fight circumstances have changed quite a bit for both fighters. Jones has of course remained unbeaten, but he’s now one of the sport’s all-time bad guys and having fought 13 times in the UFC in his first four years up to the Gustafsson fight, he’s only managed 4 in the five years since due to suspensions and legal troubles.
As for Gustafsson, he’s also had far fewer fights in that period too due to injuries and time off and has tasted defeat in two of his four fights, though he looked in good form last time out against Glover Teixeira.
Still, Gustafsson remains a tricky opponent for Jones as the former champ’s exceptional reach has allowed him to command fights from range, but the Swede is closer than most to him in terms of his own wingspan and makes the most of it with his technical boxing to be a threat from the outside.
Jones is more creative and adaptable though. He began to come on strong in the second half of their previous encounter and he’ll be even more prepared this time with that experience under his belt, whether that means changes on the feet or a more to working more from the clinch or on the mat – he has all the skill and physical gifts needed to make an impact.
Gustafsson is still capable of making him work extremely hard for his victory, but I do believe Jones is the better all-round fighter and has suffered less wear and tear over the past five years, which will show in the Octagon on Saturday night as he rises to the occasion and edges the action to earn a decision victory.
Jon Jones wins by decision.
Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes
After years of dominance Cyborg now faces her biggest threat to date in the shape of Nunes, the dominant champion at bantamweight who is now rising up to featherweight for this superfight.
Nunes poses real challenges for Cyborg due to her speed, aggression, combination striking and submission prowess.
However, she has had cardio issues at times in the past and that’s led to her fighting at a more measured pace during her title reign, taming some of her aggression. A big question now is whether carry the extra weight at 145lbs will slow her down and potentially drain her energy reserves on Saturday night.
As for Cyborg, she may not be as fast, but she is a very good striker, can apply plenty of pressure as well as land on the counter and has good pop in her punches. She’ll also be the stronger, more powerful fighter and has good wrestling, which could stifle Nunes’ attempts to get something going on the mat.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this all plays out. Nunes is a terrific fighter, but I don’t think Cyborg will fold under pressure. She’s proven even in her only muay thai loss back in 2014 that there’s no quit in her, she’s exceptionally tough, and I think she’ll land the bigger shots and have more left in the tank late in the fight to help secure a win on the scorecards.
Cris Cyborg wins by decision.
Carlos Condit vs. Michael Chiesa
With only two wins from his last nine fights, Condit is in dire need of a win as he welcomes Michael Chiesa to the welterweight division this weekend.
Condit has faced an extremely tough selection of fighters during that run, but he does seem to have lost a little of the spark that made him one of the top talents in the division for many years.
Nonetheless, he’s still a dangerous striker with predatory instincts and could well cause trouble for Chiesa, who is much more workmanlike on the feet and doesn’t possess much in the way of stopping power.
However, Chiesa is unlikely to be looking to just stand and trade with Condit. Chiesa is a tireless grappler and wrestling has always been something of a weakness for ‘The Natural Born Killer,’ so that’s sure to be his gameplan here.
Chiesa also has a knack for submissions and while he’s good offensively in that regard himself, Condit is not immune to being tapped out and I think he might find himself in that situation again on Saturday night as he picks up another stoppage loss that will once again leave him contemplating retirement.
Michael Chiesa wins by submission in Rd2.
Ilir Latifi vs. Corey Anderson
this fight sees a complete contrast in physiques as the short, stocky Latifi going up against the tall, lanky Anderson.
Anderson likes to use his physique to his advantage, fighting from range and throwing out straight punches, but there’s not a whole lot of power in them and he can get in trouble when he is caught as his chin isn’t the strongest.
Latifi on the other hand likes to wade in with single strikes, throwing bombs that can end the fight if they connect, and he’s tough enough that he won’t mind taking a few of Anderson’s less threatening blows to land his own.
Anderson does have very good wrestling too however and could find success if he can bring him to the mat, but that’s going to be easier said than done with Latifi being so strong and being no slouch in the wrestling department either, so I think the more likely outcome here is Latifi connecting with a big punch at some stage in the fight that ends Anderson’s night.
Ilir Latifi wins by KO in Rd2.
Chad Mendes vs. Alex Volkanovski
A top ranked featherweight for many years, Mendes looked back to form instantly in his first fight back after two-and-a-half years out of the Octagon earlier this year, but in his absence Volkanovski has also risen to become a notable contender as well.
Both fighters have a similiar core asset, having built their MMA game on a strong foundation of dominant wrestling, with Volkanovski in particular also being very dangerous with ground and pound into the bargain.
however, while Volkanovski does still lean heavily on his wrestling, Mendes has managed to evolve into a more well-rounded fighter who now also has becoming a real threat on the feet and demonstrated knockout power into the bargain.
And in the end I think that could be the big difference between them as I think they will most likely nullify each other in the wrestling department, leaving Mendes’ superior striking being the big difference between them to get the nod from the judges at the end of 15 minutes of fighting.
Chad Mendes wins by decision.
Prelims (Fox Sports 1)
Andrei Arlovski vs. Walt Harris
Megan Anderson vs. Cat Zingano
Petr Yan vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
B.J. Penn vs. Ryan Hall
Prelims (Fight Pass)
Andre Ewell vs. Nathaniel Wood
Uriah Hall vs. Bevon Lewis
Curtis Millender vs. Siyar Bahadurzada
Brian Kelleher vs. Montel Jackson