(10)Valentina Shevchenko vs. (4)Amanda Nunes
The first main card fight is the one I’m looking forward to the most. Both women are violent and high-level strikers, with the winner basically being the next challenger for the women’s Bantamweight belt.
Nunes is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt with nine knockout wins. She’s 4-1 inside the octagon, with her lone loss coming in September 2014 against Cat Zingano, whom she was dominating in the opening round before succumbing on the ground in the third. She’s won two straight since, and many feel that she deserves a title shot.
Standing in her way is crafty Kickboxer Valentina Shevchenko. Amassing a tremendous 56-2 record in that discipline, she’s 12-1 in MMA with nine finishes, and won her debut over former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman via split decision in December, and a win could put her in title contention as well.
This is honestly a tough fight to call. Both women are easy to root for, finish fights, and consistently put on fantastic performances. My heart roots for Valentina, since I’ve seen live in a few occasions. But, Nunes is probably going to win. It should be a great fight nonetheless.
Head pick: Nunes via tko, round 2. Heart pick: Shevchenko via decision.
(12) Cory Anderson (7-1) vs Tom Lawlor (12-5)
Tom Lawlor is fun, and his Conor McGregor parody at the weigh-ins were hilarious. But, Anderson is the better fighter, and he’s a decision machine, so you can do the math. Prediction: Anderson via decision.
Ilir Latifi (11-4, 1NC) vs. (13) Gian Villante (14-6)
Villante has a chance, and can compete in this fight. He even has a chance to win this fight. But, I see the Sledgehammer finishing this one. He’s got too much power, and at some point, I see him ending Villante’s night in brutal fashion.
Prediction: Latifi via tko, round 2.
Women’s Bantamweight Championship: (c) Holly Holm (10-0) vs. (2) Miesha Tate (17-5)
This fight is pretty interesting. Tate has a lot of guts and heart. Holm has the best striking in the division. Miesha’s only chance is to take Holly down. However, Holm has excellent takedown defense, and I see her lighting Miesha up on the feet, eventually knocking the perennial contender out.
Prediction: Holm via tko, round 4.
(FW C) Conor McGregor (19-2) vs. Nate Diaz (18-11)
Normally, a championship fight would headline a UFC card if it’s on it. However, the UFC is obsessed with McGregor, and is desperate to please him at all costs.
Also, it’s a hotly anticipated matchup, despite only being in existence for 11 days, since the “superfight” between McGregor and RDA got called off.
Since then, Conor has turned into Ronda Rousey. He’s trying to get in Diaz’s head, and failed, thus resulting in physicality from Conor. If he loses, the backlash will be severe.
I won’t lie, I’d love to see Conor get tested. If Diaz can take him to the ground, he’ll lilely submit the Irishman. If not, I see him eventually getting finished. Regardless, whatever happens, it should be a great fight.
Heart pick: Nate Diaz via sub, round 3.
Head pick: McGregor via tko, round 4.