UFC Lightweight Championship (155 pounds): © Rafael Dos Anjos vs Eddie Alvarez
The UFC 200 weekend starts tonight with UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos vs. #2 Eddie Alvarez. Alvarez has been able to bounce back from his UFC debut loss to Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone by two wins via split decision over former UFC lightweight champion, Anthony "Showtime" Pettis and former Strikeforce lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez.
On the flip side of that Rafael Dos Anjos has been the most dominant UFC Lightweight champion since I became a fan back in 2009. Dos Anjos is very adaptable to his opponents and you can see that in his last few fights. He stopped the former UFC Lightweight Champion Benson "Smooth" Henderson in the 1st round, he focused on Nate Diaz's front leg and took away his incredible boxing, he mauled Anthony "Showtime" Pettis to win the UFC Lightweight title and he recently stopped Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone in the first round in his first UFC Lightweight title defense.
After that all being said I think Rafael Dos Anjos defeats Eddie Alvarez in the 3rd round via TKO/KO. Alvarez has a chance but I think he must start off strong and try and finish Dos Anjos early. Even though Alvarez has won his last two bouts he wasn’t overly impressive which lead to him winning via split decision. Dos Anjos dominated Anthony Pettis and I think he will be able to fend off Eddie’s takedown attempts. Dos Anjos is very adaptable and has experience in a title fight and go the full 25 mins. A Dos Anjos victory would likely set up a rematch vs #1 ranked UFC Lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Decision: Rafael Dos Anjos defeats Eddie Alvarez via 3rd TKO/KO to retain his UFC Lightweight Championship
The Ultimate Fighter: Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia Finale (Fox Sports 1)
UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship (115 pounds): © Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Claudia Gadelha
These two women faced off back in 2014 in a great 3 round fight with Jedrzejczyk winning via split decision over Gadelha. In split decisions, 2 of the judges in favor or one fighter as the 3rd judge is in favor of the other. Since her first and only defeat to Jedrzejczyk, Gadelha faced widely known Jessica Aguilar, who was a former WSOF Women’s Strawweight Champion and defeated her in a one sided unanimous decision. Jedrzejczyk has been on a tear since defeating Gadelha by defeating Carla Esparza for the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship, she decimated Jessica Penne with a brutal 3rd round TKO and in her last fight defeated Valerie Letourneau by unanimous decision.
I am a fan of Gadelha so this will be more biased but watching Jedrzejczyk vs. Letourneau, Valerie was able to take her down which is a strength for Gadelha. If she keeps it standing I would bet the farm on Jedrzejczyk but if Gadelha can take her down then we will see a new UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion.
I expect a really good fight and have enjoyed their season of Ultimate Fighter. I think Claudia Gadelha defeats Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the 5th round via decision. Joanna is tough as nails so I see it hard for Gadelha to finish her. If she can control her on the ground we should see a new UFC Strawweight Champion.
Decision: Claudia Gadelha defeats Joanna Jedrzejczyk via split decision to become the new UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion.
UFC 200: Jones vs. Cormier 2
UFC 200 is shaping up to the biggest and best UFC card of all time. I won’t go into in-depth prelim predictions but I would recommend tuning into Fox Sports 1 to watch former UFC Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw vs. Raphael Assuncao and former UFC Welterweight Champion Johny “Big Rigg” Hendricks vs. The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum. I believe Dillashaw and Hendricks will win and a victory for Dillashaw should get him a rematch vs. Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz for the UFC Bantamweight Championship.
Heavyweight Bout (265 pounds): Cain Velasquez vs. Travis Browne
Velasquez and Browne are both trying to get back into UFC Heavyweight Championship contention with a big victory at UFC 200. Velasquez last fight inside the octagon was vs. Fabricio Werdum in which he lost his UFC Heavyweight Championship. Velasquez has had some injuries occur in the past few years but he can get back into title contention by defeating Browne.
Browne is coming off a victory vs. Matt Mitrione that he won via TKO in the 3rd round. Browne hasn’t gotten a title shot in his UFC career but a victory over Velasquez should set up a rematch between him and Werdum to face the winner of Alistair Overeem and Stipe Miocic. Velasquez was a dominant heavyweight before his injuries and I see him defeating Travis Browne at UFC 200. Velasquez has won 3 or his last 4 fights via TKO and see him stopping Browne in the 2nd round via TKO.
Decision: Cain Velasquez defeats Travis Browne via 2nd round TKO.
Featherweight Bout (145 pounds): Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar for the Interim UFC Featherweight Championship
When you think of two of the greatest fighters in the UFC history, Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo should be on that list. Before his loss to Conor McGregor, Aldo was the only UFC Featherweight champion in UFC history. Granted it was adopted once WEC was bought out by the UFC but he held that championship for 1,848 days which spanned over 5 years. Frankie Edgar made his name in the UFC by defeating BJ Penn to win the UFC Lightweight championship. He dropped down to Featherweight in 2013 and lost to Jose Aldo after 5 rounds by unanimous decision.
Edgar has been unstoppable since losing to Jose Aldo by defeating Chad “Money” Mendes in the 1st round, defeated BJ Penn back in 2014 and defeated former bantamweight contender Uriah Faber last year as well. The confidence is definitely in Frankie’s favor with Aldo coming off a brutal 13 second defeat to Conor McGregor.
It’s hard to pick against Jose Aldo but I think Frankie Edgar will prove to be too much for Aldo. Edgar is a smart fighter with great wrestling and will look to take down Aldo to avoid his brutal leg kicks. This bout will go 5 rounds and Frankie Edgar will be the new Interim UFC Featherweight Championship.
Decision: Frankie Edgar defeats Jose Aldo via unanimous decision to become the new Interim UFC Featherweight Champion.
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship (135 pounds): © Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes
Since Ronda Rousey got knocked out by Holly Holm at UFC 193 it seemed that Holm would be a long term champion. Holm then faced Miesha Tate at UFC 196 and was on her way to win a decision but got caught in a rear naked choke and put to sleep by Miesha Tate. Tate was always a contender in the Women’s Bantamweight division but couldn’t beat Ronda Rousey. Tate will defend her title vs. Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes. Nunes has won her last three UFC fights with two of them being 1st round finishes.
Nunes doesn’t have experience in a 5 round fight and if she can’t finish Tate in the first three rounds she will be gassed and Tate will finish her off. I won’t count out Nunes because she is a dangerous fighter with great stand up and submissions. Tate is a veteran so if she can pace herself and tire out Nunes she can easily win via decision or late round TKO or submission.
Decision: Miesha Tate defeats Amanda Nunes via unanimous decision to retain her UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship.
Heavyweight Bout (265 pounds) Co Main Event: Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt
At UFC 199, it was announced that Brock Lesnar was returning to the UFC I was stoked. Alistair Overeem vs. Stipe Miocic at UFC 203 was already announced so I figured Lesnar would face either Junior Dos Santos or Mark Hunt. When Hunt was announced as his opponent I knew it would be a compelling matchup with Brock being a great amateur wrestler and Hunt having great stand up with KO power.
Hunt has won his last two fights with two first round KO’s of Frank Mir and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Lesnar hasn’t fought inside the Octagon in about five years so it will be interesting to see the shape that Lesnar is in and if he has any ring rust. The key for Lesnar to win this bout is to take Hunt down and avoid trading on his feet with Hunt. Hunt has improved his takedown defense but he hasn’t face an opponent with the wrestling accolades that Lesnar has.
Brock will look to take down Hunt and should lead him to a victory. Lesnar took Heath Herring, Randy Couture, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin down to the canvas and won so it should be his strategy at UFC 200. If he isn’t able to take down Hunt then “Super Samoan” will blast Lesnar.
Decision: Brock Lesnar defeats Mark Hunt via 2nd round TKO.
UFC 200 should be an amazing show and you will be missing out if you miss this card.
SEE ALSO: "RJ's Two Cents - What You Need to Know About Mark Hunt"