The main card will feature an exciting matchup between Irish striker Conor McGregor and Russian-German kickboxer Dennis Siver for a shot at the featherweight championship against Jose Aldo sometime this year. Also on this card is a WEC reunion and rubber match between Donald Cerrone and Benson Henderson.
My picks: McGregor, Cerrone, Hall, Tibau.
#5 Conor McGregor(16-2, 4-0 UFC) vs. #10 Dennis Siver(22-9, 11-6 UFC) (Featherweight 136-145 lb/ 61-66 kg), McGregor (-1200), Siver (+775)
McGregor has an infectious personality, unparalleled confidence, and balanced attack style. He is 4-0 in the UFC, with three KOs, two Performances of the Night, and one Knockout of the Night. His dismantling of #6 Dustin Poirier was amazing. He has been calling the round that he plans on KOing his opponent, and I firmly believe he will KO Siver in round 1 as he predicts. Siver, on the other hand, is 12-6 in the UFC with a victory that was changed to No Contest after a failed drug test. Yes, he can be sneaky with his quick, reverse back kick. His striking is good, but not great. His grappling is okay. Altogether, anything that Siver can put together McGregor can one-up with speed, agility, power, confidence, and conditioning. McGregor by KO in round 1.
#5 Benson Henderson (21-4, 9-2 UFC) vs. #3 Donald Cerrone (26-6, 13-3 UFC) (Lightweight 146-155 lb/ 66-70 kg), Henderson -150, Cerrone +130
Just a year ago I would have easily called this a Henderson victory. #1 Anthony Pettis has dominated both of these fighters in different ways. #2 Rafael Dos Anjos KOd Henderson in round 1 and really showed us how much Henderson has stagnated. Cerrone has been vastly improving, since being KOd by Pettis and has gone 5-1 since then. Henderson has not improved his grappling game whatsoever and is becoming increasingly vulnerable to the submissions that the top five in this division are going to continue exploiting. Despite his age and 25 fights, he is not adding anything to his repertoire. On the other hand, Cerrone learns from each of his losses, and is nothing like the fighter that lost to Henderson twice in the WEC. Cerrone takes this fight only two weeks after defeating Myles Jury by decision. Cerrone will either exploit Henderson’s stagnation with a submission in round 2 or these two will go to a decision in this rubber match.
Uriah Hall (9-4, 2-2 UFC) vs. Ron Stallings (12-6, 0-0 UFC) (Middleweight 171-185 lb/ 77.5 to 84 kg)
If Uriah Hall would unleash his natural penchant for mayhem and destruction, he would be ranked near the top of the middleweight ranks. For whatever reason, Hall has underperformed against his God-given talents. At 2-2 in the UFC after some stellar highlight reel KOs earlier in his career, Hall really needs to pull his head out of his rear end and KO Stallings in round 1 if he ever wants to see the main card on a free fight ever again. Everything is set up for Hall to shine in this fight. Both Costas Phillippou and Louis Taylor pulled out of the fight after injuries, leaving sacrificial lamb and newcomer Stallings as the only external barrier to Hall’s ascent up the middleweight ranks. If Hall can overcome his internal barrier, he can KO Stallings in round 1 for the victory.
Norman Parke (20-2-1, 4-0-1 UFC) vs. Gleison Tibau (32-10, 15-8 UFC) (Lightweight 146-155 lb/ 66-70 kg)
Tibau has been in the UFC since the dawn of time. Nobody can pick out Parke from a lineup except maybe his momma. I honestly do not see why this fight is on the main card, so I will pick the fighter that has been around. Tibau’s losses have come against the top-ranked fighters in this division: #2 Khabib Nurmagomedov, #11 Jim Miller, then-top 10 Evan Dunham, and #12 Michael Johnson. Parke has not fought anybody of note, and has no notable victories. Tibau should win this one, but I really do not care.
|Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1)|
|Welterweight||Cathal Pendred||vs.||Sean Spencer||Spencer by decision.|
|Welterweight||John Howard||vs.||Lorenz Larkin||Larkin saves his contract.|
|Lightweight||Zhang Lipeng||vs.||Chris Wade||USA! USA! USA! Wade by decision.|
|Flyweight||Patrick Holohan||vs.||Shane Howell||Irish revolution continues! Holohan by submission RD1.|
|Lightweight||Johnny Case||vs.||Frankie Perez||Hollywood Case by decision over Edson Barboza’s buddy.|
|Featherweight||Charles Rosa||vs.||Sean Soriano||Soriano by rock-em-sock-em decision.|
|Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)|
|Light Heavyweight||Matt Van Buren||vs.||Sean O’Connell|
|Flyweight||Tateki Matsuda||vs.||Joby Sanchez|