UFC 200 (plus fight week) – Preview

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July 9, 2016 at T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, USA

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With three fight cards in three days, adding up to 35 bouts, that’s more than I’ve got the time or dedication to research and come to an opinion on. So the plan is to stick to the top couple of fights on the UFN on 7th July and TUF Finale on 8th July, putting most of my focus onto the epic UFC 200 on Saturday 9th July.

UFN 90
Rafael Dos Anjos vs Eddie Alvarez

After losing his long awaited UFC debut to Donald Cerrone back at UFC 178, Alvarez has beaten two tough guys in Gil Melendez and Anthony Pettis, albeit by close split decision. RDA’s most recent run of victories is against a killers’ row of lightweight studs. I can’t see past Dos Anjos retaining his title here.

Roy Nelson vs Derrick Lewis

Gabe Gonzaga was still snoring on the canvas in April and people were already talking about Lewis taking on Nelson next. Gonzaga represented a bit of a step up in competition for Lewis and he rose to the challenge comfortably. Although he’s also coming off a win, this looks like a bad night at the office for Roy Nelson.

TUF 23
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Claudia Gadelha

Joanna is the bookies favourite, defending her title for the 3rd time and her unbeaten record for the 12th time. However, their previous meeting was Claudia’s only loss, and many thought she should have walked away with the judges’ decision. Add to that Claudia has been a great coach and absolutely charming to boot in this season of TUF, I’m going to be funking hard for Claudia (took care typing that).

Ross Pearson vs Will Brooks

I was intending to back Ross Pearson against James Krause, despite his patchy recent record. However, Will Brooks is entering the UFC, having vacated the Bellator lightweight title, and I expect him to hit the ground running, at the expense of Pearson.

UFC 200
Meisha Tate vs Amanda Nunes

As soon as Tate won the title, Nunes is the challenger I wanted to see, rather than Holme or Rousey. This is going to be a tough fight, but I don’t see Meisha losing the belt she’s worked so hard for at the first defense, especially now she’s been promoted to headline of the biggest UFC card in history. Cupcake FTW.

Brock Lesnar vs Mark Hunt

This is a terrible, terrible idea for Brock. Even when he was last on the UFC roster and beating some really good guys, he didn’t like getting hit in the face. Not many heavyweights hit as hard as Mark Hunt and I’m hoping to see another classic walk-away Hunt KO to send Brock back to pro-wrestling for good.

Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones Anderson Silva

For the second time now, I’ve had my money on DC to beat JBJ and the fight’s been cancelled. I’m starting to think I’m never going to cash in on the belief that DC will win their next fight. I’m not going to be betting on this late replacement fight, because I’m a confirmed Silva fan boy, but I think he’s going to have a hard time with DC. The odds aren’t very appealing on DC either, so I’ll watch this as a neutral.

Jose Aldo vs Frankie Edgar

This is one of the toughest picks on the card. The bookies have it dead level, but I’m leaning towards Edgar. Aldo won their previous meeting, but that was Frankie’s first fight at Bantam weight and he was coming off two consecutive losses to Benson Henderson. Since then, He’s won five straight, and Aldo is coming off that devastating KO loss to Conor back in December. This is a great time for Frankie to run back into Jose.

Cain Velasquez vs Travis Browne

Cain didn’t really show up against Werdum a year ago, and paid the price, losing for only the second time in his career. He arrived late in Mexico and didn’t acclimate to the altitude properly. At a more familiar elevation, and with a year to get healthy, I think he’ll be too much for Travis Browne.

Cat Zingano vs Julianna Pena

This is another really tough pick. Zingano’s last outing was a loss over a year ago to Ronda Rousey, but prior to that, she racked up a solid 9-0 record, beating some really good girls. Pena also hasn’t fought in a while, however, she won her last three, including beating Jessica Eye back in October. I’m leaning towards Zingano, but it could be a close one.

Johny Hendricks vs Kelvin Gastelum

The bookies have Hendricks installed as a solid favourite in this fight, but I like the upset here. Gastelum’s last fight was a close split decision loss to the always tough Neil Magny, but Hendricks last outing was in February when he got sparked out by Stephen Thompson. Definitely feel like Gastelum is good value here.

T.J Dillashaw vs Raphael Assuncao

Dillashaw lost his title to Dominick Cruz last time out, and the only other loss between that fight and his TUF Finale loss to John Dodson was to Assuncao. The Brazilian is on a 7 fight win streak, including that win over T.J. but not against the same level of opposition. I like Dillashaw to avenge his previous loss here.

Sage Northcutt vs Enrique Marin

Marin lost his UFC debut last November and this looks like a good match-up to get Northcutt back on track, after losing for the first time in January to Bryan Barberena.

Diego Sanchez vs Joe Lauzon

Get the mop and bucket ready, this could be a bloodbath. Neither fighter has managed to put anything resembling a win streak together for several years, but both always deliver in terms of entertainment, so this is a cracking match up. Incredibly, Sanchez hasn’t stopped anyone since 2008, and has only been stopped once himself in that time. Lauzon has stoppage wins and losses mixed in with the decisions in that time. I’m leaning towards Lauzon, but only very slightly.

Gegard Mousasi vs Thiago Santos

I was planning to back Mousasi against Derek Brunson but Thiago Santos looked terrifying against Nate Marquart last month, and despite the quick turnaround, I think he might give Mousasi some problems here.

Jim Miller vs Takinori Gomi

I talked about Miller’s record in the run up to his last fight against Diego Sanchez, how he’d looked like a serious contender at 20-2 until he lost to Benson Henderson in 2011, then went 5-6-1 since. Gomi’s tough, but his record has been even worse over the last decade, and this finally looks like a match up that Miller can start to turn his fortunes around with.

So, how to split them up? Well, the easy ones are pairing up the two Fight Night card bets. After that rather than splitting them up in fight card sections, I think it’s wise to separate out the hunch bets from the ones I have stronger feelings about. I’m going for:

So the bets will be:

Bet 1 – £5 returning £13.13

Rafael Dos Anjos to beat Eddie Alvarez

Derrick Lewis  to beat Roy Nelson

Bet 2 – £5 returning £13.13

Claudia Gadelha to beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Will Brooks to beat Ross Pearson

Bet 3 – £5 returning £36.75 £11.31

Daniel Cormier to beat Jon Jones

Mark Hunt to beat Brock Lesnar

Meisha Tate to beat Amanda Nunes

Bet 4 – £5 returning £11.43

Cain Velasquez to beat Travis Browne

T.J Dillashaw to beat Raphael Assuncao

Sage Northcutt to beat Enrique Marin

Bet 5 – £5 returning £52.81

Kelvin Gastelum to beat Johny Hendricks

Thiago Santos to beat Gegard Mousasi

Jim Miller to beat Takinori Gomi

Bet 6 – £5 returning £27.37

Frankie Edgar to beat Jose Aldo

Cat Zingano to beat Julianna Pena

Joe Lauzon to beat Diego Sanchez

Bet

Bet 1And then just in case I absolutely nail UFC 200:

Bet 7 – £1 returning £971.33

Daniel Cormier to beat Jon Jones

Mark Hunt to beat Brock Lesnar

Meisha Tate to beat Amanda Nunes

Frankie Edgar to beat Jose Aldo

Cain Velasquez to beat Travis Browne

Cat Zingano to beat Julianna Pena

Kelvin Gastelum to beat Johny Hendricks

T.J Dillashaw to beat Raphael Assuncao

Sage Northcutt to beat Enrique Marin

Joe Lauzon to beat Diego Sanchez

Thiago Santos to beat Gegard Mousasi

Jim Miller to beat Takinori Gomi

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I’ll be watching all the build up to this event, plus the exclusive prelims on UFC Fight Pass. There’s also a fantastic collection of original shows and an incredible fight library you can lose yourself in for weeks. To support MMA Flashback, you can click on the banner below and sign up today. You won’t regret it.