With International Fight Week coming to an end, we have new Hall Of Famers in the UFC and now UFC 226 has come upon us, well sort of….. With all the excitement leading up to this event, as usual we are set with disappointment. Max Holloway was pulled from the event due to concussion symptoms he had been suffering from. The UFC had called on Frankie Edgar and Jeremy Stephens to replace Max, had just decided to scrap the bout with Brian Ortega. For us fight fans this is a tremendous let down considering most people were looking forward to that fight, even more than the main event. Although we fight fans lost an amazing fight, the rest of the UFC 226 card is still enough to keep us all in suspense.
Leading off the main card we have a Light Heavyweight bout that we assure you will not be left up to the judges. Glory veteran and former K-1 Gran Prix champion Gokhan Saki (1-1) steps into the octagon for the second time to take on standup wizard Khalil Roundtree Jr (6-2-1NC). This fight will be a “rock em sock em robots” fight that is set up for a stand up blood bath. Saki is fairly new to MMA, but after winning his first UFC bout in the first round against Henrique de Silva, he is looking to extend his finishing streak against the always tough Roundtree. Roundtree looks like a physical specimen, but has a gas tank that runs on empty within the first few minutes of the fight. This could be troublesome for Roundtree, because all it takes for Saki is one blow and Khalil will be looking up at the ref asking “hey, what happened?” Roundtree’s cardio issues aren’t due for lack of preparation, it’s because with each strike he throws, he puts his entire heart and soul into the strikes. When they hit it’s devastating, but when he misses that energy bar decreases and he can leave himself open which might land him on dream street in this fight. Either way, this is an amazing, high energy fight to kick off the show!
In our second fight of the evening we will have Michael Chiesa (14-3) vs Anthony “Showtime” Pettis(20-7). Chiesa, once had aspirations to contend for the 155lb title, missed weight by 1.5lbs and said that this will be his last fight in the lightweight division. Chiesa said that he would not continue to try and cut the remaining weight, instead he decided to offer up 30% of his fight purse. The MMA community was shocked at the fact that Chiesa missed the weight and refused to continue the weight cut, simply because of the recent comments he had about the former champion Conor McGregor. This fight we were supposed to see at UFC 223, but Conor decided to act like a teenager who had his World of Warcraft account deleted by his mommy, and smashed at NYC bus window injuring people who were on the bus. Chiesa had lacerations on his head and he was forced out of the bout with Pettis. Pettis was then offered a shot at Khabib’s title but did not continue cutting weight due to financial differences with the UFC. This fight would have been an interesting turn for the lightweight division, but with Chiesa saying he doesn’t want to cut weight anymore, this is basically a fight for the fans with really no implications except for Pettis. Pettis has been looking to get his groove back after not having success while dropping to the 145lb weight division. This is a fight that I believe will be taken to the ground if Chiesa is smart, Pettis has dangerous striking, and could break that “Showtime Kick” out of retirement to excite the fans and come away with the victory. Chiesa has a tremendous ground game which Pettis will need to watch out for, as long as Mario Yamasaki isn’t the ref in this bout, I think Chiesa will get the win via submission.
Our third bout of the evening will be a fight Paul “The Irish Dragon” Felder (15-3) vs “Platnium” Mike Perry (11-3) This fight was basically thrown together because Yancy Mederios had to pull out in his scheduled fight with Perry, and James Vick will be replacing Al Iaquinta against Justin Gaethje. Felder is coming a weight class for this fight against Perry, but Felder’s superior striking and ground game should be enough to take out Perry. Mike Perry is coming off back to back losses to Santiago Ponzinibbo and Max Griffen. The always animated Perry is looking to show his striking off against Felder, but in this fight I don’t believe Perry can pull it off. I think we see some fireworks very early on in the fight, but I believe Felder will eventually catch Perry and finish the fight by stoppage.
On to our Co-Main event of the evening!!!!! “The Black Beast” Derrick Lewis(19-5-1NC) is coming a TKO stoppage of Marcin Tyburia back in February and is looking for the same outcome against his opponent Francis “The Predaor” Ngannou(11-2). Lewis is one of the most animated characters in the heavyweight division, he’s terrific on social media, but most importantly on the mic. Lewis’ post fight win speeches are legendary, either he’s asking where Ronda Rousey is, or he’s telling the world that he’s gotta poop, Lewis gives us sound bites days and always leaves us laughing. Besides the fact he could be a stand-up comic, Lewis is a dangerous striker with enough power in his hands to put you to sleep with one shot. Francis Ngannou was being billed as one of the most devastating heavyweight fighters to ever step into the octagon. The UFC promotion machine was all over his amazing story and the fact that he knocked out Alistair Overheem out with one of the most vicious knockouts ever thrown in the UFC. The MMA world thought this phenom was unstoppable until he met the current champion Stipe Miocic. Miocic was able to expose the extreme lack of grappling skills that Ngannou had, totally taking the striking out of the equation and becoming a 240lb blanket and easily beating Francis by unanimous decision. With the shine off Francis now, the world can see how he bounces back from that loss. He looks a lot leaner and appears to have been working on his cardio, but in this fight, it’s basically who’s got the better chin and who makes the first mistake. I think the “Black Beast” will put out a valiant effort against Francis, but “The Predator” will win this fight by knock out.
“AAAAAAANNNNNDDDDDD NOW, for our main event of the evening!!!!!!” Stipe Miocic(18-2) is looking to show off his “immigrant mentality” and successfully defend his belt against Daniel Cormier (20-1). Cormier has not fought at heavyweight since 2013, but is undefeated in the weight class. With an opportunity to become the heavyweight and light heavyweight champion DC. is looking to pull out all the stops against the rangier current champ. Cormier will look to use his Olympic wrestling repertoire, trying to keep the champ against the cage waiting for the perfect time to use one of his signature slams. Miocic has proven to be the greatest heavyweight champ in UFC history by having the most title defenses. He has proved critics wrong with each defense he’s had most notably against the “hype train” that was Francis Ngannou. Stipe’s crisp boxing and outstanding wrestling have made him one of the most exciting heavyweights to watch. When he’s not owning the octagon, he’s saving lives as a firefighter and will soon be a new father. To most people the job and the family would be a distraction, but to Stipe it’s all in a day’s work. In this fight Stipe will need to use that range and keep DC on the end of his jab, not allowing Cormier to get inside to attempt the takedown. This fight will go all 5 rounds for sure, Stipe will take this fight unanimously using his range and stuffing DC’s takedowns.
To hear the UFC 226 press conference click below to hear the audio replay!!!!
By: Tommy Dee
Podcast: Pride Rules MMA