UFC

UFC 223 Breakdown & Predictions

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From here on out, representatives from The Athletes Hub will break down each UFC pay-per-view event, and who we ultimately believe will win. The industry has a few solid cards on the horizon, but let’s see what everyone thinks will occur:

Tony Ferguson (25-3) vs Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0)

Devon’s Take: In theory, the winner of this main event will go on to face either Kevin Lee or possibly Conor McGregor. On the flip side, anything is possible in the UFC. I would watch out for the ground game of Nurmagomedov, as he currently is averaging 5.85 takedowns per bout. If Ferguson lands on his back, he will have a difficult time getting back up, considering his loss against Kevin Lee back in October came by a third round submission.

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov via Submission 

Rami’s Take: The main event that has been booked at maximum capacity will finally get its time to shine when Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson fight for the Lightweight title. These two have that same bad blood Chuck Lidell and Tito Ortiz once had, and it’s a guarantee that this will not go the distance.

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov via KO

Rose Namajunas (8-3) vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1)

Devon’s Take: This will be one of the most interesting rematches in recent UFC history. At first glance, most would predict that Namajunas would have lost the first bout against Jedrzejczyk, but she essentially picked her apart standing up. The one key factory here will be patience for Jedrzejczyk, as that was her eventual downfall against Namajunas in November. If she can remain standing, I believe Jedrzejczyk will win after the final bell hits.

Prediction: Joanna Jedrzejczyk via Unanimous Decision 

Rami’s Take: The highly anticipated Strawweight championship rematch between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk is here. Back in November, Namajunas defeated Jedrzejczyk for the title, ending her historic streak. In all reality, Jedrzejczyk is quite possibly the hardest hitting woman (besides Cris Cyborg) to enter the octagon, and doesn’t look to be a fading memory. On the other side, Namajunas will be looking to pull off the upset once again, as she attempts to implement her name into UFC history.

Prediction: Joanna Jedrzejczyk via KO

Renato Moicano (11-1-1) vs Calvin Kattar (18-2)

Devon’s Take: Both of these young men defend the takedown well, which is basically useless, considering both are more efficient standing up. Both Moicano and Kattar are in the beginning stages of their UFC career, but both also have over 90% of their strikes standing up. While the two are virtually identical in terms of their approach to the octagon, this could very well be a 50/50 toss-up for many.

Prediction: Renato Moicano via Split Decision 

Rami’s Take: The UFC might not be in Boston on Saturday, but Kattar is still looking for the finish in this Featherweight bout against Moicano. Kattar has been on a ten-fight win streak, while Moicano recently received the first loss of his career to the undefeated Brian Ortega. This fight isn’t on the card for no reason, as it holds the potential to bring these men to much bigger cards in the future.

Prediction: Calvin Kattar via KO

Michael Chiesa (14-3) vs Anthony Pettis (20-7)

Devon’s Take: I’m an avid Anthony Pettis supporter, but with two losses in his last three bouts, facing Chiesa will be a toss-up match. It is a known fact that Pettis struggles to get past the third round, considering his losses to Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier came from TKO/KO in that exact round. On the other side, Chiesa is coming off of a loss to Kevin Lee in which he was submitted within the first round. This should be a bout that relies on the ground game, but I believe Chiesa holds the advantage this time around.

Prediction: Michael Chiesa via Submission 

Rami’s Take: This lightweight bout happens to be between TUF 15 winner, Michael Chiesa, and former world champion, Anthony Pettis. While Chiesa is coming off a loss to Kevin Lee, Pettis recently suffered a loss to Dustin Poirier. Both men are absolute stars, so this fight could very well lead one of them to a higher ranking.

Prediction: Michael Chiesa via Submission 

Al Iaquinta (13-3-1) vs Paul Felder (15-3)

Devon’s Take: This seems to be an overlooked bout, as Felder is not ranked within the lightweight division, but is riding a three-fight win streak heading into UFC 223. In all reality, he may not come away with the victory here, just because Iaquinta is the more dominant overall fighter. With a higher strikes landed per minute rate, higher defense percentage, and triple the amount of takedowns per bout, I’d be shocked if Felder lasted until the final bell.

Prediction: Al Iaquinta via TKO

Rami’s Take: Iaquinta and Felder are both the fastest and most powerful lightweights the division holds, and this fight can go either way. With that, the winner will continue to climb up the rankings for that hopeful title fight in the near future, while the lesser of the two will be forced to start over again. You can consider this a fast-paced match that will surely drop a few jaws.

Prediction: Paul Felder via KO

Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2) vs Felice Herrig (14-6)

Devon’s Take: Without any personal bias, I would say that Herrig may actually hold her own in this bout. Ranked at the #8 in the women’s strawweight division, the only issue results in her lack of execution. During her four-fight win streak, only one of her wins came via submission, while the rest went until the final bell. On the other side, Kowalkiewicz has lost two of her last three bouts, but is working her way into the top three in the division.

Prediction: Karolina Kowalkiewicz via Split Decision 

Rami’s Take: This is a must-watch bout between Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Felice Herrig, as Kowalkiewicz managed to bounce back after losing her previous two scheduled fights. On the other side of the octagon will be Herrig, who is currently riding a five-fight winning streak, and doesn’t look to take it easy on anyone in her path. Even with momentum on her side, look for Kowalkiewicz to slip away with the victory.

Prediction: Karolina Kowalkiewicz via Split Decision 

Ray Borg (11-3) vs Brandon Moreno (14-4)

Devon’s Take: With virtually identical grappling stats, the number to remember in this match includes the length. While Borg may be ranked as the #3 fighter in the flyweight division, his reach is seven inches shorter than Moreno, and his leg reach is two inches shorter as well. While Moreno is coming off of a loss to Sergio Pettis, this bout has the best chance of an upset.

Prediction: Brandon Moreno via Submission 

Rami’s Take: This will be viewed as a huge flyweight bout between former title contender Ray Borg, and an explosive fighter in Brandon Moreno. Recently, Borg suffered a loss to Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, but a win here can keep him in title contention. On the other hand, Moreno was on an eleven-fight win before his fight with Sergio Pettis, but has no intention on taking another loss. The punches that Borg can provide in any given moment make him a surefire bet on Saturday night.

Prediction: Ray Borg via KO 

Joe Lauzon (27-15) vs Chris Gruetzemacher (13-3)

Devon’s Take: While both men are past their primes in terms of their UFC careers, expect for this bout to cause Lauzon to take it to the ground. Based on his last two fights, Gruetzemacher is inconsistent at best in the grappling and wrestling game, and has been submitted in each event. While Lauzon is more efficient standing up (hasn’t won via submission since 2012), he could come away with his 28th UFC victory on Saturday.

Prediction: Joe Lauzon via Unanimous Decision 

Rami’s Take: This has all the makings for a great fight, as we’ll witness a bout between longtime UFC fighters in Lauzon and Gruetzemacher. One one side, Lauzon has been on a roller coaster ride in the UFC since 2006, while Gruetzemacher was previously on a twelve-fight win streak before the UFC, and now is on a two-fight losing streak. This could go either way, but it could also be the end of the career for the loser between the two.

Prediction: Chris Gruetzemacher via Unanimous Decision 

Evan Dunham (18-6-1) vs Olivier Aubin-Mercier (11-2)

Devon’s Take: The facts heading into this first fight are that Dunham strikes nearly double the amount of times Aubin-Mercier does, but his accuracy proves him to be reckless. While Aubin-Mercier will look to take this bout to the ground, Dunham has yet to submit (or even knockout) an opponent in the UFC since January of 2010. This has all the makings for an upset, but I agree with Rami, that this will come down to the judges.

Prediction: Olivier Aubin-Mercier via Split Decision 

Rami’s Take: This fight feels more like a way to get out the preliminary shows for the UFC. Both men are in the lightweight division, and it’s widely considered to be the most exciting division in the UFC. Dunham and Aubin-Mercier are each on a current win streak, and are seeking to end the other. By the end, this should be going to the judges.

Prediction: Olivier Aubin-Mercier via Unanimous Decision

 

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