We’re just two weeks away! Predict the outcome of UFC 210’s top two fights – Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson and Chris Weidman vs. Gegard Mousasi. Who wins, how, and when?
Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor
I think Anthony Johnson gets it done this time out. He hits too hard, and I’m not sure Daniel Cormier will be able to survive the early onslaught like he did last time. Even if he can, he may be too rattled to implement his wrestling game and Johnson could outpoint Cormier over five rounds.
I also like Chris Weidman to get back in the win column at UFC 210. He was knocked out badly by Yoel Romero at UFC 205, but he was in the fight up until that point. He’s going to motivated to bounce back and I think he can outwrestle Mousasi to a decision or ground and pound TKO win.
Cole Henry, MMATorch contributor
Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson: This is an interesting matchup because, while they have fought relatively recently, it’s hard to say that I expect the same two fighters to show up in the rematch. Cormier has fought only twice since the first fight, and had been injured on several occasions, and at 37 years old, injuries can’t simply be written off as something that will eventually heal. Cormier is towards the end of a career that has taken him to the highest levels of wrestling and MMA, and one must wonder what shape Cormier will be in when he makes the walk for 210.
Rumble has lately been the exact opposite. He seems to just be hitting his stride, and his three straight knockout wins over top five fighters speaks to that statement. In the first fight, which he lost, he landed the be all end all, which is his trademark right hand, but Cormier somehow survived. Can lighting strike twice? That is the question. Aside from that one shot, Cormier largely carried the fight, and one has to wonder if we should expect the same thing, barring a big shot by Johnson.
Now to actually make a prediction, I think that this go around, Johnson will get the job done. I expect him to catch Cormier early, and even if the doesn’t get the stoppage there, I expect it to happen sometime in the second round. Cormier is one of the best light-heavyweights in UFC history, but he’s always been on the older side of things, and I think it will finally catch up with him at UFC 210.
Chris Weidman vs. Gegard Mousasi: This is a fight that Weidman really needs to win, which seems like something that isn’t worth noting, but this is one that he REALLY needs to win. Since losing the belt, he’s been fairly absent aside from his fight with Yoel Romero, which safe to say did not go his way. In the past, Weidman was often criticized for his poor technique, and plodding stance, but it was often written off, and people would defend him by saying that if it works it works, which I did at the time. But now, after two straight losses, his armor is more than dinged, and he very much seems like fighter on the back side of things.
Mousasi is an under-the-radar type of fighter. He has many big wins, but also some key losses that have kept him from reaching the top. With that being said, his current run is probably the best that he’s had in terms of elite competition. A win over Weidman would likely leave him a fight or two away from a title shot, but in this day and age, with his rather bland personality, you have to wonder if he could ever do enough to earn a shot. With that being said, I think that this is Weidman’s fight to lose, and I don’t think that he will. Wrestling has always been Mousasi’s Achilles heel, and I think that Weidman will look to exploit that flaw. Mousasi does not possess the one-shot power that Yoel Romero has, or the grappling that Luke Rockhold has, and I think that those two things are key in defeating Weidman. My prediction is Weidman via Unanimous Decision.
Wade Keller, MMATorch editor
A Gegard Mousasi win would earn him a spot in the top tier. He’s currently ranked no. 6 in our new March MMATorch Rankings. He’d move into that frustrated group of elite Middlweights waiting out Michael Bisping’s disappointing lack of defending of the title against fighters who actually fight other top fighters in the division and win. If Chris Weidman loses, his wins over Anderson Silva become a distant memory, and his more recent losses start to define where he stands in the division – a second tier gate keeper – although losing to only three elite Middleweights means he can get right back into that top tier with a big win or two, especially as a former champ with the record he has and being only 32 years old.
Cormier, though, isn’t 32. People are looking for signs of decline due to age. At 38, he could hit that point that Anderson Silva, Chuck Liddell, and other elite fighters hit in this age range. Yet he could also be at the very top of his game for another 1-4 years. I’m not ready to write him off, and I think he’ll once again beat Rumble Johnson. If Johnson wins, he’ll prove something to me and remove doubt he’s the elite of the division. I’ll very much anticipate a Jon Jones rematch. Actually, whoever wins this one will set up a great Jones fight, although I wouldn’t be against the loser facing Jones instead, and have Jones do what GSP isn’t doing – which is win a legit fight over a top ranked contender before getting a title shot after a long layoff.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS ROUNDTABLE: ROUNDTABLE (pt. 2 of 2): Should UFC institute a Legends Division, as Vitor Belfort suggested?
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