Three Reigning Champions.
Two Title Fights.
One Epic Night of MMA on the UFC 226 Main Card!
UFC 226 will be live on July 7th, headlined by a remarkable Super fight between current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, but enough of the promotional details, let’s break down some fights!
Gökhan “The Rebel” Saki (1-1) vs. Khalil “The War Horse” Rountree (6-2)
A fun matchup to kick off the main card, this fight features two knockout machines. Of his six MMA victories, Rountree has registered four KOs with two unanimous decisions. While, as an MMA fighter, Saki stands with a record of only 1-1, he also has an incredible 83-12 (53(T)KOs) record as a kickboxer. Basically, don’t let the lack of fights on Saki’s MMA record concern you, he has been on the big stage and fought some great fighters. With that said, Rountree has a vicious left hand, but if Saki can use his Muay Thai and kickboxing background to keep him at a distance this could be a grind out fight.
PREDICTION: Khalil Rountree (RND 1) KO
Michael “Maverick” Chiesa (14-3) vs. Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (20-7)
This matchup is the newly coined Moose’s (that’s me!) Must-watch Matchup! This fight was originally scheduled to take place at UFC 223, but some fella by the name Conor McGregor had a bus bashing meltdown, which injured Chiesa leading to doctors not clearing him for the fight against Pettis. Pettis enters this fight on his only real negative slide, losing five of his last seven fights. It is hard to hold that against him once you consider the opponents that he has faced in those last seven fights, Dos Anjos, Alvarez, Barboza, Holloway. Unfortunately, Pettis will have to face a very talented Chiesa in his hopes to climb back onto the winning path. Chiesa is a submission guru with ten of his fourteen wins by way of submission. Interestingly, Pettis has never lost a fight via submission, all while Chiesa has never won by (T)KO. I expect an excellent fight from these two phenomenal fighters!
PREDICTION: Michael Chiesa (RND 2) Submission
Francis “The Predator” Ngannou (11-2) vs. Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis (19-5)
The last time we saw Francis Ngannou fight, it was against Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, and here he is once again with Stipe. Fortunately, Ngannou doesn’t have to face the champ again this weekend. The Predator’s opponent on this card is past Legacy FC heavyweight champion, Derrick Lewis. These two fighters love to throw leather, having a combined 24 (T)KOs in their 30 victories! Amazingly, of those same 30 wins, only one fighter has won by decision (Lewis), while Ngannou’s only two losses have come via decision. Finishing instinct will be on full display this weekend, as both fighters will make an attempt to schedule some fireworks of their own inside the T-Mobile Arena! P.S. I would be remiss to not mention Ngannou has never seen the 3rd round of any victory, always finishing 1st or early 2nd round, with his last four victories all within 2:00 of round one (1:34, 1:57, 1:32, 1:42).
PREDICTION: Francis Ngannou (RND 1) KO
Max “Blessed” Holloway (19-3) vs. Brian “T-City” Ortega (14-0)
Now, onto the co-main event! An electric matchup between two of the hottest win-streaks in MMA. Max Holloway enters the contest riding a 12 fight win streak, his last loss coming at the hands of Conor McGregor in 2013. Since that loss Holloway has put on impressive performance after impressive performance, culminated by winning the interim featherweight belt against the aforementioned Anthony Pettis, unifying the belt in a bout against José Aldo, then successfully defending the belt, again against Aldo. Brian Ortega, on the other hand, enters with an undefeated 14-0 (1 NC). Ortega has finished his last six fights, capped off with a vicious KO of Frankie Edgar at the end of the 1st round, back in March. Stylistically, this is the type of fight that the UFC can capitalize on, and will keep MMA fans talking for months, potentially becoming an instant classic. This is anyone’s guess as to who will win, but let’s look at some of the particulars. I mentioned moments ago that Ortega has finished his last six (seven if you include the NC) opponents. He has three KOs, seven submissions, and four decision victories all while keeping his record out of the loss column. Holloway, in his 19 wins has nine KOs, two submissions, and eight decision victories, finishing his last three opponents via TKO. While Ortega is the real deal, it is very hard for me to doubt the Champ in this one.
PREDICTION: Max Holloway (RND 5) Unanimous Decision
Stipe Miocic (18-2) vs. Daniel “DC” Cormier (20-1)
THE SUPER FIGHT! To cap off an incredible main card is the long-awaited matchup between two G.O.A.T.s (as the kids call it). Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier have spent the last few months as coaches on the UFC reality TV series, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). DC, in my opinion, is one of the best fighters in the world, considering his only loss is to Jon Jones (something that basically every fighter to face Jones can also say). Inversely, Stipe Miocic is an extremely underrated UFC champion, opened as the underdog (+130) in his last fight against Francis Ngannou. Since taking the belt against Fabricio Werdum in 2016, Miocic has set the record for most consecutive heavyweight title defenses (3) in UFC history. What makes this such a great fight, outside of the fact that two current champions will meet in the octagon, DC hasn’t fought at heavyweight since 2013. He has, however, held heavyweight titles in promotions such as Strikeforce, King of the Cage (KOTC), and Xtreme MMA, so he is able to compete at that weight class. DC has also said in interviews, that he feels great not having to worry about a weight cut. Both of these warriors are great wrestlers, but I would give the edge to DC. Both do well striking, but I lean toward Miocic as a more accomplished striker (13 KOs to DC’s 9) and being the taller fighter. This competition will come down to who can control the octagon better, if DC can land some takedowns and stay on top of Miocic, he may be able to grind out the victory, but…if Miocic can use his size and reach to keep Cormier guessing, and more importantly away from him, than #AndStill will be the echo throughout the T-Mobile arena! Either way this goes, you have two top-notch men and fighters getting after it this weekend, and as fans of MMA, it is hard for us not to win!
PREDICTION: Stipe Miocic (RND 5) Decision (Stipe is a firefighter…so am I, that is why he has my vote! I mean that and the 8-inch reach)