Saturday, October 7, 2017

Picking UFC 216's two title fights

The undercard fights are about to start, but I'm not going to choose their winners, so I still have time to weigh in on tonight's two main events.

The co-main event and penultimate fight of the night pits challenger Ray Borg against flyweight champ Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson.  Borg seems from all reports to be a nice guy and a talented fighter.  He is not, though, ready for a title shot.  Despite that, he has one, because Johnson has cleared out his division and in the process become the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.  He is going to destroy Borg.  It's that simple.  When he does, he'll also set a UFC record for most consecutive title defenses.  No one currently fighting at 125 can touch him.  Johnson is just that good.

The main event, which is for the interim lightweight title--a title the UFC created to manufacture drama and fill main events while Conor McGregor decides if and when he wants to fight in MMA again, is far more interesting.  Both contenders, Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee, are on winning streaks and looking good.  Ferguson, though, has built his run on the backs of the elite of the 155-pound division and has faced multiple far stronger fighters than any that Lee has met.  Lee hopes to counter Ferguson's experience edge with strong wrestling, so he will be looking to take down Ferguson, keep him down, and either out-point him or submit him. 

Ferguson knows that and will strive instead to make it a striking war and wear down Lee, then win either by decision, TKO, or submission in the later rounds.  Fueling that plan is the fact that Lee barely made weight, so Lee could easily have very real concerns about gassing.

This one should be a war, but in the end Ferguson's experience should carry the day.  Expect Ferguson to win either by decision or by a finish in the championship rounds, and then expect Ferguson to trash-talk as hard as he can in the hopes that McGregor decides to grant him what would surely be the biggest payday of his life.

I'll report back tomorrow on how I did.

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