With UFC 214 coming this Saturday, this is my breakdown, thoughts, and outcomes of each fight that July 29th weekend:
(C) Daniel Cormier vs (#1) Jon Jones: UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
Finally, we get the long awaited, second fight to one of the best feuds in MMA history. Last time we saw Jones in the cage was UFC 197, when he fought the late replacement of Ovince St. Preux; he very much answered the critics that wondered where his head was after the legal trouble he was constantly getting himself into. Nothing has changed in this, Cormier is still the champion after fighting Anthony Johnson for the second time and beating him soundly. Jones is coming off another year long lay off after his failed drug-test per UFC 200. I went back and watched the first fight between them, the fight with Jones vs OSP, and Cormier vs Johnson 2. This is what I can interpret, Jon Jones can become the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion again by using his clinch and stand up to his advantage again. When watching the first fight, Jones won rounds one, three, four and five; he used his reach, excellent grappling and clinch work on the cage and got in Cormier's head. On the other side of that, Cormier has the best chance of beating Jones by using his strength, dirty boxing and ground work. He also will have to take advantage of Jones's absence of the cage and will have to cut him off from the middle of the cage.
Prediction: Jon Jones by decision.
(C) Tyron Woodley vs (#1) Demian Maia : UFC Welterweight Championship
This is a very interesting match up, two reasons. Woodley is easily coming off one his worst performances in his career and Maia is coming off a lackluster performance against Jorge Masvidal. Now, the timing seems weird with GSP and Bisping fight being off and throwing a title fight this late on the card. Tyron will need to use his striking more, than wrestling him to the ground; he doesn't want to make this into a Jiu-Jitsu or scramble fight. More importantly, Damian Maia has 12 submissions in his career and outgrappeled some of the best MMA fighters, Black Belt's in Jiu-Jitsu, and Wrestlers. Maia only uses his striking to grab a hold of you and grind you out until he submits you. The issue with this is that, Tyron has some knockout power in his hands. He's knocked out Robbie Lawler, who has a granite chin, knocked down Stephen Thompson twice who was clearly the more superior striker. If we all forget his two fights with Thompson and remember him as the KO artist we have seen, Maia is in a world of hurt.
Prediction: Tyron Woodley by (TKO): 3rd Round.
Cris Cyborg vs. Tonya Evinger: UFC Featherweight Championship
After months of waiting, we finally get to see a title fight with Cyborg in the mix. By far, Cyborg has the striking credibility, and championship pedigree to be in this situation. She has mauled through the paper weightclasses of the UFC, Strikeforce and Invicta Featherweight divisions. Her last fight against Landsberg was the farthest she has gone, since she fought Marloes Coenen in 2013. On the flip side, Evinger isn't no scrub at all, her grappling is very efficient, she does stand in the pocket and strikes with you. She has to wrestle Cyborg down and use her ground game against her. Cyborg's ground game is nothing to count out, two gold medals in Grappling and Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, when she pulls guard off her back is really something to behold and her strength will also be a benefit.
Prediction: Cyborg by (TKO): 1st Round
(#2) Robbie Lawler vs. (#5) Donald Cerrone
This is a fight of the year candidate by the thought of these two entering in the cage. Lawler is coming on the cusp of his career, before the Woodley fight, his chin has gone through, back to back to back Fight of the year winners. When Robbie lost the title in one punch, you have to seriously ask yourself "How much more can he take?". This is the perfect fight to see where these two stand in one the most stacked divisions in the UFC. Cerrone is also coming off of a loss against to Jorge Masvidal, and in my opinion was absolutely looking past Masvidal. His chin has absorbed some damage through the years. He has to be focused, more focused than he fought for the Lightweight title. I truly expect this fight to be a standup duel, there will be no grappling or wrestling.
Prediction: Donald Cerrone by (KO): 3rd Round
(#3) Jimi Manuwa vs. (#4) Volkan Oezdemir
This is a big fight to see who will be fighting the future LHW Champion, although if I was Manuwa I would have waited for his title shot. Both fighters are on two fight win streaks, and oddly enough fought Ovince Saint Preux. Manuwa has some serious power in his hands, his boxing is crisp and for a guy his age, is quicker then anybody in the division. Oezdemier I feel like was thrown into this fight, he's 2-0 in the UFC right now, but with Gustafsson inactive right now, Rumble retired. The Light Heavyweight is seriously really thin right now.
Prediction: Jimi Manuwa by decision.