UFC 218 – Preview and Predictions for a Sneaky-Good Card

Photo Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

No, this card isn’t as good as 217, but most aren’t going to be. We don’t get three title fights at Madison Square Garden. We don’t get a Thug Rose upset and the return of an all-time great, Georges St-Pierre.

What we do get is a salvaged card featuring a rematch of one of the year’s better title fights and a heavyweight co-main that should provide some divisional clarity. There’s a Philly angle with Eddie Alvarez on the card and intriguing flyweight and strawweight fights as well.

Featherweight: Max Holloway (C) vs. Jose Aldo

This was supposed to be a title fight between Holloway and Frankie Edgar, who had to pull out due to injury.

So Aldo, who lost to Holloway just six months ago, gets another crack at reclaiming the title he originally lost to Conor McGregor back at UFC 194. He looked rough at weigh-ins Friday morning, struggling with a short-notice weight cut. Max didn’t look too healthy either.

That said, Holloway is in the best form of his career right now. He was comfortable and focused in his first win against Aldo, beating the former champ on his home turf in Rio. Aldo, after a strong bounce-back win over Edgar last year, just didn’t seem like himself in the last outing. He looked a bit burdened in front of the Brazilian crowd and didn’t throw the savage leg kicks we’ve seen him utilize in the past, apparently because he had a leg injury he hid during build-up to the fight. I wonder if the short preparation and trip to Detroit is actually a boon for Aldo this time around for pressure purposes, and I wonder if the leg is 100%.

I just see two guys moving in different directions right now, with the 25-year-old Holloway on an 11-fight win streak and the 31-year-old Aldo looking mortal after so many great years.

prediction: Holloway wins via unanimous decision

Heavyweight: Alistair Overeem vs. Francis Ngannou

Ngannou is still a relative newcomer but viewed as the eventual challenger to Stipe Miocic. He hits like a truck and is a freak athlete overall, but he really hasn’t beaten anybody yet. He’s coming off of three straight first round wins against Andrei Arlovsky, Anthony Hamilton, and Bojan Mihajlović.

Overeem is the grizzled vet, well past his prime but the winner of six of his last seven fights. The only loss was his title shot against Miocic, a bout in which he knocked the champion to the ground but couldn’t finish the job.

So if Ngannou wins, it sets up a fresh matchup for the belt. If Overeem wins, we’re back to square one, with Miocic already holding wins over the other top contenders in the division. It’s a division begging for new blood.

prediction: Ngannou wins via 2nd round TKO

Flyweight: Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis

A good matchup between flyweights overshadowed by the dominance of Demetrious Johnson.

I don’t think there’s a ton of buzz regarding that, since it looks like UFC is trying to set up a Johnson/T.J. Dillashaw superfight. Cejudo lost to Johnson awhile back and Pettis could use a solid win to justify a title shot against Mighty Mouse.

I agree with this:

Pettis is the underdog but has a height and reach advantage here. Cejudo is more experienced and the favorite going in, but I could see the fight going either way. I think it comes down to whether or not Pettis can assert himself over Cejudo and stay on his feet.

prediction: Cejudo wins via unanimous decision

Lightweight: Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje

I always want to see Eddie win, but he’s got his hands full with the unbeaten Gaethje.

This fight is gonna be violent and probably out of control. Gaethje is a monster brawler who will fight through damage and keep throwing. Eddie isn’t much different, as we saw in his last fight against Dustin Poirier, where he got rocked but recovered. That fight was ruled a no contest after Alvarez hit Poirier with a couple of illegal knees, but it could/should have easily been ruled a disqualification instead.

I thought Eddie was disappointing against Conor McGregor last December, but it is what it is. Conor is Conor. I felt like Eddie’s game plan, or execution of it, just wasn’t there. He’s due for a bounce-back performance, but I think Gaethje is the better fighter in 2017.

prediction: Gaethje wins via 2nd round TKO

Strawweight: Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson

Torres is 9-1 with a win and loss against current champion Rose Namajunas. Waterson is 8-2 since 2010 with one of those losses also coming from Namajunas.

Tecia is a volume striker and solid athlete. Waterson is better on the ground and a smart submission artist.

It’s a stylistic clash that I think Torres wins if she plays her game correctly.

prediction: Torres wins via split decision

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16 Responses

  1. This card is ok. I wish they would have put the Khabib fight on here too. Can’t stand watching the women fight. Nasty

  2. I think you got all 3 of your championship fight predictions wrong for UFC 217.
    Hopefully you do better this time.
    Nevertheless, thanks for a UFC post. Very happy to see this on CB.

    1. hah, but I got the first two exactly right, round and decision both

      not sure anyone had Joanna losing, did they? heck of a card 217

  3. Nah, you are right about Joanna. I’ll tell you what, Rose is scary. She’s a stone cold killer. You were dead wrong about TJ and GSP though. Thankfully, I had action on both of them. I agree with your UFC 218 predictions btw.

    1. hard to make a pick on GSP after 4 years without fighting, thought Cody had Dillashaw in the first, but that knock down happened right before the clock went

      1. Bisping was/is done. Kinda obvious to me going into the GSP fight.
        Even though I had money on TJ, I was rooting for Cody. Agreed TJ was saved by the bell.
        On another note, Lando Vannata is a top 5 must watch fighters for me.

    1. Ok I’ll be totally honest with you… I have a big dick. You seem like a guy with a little one. Any guy who doesn’t like ufc is a squeamish little bitch.

    2. The WWE comparison is ridiculous and makes you sound like a clueless douchebag. I’ve thought WWE-style wrestling was fake and unbearable since I was in the first grade. UFC is the real deal. Especially after ALL of their “annointed” company favorites/cash cows have lost to complete underdogs that were less marketable.

  4. Aldo and Halloway are old news. UFC needs to showcase the young talent more. There are 2 guys from Conor’s camp that need a shot. Also Sage Northcut needs more air time. Won’t buy a Ppv until the Khabib fight.

  5. I was making out with Kevin last night. I was all set to bang him. But when I reached down to grab his penis I started laughing and walked away. So small. Lol.

  6. Alistair Overeem is terrible fighter. I don’t know why there were so many superlatives to him. I just do not like him. He is nothing more than a loser.

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