UFC Fight Night 143 comes to us live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday night. It’s the UFC’s first event of the New Year and their ESPN debut. In the main event, TJ Dillashaw comes down to 125 to challenge Henry Cejudo for Cejudo’s flyweight championship. Cejudo is coming off of the biggest win of his career when he defeated Demetrious Johnson by decision to capture the flyweight championship. The thirty-one-year-old Cejudo has five stoppages to go along with eight wins by decision in his professional career. He’ll look to run his win streak to four with a victory over the challenger on Saturday night.
Bantamweight Champion, TJ Dillashaw comes into the fight trying to become double champ. Dillashaw became the Bantamweight champion when he finished Cody Garbrandt in the second round at UFC 217 in November of 2017. He successfully defended the Bantamweight title by stopping Garbrandt yet again, this time in the first round at UFC 227. In the thirty-two-year-old’s sixteen career wins, eight have come via (T)KO, to go along with three by submission and five decisions. Dillashaw has won his last four fights and eight of his last nine.
In the co-main, former football player, Greg Hardy takes on Allen Crowder. The former NFL standout competed in Season Two of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series where he was awarded a UFC contract after pummeling Austen Lane in Week one of the series. Hardy is 3-0 as a professional MMA fighter. He finished all three fights in under a minute. Unfortunately for Allen Crowder, this fight should be nothing more than a “squash match.”
The six-fight main card also includes Gregor Gillespie taking on Yancy Medeiros, Joseph Benavidez vs. Dustin Ortiz in what should be a great fight, Paige VanZant returns to take on Rachael Ostovich and Karl Roberson steps into the cage on short notice to face UFC veteran, Glover Teixeira.
Note: The predictions in this column do not necessarily mean that I will be betting them. I have changed my mind in the past and gone the other way after conducting more research. For all of my official bets follow me on Twitter @MichaelGrocke.
Henry Cejudo (13-2) vs. TJ Dillashaw (16-3) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Dillashaw -210; Cejudo +175
Pick: Dillashaw by Decision
Allen Crowder (9-3) vs. Greg Hardy (3-0) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Hardy -515; Crowder +410
Pick: Hardy by (T)KO in a squash
Gregor Gillespie (12-0) vs. Yancy Medeiros (15-5) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Gillespie -550; Medeiros +425
Pick: Gillespie by (T)KO
Joseph Benavidez (26-5) vs. Dustin Ortiz (19-7) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Current Odds: Benavidez -230; Ortiz +190
Pick: Benavidez by Decision, but Ortiz can be a live dog here
Paige VanZant (7-4) vs. Rachael Ostovich (4-4) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Current Odds: VanZant -155; Ostovich +135
Pick: Ostovich by Decision with little confidence
Glover Teixeira (27-7) vs. Karl Roberson (7-1) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Teixeira -120; Roberson +100
Pick: Roberson by (T)KO, I just hope this fight isn’t too much, too soon for Roberson
Alexander Hernandez (10-1) vs. Donald Cerrone (34-11) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Hernandez -190; Cerrone +165
Pick: Hernandez by (T)KO, but my heart is with “Cowboy” Cerrone
Joanne Calderwood (12-3) vs. Ariane Lipski (11-3) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Current Odds: Lipski -220; Calderwood +180
Pick: Lipski by Decision
Alonzo Menifield (7-0) vs. Vinicius Alves Moreira (9-1) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Menifield -290; Moreira +245
Pick: Menifield by Decision
Cory Sandhagen (9-1) vs. Mario Bautista (9-1) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Sandhagen -470; Bautista +375
Pick: Sandhagen by (T)KO
Dennis Bermudez (17-9) vs. TE Edwards (6-2) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Edwards -135; Bermudez +115
Pick: Bermudez by Decision
Belal Muhammad (14-2) vs. Geoff Neal (10-2) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Neal -170; Muhammad +150
Pick Neal by (T)KO
Kyle Stewart (11-1) vs. Chance Rencountre (12-3) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Stewart -165; Rencountre +145
Pick: Stewart by Decision
Enjoy the fights!