UFC 214 – The biggest card of the year highlights the biggest rivalry in UFC history

UFC 214 in Anaheim, California is the most stacked fight card of the year. The main card consists of three title fights, a #1 contender fight and a possible fight of the year candidate.

Main card:

Light Heavyweight: Volkan Oezdemir (+150) Vs. Jimi Manuwa (-175)

This Volkan Vs Jimi matchup could inhibit possible title implications. Volkan Oezdemir made his UFC debut against Ovince St. Preux on short notice in January and took a split decision victory from him. He followed up that performance with a quick knockout of streaking contender Misha Cirkunov in May, proving that his performance against St. Preux was no fluke. Volkan certainly has his hands full against Manuwa however. Jimi Manuwa took some time off after his UFC 191 defeat at the hands of Rumble Johnson, but in his return at UFC 204 he obliterated Ovince St. Preux, knocking him out cold, he followed up that performance with a quick first round knockout victory against Corey Anderson. This fight will end in a Knockout, with KO%’s of 88 and 71 one of these behemoths will fall and its not a matter of if, rather a matter of when. Jimi Manuwa is the more polished fighter in this bout and while Oezdemir has potential, I see his victory over St. Preux as a judge’s mistake. The vast majority of media members had St. Preux winning in that fight, and the quick victory over Cirkunov could easily be seen as a fluke. I know I shouldn’t pick against anyone who’s name is Volkan just because of the pure Bond Villain effect that name has, I’m still going with Jimi Manuwa by KO in the second. Jimi Manuwa Def. Volkan Oezdemir

Welterweight: Robbie Lawler (-153) Vs. Donald Cerrone (+133)

This was my January prediction for fight of the year when this fight fell through at UFC 205. Thankfully, the artistry that was Cub Swanson vs. Doo Ho Choi made up for that disappointment. In all honesty, I’m super excited for this fight. Robbie Lawler is the former UFC Welterweight Champion and was part of two of the best fights ever, one against Rory MacDonald at UFC 189 and the other against Carlos Condit at UFC 195. (Disclaimer, if you haven’t watched that MacDonald Vs. Lawler fight you can’t call yourself an MMA fan.) Lawler then lost his belt to Tyron Woodley at UFC 201 and has taken some time off since then. On the contrary, “Cowboy” Cerrone has been very active and in his last fight we saw that the activity could’ve been detrimental. Cerrone was 4-0 at Welterweight since losing in his Lightweight title shot to Rafael Dos Anjos. He finished Alex Oliveira, Patrick Cote, Rick Story and Matt Brown before a January meeting with Jorge Masvidal in Denver. It seemed like his often active career was his detriment in this one as he was rocked by Masvidal early. In the Matt Brown fight only a few weeks before he was stunned with some strong punches. Jorge took full advantage of Cowboy’s shakiness, defeating Cerrone in the second round. Cowboy has some of the most spectacular striking in the UFC and that mixed in with Lawler’s toughness and move forward mentality could produce the fight of the year if it were to materialize. I have Lawler winning by a decision of some kind and I’m honestly gonna be disappointed if this isn’t a fight of the year contender. Robbie Lawler Def. Donald Cerrone

Womens Featherweight: Cris Cyborg (-1100) Vs. Tonya Evinger (+775)

Germaine de Randamie is going to be seen as a scaredy cat for the rest of her life after refusing to fight Cyborg and moving back down to the 135 pound division, but I for sure don’t blame her. Cyborg is the scariest woman on the planet. Evinger stepped up to the plate in this fight and I see her getting another title shot in the future but not at featherweight against the monster she’s facing on Saturday. Evinger stands no chance in this one. Cris Cyborg Def. Tonya Evinger

Welterweight: Tyron Woodley (-200) Vs. Demian Maia (+175)

Woodley said that training for a fight with Maia made him a much better mixed martial artist and even though I wasn’t there for his camp, I know he is telling the truth. Demian Maia is the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner in the UFC and he has the ability to defeat anyone he faces with only utilizing his bread and butter. Maia has won seven straight and in those seven, defeated Carlos Condit and Jorge Masvidal within the last year to earn this shot. Dana White really did not want to give Maia this shot due to his unexciting style but after a point his reasons for getting the shot were just undeniable. Woodley has fought Wonderboy Thompson in two very close fights since beating Robbie Lawler for the belt. Woodley’s striking against Maia will be ineffective after the first 20 seconds of each round because after that it will be a ground war, Woodley’s Wrestling vs Maia’s BJJ. I think Woodley will win this fight because he is just way too motivated to get a big money payday and since the winner of this fight will fight Georges St. Pierre in November, he will be ready to go to war. Tyron Woodley Def. Demian Maia

Light Heavyweight: Daniel Cormier (+210) Vs. Jon Jones (-250)

The real question around this fight is will it happen. This fight was made for UFC 197 in which D.C. suffered an injury and had to pull out, then again at UFC 200 in which Jones popped for “dick pills”. I can honestly see this fight getting pulled again because of something simple happening like one of them missing weight. Jones’ biggest enemy is himself, he’s been arrested and cited for driving offenses multiple times and has taken pretty much every drug on the planet. Cormier on the other hand has a very clean record and has pretty much been a model citizen with the exception of all of the shit talking he’s talked to Jones that would honestly even take the Devil himself aback.  Cormier’s only loss in his career is to Jon Jones and he has been able to defeat legends in the sport over his career at both Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight. Jones is possibly the most naturally gifted Mixed-Martial Artist to ever step foot in the UFC Octagon. This is a battle of two of the top five pound for pound fighters currently in the UFC. In the fight, I see the same exact outcome as their first battle happening. Cormier will likely win a round with Jones dominating the rest of the fight. Jones will then take the win by Decision. The two competitors took some time to interview with guys at UFC on Fox that’ll really get your juices flowing for the fight. Jon Jones Def. Daniel Cormier

Other Picks:

Ricardo Lamas Def. Jason Knight

Renan Barao Def. Aljamain Sterling

Brian Ortega Def. Renato Moicano

Andre Fili Def. Calvin Kattar

Alexandra Albu Def. Kailin Curran

Jarred Brooks Def. Eric Shelton

Drew Dober Def. Josh Burkman

PS: Jarred Brooks’ nickname is “The Monkey God” and I’m not sure if that is the worst nickname in MMA or the best.

PPS: Rick “The Ginger with Intent to Injure” Pfeifer… That wins the award. Best or Worst? Both.

Follow The Sports Tank’s resident UFC guy on Twitter: @foleypz16

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