The UFC is on Fox this weekend in what some are calling the “Card of Former Champions”, and The Athletes Hub is here to break down the event and predict the outcome of each fight.
Eddie Alvarez (29-5) vs Dustin Poirier (23-5)
Ray’s Take: The main event in Calgary features an anticipated rematch between Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. In their first encounter, Poirier came out of the gates looking sharp, with crisp striking and footwork. Alvarez was then rocked in the second round, before turning the tide and almost finishing Poirier before a few illegal knees ended the fight early leading to a no contest. In the rematch, I see a very similar outcome, with Poirier taking the lead on the scorecards early, but the longer the fight goes on and the sloppier the technique gets, the more the fight will play into Alvarez’s hands. I believe Alvarez will use his feints to get in close, initiate the clinch and end the fight late with his dirty boxing.
Prediction: Eddie Alvarez via TKO
Rami’s Take: Since their first encounter at UFC 211, Dustin Poirier has been nothing short of superb in his recent fights, as he has dominated a former champion in Anthony Pettis, and even knocked out Justin Gaethje. This fight is his opportunity to prove that once and for all, he is better than Alvarez and should be next in line for a Lightweight Championship bout.
Prediction: Dustin Poirier via TKO
Jose Aldo (26-4) vs Jeremy Stephens (28-14)
Ray’s Take: Jose Aldo has lost three of his last four fights, and will have three fights remaining on his UFC contract after Saturday. Meanwhile, 32-year old Jeremy Stephens is on a three-fight win streak, including a victory over Gilbert Melendez. It is easy to see where both fighter’s career paths are trending, but you have to remember who Aldo’s losses came from: Conor McGregor and Max Holloway, who have a combined 22-3 record in the Featherweight division.
Stephens’ style mimics neither of those fighters, and is someone I see matching up well for the Brazilian. Aldo also benefits from fighting in his first three-round fight in nine years, which will help his fading gas tank. I see Aldo keeping the distance with his jab and kicks while baiting Stephens into his game and coming out the victor.
Prediction: Jose Aldo via Unanimous Decision
Rami’s Take: Jose Aldo was once known as the best Featherweight in the world and a champion that could never be defeated. But after losing three of his last four fights, Aldo has become a forgotten in the division and is going to have to prove a point against a rising Featherweight in Jeremy Stephens. He has been on a roll since he started training with Duane Ludwig, with his last two wins coming by a way of knockout. This is a fight that Stephens has been looking forward to for a long time, and it could bring him his first title shot in the near future.
Prediction: Jeremy Stephens via Majority Decision
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-2) vs Tecia Torres (10-2)
Ray’s Take: Once undefeated at 14-0, former Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is coming into this fight with her heart set on revenge after two consecutive losses to Rose Namajunas and is looking to get back to the top. Meanwhile, “The Tiny Tornado” was absolutely dominated in her last fight against Jessica Andrade, but showed toughness in being able to survive for fifteen minutes, and would love another crack at Namajunas. Jedrzejczyk is the far superior fighter however, and I see this being an absolute rout from start to finish. Expect this to be a one-sided affair, as Jedrzejczyk gets closer to being called “Joanna Champion” again.
Prediction: Joanna Jedrzejczyk via Unanimous Decision
Rami’s Take: Joanna Jedrzejczyk knows what this fight means to her after two losses to Rose Namajunas. She is no stranger to pressure, and is looking to prove that she’s still the best in her respective division. Jedrzejczyk isn’t much of a grappler, which we have witnessed in previous bouts.
On the other hand, Tecia Torres will have a chip on her shoulder, as she is fighting one of the most dangerous women in UFC history. Torres is known for going the distance in most of her fights, but is also known for eyeing the judge’s scorecards. She has great striking ability and a lot of heart, but I don’t see that being enough.
Prediction: Joanna Jedrzejzyk via TKO
Olivier Aubin-Mercier (11-2) vs Alexander Hernandez (9-1)
Ray’s Take: Both fighters come into this bout with a first-round knockout in their previous fight and are looking to crack the top ten in the Lightweight division. Alexander Hernandez made quick work of UFC veteran Beneil Dariush, knocking him out in a mere 42 seconds, while the “Quebec Kid” finds himself on a four-fight win streak and receiving the first TKO victory of his MMA career. Olivier Aubin-Mercier may be going into this fight as a slight favorite in his home country, and if he sticks to his strengths on the ground, he could very well win this fight in dominant fashion. However, when submission experts receive their first TKO victory, they tend to try and continue that effort in their following fight. I believe Aubin-Mercier will go into this fight and try to bang with Hernandez early, and that will be his downfall.
Prediction: Alexander Hernandez via TKO
Rami’s Take: The UFC in Calgary will start the main card off with two rising prospects that look to put their division on notice. Both fighters are experts at getting the finish. While Oliver Aubin-Mercier is looking to take this fight to the ground, Hernandez should look to keep this on his feet. Hernandez bursted onto the scene with his recent knockout over Beneil Dariush in a preliminary fight at UFC 222, and has the power to make a statement when needed.
Prediction: Oliver Aubin-Mercier via Split-Decision