On paper, UFC 206 is a damn good card. So good, that veven the prelims, including the Fight Pass prelims were worth checking out. Sadly, due to technical issues, I couldn’t post an article on my predictions for the entire prelim card.
Thankfully, all issues have been alleviated now, and I can post in time to submit my main card predictions. No, the main event isn’t PPV worthy, but it’s still a damn good slate. Holloway/Pettis is a damn fun fight, Donald Cerrone vs. Matt Brown should be violent as hell, Cub Swanson vs. Doo Ho Choi should be crazy fun, Tim Kennedy is back, and the opener should be a blast. It’s a card worth checking out, and here are my predictions for all five main card fights.
UFC 206 main card (10/9c, PPV)
Jordan Mien (29-10) vs Emil Weber Meek (8-2, 1NC)
To kick off the main card, Jordan Mien returns to the octagon for the first time since a comeback loss to Thiago Alves back at UFC 183 in January 2015, to take on newcomer Emil Vander Meek. Mien is still just 27 years old, yet is fighting professionally for the 40th time. He’s fought a bunch over the years, and honestly needed the time away, whether it was retirement or not. Even if he is rusty, the break was necessary.
Meek is a newcomer, but also damn good. All of his fights have ended via finish, including seven knockout wins. His most recent bout, a 45-second knockout win over the notorious Rousimar Palhares, is what put him on the map. He’s the fresher fighter, and very skilled. If he wins, nobody should be surprised. That said, it’s been a while since I got to pick Mien in a fight, and I’ll take the chance here. Prediction: Mien via tko, round 2.
Tim Kennedy (18-5) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (12-2)
Tim Kennedy hasn’t fought since late 2014, and Kelvin Gastelum is more notorious these days for all the times he’s missed weight than he is for his fights. While Kennedy may be rusty, Gastelum is fighting at Middleweight for just the second time in UFC, and is short and small for the weight class. Despite the rust factor possibly affecting Kennedy, he should win this. He may not finish the fight, and it could be a snoozer, but I say he wins. Prediction: Kennedy via decision.
Cub Swanson (23-7) vs. Doo Ho Choi (15-1)
Whereas the Kennedy/Gastelum fight may likely be a snoozer, this Featherweight tilt should be a crazy fun blast. Choi tends to finish fights with first round knockouts, and Cub tends to put out fun fights as well. Everyone seems to be picking Choi, and I can’t blame them. A decision win for Cub definitely won’t surprise me, but I’ll go with Choi finishing the fight before long. Prediction: Choi via tko, round 2.
Donald Cerrone (31-7, 1NC) vs. Matt Brown (20-15)
The co-main event is guaranteed to be one thing, and that is violent. Cerrone is more skilled, but this is without a doubt the biggest threat he’s faced since moving up to Welterweight. That said, Brown has really struggled of late having lost four of his last five, and has lost 10 times via submission. Oh, and he’s really emotional going into this bout. All he needs is one shot to win, but I pretty much have to pick Cerrone to piece him apart before submitting “The Immortal” one tonight. Prediction: Cerrone via submission, round 2.
Anthony Pettis (19-5) vs. Max Holloway (16-3)
The main event slot for this event has been cursed, but the final fight should be a dandy. Even though the initial headliner, a Light Heavyweight Championship matchup between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson got scrapped, and the decision to make this new headliner an interim Featherweight title tilt backfired when Pettis missed weight, it should still be a fun one.
Pettis looked great in his Featherweight debut against Charles Oliveira, but the former Lightweight Champion had lost his previous three bouts first, thus pretty much forcing a weight change. Well, he missed weight, and now he can’t win the interim belt even with a win.
Meanwhile, Holloway has won nine straight bouts, and has deserved a title shot for a long time now. He made weight, and it’s about damn time he got the shot. Whether he’s as skilled as Pettis or not is in doubt, but he needs to win, and I’ll say that he’ll prevail in the end. Prediction: Holloway via decision.