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Blessed Vs. T-City is the best fight of the year, Don’t @ me. – UFC 231 Preview


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UFC 231 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada takes place on Saturday and it is one of the best fight cards of the year regardless of promotion. The main event is a Featherweight Championship matchup between Brian “T-City” Ortega and Max “Blessed” Holloway. While the Co-Main Event is arguably the best fight in Women’s MMA History, Joanna Jedrzejczyk Vs. Valentina Shevchenko, for the Vacant Women’s Flyweight Championship.

Light Heavyweight: Jimi Manuwa (+165) Vs. Thiago Santos (-205)

Jimi Manuwa is getting no respect with these odds, Thiago Santos is a great fighter, and yes he did just get a great main event victory against Eryk Anders, but the oddsmakers are missing a huge piece of the fight. Thiago Santos is a natural Middleweight and Jimi Manuwa is a natural Light Heavyweight. Now, Jimi Manuwa is coming off of two straight losses for the first time in his career, but people are forgetting that it wasn’t too long ago when Thiago Santos was knocked out by David Branch. I’m picking Manuwa to win by KO in the Second round. Jimi Manuwa Def. Thiago Santos

Featherweight: Hakeem Dawodu (-175) Vs. Kyle Bochniak (+145)

Hakeem Dawodu will be looking to build momentum in the talent-packed Featherweight division as he faces known savage, and Massachusetts Native,  Kyle Bochniak. Dawodu built his name in the World Series of Fighting before moving over to the UFC and is currently 1-1 in the organization with a win over Austin Arnett. Bochniak currently 2-3 in the organization, but his most impressive performance came very recently in a loss to Zabit Magomedsharipov. Bochniak was able to show his toughness and heart in the cage as he was able to stand and bang with one of the brightest prospects in the sport and it became a fight of the year contender. I’m torn on this one so I’m picking my fellow New Englander in Bochniak. Kyle Bochniak Def. Hakeem Dawodu

Welterweight: Gunnar Nelson (-135) Vs. Alex Oliveira (+105)

Gunnar Nelson hasn’t been in the Octagon in quite a while now hasn’t he? If my memory serves me correctly, he was last active when he got knocked out by Santiago Ponzinibbio last year in Glasgow. The Icelandic Nelson is looking to show the Welterweight division that he is still there and he’ll be able to against the always game Alex Oliveira. Alex Oliveira has shown an ability to finish his opponents inside the octagon, of his nine wins in the UFC, he has finished seven of them and has had performance bonuses in three of his last four fights. When I look at the metrics of this fight I notice one thing, Nelson losses his fights when they go the distance. Nelson’s primary objective’s should be to get this fight to the ground and stay out of Oliveira’s leg striking range. If Nelson can do those two things, I expect him to get the submission victory. Gunnar Nelson Def. Alex Oliveira

Women’s Flyweight: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (+270) Vs. Valentina Shevchenko (-360)

As I stated previously, this fight is arguably the best fight in Women’s MMA History, and the crazy part is that this will be Joanna Vs. Valentina part four. For those of you who didn’t know, Joanna and Valentina met three times previously in Muay Thai Matches in Thailand and Korea. These two come into this fight coming from very different paths. Joanna has had quite a bit of success in the UFC as she was a multiple time UFC Strawweight Champion and was only recently dethroned by Rose Namajunas. Valentina Shevchenko has conversely had some bad luck for someone of her caliber. Shevchenko lost her title shot at bantamweight against Amanda Nunes by the slimmest of margins and then after nearly killing a girl in Brazil (in the octagon, relax) she gets a shot at Nicco Montano’s Flyweight title. Montano missed weight and was hospitalized therefore her belt was stripped. Shevchenko now is able to finally fight for a title at her natural weight. In those three previously mentioned Muay Thai Fights, Shevchenko won all of them I expect her to finally get some luck on her side and win the vacant strap. Valentina Shevchenko Def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk. 

Featherweight: Brian Ortega (-120) Vs. Max Holloway (-110)

Read the title. I am SOOOOOOOOOO Pumped up for this fight. Brian Ortega and Max Holloway are without question the two best Featherweight’s on the planet and are finally meeting in what I believe is going to be the best title fight of 2018. Title fights in the UFC usually have a bit of controversy surrounding them and it’s usually based around if the challenger deserves the shot at the title. In this case, there is no ambiguity. Ortega is easily the top contender in the division and Max Holloway is always down to face whoever the UFC gives him. Max is on an impressive twelve fight win streak and was able to finish nine of them. He beat high-level opponents such as Andre Fili, Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira, Jeremy Stephens, Ricardo Lamas, Anthony Pettis, and Jose Aldo twice and was mostly able to win with his striking abilities. Meanwhile, Brian Ortega is undefeated as a professional and was able to finish every UFC fight he has had, including victories over Cub Swanson and Renato Moicano, he was also the first man to ever finish UFC legend, Frankie Edgar. This fight is going to be incredible and we kind of know how the two will act. Max will try to stay off the canvas and pepper Ortega with strikes while Ortega will likely trade with Max and try to press the fight over to the cage so he can push Holloway down to the mat from the clinch against the cage. I do not usually pick against reigning champions and I’m not going to this time, Holloway will go to decision with Ortega while facing some adversity and win a very close fight. While I predict that will happen, you never really know for sure which is why MMA is an incredible sport. Max Holloway Def. Brian Ortega

Other Selections:

Women’s Strawweight: Claudia Gadelha (-315) Def. Nina Ansaroff (+245)

Lightweight: Olivier Aubin-Mercier (-120) Def. Gilbert Burns (-110)

Women’s Flyweight: Katlyn Chookagian (-190) Def. Jessica Eye (+155)

Middleweight: Eryk Anders (+100) Def. Elias Theodorou (-130)

Bantamweight: Matthew Lopez (+160) Def. Brad Katona (-200)

Welterweight: Chad Laprise (-375) Def. Dhiego Lima (+285)

Lightweight: Diego Ferreira (UNL) Def. Kyle Nelson (UNL)

Light Heavyweight: Aleksander Rakic (-600) Def. Devin Clark (+400)

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