The UFC provides its strongest offering of the year this weekend with UFC 175, as UFC Middleweight Champion, Chris Weidman and UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, Ronda Rousey, both put their belts on the line against game challengers at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
UFC Middleweight Championship
(C) Chris Weidman vs. (#3) Lyoto Machida – 185lbs.
I don’t know when it will sink in that Weidman is our middleweight champion, but it better happen soon, as this is his second defence of the belt he wrested from Anderson Silva’s grasp and it’s against one hell of a threat in the former UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion, Lyoto Machida. Since dropping down to middleweight, Machida has rattled off two straight wins, with an impressive head kick KO over Mark Munoz followed up by a dominant decision victory over Gegard Mousasi.
This one is going to be tight. If Weidman can figure out the movement and timing of Machida, this is his to lose as he holds advantages in wrestling and strength, but that is far easier said than done and very few have been able to solve the Machida puzzle. The middleweight Machida looks a man renewed and will push Weidman all the way, however, I will side with the champ here as he does just enough to keep the belt.
Prediction – Weidman via decision
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship
(C) Ronda Rousey vs. (#2) Alexis Davis – 135lbs.
Davis gets her shot at the champ and arguably the UFC’s biggest star on the back of a five-fight win streak, with the three of her most recent victories coming inside the Octagon. Rousey was last in action back in February, where she showed that she is more than just an armbar in TKO’ing Sara McMann in the first round. It’s a tad unfair on Davis that Rousey enters this fight a 1/20 favourite, but to be perfectly honest, there is a reason for that. Rousey is just that dominant and is that far ahead of any of the women in the UFC currently. I expect a Rousey victory; I just hope to see more of Rousey’s evolving striking in the process.
Prediction – Rousey via submission
(#12) Stefan Struve vs. Matt Mitrione – 265lbs.
This will be the first fight for Stefan Struve in over a year, as the giant Dutchman makes his return from a broken jaw suffered at the hands of Mark Hunt, whereas Mitrione comes in to this bout on the back of a KO victory over Shawn Jordan registered back in March. As these are heavyweights, this one could really end in an instance with either fighter having his hand raised. Struve is the far more diverse and savvier fighter, with a substantial amount more minutes clocked up inside the Octagon, but Mitrione has the ability to take Struve’s head off with his power. It’s going to be tight, but as Struve holds all the cards on all but KO power, I’m backing him to stay out of range long enough to score a decision.
Prediction – Struve via decision
Uriah Hall vs. Thiago Santos – 185lbs.
This is the kind of fight Uriah Hall needs to be winning if he is ever going to live up to the hype that surrounded him on TUF 17. Yes, Hall claimed his first UFC victory last time out, but that was against Chris Leben who had one foot out the door and retired from MMA on his stool. Santos could well pose Hall problems with his powerful striking, but Hall is the classier combatant and should get it done.
Prediction – Hall via KO/TKO
Marcus Brimage vs. Russell Doane – 135lbs.
No disrespect to the fighters involved intended, but why is this on the main card when Urijah Faber vs. Alex Caceres is on the undercard? Anyway, Brimage takes the victory here in his UFC bantamweight debut, by virtue of being the bigger, more powerful man with superior wrestling to boot.
Prediction – Brimage via decision