Saturday, June 3, 2017

Putting myself to the UFC prediction test once again

Tonight's UFC 212 event features two key fights: a battle between the top two contenders in the strawweight division, and, in the main event, a bout to unify the two top featherweight fighters who aren't named Conor McGregor.

In my recent predictions, I've felt confident in my choices. For tonight's fights, I do not, but I'm going to put my picks on record anyway and see how I do.

The strawweight title contender fight pits Claudia Gadelha (#1) against Karolina Kowalkiewicz (#2) for the dubious right to lose again against champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Both women are strong fighters, with Gadelha definitely the more powerful of the two and, crucially, the better grappler. Kowalkiewicz has the better gas tank and is a more technical striker, so she has the chance to out-point Gadelha. I don't believe, though, that Gadelha will give her that chance. Instead, Gadelha will close the distance and grapple with Kowalkiewicz, and ultimately she will win that way. So, I have to go with Gadelha to win what will probably start out as an exciting fight but quickly turn into a smothering grappling match.

The other match features once untouchable Jose Aldo against Max Holloway, who has been on a tear in the UFC.  Holloway is a skilled, versatile fighter, and he's the younger man, but he lacks knockout power, which is what let McGregor put the first loss on Aldo's record in years. Aldo is still enough in his prime--he's only 31, and he hasn't taken tons of punishment aside from the McGregor knockout--that I think he picks apart Holloway.  I expect the fight will go all five rounds, but in the end Aldo will be too much for Holloway and emerge the winner.

Check back tomorrow to see how I did.

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