UFC 245 takes place tomorow night in Las Vegas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Main Card (PPV)
Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington
This is something of a dream match-up given that both fighters are at the peak of their powers on long unbeaten runs and have similar strengths that make it very intriguing to find out who is able to get the upperhand here.
Both men’s foundation is their excellent wrestling and they push that to the limit by also having terrific gas tanks that allow them to push an unrelenting pace. Of the two I feel Usman may have a slight edge due to the fact he’s the bigger and stronger of the two men and has the more dangerous ground and pound.
On the feet Covington keeps up a crazy pace and exceptionally high volume output that even threw Robbie Lawler off his game, but if there’s a drawback to that style it’s that he never really hits with much authority.
Usman feels like the more comfortable striker of the two and definitely has the bigger power, while he’ll also enjoy a four inch reach advantage, but it’ll be interesting to see how he copes with the barrage of blows coming his way from start to finish.
It’s a very closely matched fight, but I do lean towards Usman for his power, strength and tactical awareness, which will be aided by the fact that he transitions smoothly between striking and grappling, and so will enable him to land the more impactful blows, while also using wrestling and clinch work to stop Covington from getting into his rhythm, leading to a decision win.
Kamaru Usman wins by decision.
Max Holloway vs. Alex Volkanovski
We’re treated to another finely balanced match-up in the co-main event as Holloway looks for yet another successful title defense against a major threat in the shape of the fast-rising Volkanovski.
Volkanovski is a strong wrestler and very good athlete, and that instantly makes him an interesting challenger for Holloway, though it has to be said that ‘Blessed’ has demonstrated excellent takedown defense in recent years.
A key factor for Volkanovski is that he’s also worked hard on his striking and even has a 2.5″ inch reach advantage despite being 5″ smaller, and as a result he won’t be daunted by the prospect of having to operate on the feet at times against the champion.
Nevertheless, the reality is that Holloway remains an elite striking technician and his punching accuracy, slick combinations, distance management and speed are going to make it difficult for Volknovski to really make his mark on the feet in prolonged striking exchanges.
Still, Volkanovski could put together enough striking and pressure to aid his takedown attempts, but I still have to favor Holloway here to keep upright for the most part and steadily pick apart the challenger with crisp strikes to win on the scorecards.
Max Holloway wins by decision.
Amanda Nunes vs. Germaine de Randamie
Nunes emerged with a first round TKO victory the last time these two met and since then she’s demolished a who’s who of women’s MMA to win both the bantamweight and featherweight titles.
In the six years that have followed GDR has remained undefeated, although she’s actually only fought five times during that period, and it’s worth noting that the 35-year-old has actually been hinting this week that retirement might not be too far off.
GDR remains a vastly experienced and very technical kickboxer and so Nunes will have to be careful not to leave herself open to being countered when she goes on the attack as the challenger could certainly exploit any openings presented to her.
However, Nunes is more careful than she used to be and yet is still as dangerous as ever in terms of her speed, power and accuracy, so she remains the most potent offensively of the two.
Last time out Nunes took De Randamie down, and though she may have improved upon her takedown defense, I still expect GDR to be in serious trouble if Nunes does just look for a similar strategy, with both ground and pound and submission being viable options for the champion as she looks to finish the fight inside the distance, and I think she’ll find away to get the job done inside of three rounds.
Amanda Nunes wins by TKO in Rd3.
Marlon Moraes vs. Jose Aldo
Many within the MMA community have been concerned about Aldo’s drop down to 135lb given that he had problem making weight at featherweight, and even though he has managed to successfully weigh-in for this fight, it does remain a worry regarding his performance on Saturday night.
Nevertheless, Aldo will go into this fight as the bigger man and with his technical boxing skills, punching power and punishing low legs that could bode well for him.
That being said, Moraes is a very dynamic fighter, has finishing power to go with his speed and he’s also known for his own heavy leg kicks, so the recent bantamweight title challenger has plenty to offer here.
Overall I still believe Aldo is a very good fighter, but I can’t shake the feeling that this weight cut is going to leave him depleted, and that’s a real concern against a fast, energetic striker like Moraes, who I think will reap the rewards for being the more active fighter with a decision victory.
Marlon Moraes wins by decision.
Urijah Faber vs. Petr Yan
Faber showed that he’s still a threat at 40-years-old with a successful comeback from retirement earlier in the year, but that’s now led him to a tough fight against an impressive looking Yan.
The 26-year-old Yan has been unstoppable so far in the UFC, with his high-octane, pressure heavy offense on the feet and solid defense to back it up.
Faber is no slouch on the feet, but there’s a real chance he gets outgunned on the feet against the younger man here, so he’ll likely be going for takedowns here to swing the fight in his favor with his wrestling.
It’s always possible the crafty veteran will be able to make it work for him, but I think Yan’s pressure, hard-hitting style and takedown defense will combine to give Faber a tough night at the office, leading to a TKO stoppage in the second round.
Petr Yan wins by TKO in Rd2.
Prelims (predicted winners in bold)
Geoff Neal vs. Mike Perry
Ketlen Vieira vs. Irene Aldana
Omari Akhmedov vs. Ian Heinisch
Matt Brown vs. Ben Saunders
Chase Hooper vs. Daniel Teymur
Brandon Moreno vs. Kai Kara-France
Jessica Eye vs. Viviane Araujo
Punahele Soriano vs. Oskar Piechota