After a short break its another stellar UFC card.

This one sees the return of Raquel Pennington as she attempts to defeat women’s champion Amanda Nunes. Also on the card we have Ronaldo Souza against Kelvin Gastelum in the co-main event that surely has title ramification at middleweight and two Brazilian legends go head to head as Victor Belfort takes on Lyoto Machida.

Check out our picks and let us know what you think!

UFC 224


Amanda Nunez (C) Vs Raquel Pennington (BW)
Having not graced the octagon since November 2016, Raquel Pennington will surely struggle against an opponent who not only holds the belt, but also rides a 6 fight win streak. Both fighters have good hands but Pennington will need to close the distance early doors, as it is Nunez that posses knockout power. With it being a 5 round affair, a late stoppage is most likely, but Pennington is one tough cookie and might just make it to the final bell.
METHOD: Decision

Ronaldo Souza Vs Kelvin Gastelum (MW)
Fans might slate us for this but we think Gastelum might do a Robert Whittaker on ‘Jacare’. Granted he isn’t the most reliable fighter (weight, weed, up and down record etc) but the TUF winner is a wrecking machine when his game is on point. Souza is undoubtably a massive talent and we might end up regretting this....but as you know, we are risk takers here at Smuggling Duds HQ!
WINNER: Gastelum

Mackenzie Dern Vs Amanda Cooper (STRAW)
A lot was expected from BJJ standout Mackenzie Dern in her UFC debut but as with many first timers, the step up in competition mixed in with the dreaded ‘Octagon jitters’ Caught up with her on the night. Although she took home a decision victory over Ashley Yoder it appeared to be hard work. TUF contestant Amanda Cooper is a slight step up in competition but Dern should have her cardio under control and come in much more prepared this time.
METHOD: Submission

John Lineker Vs Brian Kelleher (BW)
In our opinion this is the toughest bout to call as both looked really impressive in their last appearances respectively. Definitely has 3 rounds written all over it.
WINNER: Lineker
METHOD: Decision

Victor Belfort Vs Lyoto Machida (MW)
A battle of two MMA veterans with a couple of former UFC champions, riddled with battle wounds and heading into their 40’s now being put against one another to determine who can still cut it in the biggest MMA organisation in the world. Both fighters were on losing streaks until decision victories were scored in their last bouts, saving their careers and resulting in this match. The loser will be given another fight but will seriously need to consider a retirement date.
WINNER: Machida

Cedar Ferreira Vs Karl Roberson (MW)
Ferreira hasn’t been very consistent of late and could come up short against a hungry Contender Series winner. The Brazilian will have to be on his toes but will be in for a tough night.
WINNER: Roberson

Oleksiy Oliynyk Vs Junior Albini (HW)
Anyone remember Albini’s shorts in his last outing? We sure do! They were hideous and the Brazilian resembled a grown man in a nappy. For that reason he deserved to lose against Arlovski. If he’s sorted his attire out for this one he may be in with a chance of winning against a fighter who is in the twilight of his career. Although he was expected to beat Arlovski and he didn’t produce the goods. Risky call by us.
WINNER: Albini

Davi Ramos Vs Nick Hein (LW)
Hein has been a reliable cash cow for at the bookies so we’ll stick with him again for this one as his judo game and solid takedown defence tend to sway him towards a points victory.
METHOD: Decision

Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos Vs Sean Strickland (WW)
Another close one that will come down who is deemed the most active in the judges eyes on the night.
WINNER: Strickland
METHOD: Decision

PRELIMS (UFC Fight Pass)
Warlley Alves Vs Sultan Aliev (WW)
A close one and unless we are proven wrong, probably wont be one of the more exciting bouts on the card.
METHOD: Decision

Thales Leites Vs Jack Hermansson (MW)
Up until the start of 2015, Thales Leites was on such a good run he was being considered as a title contender. The last couple of years have been tough for the Brazilian and it could be argued his best fights are behind him now. Hermansson suffered a bad loss in his last outing so will be looking to bounce back in style.
WINNER: Hermansson

Alberto Mina Vs Ramadan Emeev (WW)
With his last fight being all the way back in July 2016, Mina would have no doubt be more of a household name if he had been more active. he’ll be looking to remind fans of what they’ve been missing and should look to do a number on Emeev.

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