It’s been a while since I’ve talked about MMA, and there’s good reason for it. It’s been [email protected]#%. There are too many cards and the product is oversaturated, plain and simple. But that is a conversation for another day. Today we have something worth talking about, UFC 226.
Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier
HOLY [email protected]#%, this is the fight. The reigning Heavyweight Champion defending his belt against the reigning Light Heavyweight Champion. But you’re crazy if you think Stipe walks away with the strap still around his waist. Stipe is a good wrestler with great boxing and heavy hands. But everything Stipe does well, Cormier has seen, beaten or does better.
To be fair we’ve already seen this fight, when Daniel Cormier faced Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 and UFC 210. Johnson was a College wrestler with great boxing and heavy hands. Sound familiar? But both fights ended with Cormier winning via Rea-naked choke. Why? Cormier’s wrestling.
No one is better. Cormier’s wrestling is the best the UFC has to offer. He is a two-time Pan-American Championships Gold medallist, a Pan-American Games Gold medallist, a six-time USA Senior Freestyle National Champion, a division one NCAA National Championship runner-up, and in 2004 and 2008 was a member of the USA Olympic wrestling team.
But Cormier is far more than just a wrestler. He also has nine-knockouts to his name throughout his MMA career, accounting for 45% of his wins. Which means Cormier is just as good a boxer as Miocic. Like any heavy-handed fighter, obviously Stipe has a punchers chance of winning this fight. But a lucky knockout is his only chance of winning tonight.
If I’m a betting man, my money is on Cormier by decision. I think Cormier will be able to withstand Miocic’s best shot, take him down, and control him on the ground. As great as Stipe Miocic is, he’s lost to both Junior dos Santos and Stefan Struve. The only loss Daniel Cormier has ever had was to Jon Jones, whom many consider the greatest fighter in UFC history.
And if you’re new to MMA and wonder whether Miocic’s size advantage will be an issue; remember, prior to UFC 170, Cormier spent his entire career at Heavyweight (undefeated). Daniel naturally walks around at 245, and only weighs 205 at the day of weigh-ins. His official weigh-in weight for this fight was 246. So Miocic really doesn’t have a weight advantage at all.
Don’s Pick: Daniel Cormier
What about the rest of card?
The rest of this card is stacked also. Again, it’s the first time in a long time that I’m even spending time making picks for the UFC. But rather than give you a detailed breakdown of each fight, I’ll save the average MMA fan the suffering and simply give you a quick thought with my pick.
Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis
Ngannou looks like a super-human, but was exposed in his last fight. His lack of wrestling was apparent. Luckily he’s facing Derrick Lewis, who for the most part is a stand-up fighter also. With that being said, I’ll take Derrick Lewis simply because he might be the funniest fighter on the UFC roster.
Don’s Pick: Derrick Lewis
Paul Felder vs. Mike Perry
This is gonna be a banger folks. It also won’t last very long either. Perry has a career knockout percentage of 100%, and Felder’s 67% isn’t too bad either. Both of these guys like to throw fists, and they both do it with the best of them. I’ll take Perry however because I think he has a meaner streak than Felder.
Don’s Pick: Mike Perry
Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis
Anthony Pettis is a former Champion, while Michael Chiesa is on his way up. On paper this should be a great fight, but I don’t think it will be. Pettis clearly plateaued and hasn’t been good for a few years. I think Chiesa has his way with Pettis on his way to a title shot.
Don’s Pick: Michael Chiesa
Gokhan Saki vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.
I simply DON’T care. This is the only fight that isn’t worth it’s weight in peanuts. The only reason it’s on the card is because Max Halloway was forced to drop out of his fight with Brian Ortega, which broke every fight fans heart. If you’ve got to use the washroom, or make a drink, this is the fight to do it during.