This weekend sees a solid card from the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas featuring controversial MMA superstar Jon Jones, against relatively unknown scrapper Anthony Smith. Can the fearless youngster who goes by the name of 'Lion Heart' be the person who puts a loss on Jones's record? Probably not, with the outcome being Jones taking him apart without breaking a sweat. We can live in hope though...
Jon Jones (c) vs. Anthony Smith (Light Heavyweight)
For some reason, we've gone with a few upsets in our predictions this time. At UFC 232, we thought a huge lay off for Jones would mean Gustafsson might actually have a chance. How wrong we were. Gustafsson didn't even make it out of first gear and looked terrible. Jones still has it and controversy aside he's one of the best MMA fighters of all time. But everyone has to lose sometimes right? Why can't it be a relatively unheard of fighter that nobody expects to win but just happens to be a savage spree. We'll no doubt end up with egg on our face but if DC can't beat him who can? Anthony Smith of course!
Tyron Woodley (c) vs. Kamaru Usman (Welterweight)
Has there ever been a more evenly matched bout? Two stand out grapplers that just happen to be built like super heroes! Sometimes in MMA, when two wrestlers clash, it ends up being a decent scrap. Not sure it will be the case here but you never know. Expect a passing of the torch here with a split decision (draw is also worth a flutter).
Robbie Lawler vs. Ben Askren (Welterweight)
You can never ever count a fighter like Robbie Lawler out, but against one of the most talented wrestlers in MMA, who just happens to be undefeated in 19 fights, it’s not looking good. Lawler has had a slight lay off and Askren is making his UFC debut (his confidence is not of this earth so this won't be a factor) and the world will watching to see if Askren can finally do what he has claimed for a long time now - take over the UFC welterweight division.
Tecia Torres vs. Weili Zhang (Women's Strawweight)
Should Torres lose for a third time in a row, we doubt she'll be at risk of getting cut. Saying that a loss against Zhang would send her spiralling to the bottom of the ladder. A must win against one of Asia's rising stars.
Cody Garbrandt vs. Pedro Munhoz (Bantamweight)
Super tough one to call but Garbrandt has to get his hand raised to be considered as a title contender still. Apart from a close decision loss to John Dodson, Munhoz has been very consistent. Definitely leave this one off any accumulators!
Preliminary Card (ESPN)
Jeremy Stephens vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov (Featherweight)
One of the most anticipated scraps on the card for sure. Stephens does what many wont, by stepping in to the octagon with the feared Russian. Zabit to showcase more of his skills against a durable Stephens and take the UD.
Misha Cirkunov vs. Johnny Walker (Light Heavyweight)
Having not even broken a sweat in his destruction of Justin Ledet just the other week Walker gets offered another pay day in the form of Xtreme Couture fighter Misha Cirkunov. Walker seems unstoppable and should Cirkunov win, it would only be eclipsed in a main event upset.
Cody Stamann vs. Alejandro Pérez (Bantamweight)
Arguably one the toughest bouts on the card to predict. We've gone with Perez simply because he's one of our go to bets for a decision win and rarely lets us down.
Diego Sanchez vs. Mickey Gall (Welterweight)
Avid readers will already know if we think a seasoned vet has any chance we'll back them. Unfortunately on this occasion Sanchez has no chance. Gall is the kind of fighter that will go for the knockout if it’s there but we expect him to stick to what he knows best.
Early Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Charles Byrd (Middleweight)
We aren't sure whats more impressive, Shahbazyan's knockout record or how young he is? Byrd is no joke and will aim to shut his opponent down the same way he did hard hitting Welshman John Phillips. Can he do it? Probably not.
Gina Mazany vs. Macy Chiasson (Women's Bantamweight)
Chiasson still has to prove herself but seems to have the tools to hang with the UFC elite. A close decision that should go her way.
Marlon Vera vs. Frankie Saenz (Bantamweight)
Following back-to-back losses both fighters quickly picked up the pace and are experiencing success once again. Vera to maintain his win streak though.
Polyana Viana vs. Hannah Cifers (Women's Strawweight)
Cifer entered the UFC with great potential but we aren't sure she's cut out for the big league.