UFC 247 takes place tomorrow night in Texas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
Main Card (PPV)
Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes
In recent times Jones has faced a number of opponents who have tasted defeat in the past, but on Saturday night he’ll go up against an undefeated challenger in Reyes, who has gone 12-0 so far.
Along the way Reyes has shown off a potent striking game with a dangerous left kick, crisp punches and good speed / footwork. However, despite being the same height as Jones he’s going to be at a disparity in terms of arm reach, with Jones abnormally long limbs giving him a 7.5″ advantage, though it’s worth stressing that it’s only 1.5″ when it comes to leg reach.
Jones is excellent at using his reach advantage to the fullest with kicks and lengthy punches keeping his opponents at bay, while at closer range he delivers big power and leverage into elbow strikes. He also has good variety in his techniques, though he has become more predictable and appears to be evolving less in recent years.
Jones still has a strong clinch and wrestling game that often goes underutilized, but could be invaluable here as Reyes takedown defense isn’t the best, though he’s hard to keep down for long.
Reyes will have taken heart from Thiago Santos solid performance against Jones since he has similar attributes, but is arguably more dangerous. Nevertheless, though it’s a risky fight and Jones doesn’t seem unbeatable in his current form, he will likely have learned from his last fight and if he’s prepared properly and isn’t taking Reyes for granted then I still believe his striking from range, clinch work and takedowns can earn him a decision victory here.
Jon Jones wins by decision.
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Katlyn Chookagian
Shevchenko always looked destined to rule the roost at flyweight when she dropped down a division and thats proved to be the case so far with a well-rounded set of skills that makes her hard to beat.
On the feet Shevchenko is a highly skilled kickboxer who doesn’t overexert herself, but is very technical, stays composed and lands well on the counter. Chookagian is the busier of the two and that level of activity is definitely a plus point for her, but she doesn’t carry much of a knockout threat to go with it and will likely come up second best skill-wise.
On the mat Chookagian is again capable, but Shevchenko has proven herself to be a strong grappler who should be able to boss the exchanges there too.
The fight will likely be somewhat competitive throughout, but overall I see Shevchenko emerging with another comfortable decision victory.
Valentina Shevchenko wins by decision.
Juan Adams vs. Justin Tafa
Not the most glamorous fight to put on the main card, especially given that both men are struggling to get a win in the UFC, but nonetheless it should be the kind of hard-hitting heavyweight slugfest that delivers a finish.
Both men’s skill-sets are fairly raw, particularly Tafa who is entering only his 5th professional fight and very much relies on his heavy hands to emerge victorious.
Adams can match him in that regard and will have a significant reach advantage though, and importantly can also wrestle, which may well be enough to trouble Tafa and lead to a second round TKO stoppage.
Juan Adams wins by decision.
Mirsad Bektic vs. Dan Ige
It’ll be interesting to see if Bektic can still reach his full potential now that he’s suffered two disappointing losses in his UFC Career to date that have taken some of the wind out of his sails.
There’s certainly still a lot to like about his game as he is a very powerful wrestler, but can also put opponents away on the feet, even if he’s not as assured upright as he is on the mat.
Ige will be a good challenge for him as he too is a well-rounded fighter who will bring the fight to Bektic on the feet and can also grapple, but I think Bektic’s wrestling will prove too much for him and lead to a decision victory.
Mirsad Bektic wins by decision.
Derrick Lewis vs. Ilir Latifi
Even at light-heavyweight Latifi was on the short and stocky side, so that’ll only be magnified even further as he heads up to the heavyweight division.
Given that he was KO’d in his last fight it must be somewhat daunting to be going up against a monsterous puncher like Lewis next, who will be the naturally bigger man with a 5″ height, 5.5″ reach and weight advantage over him, but that being said, ‘The Sledgehammer’ has always had heavy hands and though he’s not known for throwing much in the way of volume, his power will have to be respected.
Lewis has always been a tough customer though and so Latifi’s best bet would be to try and use his wrestling ability to neutralize his opponent’s striking and wear him out.
Lewis certainly has had major cardio issues in the past, but he seems to be taking things more seriously recently and has proven time and time again that he’s a huge threat right up until the final bell, though I think he’ll actually find a big knockout finish here inside of two rounds.
Derrick Lewis wins by KO in Rd2.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Trevin Giles vs. Antonio Arroyo
Alex Morono vs. Kalinn Williams
Lauren Murphy vs. Andrea Lee
Miles Johns vs. Mario Bautista
Domingo Pilarte vs. Journey Newson
Andre Ewell vs. Jonathan Martinez
Youssef Zalal vs. Austin Lingo