It’s been a rocky ride to this weekends UFC 222 card. What was initially a title fight between Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar, ended up being something completely different yet still entertaining. Cris Cyborg will look to defend her belt again as she squares off with former Invicta bantamweight champion, Yana Kuntskaya. Here we have our predictions for what should be a quality card.
C.B. Dollaway vs Hector Lombard
Kicking off the prelims is a middleweight bout between C.B. Dollaway and Hector Lombard. Lombard has had a very flat UFC career and hasn’t won a fight since 2014. If he doesn’t get it done early then Dollaway has the ability to grind out a decision against a tired Lombard. It’s really must win for both men, I can see Dollaway taking it though.
Result: Dollaway by decision
John Dodson vs Pedro Munhoz
Dodson hasn’t been able to put a winning streak together for some time, going 2-2 since his return to bantamweight, but some could argue he was robbed in his last defeat. Munhoz is on a massive 4 fight win streak, if he gets hold of Dodson long enough he’ll make it 5. Dodson needs to keep the distance and strike with efficiency to avoid grappling with Munhoz, and I think that’s what he’ll do.
Result: Dodson by decision
Beneil Dariush vs Alexander Hernandez
Dariush was scheduled to face off against Bobby Green until the injury bug struck a couple weeks ago. Hernandez has a huge chance to step in here in his UFC debut and shock everyone watching on FOX Sports 1. Hernandez is riding a 6 fight winning streak outside the UFC and win or lose he’ll get another crack at the big leagues. Dariush is a beast, and I can’t see him losing this fight, I see him rocking Hernandez on the feet and finishing him off with strikes on the ground.
Result: Dariush by TKO
Ashley Yoder vs Mackenzie Dern
The featured prelim for the event features two strawweight women looking to make a statement. Yoder is 0-2 in the UFC and badly needs a win, while Dern is making her UFC debut and want’s to get off on the right foot. Dern is an incredible grappler who will look to take this fight to the ground and either choke Yoder out or take one of her limbs home. Yoder herself is a quality grappler, but not the level of Dern. Expect a fun grappling contest here.
Result: Dern by decision
Cat Zingano vs Ketlen Vieira
Kicking off the PPV we have women’s bantamweight action. Former title contender Zingano hasn’t been seen in the UFC since 2016, in that amount of time Vieira has managed to string together 3 wins to add to her undefeated record. I get the impression the Zingano is on the decline while Vieira is just getting started, this is a passing of the torch style match up.
Result: Vieira by submission
Stefan Struve vs Andrei Arlovski
A clash of two heavyweights here, both of which are in desperate need of wins. Struve said recently that after his last loss he didn’t want to fight anymore, and that’s a terrible thing to hear. If you don’t want to fight then retire, it’s never wise to put your body on the line if you don’t want it bad enough. Arlovski is certainly on the decline losing 5 of his last 6. There’s a large possibility the loser of this fight is done in the UFC. Both men’s chins have deteriorated, it could really be a matter of who lands a the big shot.
Result: Arlovski by KO
Sean O’Malley vs Andre Soukhamthath
O’Malley has the potential to be a star. He’s flashy, cool and has the ability to get people talking. The biggest problem is he’s not ready to be a star in terms of his fighting IQ and his technical skills. He won his UFC debut, but it wasn’t convincing. Soukhamthath is the more experienced fighter and he’s certainly no push over. O’Malley is the underdog on a lot of betting lines, but I favour him to win a back and forth brawl this time around.
Result O’Malley by decision
Frankie Edgar vs Brian Ortega
This is the fight of the night right here, a quality match up with the winner undoubtedly facing Holloway in the summer for the title. I’ve doubted Ortega plenty in the past and he’s proven me wrong time and again. I appreciate him for what he is, but I also appreciate Edgar for what he is. He’s a future hall of famer who’s far from finished, he’s fight IQ is through the roof and he’s a far superior wrestler to Ortega. Ortega will start strong but Edgar won’t fail under pressure against the fence. He’ll work his way out of positions with technique and likely out-box Ortega in a fast paced fight. Edgar will always be that one step ahead.
Result: Edgar by decision
Cris Cyborg vs Yana Kunitskaya for the UFC Featherweight Title
Kunitskaya is the biggest underdog on the entire card at 11/1. First off she’s not a featherweight, she’s a bantamweight. Cyborg is the bigger competitor and the stronger competitor. Cyborg hasn’t lost since 2005, she has mauled near enough everyone put in front of her. Tomorrow night will be no different, she will hammer Kunitskaya. If I’m wrong and Kunitskaya wins, we are looking at the biggest upset in fighting since Holly Holm knocked out Ronda Rousey.
Result: Cyborg wins by TKO to retain her UFC title