Change is upon us, ladies and gentlemen.
After seven years working with FOX, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is transitioning into a partnership with ESPN – and while we don’t want to sound too overdramatic, it certainly feels like a huge step in the right direction for mixed martial arts. Working alongside the world leader in sports media can only unlock the door to bigger and better things, and that starts with their ESPN+ 1 card in Brooklyn, New York this weekend.
With 13 fights to get through it’s going to be a busy night for UFC fans, but it’s also a night that could ring in the most successful era yet for the promotion. Before it all kicks off, though, we’ve decided to give you our thoughts on how we think it’s all going to go down on Saturday.
Henry Cejudo vs TJ Dillashaw
Assuming that TJ Dillashaw does, in fact, make weight, there are a lot of things to love about this fight. Dillashaw will likely be able to make up some weight beforea fight night which should give him an advantage in terms of size, and we’re not sure how much success Cejudo is going to have with his wrestling if he’s unable to get to TJ. We’re expecting this to be a bit more of a mismatch than people may think, but we kind of hope that we’re wrong and we see something a bit more balanced.
TJ Dillashaw wins via TKO
Greg Hardy vs Allen Crowder
Wherever you stand on the issue, Greg Hardy is on his way towards becoming a regular member of the heavyweight division in the UFC. They’ve put him in the co-main event slot with the expectation of a major performance, and while we do think he’ll be tested at some point during his next few fights, it probably won’t happen here.
Greg Hardy wins via KO
Gregor Gillespie vs Yancy Medeiros
Yancy Medeiros is a tough match up for anyone on his day, but we can’t stress enough just how good Gregor Gillespie is. He’s strong, he’s efficient, and facing him should be a terrifying prospect for anyone in that division. We think he gets the win here, as he continues to build up some momentum.
Gregor Gillespie wins via submission
Joseph Benavidez vs Dustin Ortiz
Joseph Benavidez isn’t exactly the kind of guy who likes to hold his tongue, and we like that about him. He’s passionate about keeping the flyweight division alive and he’ll do anything he can to make that happen: including knocking off Dustin Ortiz for the second time.
Joseph Benavidez wins via TKO
Paige VanZant vs Rachael Ostovich
The story leading into this one has been well documented, but when it comes down to it, this just feels like the perfect kind of fight for PVZ to get herself back in the win column. She’s an exceptionally talented young fighter but more importantly than that she’s a warrior, and we think she’ll be too much for Ostovich to handle.
Paige VanZant wins via submission
Glover Teixeira vs Karl Roberson
Karl Roberson is a talented guy but there seems to be this misguided thought that Glover Teixeira is past it. The Brazilian only loses to the best of the best and he has a variety of different weapons in his arsenal.
Glover Teixeira wins via unanimous decision
Donald Cerrone vs Alexander Hernandez
What an intriguing fight this is. Alex Hernandez is as confident as he is talented, and he seems to think that it’s his destiny to knock off Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. While we appreciate his confidence we still think there’s a lot of fire left in the veteran, which is why we’re picking him to edge out the decision.
Donald Cerrone wins via split decision
Joanne Calderwood vs Ariane Lipski
What a fight this is. JoJo Calderwood appears to be in the shape of her career, and that’s saying something when you take a look at some of her past performances. On the other hand, though, Ariane Lipski is bringing quite the reputation with her over from KSW. We’re expecting The Violence Queen to show the world what she’s made of.
Ariane Lipski wins via submission
Alonzo Menifield vs Vinicius Moreira
Alonzo Menifield is a legitimate superstar in the making and we’re expecting him to do really big things in the light heavyweight division. This is a tough first fight for him, but we think he’ll get through it relatively unscathed.
Alonzo Menifield wins via KO
Mario Bautista vs Cory Sandhagen
There’s a reason why Cory Sandhagen was awarded a fight against John Lineker and it’s really very simple: he’s good. He’s the kind of fighter that gets better every time we see him and this just feels like a step too far for Bautista.
Cory Sandhagen wins via TKO
Dennis Bermudez vs Te Edwards
Dennis Bermudez has been around for a long time but with a four fight losing streak and a lot of pressure on his shoulders, it feels like he could struggle here. Te Edwards is coming off the back of a brutal knockout loss, and he’ll be prepared to make a major statement here.
Te Edwards wins via TKO
Belal Muhammad vs Geoff Neal
Geoff Neal looked great on the Contender Series and his power will cause a lot of people problems in this division, but there are levels to this game. Belal Muhammad is riding a four fight win streak and he knows how to grind out the win, which is what we’re expecting him to do here.
Belal Muhammad wins via unanimous decision
Chance Rencountre vs Kyle Stewart
Chance is coming off the back of a loss and a late notice replacement always has the potential to cause some issues. This is a big opportunity for Stewart, and we don’t think it’s one he’s going to pass up.
Kyle Stewart wins via unanimous decision