Aaaaaaaaaand HERE WE GO!
Our first gambling guide of 2018 is an absolute belter featuring one of the most anticipated heavyweight bouts in a long time.
Stipe Miocic (C) Vs Francis Ngannou (HW)
How can you bet against a man that almost decapitated K-1 superstar Alistair Overeem in his last appearance? Miocic must learn from Ngannou’s last victims mistakes and protect himself at all times - from the bell. Miocic‘s boxing excelled so much last year that he made the first round his home with some epic knockouts courtesy of his heavy hands, against some decent opponents. But.......he’s fighting an absolute monster in the form of Francis Ngannou. The Cameroon native is a freak of nature that strikes fear into his opponents. Right now he carries the same aura encapsulated by Mike Tyson in the 80’s, as if there is nobody out there that could possibly beat him. Is Stipe that person? In a division where the HW belt seemed to change hands every other month he was the one that gave it a much needed tidy up! Ruling him out would be stupid. His best chance is to not trade in the pocket (obviously) pick his shots from distance (obviously) and grind Ngannou in to the cage to see how his gas tank holds out. Easier said than done of course. We can’t wait for this one. A punt on either Stipe or Ngannou via KO/TKO is what we would suggest but after Cyborg Vs Holm at the end of last year, don’t be shocked if this actually goes the distance!
Daniel Cormier Vs Volkan Oezdemir (LHW)
Oezdemir is another athlete that possesses epic knockout power. If he connects with your chin you don’t get up for at least 7-10 minutes! Let’s get real here, Cormier beats anyone that isn’t Jon Jones and ‘DC’ will know exactly what to do against Oezdemir. This will be another case of secure the take down, take the back.
Gian Villante Vs Francimar Barroso (LW)
A potential slobber knocker. Villante runs the risk of getting cut if he can’t produce a win, as does his opponent to be honest. Being the best friend of Chris Weidman won’t be enough to save his contract so a win is a must. Barroso is nothing special but probably has more to offer at this point in his career and might just send his opponent packing. Villante will probably be the bookies favourite but Barros can take this if he wants.
Abdul Razak Alhassan Vs Sabah Homasi
A rare occurrence with this being one an immediate rematch following an extremely dubious stoppage at UFC 218. Homasi deserves this rematch but we can’t see the result being any different.
WINNER: Razak Alhassan
Thomas Almeida Vs Rob Font (BW)
A pretty even match up on paper between to fighters who seem to stumble once they get close to being considered for title contention. Almeida is arguably a little more dynamic but the home town support might be enough for Font to dig a little deeper on the night and produce the goods.
Dustin Ortiz Vs Alexandre Pantoja (FLY)
Facing someone like Alexandre Pantoja, with an amazing 11 fight winning streak, would normally be quite daunting but if you are Dustin Ortiz, and knocked out your last opponent in only 15 seconds, you are possibly a little more confident. A very tough one to call but we’ll go with Ortiz to show that he’s more than just a gatekeeper (don’t forget we picked Ezparza to beat Calvillo at UFC 219!)
Islam Makhachev Vs Gleison Tibau (LW)
This will be Tibau’s first appearance since falling victim to USADA in November 2017. At 34 years old with over 40 fights under his belts (last two fights being losses) you can’t help but think a comeback is a big ask. Makhachev to capitalise in the last round and secure the victory, maybe even a stoppage.
Kyle Bochniak Vs Brandon Davis (FW)
Brandon Davis makes his UFC debut against someone who hasn’t really produced anything spectacular in his own UFC career. There aren’t many fighters who shine in their debut but Davis shouldn’t have too many problems here.
Calvin Kattar Vs Shane Burgos (FW)
Yet more fighters on this card with impressive records. Kattar comes in to this unbeaten in 9 fights with Burgos just edging it with a 10-0 record. Kattar has had just a single UFC bout but proved his worth beating Team Alpha Male’s Andre Fili. This has the potential to be a great tear up with both Kattar and Burgos being locals. It’s pretty much a coin toss bout.
Maryna Moroz Vs Jamie Moyle (STRAW)
Neither Moroz or Moyle are particularly dangerous in any department so this one might come down to experience. Another female fight that will go the distance. Maybe leave this one off your accumulator.
Enrique Barzola Vs Arnold Allen (FW)
This will be Allen’s first fight since March last year so fans will be eager to see him back in the octagon. A win against TUF winner Enrique Barzola might get him a match on the London card if he can come away unscathed.
Dan Ige Vs Julio Arce
Two prospects that have come from Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender series now get to face each other on a UFC card. Both should be giving it their all to remain on the UFC roster. We’ll go with Arce.