UFC 226 is set to be a historic night for the promotion and the sport of MMA. The event has taken a hit in the past couple of days as it has lost its main event. Max Holloway pulled out of his anticipated featherweight title defence against Brian Ortega. Despite this, UFC 226 is one of the best cards in a long time. Here are my predictions for the best bouts on this huge card.
- Lando Vannata defeats Drakkar Klose via TKO
Klose is a great lightweight contender but I think Vannata is the superior fighter right now. You only have to compare their resumés. Vannata’s flashy striking style has earned him four TKOs out of nine wins.
One of his loses saw his stock rise when he almost finished Tony Ferguson. Although Ferguson submitted Lando, he had ‘El Cucuy’ rocked multiple times. Ferguson is one of the best 155 pounders to grace the division so that is no small feat. I believe Vannata picks up a win against Klose on Saturday.
- Dan Hooker defeats Gilbert Burns via TKO
The stand–up game can look somewhat frantic at times but he must be doing something right because he is getting the job done. Hooker is willing to take a shot to give a shot, once he gets into range he lands devastating blows, his knockout of Jim Miller is an example. Burns is a dangerous opponent but I believe Hooker gets it done by TKO.
- Mike Perry defeats Paul Felder via TKO
Fender has all of my respect for stepping up to welterweight after his scheduled bout fell through. Felder is a really accomplished lightweight who could be in the 155 pound title conversation within the space of a few fights. With that said, Mike Perry’s explosive boxing coupled with the size discrepancy may be too much for him.
- Uriah Hall defeats Paulo Costa via decision
Uriah Hall will get it back in the win column with a decision against Paulo Costa. Hall has been a slow starter in the past but in the time it takes him to warm up, Costa will not be able to capitalise. His style is too unorthodox for Costa to figure out and by the end of the third round, Hall will have out-pointed him.
- Anthony Pettis defeats Chiesa via decision
Although Chiesa is a strong contender at lightweight, I foresee Pettis getting some steam back here. Pettis has had some bad luck of late, losing three of his last five fights. He may see some adversity due to Chiesa’s grappling ability but ultimately he will out point him.
- Francis Ngannou defeats Derrick Lewis via KO
I don’t need to look into a crystal ball to see that this bout isn’t making it to round two. Both of these heavyweights will come out swinging from the first bell. People may be forgetting how dangerous Ngannou is because of his loss to Stipe.
However, Miocic is one of the best heavyweight champions in a long time with a superb ground game. Grappling will barely be a factor as it will undoubtedly be a stand-up war. Ngannou is precise as well as powerful. Therefore, his striking may be more accurate, catching Lewis and finishing the fight early.
- Daniel Cormier defeats Stipe Miocic via decision
Light heavyweight champion vs heavyweight champion. I cannot stress enough how important this bout is. The world heavyweight championship is of course an iconic staple of combat sports. It’s the sort-after holy grail. But this fight is about more than the gold. The winner this bout has a legitimate claim to being the greatest MMA fighter of all time.
The stakes are stratospheric. Plus, it has the makings of a thrilling clash. Both fighters have a history of competing in exciting bouts. I predict an early knockdown for Miocic, his straight boxing may land down the middle while Cormier is throwing looping shots.
However, Cormier will come through this initial adversity to grind Miocic out with his takedowns and unrelenting pressure. This main event will be a barnburner and Cormier will win by decision, making history.