What a crazy week in the world of MMA. What began with Khabib vs Ferguson ended up being Khabib vs Al Iaquinta, and we all know what else happened. McGregor and 20 of his crew stormed a media day and caused all sorts of chaos. With the original 13 fight card whittled down to 9 we share our thoughts on all of the madness and we give our predictions. Predictions that we’ve left until the last minute because of all the changes.
Let’s start with the whole McGregor fiasco, and let’s start from the very beginning. Earlier in the week Khabib and his team had an altercation with Artem Lobov, a long time friend and teammate of McGregor. McGregor and Lobov responded as Mac got 20 or so of his cronies flown out from Ireland to NYC and they stormed a media event and attacked the fighters bus that Khabib was on. In the process of destroying the bus they cut up Mike Chiesa with glass and got glass in Ray Borg’s eye, this resulted in two of this weekends fights being cancelled. A third fight was cancelled as Artem Lobov was instantly pulled from the card as well.
McGregor has since handed himself in to the police and paid a 50k bail fee with another hearing taking place in June, with 12 potential charges including assault. On top of this one would presume he’s lost millions of fans and has at least a handful of lawsuits coming his way from people involved. Dana White has condemned McGregor’s actions along with Lobov and the rest of their team describing the incident as “disgusting” and “despicable”.
That’s the story so far, and here’s what we think of it. Listen, I have no problem with the idea of coming for Khabib. Khabib punked Lobov so McGregor and his camp wanted to punk them back, I get that, but to do it to people who weren’t involved made zero sense and his methods were disgusting. If you have a problem with Khabib and his crew, don’t terrorise Rose Namajunas, Chiesa, Borg and a ton of UFC workers. Long story short, gangster move, terrible execution. Now we’ve discussed that, let’s predict the main card.
Joe Lauzon vs Chris Gruetzemacher
This is one of those pickem’ fights right here. Both men are on losing streaks and really can’t afford to lose a third in a row, it’s an insanely important fight for both men if they want to stay relevant in a stacked lightweight division. Lauzon is a legend, but he’s running out of steam. His chin has deteriorated slightly and in recent times he seems to have a little less aggression. It’ll be quick stand and bang war and I can see Gruetzemacher taking a win in possibly the most evenly matched fights of the night.
Prediction: Chris Gruetzemacher by round 1 TKO
Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Kyle Bochniak
From one of the most evenly contested fights to one of the most one sided according to the betting slips. Zabit comes in as 1/7 favourite and with good reason, he’s a former ABC champ who’s unbeaten in the UFC with absolutely insane performances. He’s going to dominate on the feet with flashy strikes, take it to the ground and lock in a submission.
Prediction: Zabit Magomedsharipov by round 2 sub
Renato Moicano vs Calvin Kattar
Another major pickem’ here. Moicano was on a roll until he got stopped by Ortega last summer, Kattar is on a major roll but hasn’t faced anyone the level of Moicano before in my opinion. It’ll be close all the way through here, a very calculated stand up battle with Moicano looking to put Kattar on his back, if he can do that he’ll scrape a decision.
Prediction: Renato Moicano by decision
Rose Namajunas (C) vs Joanna Jędrzejczyk for the UFC straw weight title
The rematch is finally here. Former champ Joanna was smoked in the first fight as Thug Rose shocked the world. Joanna hasn’t been as nearly aggressive and in your face this time around, I think she was majorly humbled. Will that help her? Maybe so, but I think what Rose plans to do will happen. She wants to choke Joanna out and I feel like she will. I feel like she will have grown so much as a fighter and hasn’t even shown the world her true skills yet. She’ll choke out Joanna and cement her place as the number one female fighter in the world, and silence all the doubters.
Prediction: Rose Namajunas by submission in round 3
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Al Iaquinta for the vacant UFC lightweight title
What a crazy ride it’s been for this lightweight belt. We thought it was Khabib vs Ferguson, then Holloway, then Pettis, then Felder and now finally Ragin’ Al Iaquinta. Ragin’ Al was at one point refusing to fight for the company last year after a contract dispute and now he’s fighting for a title. 11 years to the day after his trainer Matt Serra shocked the world knocking out GSP, Ragin’ Al gets the chance to shock the world himself. Part of my hopes he does it, a New Yorker in New York, on the grandest stage saving the day. I just don’t see it. To be brutally honest I don’t care who you put in front of Khabib, I’m betting on Khabib, the man is an absolute beast. He’ll push the pace and wipe the floor with Iaquinta for five rounds. It’d be a fairytale to see it, but we live in the real world.
Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov wins by decision to become the new UFC Champion