UFC 201 has been sandwiched between two of the best fight cards of the year, with the epic 200 in the past, and the McGregor v Diaz rematch at UFC 202 in the not too distant future. It would be easy to overlook UFC 201, but any fight involving Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler is worth the price of admission in itself. In his two defences of the title, he has been involved in five-round epics, both earning fight of the night honours, whilst Tyron Woodley has been hovering around the top of the rankings for a long time, and is looking to make the most of his first opportunity at UFC gold.
UFC 201 Previews
Lawler v Woodley
Woodley is going to come out very hard in the first two rounds and look for the early victory. He has knockout power, and is very strong in the wrestling game, but there will be concerns that if he can’t get the job done in the opening rounds, things could go south for him very quickly. Lawler has just as much power, and won’t mind going hard early, but has a track-record of getting stronger as the fight progresses and earning the ‘W’.
TIP: Lawler WIN ($1.60)
Namajunas v Kowalkiewicz
Expect the winner of this fight to be in with a real shot of getting the next crack at Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s Women’s Strawweight title. Namajunas is riding a three fight win streak in the UFC, whilst Kowalkiewicz is undefeated in her two UFC fights thus far. Whilst Kowalkiewicz has been impressive in her two wins thus far, she is taking a big step up in class, and is fighting on a much grander stage than she has fought on previously. I expect Namajunas to continue her impressive run by taking the fight to the ground where she has a distinct advantage.
TIP: Namajunas by decision
Brown v Ellenberger
Brown will start the fight as the shortest priced favourite on the Main Card, and justifiably so. Number 9 ranked Brown may have lost three of his last four fights, but when they are the likes to Lawler, Hendricks and Maia, there is no shame in those results. This fight almost seems like a gift to Brown, with Jake Ellenberger in a slump that has seen him lose four of his past five and dropping out of the top tier of rankings for the welterweight division. Look for Brown to apply relentless pressure and find the stoppage.
TIP: Brown by knockout
Rivera v Perez
Rivera v Perez seems to be an odd fight for the main card of UFC 201. The fight won’t have much of a say in title contention, but for both fighters, a win would be a step in the right direction. Rivera has plenty of power, but can get himself into trouble when he engages in a slugfest. Perez has untapped potential, but it needs to be very cautious of trading blows with Rivera. I’m leaning towards Rivera here, but wouldn’t be surprised to see an upset here.
TIP: Rivera by decision
McCall v Scoggins
The man with the best fighter name in the business, ‘Uncle Creepy’, Ian McCall looks to get back into title contention against young up and comer Justin Scoggins. Despite being ranked number 5, McCall starts as the outsider against number 13 ranked Scoggins after not stepping out in the UFC for 18 months. Scoggins has plenty of potential, and many have tagged him as a future champion, but is still finding consistency. I’m hoping the bookies have this one wrong, and am hoping that the lay-off has been good for McCall, who I’m tipping to cause an upset.
TIP: McCall by decision