UFC 189. Jose Aldo Pulls out of fight with Conor McGregor due to Injury
UFC 200. Jon Jones is pulled from main event with Daniel Cormier because of a Positive Drug Test
UFC 213. Amanda Nunes is pulled from main event a few hours from scheduled bout with Valentina Shevchenko due to illness
UFC 226. Max Holloway is pulled from Bout with Brian Ortega with Concussion-Like Symptoms.
UFC 239. Nothing massive yet
My point is International Fight Week has been plagued by bad luck and injuries in the recent past and so far the event looks to be solid. With two great headlining title fights and a solid preliminary card, UFC 239 looks like one of the biggest cards of the year.
Welterweight: Michael Chiesa Vs. Diego Sanchez
Michael Chiesa makes his Sophomore appearance at Welterweight on Saturday when he takes another former Lightweight in Diego “The Dream, The Nightmare, Lionheart” Sanchez. In his first Welterweight Fight, Chiesa made quick work of his childhood idol Carlos Condit, submitting him in the first round and it looks like the change in weight class is going to help him greatly. Diego Sanchez, along with being a great fighter, is a psycho, but he is our psycho. He defeated Craig White and Mickey Gall in his most recent fights and looks to add another victory against an opponent of a much higher caliber than his last two. I believe that Chiesa will take the win. Diego is a timeless warrior but Chiesa looks much bigger than him in the face offs and considering he was moving up in weight it’s remarkable.
Light Heavyweight: Luke Rockhold (-230) Vs. Jan Blachowicz (+180)
I think that Luke Rockhold is massively overrated. Contrarily, I think Jan Blachowicz is underrated. Rockhold is making his first walk as a Light-Heavyweight and I believe that will severly diminish him. Much like Kevin Lee when he had a poor performance in his first Welterweight fight against RDA. He also hasn’t fought in about 16 months, which should hurt his performance. Jan Blachowicz had a four fight winning streak going into a bout with current title contender Thiago Santos, having wins over Devin Clark, Jared Cannonier, Nikita Krylov and Jimi Manuwa. I’m taking Blachowicz to pull the upset.
Welterweight: Ben Askren (-225) Vs. Jorge Masvidal (+175)
After seeing Ben Askren’s first UFC walk, I wasn’t incredibly impressed. The controversial end to his fight with Robbie Lawler is one of the main reasons as to why I’m not convinced that Askren is as high-caliber as everyone says, especially because he was almost finished by Lawler in the first minute. Jorge Masvidal is coming off of the biggest win of his career when he knocked out Hometown Favorite Darren Till in London. Riding that momentum into a fight with a guy who he doesn’t like in any way, I see a very motivated Masvidal taking a close decision. Jorge Masvidal Def. Ben Askren
Women’s Bantamweight: Amanda Nunes (-400) Vs. Holly Holm (+300)
Amanda Nunes has only had one fight in the last four years that wasn’t a pure and absolute domination of the opponent and that was Nunes’ UFC 215 Title Rematch with Valentina Shevchenko. Shevchenko has gone on to become queen of the 125 pound weight division and Nunes responded to that performance by wrecking Raquel Pennington and Cris Cyborg in back to back fights. She Really only has one name left to take out before we can call her the greatest Women’s Mixed Martial Artist of all time and that name is Holly Holm. Holm, who is best known for Head-Kicking Ronda Rousey into next tuesday, is certainly a well known name to those people who aren’t hardcore’s which is why she is the last name on Nunes’ hitlist. I think that Nunes will take a decision, Holm has proven to be very durable as she went the distance with Cris Cyborg before Cyborg lost to Nunes, something unimaginable to some. The only way that I can see Holm winning is by a Headkick Knockout, similar to what she did to Rousey and Bethe Correia. Still, Nunes will likely win. Amanda Nunes Def. Holly Holm
Light Heavyweight: Thiago Santos (+450) Vs. Jon Jones (-700)
The next challenger for Jon Jones is the Brazilian former Middleweight Thiago Santos. Santos has been like the Sledgehammer tattooed on his chest since his move up to Light Heavyweight. Defeating Kevin Holland, Eryk Anders, Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz, all very impressively. Santos is really getting this shot because Light Heavyweight is being streached very thin right now and even though they’ve got a few former Middleweight’s moving up, like Santos, it’s still probably the weakest division in the Men’s ranks other than Flyweight. Jon Jones had two very impressive return fights in his victories over Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Smith. The crazy thing about Jones’ return I think Jon Jones will win for a few reasons. One, his reach will once again be a problem for his opponent. Two, he’s been active recently and when he’s active he’s better. Three, he’s Jon Jones and he will Eye Poke his opponent or tear Thiago’s knee up with Oblique Kicks. Shout out to my friend Tom who thinks Thiago will win, but I highly doubt it. Jon Jones Def. Thiago Santos
Featherweight: Gilbert Melendez (+265) Def. Arnold Allen (-350)
Bantamweight: Marlon Vera (-550) Def. Nohelin Hernandez (+375)
Women’s Strawweight: Claudia Gadelha (-240) Def. Randa Markos (+190)
Featherweight: Alejandro Perez (+175) Def. Yadong Song (-225)
Middleweight: Edmen Shahbazyan (-650) Def. Jack Marshman (+425)
Welterweight: Ismail Naurdiev (-500) Def. Chance Rencountre (+350)
Women’s Bantamweight: Julia Avila (-220) Def. Pannie Kianzad (+170)