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UFC 251 Predictions: Most Stacked Card of the Year!

EVENT: Sunday 12th July 2020 @ 3AM – BT Sports

The FIRST sport to return to our screens continues to deliver with easily the most stacked card of the year and the first on the highly anticipated ‘Fight Island’, the UFC’s new home from home for the foreseeable future.

Fans were treated when the UFC revealed the entire main card for their upcoming PPV boasting 3 TITLE FIGHTS in some of the most stacked divisions that the sport of MMA currently has to offer alongside the highly anticipated return of the most beautiful fighter to have ever fought, Paige VanZant.

Fresh off a big boy accy win at UFC 250, it has now been proven that I can successfully predict the future with 100% certainty and as such, it is now safe for you to sell all of your wives, kids, dogs or just everything that you have ever owned ever and place these funds into an accumulator to become the richest person in the world (probably).

Let’s begin looking at the confirmed matchup’s below:

Women’s Flyweight Bout:                

Amanda Ribas (9-1-0) VS Paige VanZant (8-4-0)

(Source: The Sun)

The first fight on the main card was originally scheduled to take place in March this year but yet another fracture to VanZant’s right arm led to a last-minute cancellation. Ribas however, remained on the card, defeating Randa Markos by unanimous decision and bumping herself up to #14 in the UFC Strawweight rankings.

A Dancing with the Stars finalist in 2016, VanZant hasn’t fought since January 2019 when she secured a victory for the first time since appearing on the TV series all those years ago.

This is one of the easier fights to predict on the card and I believe that Ribas walks away victorious having been the far more active fighter these past few years. VanZant on the other hand, heads into the fight with multiple questions around her health and the ever-present threat of ring rust hovering over her head.

FINAL VERDICT: Ribas by Submission

Women’s Strawweight Bout:           

Jéssica Andrade (20-7-0) VS Rose Namajunas (8-4-0)

(Source: Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

In the first rematch of the night, Rose Namajunas is set upon seeking revenge having been SAVAGELY knocked out by Jéssica Andrade in the second round of the first fight, securing a shock KO win and becoming the new Strawweight Champion in the process.

Rose, who was the betting favourite in the first bout, dominated round 1 before being knocked out whilst looking to submit Andrade on the feet. Before this fight, Rose looked phenomenal in her last two victories against previous champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk (JJ from here on) giving her the first two loses in her professional MMA career.

It is also worth noting that JJ previously defeated Andrade by unanimous decision back in 2017….

FINAL VERDICT: Rose by Decision

Men’s (Vacant) World Bantamweight Championship Bout:       

Petr Yan (14-1-0) VS José Aldo (28-6-0)               

(Source: UFC)

TITLE FIGHT ALERTTTT!!!!!!

The up and coming Petr Yan gladly welcomes an old and warn-torn Jose Aldo for his first shot at claiming the recently vacated UFC Bantamweight belt after the shock retirement of Henry Cejudo just a few short months ago.

If the year was 2016, when Aldo was in his prime, then this fight would easily be one of the most highly anticipated fights in Bantamweight history. However, it’s not, and to make matters worse the 33-year-old pensioner is coming off a split decision loss to Marlon Moraes in his only ever fight at the weight class.

To be fair to Aldo, many fans (including myself) believe he had just done enough to secure the victory, but two of the all-important judges begged to differ.

On the other hand, Petr Yan is coming off a massive knockout win against Urijah Faber who up until that point had never been knocked out in his entire 45 fight career and looks the much more comfortable and well-rounded fighter at this weight class when compared to his opponent, who will be very lucky to survive the distance.

FINAL VERDICT: Yan by KO/TKO

CO-MAIN EVENT:

Men’s World Featherweight Championship Bout:             

Alexander Volkanovski* (21-1-0) VS Max Holloway (21-5-0)

(Source: MMA Fighting)

At UFC 245, Volkanovski did something that not many fighters can boast when he defeated Max Holloway in a featherweight bout for the first time since Conor McGregor way back in August 2013 and in the process, became just the second Australian champion in UFC history.

In the first fight, Volkanovski successfully out-pointed and controlled Holloway for most of the early rounds before Holloway began turning up the pace in the later stages, but the damage had already been inflicted.

It’s hard to see how Holloway wins, especially if the same judge who scored the contest 50-45 in favour of Volkanovski is allowed to judge whilst high once again. I do truly believe Holloway was caught off guard by Volkanovski in the first night, something that he will now have corrected this camp having already shared the octagon with him for 5 rounds already. I’m going against the odds makers for this one……

FINAL VERDICT: Holloway by Decision

MAIN EVENT:

Men’s Welterweight World Championship Bout:            

Kamaru Usman* (16-1-0) VS Jorge Masvidal (35-13-0)

(Source: UFC)

It’s very rare that a fighter pulls out of a main event and with less than a weeks’ notice, the UFC string together a replacement bout that is 1000x better than the original, but that is exactly what has happened here.

Masvidal appears to have put his disagreement with the UFC over fighter pay behind him and steps up to take the first title bout of his 48 career fights by replacing Gilbert Burns, who tested positive for COVID-19 just a few days ago.

These two have history. Unlike most fighters who prefer to do their thrash talking through social media, Usman and Masvidal infamously nearly came to blows the last time they saw each other at the Super Bowl media day in Miami, Florida earlier this year. This resulted in both men having to be separated and leaving fight fans eager to see the two fight in the octagon ever since.

The betting odds have not yet been released for this fight, but its easy to see Masvidal coming in as the underdog when stacked up against Usman who is coming off dominant victories against former champ Woodley and Colby Covington. Usman has also only lost one fight in his entire career and has been undefeated for the last 7 years.

However, I’m all in on Masvidal securing the upset here. This fight feels strangely similar to UFC 199 when Michael Bisping stepped in to fight Luke Rockhold on 17 days’ notice for his first title bout in 36 career fights and was shockingly able to secure the knockout victory in the first round, despite the fact that he was a monster +525 underdog going into the fight.

This is sure to be a great fight and an ELECTRIC main card. The UFC have truly put together one of the biggest cards since UFC 205 all the way back in 2016. Make sure not to miss it….

FINAL VERDICT: Masvidal by KO/TKO

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