Arguably the biggest UFC card in history occurs tonight at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Professional MMA has never been allowed in the state, and the UFC is looking to put on a show like no other for their first event there. Not only does the card have THREE title fights, but it is stacked from top to bottom with amazing matchups, and that’s even after Rashad Evans vs. Tim Kennedy was cut from the card due to an old Evans injury, and after Donald Cerrone vs. Kelvin Gastelum was cut from the card because Gastelum didn’t even get close to making weight (again…). Hell, the undercard is better than some main cards.
I couldn’t let this event go by without making picks. So here we go. For even more analysis, check out the Broest Bros on our podcast discussing every single one of these fights. It’s real deep shit.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor – for the lightweight championship
The apex of the evening will feature the Notorious Conor McGregor attempting to become the first fighter in UFC history to hold concurrent belts in two different weight classes. Unfortunately for him the man holding the LW belt is one of the toughest MoFos in the sport. Eddie has been a champion in every promotion in which he has fought, and has beaten a who’s who of lightweight contenders.
This fight is extremely tough to call, Eddie has the durability and cardio advantage, but Conor is the crisper striker. They both have incredible power, but Conor probably has the more deadly “one punch” power. Conor’s best bet is taking out Eddie early – easier said than done considering the champ has never before been knocked out. If it gets deep into the championship rounds I believe the fight favors Alvarez. The pick is Conor making history be second round KO.
Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson – for the welterweight championship
The champ is the very definition of a wrestler-boxer style of fighter, but one with monstrous power in his right hand that he can throw with lightening speed. You can call it luck when he lands it, but he’s done it over and over again. The challenger has one of the most interesting styles in the UFC as a fighter with a karate background. This style of Wonderboy’s, however, is tough matchup for Woodley because Thompson is a master of distance and fighting just outside of boxing range. I envision it being very difficult for Woodley to close the gap without eating shots in the manner that Thompson KO’d Hendricks. Even Rory MacDonald was frustrated over and over again during his fight with Thompson.
The pick is #AndNew – Stephen Thompson with a fourth round KO.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz – for the women’s straw weight championship
Let’s get ready for some Pole on Pole violence.
Karolina is tough as nails, and keeps up an impressive pace throughout all of her fights. However, the champ seems to be at least just a little bit better (if not a lot better) in every aspect of the fight game. Additionally, Joanna is one of the few fighters who keeps up an even more intense pace than Karolina. JJ retains her belt against KK here in a dominant decision victory.
Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero
What is this non-title fight BS? But in all seriousness, the first card in NYC would not be complete without the All-American Chris Weidman, who has done yeoman’s work in getting the sport legalized in his home state.
Two excellent wrestlers face off here, with the former champ a master of submission wrestling and the Cuban a former Olympian. While Romero possess impressive power in his hands, his striking technique can be inconsistent. Actually, you can say that about most of his skills as he will look like a world beater at one point and perfectly pedestrian the next. Weidman should be able to take this one based off of his constant pressure fighting in a hard-fought decision victory.
Besides, UFC 205 wouldn’t feel right without a Chris Weidman victory.
Meisha Tate vs. Raquel Pennington
Can you say “getting a fighter back on track”? This seems like a real pick me up fight for Tate, but Pennington is very tough. That being said, Tate is more talented in basically every facet of the fight, and much more experienced. Look for Cupcake to take a decision victory.
Usually I just pick the main card, but this is UFC 205 and the undercard, as mentioned above, is legit awesome. So here are two bonus picks from tonight’s FS1 undercard.
Frankie Edgar vs. Jeremy Stephens
Stephens has legit power and fights with mean intent. Just watch his facial expressions in the cage – they guy is out there to lay a hurting on his opponent. That being said, Frankie is one of the best ever, and virtually impossible to put away. Edgar displays one of his patented workmanlike and aggressive game plans for three rounds to seal the deal in this one.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Michael Johnson
Undefeated Khabib takes on slick striker Johnson in a battle that could determine the next title challenger at 155. This is a closer fight than most people seem to realize. Johnson has a legitimate chance to take this fight. The Dagistani is not exactly smooth on his feet, and Johnson does have the ability to pot shot him and rack up points. However, I think that Khabib will be able to get his hands on Johnson and grind out a victory.
Well that’s all folks. I hope that y’all enjoy the fights tonight!