HYDEN BLOG: UFC 219 Preview and Predictions

Frank Hyden, MMATorch Columnist

Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino (photo credit Jason da Silva © USA Today Sports)

UFC 219 is right around the corner, here is a look ahead at the card.

UFC 219 closes out 2017 this weekend with a show I’m really excited for. The main attraction is UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg defending her title against Holly Holm. It isn’t hard to see why this fight is so exciting. Cyborg lost her very first professional fight by submission, then has gone on to win eighteen fights and have another win overturned after she tested positive for PED use. Holm is the woman who knocked out Ronda Rousey to win the UFC women’s bantamweight championship and who also won multiple boxing titles over a long and illustrious career. So, her credentials are legit and she absolutely has a shot of stopping Cyborg.

The aggression and toughness of Cyborg is what makes this fight almost a guaranteed exciting fight. Cyborg constantly comes forward and tries to overwhelm her opponents with repeated strikes from varying angles. Holm is a very good counter-striker who could easily catch Cyborg and stun her. You never want to assume any fight is going to be exciting, but I’d be willing to bet that this fight is the best fight of night, or at worst the second-best fight.

I’ve seen some talk that the winner of this fight will be considered the greatest female MMA fighter ever. I don’t know about that, because Joanna Jedrzejczyk and the woman who beat her, Rose Namajunas, will have something to say about that, but the winner is definitely up there. I’m going with Cyborg here by TKO in the second round.

There’s other fights on the card that are extremely intriguing. The co-main event is a fight at lightweight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Edson Barboza. This is assuming, of course, that Nurmagomedov doesn’t come down with an injury or weight-cutting ailment between now and Saturday night, but this is a very interesting fight. It basically comes down to can Barboza stop the takedown attempts by Nurmagomedov? He’s not going to be able to for the entire fight, but can he stop enough of them and inflict enough damage to Nurmagomedov on the feet to change things? And how rusty will Nurmagomedov be? He’s only fought twice in the last 44 months.

Barboza is an exciting fighter. Nurmagomedov can be good to watch, but I don’t think he will be in this fight. I think he’s going to do everything in his power to keep the fight on the ground because he doesn’t want to get kicked in the face. And when they’re on the ground, he’s not going to want to take too many chances. So, I think that leads to a dull and boring Nurmagomedov decision win.

There’s some other potentially good fights on the card, such as Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny. I’m really excited for this fight personally because I’m a big Condit fan. I think he takes Magny out by TKO in the third round and delivers an exciting fight. I think this is the other fight that could possibly be the Fight of the Night, but we’ll see. There’s also a fight between Cynthia Calvillo and Carla Esparza. I think Esparza wins the decision in a close and hard-fought fight. Jimmie Rivera was slated to face John Lineker at this event, but Lineker had to pull out. As I write this, they haven’t announced a replacement yet, though Rivera wants to remain on the card. There’s reports of Marlon Moraes stepping in, which would be cool. I’d like to see that.

This card is a great way to end 2017 for the UFC. There’s some good fights on the card and we should (hopefully) end the year with a bang. Happy Holidays to all and I hope 2018 is a good year for everyone.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS HYDEN BLOGHYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 190 and UFC on FOX 26

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