Tag: Frankie Edgar

UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya Punch Drunk Predictions

UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya Punch Drunk Predictions

How’s this for a take: this card is better now than it was before Max Holloway fell out.

Listen – I love “Blessed” and that isn’t a commentary on his skills, but his original opponent, Frankie Edgar, remained on the card in a terrific fight with Brian Ortega that serves as the co-main event and adding Cris Cyborg defending her title against Yana Kunitskaya is an intriguing main event.
As for how things shake out, let’s get to it.

Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

I don’t think this is as “Yana’s gonna get murdered!” as most people.

She’s a well-rounded fighter with good size and had a full training camp for this date, even if the change to Cyborg only came a couple weeks ago. Plus, she trains at Jackson-Wink and was part of Holly Holm’s camp for her UFC 219 tilt with the featherweight titleholder, so she’s got coaches and teammates with some experience against Cyborg to lean on.

I still think she’s going to lose, but I don’t think she’s going to just get completely mauled.

I’m really interested in seeing how Cyborg looks jumping back into the cage this quickly because it’s going one of two ways: she’s either going to look great and start fighting more frequently – which her coach Jason Parillo has always wanted – or she’s going to look a little off and go back to fighting every four-to-six months. How she’s feeling will likely have an impact on how she approaches this fight as well.

My feeling is that she’s probably perfectly fine hustling back into the cage like this, so I envision a patient, measured performance similar to what Cyborg showed against Tonya Evinger – walk her down, touch her up and then swarm in the third when the damage starts adding up.

Prediction: Cris Cyborg

Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega

Brian Ortega is an outstanding talent that has matriculated his way up the rankings, finishing literally everyone that has stood opposite him in the Octagon. He just turned 27, continues to improve and will remain a championship contender for the next several years.

But he’s losing here.

Look – Ortega is ultra-talented, but he’s facing a goddamn legend in Frankie Edgar and while I think he’ll do better than Yair Rodriguez did opposite “The Answer” at UFC 211, this one really feels like one of those “how does he beat him?” fights for Ortega.

He might be able to catch Edgar with something unexpected, but Frankie has never been finished and I just don’t see the path for him beyond that. He’s not out-striking the former lightweight champion and he’s not out-wrestling him either.

Ortega needs a finish, while Edgar can just out-hustle him for 15 minutes and win on the cards, which is how I see this playing out.

Prediction: Frankie Edgar

Sean O’Malley vs. Andre Soukhamthath

O’Malley is getting a little push here, with a main card assignment in his second UFC appearance, and I’m just not sure he’s going to be able to make good on it.

He has talent, but it’s not “jump off the page, this kid is insane” talent. He rallied to beat Terrion Ware in his debut – winning the first, dropping the second and digging deep to get the third – but if you’re rallying to beat Terrion Ware in your debut, I’m not sure you’re an elite prospect and a guy that should be getting an early push.

So yeah, I’m picking Soukhamthath here. He’s more experienced, he’s got the ability to finish in multiple ways and he has zero pressure on his shoulders heading into this one.

O’Malley likes to fight with his hands down and I think the 29-year-old Rhode Island resident makes him pay.

Prediction: Andre Soukhamthath

Stefan Struve vs. Andrei Arlovski

I’m not going to put a lot of time into this one because honestly, I think whoever lands the first clean shot is going to get their hand raised and neither guy is really in the mix at heavyweight.

As much as Arlovski is only one fight removed from a prolonged losing streak, I still think he’s going to win here because Struve still gets hit way too much for a guy that should be able to keep pretty well everyone on the end of his jab and I just don’t think the gigantic Dutchman has been that locked in on his fighting career since coming back from his heart issues.

It’s understandable, but it’s also a recipe for disaster in the cage.

Arlovski lights him up early to get a second straight win.

Prediction: Andrei Arlovski

Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira

This is the most intriguing fight on the main card to me because Zingano hasn’t fought in 18 months, but has the talent to be a force in this division, while Vieira just keeps getting better and better each time out.

I kind of want to side with the more active fighter and not roll the dice on an athlete looking to bounce back from a host of serious personal issues over the last several years, but I also remember watching Zingano roar back against Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes.

If she’s right – and she said she’s right and fired up when we spoke earlier this week – Zingano will get the job done and put herself right back in the mix for the bantamweight title.

Prediction: Cat Zingano

Preliminary Card Predictions

Mackenzie Dern def. Ashley Yoder
Beneil Dariush def. Alexander Hernandez
John Dodson def. Pedro Munhoz
C.B. Dollaway def. Hector Lombard
Zak Ottow def. Mike Pyle
Cody Stamann def. Bryan Caraway
Jordan Johnson def. Adam Milstead

2018 Prediction Record: 47-34-0 (.580)