Yeah, that’s right everybody. My predictions are back. UFC 238 is this Saturday in the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Tony Ferguson is taking on Donald Cerrone in what appears to be one of the most exciting matches of the year. TJ Dillashaw’s vacant bantamweight title is up for grabs. Will Henry Cejudo become the next double champ? Is Marlon Moraes the new face of the bantamweight division? Let’s run it and find out. Here are my predictions. While you’re at it, check out our Talk 2 Much MMA Podcast for even more UFC coverage.
#1 Marlon Moraes (22-5-1) vs. Henry Cejudo (14-2)
This is honestly one of the most well put together fights of the year. There’s a case to be made that Henry Cejudo is the best wrestler in the UFC. The guy has an Olympic Gold Medal (he never shuts up about it). Moraes, on the other hand, is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His guard is as dangerous as anyone’s in that division. Henry is facing some physical disadvantages in this fight a well. He’s facing a 3 inch disadvantage as well as a 2 inch height disadvantage. He’s got a powerful right hand, but Moraes is explosive standing up. Henry’s going to want to put Moraes on his back and play his game. This is honestly a toss up fight and I really don’t know who to take. If I had to choose though, I’d take Henry. He just beat Demetrious Johnson and TJ Dillashaw back to back. He has to have the higher floor going into this fight.
Winner: Henry Cejudo via split decision
[C] Valentina Shevchenko (16-3) vs. #1 Jessica Eye (14-6, 1NC)
Valentina Shevchenko in my opinion is as good as any female fighter on the planet. In fact, technically, she might be the best. Jessica Eye is a MASSIVE underdog heading into this fight. She’s going to want to push Valentina towards the cage and tire her out. Her obvious game plan is to put Valentina on her back. I don’t know how easy that’s going to be for her is the thing. Valentina is also very aggressive and dangerous in the clinch. It just seems that Valentina has Eye beat in all aspects of the fight. I don’t think Eye will be able to take Valentina down. I think Valentina keeps this fight standing and absolutely pieces up Jessica Eye. I’ll confidently take Valentina with a third rounder knocker.
Winner: Valentina Shevchenko via 3rd Rd TKO
#2 Tony Ferguson (25-3) vs. #4 Donald Cerrone (35-11, 1NC)
Damn it, the world needs this fight. As MMA fans, we should all take a moment and be thankful for having the opportunity to watch this fight… I’m taking Cowboy! Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and take Donald Cerrone in this fight. Tony is the favorite heading into the fight, being the former champion and all. But the truth is this is a bad matchup for him. He is one of the most talented fighters on the planet, however he leaves himself susceptible to strikes when he fights. He pushes the pace like a mad man, leaving his guard down. This would actually be insane if Cowboy pulled it off, but I think he just might. I’ll take Cowboy in the third.
Winner: Donald Cerrone via 3rd Rd TKO
#7 Jimmie Rivera (22-3) vs. #9 Petr Yan (12-1)
This fight is definitely a fight of the night candidate. Jimmie Rivera is a good, all around fighter with a solid resume in the UFC. He throws heat in his punches and can leave himself wide open to strikes some times. That won’t bode well against a violent, hungry Thai fighter like Petr Yan. Yan is also patient with his strikes and knows how to control the pace of a fight (I.e. John Dodson fight). I do think that Rivera packs more power in his punches than any of Yan’s previous opponents, however. I think this is going to be a really good fight, but I’m going to have to go with Rivera in this one.
Winner: Jimmie Rivera via unanimous decision
#11 Tai Tuivasa (10-1) vs. #13 Blagoy Ivanov (17-2, 1NC)
The UFC just needed to put a fan favorite type of fight on this card to top it off. And by top it off, I mean start it up. This is the fight fight on the main card and it might be a bloodbath. Tai Tuivasa is a young prospect in the heavyweight division who has been making noise the past year or so. He’s coming off his first professional loss against Junior Dos Santos so it’s going to be interesting to see how he comes back. Blabby Ivanov’s last loss also came against Junior Dos Santos. Ivanov is a dedicated Sambo practitioner, so I have no doubt he’s going to want to use his grappling. The problem is Tuivasa is too strong and too hungry. He’s going to knock out Ivanov in the first round.
Winner: Tai Tuivasa via 1st Rd KO