UFC 205. Madison Square Garden. Three title fights. Where to start?
UFC 200 was built up as the biggest fight card in UFC history. If it indeed lived up to that billing, it’s reign as the best card that the UFC has put together was very short-lived with the UFC ensuring it’s maiden voyage into NYC will be unforgettable.
When Frankie Edgar and Khabib Nurmagomedov can’t crack the main card, you know you’re in for something special, and The Wolf has you covered, giving you the low-down for the main card for UFC 205.
Eddie Alvarez (28-4) v Conor McGregor (20-3) – Lightweight Championship
Conor McGregor was due to have a shot at history earlier in the year when he was to take on then Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos for the opportunity to be the UFC’s first simultaneous two weight-class champion. A Dos Anjos injury, and two classics against Nate Diaz later, McGregor gets his shot. It can be hard to line up the form of McGregor. Undisputed champion at 145 pounds, he went 1-1 against Nate Diaz at 170 pounds, and now comes back to 155 pounds to take on Champion Eddie Alvarez. Diaz is an average lightweight fighter that McGregor struggled with, whilst Alvarez’s run has seen him defeat three world champions on the trot on his way to UFC gold.
McGregor is the class striker out of the pair, and Alvarez definitely has a wrestling advantage. If Alvarez can get it to the ground, it could be a long night for McGregor. There were questions about his gas tank after both Diaz fights, and if Alvarez can maintain the pressure on McGregor, there is no doubt that he can come away with the victory. On the other hand, McGregor’s striking is on another level. Alvarez has a tendency to drop his hands, and keep his chin out, which would suit McGregor just fine. The Wolf has tipped against McGregor for his past two fights, and he’s doing it again. Alvares by decision for me.
Best: Eddie Alvarez WIN ($2.25)
Value: Eddie Alvarez by decision ($4.00)
Stephen Thompson (13-1) vs Tyron Woodley (16-3) – Welterweight Championship
Woodley’s one punch power is always a factor, as witnessed when he won the title against Robbie Lawler in spectacular fashion, but Stephen Thompson is arguably the best striker in the UFC. Woodley holds the wrestling advantage, but Thompson has greatly improved that area of the game, and will not be fearful of any takedown attempts. Thompson is riding a seven fight win streak, and his superior striking should see him make that eight.
Best: Stephen Thompson WIN ($1.50)
Value: Thompson by Knockout ($2.20)
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (12-0) v. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-0) – Strawweight Championship
Joanna Jedrzejzyk has established herself as one of the Wolf’s favourite fighters on the UFC roster. She is a great striker that applies relentless pressure to her opponents, simply overwhelming the majority of them. She faces fellow Polish fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz for the Strawweight Championship. These two actually fought back in their amateur days prior to joining the UFC, and Joanna Champion (as she likes to be called) came out on top in that clash. Whilst Kowalkiewicz has definitely improved in all of her fights, I can’t see the belt changing hands.
Best: Joanna Jedrzejczyk WIN ($1.25)
Value: Jedrzejczyk by Decision ($1.90)
Chris Weidman (13-1) v Yoel Romero (12-1) – Middleweight
Hometown hero Chris Weidman and Olympic medallist Yoel Romero are both looking to establish themselves as the next challenger for Michael Bisping’s middleweight title. Both are strong wrestlers, which will probably see this fight decided by their striking. Weidman has employed renouned boxing coach Mark Henry in anticipation of a strike-fest, and whilst it will definitely come in handy, there is no doubting that the unpredictability of Romero’s striking could see the fight end at any moment. I’m going with Weidman by decision, but wouldn’t be shocked if Romero produced something special.
Best: Chris Weidman WIN ($1.60)
Value: Weidman by decision ($3.00)
Donald Cerrone (31-7, 1 NC) v Kelvin Gastelum (12-2) – Welterweight|
This is a ‘what could have been’ fight, with Cowboy Cerrone’s original opponent Robbie Lawler forced to pull out. Up steps Kelvin Gastelum, an awkward fighter yet to find his true division, but one that has been presented with a huge opportunity on the biggest stage there is. I can smell an upset here, and there is plenty of value to be had with a Gastelum knockout.|
Best: Kelvin Gastelum WIN ($2.35)
Value: Gastelum by knockout ($7.00)
Miesha Tate (18-6) v Raquel Pennington (8-5) – Bantamweight
Tate is coming off a beating when she lost her title to heavy hitter Amanda Nunes at UFC 200. Pennington has won four of her past five, with her only loss coming via split-decision to Holly Holm. Adding to this clash is the history between these two, with Tate coaching Pennington in the UFC reality show The Ultimate Fighter. I’m leaning towards the master finishing off the apprentice in this one, and Tate getting back in the winners circle.
Best: Miesha Tate WIN ($1.55)
Value: Tate by submission ($4.00)