UFC Fight Night 80 – December 10, 2015
This event is headlined by Rose Namajunas vs. Paige VanZant. This is a step-up for VanZant, as Namajunas is an extremely tough fighter. Of course, this should be a hard fight for Namajunas as well, as VanZant is a tough fighter in her own right. Both fighters are very aggressive and look to apply constant pressure. I favor Namajunas slightly in this fight, but I expect a close one. I think Namajunas grinds VanZant down and ends up getting the finish in the fourth round.
Another highlight is we get another chance to watch Sage Northcutt as he fights Cody Pfister. I want to see how Northcutt comes out and tries to top his last fight, an explosive 57 second TKO of Francisco Trevino at UFC 192. It’s always exciting to see young studs starting to blossom, and that’s what we’re seeing here.
The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale – December 11, 2015
A fight between Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar headlines here, and it’s not often that you get a fight this enormous on cable television. This is going to be a great fight, and very interesting at that. Who’s going to have the advantage grappling? Who’s going to have the advantage on the feet? It’s hard to imagine Mendes controlling Edgar on the ground, and vice versa. These are two guys that you don’t see being controlled.
On the feet, Mendes has the power advantage, but Edgar has him on technique. That’s not to discount the technique of Mendes or the power of Edgar, but each guy has their own advantages. However, I think the one area that will decide the fight is cardio and conditioning. Edgar has cardio for days, and has many many five round fights on his record. That may shorten his career, but it also means that he can go just as strong in the fourth and fifth rounds as he can in the first. If Edgar can drag Mendes into the later rounds, he wins. It’s that simple. I’m picking Edgar for that reason. I think he gets the ground-and-pound stoppage in the fourth round as Mendes tires out. It’s very possible that Mendes gets the early stoppage, but I’ll have to see it to believe it’s truly possible.
Edson Barboza vs. Tony Ferguson is another fight on the card I want to see. Ferguson is on a roll and Barboza is always ready to bring a fight to someone. If Ferguson wins, he gets closer to a title shot. Or at least a chance to fight for one, as he’d still need another win or two to get the title shot. As for Barboza, he’s going to bring his killer kicks to try to put a stop to that talk.
UFC 194 – December 12, 2015
This is one of the most stacked cards in UFC history. The headliner is UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor, and if you’ve been following the fight world at all in recent times, you know why this fight is so huge. Aldo is arguably the best fighter in the world. He hasn’t lost in ten years. Ten years. That’s insane. And McGregor is the biggest trash talker since Muhammed Ali. And if McGregor beats Aldo, he is Ali. He’s the guy who proclaims to be the best and then goes out and proves it. McGregor has already backed up some of his trash talk as he beat Chad Mendes in his last fight, but beating Aldo would be another level and would catapult McGregor into even greater heights of popularity.
However, I have to go with Aldo here. He hasn’t lost in ten years for a reason. I can’t believe that Aldo will lose until I see it for myself. I certainly think that McGregor could do it, but I don’t think he will. I think Aldo wins by a really close decision, maybe even a controversial one.
The co-main event is UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman defending against Luke Rockhold. As we all know, Weidman beat longtime division kingpin Anderson Silva, and then Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort before coming into this fight. Rockhold is coming off of wins over Machida and Michael Bisping (among others) so this is a hotly anticipated contest. I’ve got to go with Weidman here but I expect a very close fight. I think they go to a decision and Weidman wins. I don’t think it’ll be a dominant decision win or anything, but I do expect him to come through with another big win. I don’t think Rockhold will be able to get Weidman onto his back to work his submissions, and that will take away some of the good stuff that Rockhold does. I think Weidman’s aggression will also give him the early rounds, as he constantly comes forward and applies pressure. It’ll be interesting to see how Rockhold responds to that.
Another huge fight is Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Yoel Romero. This fight will determine the number one contender to the UFC Middleweight Title and I’m expecting fireworks. Romero is a tough guy and very good, but I expect Jacare to take him out in the second round with an explosive finish. As I said, Romero is very tough, but I think Jacare is the most dangerous guy in the division. He can beat you anywhere and anytime. It’s crazy that this is only my third most anticipated fight on the card, but that really speaks to how strong this card is. There’s also a fight between Demian Maia and Gunner Nelson and Uriah Faber fights Frankie Saenz on the prelims. This card is almost unbelievable.
UFC on FOX 17 – December 19, 2015
The main event of this card is UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos vs. Donald Cerrone. These two fought a little over two years ago and dos Anjos won the decision. Cerrone is hoping to change that this time, but I think dos Anjos again wins by decision here. I just haven’t seen Cerrone display the ability to keep a guy like dos Anjos from being able to take him down and control him. I root for Cerrone, but I don’t think it ends well for him here. This should be a really good fight, and a great one for network television.
The co-main event is a big fight between Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem. Dos Santos is coming off a big win over Stipe Miocic and Overeem has won two in a row, so this isn’t exactly a title eliminator but it is close to it. A big win for either man will get title shot talks started up so this is one both guys want to win. I’m expecting a bigtime slugfest and I think things end violently in the first round. I’m going with Dos Santos by TKO after a huge flurry. So, there it is. Four huge events in nine days. The UFC is definitely going out with a bang in 2015.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank