The most anticipated fight event of 2018, UFC 226: Miocic vs. Cormier highlights UFC’s International Fight Week this weekend in Las Vegas.
With two title fights and headlined by the Superfight between Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic and Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier, and accompanied with a stacked card from top to bottom, Saturday night cannot come soon enough! We are covering every fight on the card, so make sure to checkout both of our Main Card and Prelims Preview and Predictions. Actions begins with:
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims 6:30PM/ET
FOX Sports 1 Prelims 8:00PM/ET
UFC 226 PPV 10:00PM/ET
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:30PM/ET)
Jamie Moyle (-210) vs Emily Whitmire (+175)
Jamie Moyle (4-2-0) and Emily “Spitfire” Whitmire (2-2-0) look to bounce back from recent losses as they meet in the first bout on the UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims. After a successful promotional debut in 2016 against Kailan Curran, Moyle would go on to loss a close decision to Viviane Periera at UFC 212 in December. Whitmire, a Bang Muay Thai practitioner, was submitted by Gillian Robertson in her debut last December on the Ultimate fighter 26 finale. It will be interesting to see which fighter has developed their game more since their recent setbacks. I expect Moyle, who will certainly have a grappling edge, to take the fight to the mat and sync in a fight ending submission.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮 Moyle via First Round Submission
D’Bo’s Picks: Moyle via Decision
Dan Hooker (-130) vs. Gilbert Burns (+110)
Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (16-7-0) enters his bout with Gilbert “El Durinho” Burns (14-2-0) having won four of his last five fights. “The Hangman” has three straight finishes with devastating knockouts of Ross Pearson and Jim Miller, and a submission of Marc Diakiese. Gilbert Burns has won three of his last four, highlighted by consecutive knockouts of Jason Saggo and most recently Dan Moret at UFC Glendale in April. Will it be Hooker or Burns whose win streak comes to an end. Both of these guys are capable of ending the fight at the drop of a hat, but I am siding with the Hangman to continue his ascension of the Lightweight division, and potentially earning a place in the division rankings with another stellar performance.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮 Hooker via Second Round KO
D’Bo’s Picks: Hooker via Decision
FOX Sports 1 Prelims (8PM/ET)
Curtis Millender (-165) vs. Max Griffin (+145)
Curtis “Curtious” Millender (15-3-0) makes his second Octagon appearance against Max “Pain” Griffin (14-4-0) in a bout between two fighters whose stock is on the rise in the Welterweight division. A winner in two of his last three, and coming of a helluva performance against Mike Perry at UFC Orlando in February, Max Griffin looks to put together consecutive wins and continue shaking things up at 170 pounds. A decorated striker, Griffin has as shown a lot of heart and durability that hasn’t gone unnoticed. Curtis Millender got people’s attention in his UFC debut by dismantling and finishing veteran Thiago Alves at UFC Austin in February. Millender is on a current seven fight win streak and would really make some noise if he is able to stop Max “Pain”. Should be a great fight that may go either way.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮 Griffin via Decision
D’Bo’s Picks: Millender via Decision
Lando Vannata (-180) vs. Drakkar Klose (+160)
“Groovy” Lando Vannata (9-2-1) and Drakkar Klose (8-1-1) meet in an interesting Lightweight matchup as both fighters look to get back on track. Groovy Lando is coming off a great battle with Bobby Green at UFC 216 that resulted in a Draw. At 1-2-1 through four fights in the UFC, this is an important fight in shaping Lando’s career trajectory. Drakkar Klose shares a 2017 decision loss with Vannata against David Teymur. In December, Klose came up short against Teymur on his home turf at UFC 218 in Detroit. Teymur beat Vannata at UFC 209 by unanimous decision in March 2017. This is a tough one to call. Vannata is a tricky opponent and a dynamic striker, but Drakkar Klose is certainly the more well rounded fighter. Whoever controls the dance will get their hand raised.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮 Klose via Decision
D’Bo’s Picks: Vannata via Second Round KO
#3 Raphael Assuncao (-165) vs. #11 Rob Font (+145)
The always overlooked and under appreciated Raphael Assuncao (26-5-0) faces Rob Font (15-3-0) in yet another bid to position himself as first in line as the next Bantamweight title challenger. Let’s just get it out there and put it simple: Assuncao is 10-1 in his last eleven against top level contenders. His only loss in that span was in a rematch against current champion TJ Dillashaw at UFC 200. Assuncao beat Dillashaw in their first meeting at UFC São Paulo in 2013.
Since losing to Dillashaw, Assuncao has consecutive wins over Aljamain Sterling, Marlon Moraes and most recently earning a Performance of the Night bonus for his first round knockout of Matthew Lopez at UFC Norfolk in November 2017. Raphael also holds career wins over Jorge Masvidal and Joe Lauzon. Can this man get some love? I believe Assuncao is paving his own way to the top, but Rob Font, a winner in three of his last four, and who is coming off an impressive stoppage win over Thomas Almeida isn’t going to just roll over. Font ‘s length and use of his jab could potentially stifle the must shorter Assuncao, but with over an eighty percent win rate Raphael will find a way.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮 Assuncao via Second KO
D’Bo’s Picks: Assuncao via Decision
#9 Uriah Hall (+345) vs. #10 Paulo Costa (-430)
Uriah Hall (14-8-0) aims to dethrone rising talent “the Eraser” Paulo Costa (11-0-0) from the ranks of the unbeaten in a great matchup of top ten Middleweights to wrap up the Prelims. The unbeaten Brazilian improved to 3-0 inside the Octagon, by picking up his third consecutive knockout win against former Welterweight Champ Johny Hendricks in November at UFC 217 in Madison Square Garden. While Hendricks announced his retirement from
the sport last week, Costa has his sights set on his next target Uriah Hall. Hall put an end to a three fight losing streak by finishing Krzysztof Jotko in his bout at UFC Pittsburgh in September. Hall is always a game competitor with plenty of good wins on his resume, I just think he susceptibility to the power punch will deal his fate against the Eraser.
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮 Costa via First Round KO
D’Bo’s Picks: Hall via Second Round KO
Next weekend, the UFC heads to Idaho for UFC Fight Night Boise: Dos Santos vs. Ivanov— another great card that has a number fun fights and matchups to look forward to. As always, share your thoughts and picks with us in the Comments section below and enjoy ALL of the fights this weekend!! 👊🏻