Main Event: Fabricio Werdum vs Travis Browne
This is a superb Heavyweight battle, with the winner meeting Cain Velasquez next time out for the title.
I wasn't fussed at all when Browne drew with Cheick Kongo a few years ago, however he has seriously developed into a serious contender. He meets a very tough Fabricio Werdum however. For years Werdum was known as a one trick pong with his excellent Jiu-Jitsu. Yet, since joining Kings MMA working with legendary training Rafael Cordiero, his striking has come on leaps and bounds.
The question is it good enough to stand with Browne? The American has finished five of his nine bouts in the Octagon by T/KO, including KO of the Night on four of those occasions. He posses lethal power in his hands and his feet, as displayed in the Alistiar Overeem fight.
If the fight goes to the ground, Werdum will hold all the advantage. He is a black belt in BJJ, winning the ADCC Submission Wrestling Championships twice. The Brazilian has submitted some serious top class opponents including Antonio Rogerio Nogueria and Fedor Emelianenko, breaking the the Russians epic win streak. This compares to Browne's two wins by submission against lower class opponents.
This fight all comes down to wrestling. Who can get it where they want. Werdum will be training with Mark Munoz to get this fight to the mat. Yet, I think Browne has very under-rated takedown defense. Chieck Kongo spent much of his fight with Browne holding him against the fence. I see Browne applying enough pressure to Werdum not to get to get an easy takedown, but fire his big punches before finishing
Browne via 2nd round T/KO
Co-Main Event - Meisha Tate vs Liz Carmouche
Both women badly need a win here to stay at the top of the division.
Carmouche will want to keep this fight standing and Tate is can be vulnerable, as shown against Rousey and Zigano. Carmouche loves to press forwards and be right in her opponents face whereas Tate prefers to take her time and find her stride.
However Tate definitely has the advantage on the ground. She has excellent wrestling, some of the best in Women's MMA. This coincides with her ability to keep top position and make her opponents pay. Carmouche isn't that good off her back and Tate can grind out a win
Tate via decision
Donald Cerrone vs Edson Barboza
Get ready for fireworks, as two of the best strikers in the Lightweight division face off. Both have excellent kickboxing and it would become one great stand up war.
If it does stay on the feet, I think that Barboza will edge it. Cerrone is very good, but he leaves gaps when throwing, as shown against Anthony Pettis. Barboza will try and pick 'Cowboy' off from the outside with jabs and low kicks. Further, Rafel Dos Anjos found countless success going to the body of Cerrone throughout their fight and Barboza could easily repeat this tactic.
However, now 31-years-old, I think Cerrone is done with wanting fun fights and wants a shot at the 155lbs title. He has all the potential to do so and will need to get this fight to the ground. Cerrone has a very good single leg and some of the most under-rated BJJ in MMA. The way he submitted Evan Dunham was delightful. This is the way Cerrone wins.
I think that Cerrone will engage for a while against Barboza, yet once The Brazilian has tired, he will catch a kick, drag him to the ground and latch onto a Rear Naked Choke
Cerrone via 2nd round submission
Brad Tavares vs Yoel Romero
What does Tavares need to do to fight an established name in the UFC? He's won five straight now and is really starting to look like a top ten Middleweight. He meets a very good opponent in Romer here however.
Romero has lots of talent, especially in the wrestling department being on Olympic silver medalist. Nonetheless, he seems to win in style than put in a typical wrestlers performance. The Olympian holds a lot of power in his hands, finishing everyone of his seven pro fights by T/KO.
However, I see Tavares getting the W here. The Hawaiian has really matured, and shown excellent striking and takedown defense. I think the key for Tavares is leg kicks, hacking at Romero so he will not be as effective if he wants to shoot for a takedown. Lets not forget that Romero was losing to Derek Brunson before he finished the fight. Tavares brings a much better all round game and will be ready.
Tavares via decision
Rafel Dos Anjos vs Khabib Nurmagomedov
This fight should really be on the main card, as it could determine the next contender to the 155lbs title.
Since his loss to Gleison Tibau, Dos Anjos has looked a different fight. He's won his last five straight beating the likes of Donald Cerrone and Evan Dunham. Although he was traditionally known for his Jiu-Jitsu, The Brazilian has developed into an excellent striker. Dos Anjos completely dominated former pro kickboxer Donald Cerrone on the feet, going to the body well and throwing his wicked right hook that dropped 'Cowboy' in the first round.
Russian Nurmagomedov will be a tough test. The undefeated 155lber has been making a lot of noise in the Lightweight division. He's won all five of his bouts in the Octagon. Four have been extremely impressive. Yet, in his last match against Pat Healy, he looked uncomfortable when Healy was the aggressor. Although the Russian has great wrestling, Dos Anjos should be able to cope with it. I see Dos Anjos pushing forward constantly for two rounds, lighting Nurmagomedov up consistently before being take down in the third but hanging on.
Dos Anjos via decision
Thiago Alves vs Seth Baczynski
The return of 'The Pitbull' is here. It's been over two years since we saw Alves in the Octagon. It seems an age since he fought GSP for the Welterweight title. Now 30, he will be looking for another shot.
Ring rust is the only factor that loses Alves the fight. He's better in every department. This is by far the best level of opponent Bacyzinski has met. Alves will be aggressive and should get the fight done within the first round to make a statement that he''s well and truly back.
Alves via 1st round T/KO
Jorge Masvidal vs Pat Healy
Two former Strikeforce Lightweights meet here and it is a very under-rated fight. Healy looked great against Jim Miller and against Nurmagomedov in parts but he was terrible against Bobby Green last time.
Masvidal has been a lot more consistent. He put in a very good shift in his loss last time against Rustam Khabilov and looked impressive when beating Michael Chiesa.
For me, its a coin toss. If Healy turns up in the mood when he fought Jim Miller he wins. I think he could be fighting for his UFC career here. It'll be three loss' in a row and he isn't cheap. Healy will know that and have the motivation to get the win.
Healy via decision
Estevan Payan to beat. Alex White
Caio Magalhaes to beatLuke Zachrich
Jordan Mein to beat Hernani Perpetuo
Dustin Ortiz to beat Ray Borg
Chas Skelly to beat Mirsad Bektic
Derrick Lewis to beat Jack May
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