The much anticipated return of Conor McGregor at UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor is just hours away from lighting up a sold out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

UFC 229, regardless of outcome, will undoubtedly generate the most PPV buys for the promotion since 2016 as the companies biggest star and revenue generater returns to competition. A buzz will be in the air this weekend. There are a bunch of great fights in store, from the curtain jerker on the Early Prelims up until the title fight in the Main Event. Action begins with

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims 6:30PM/ET
Fox Sports 1 Prelims 8:00PM/ET
UFC 229 Main Card PPV 10:00PM/ET

UFC 229 Main Card Predictions

#8 Michelle Waterson (+110) vs. #9 Felice Herrig (-130)

“The Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson (15-6-0) and Felice “Lil Bulldog” Herrig (14-7-0) kick off the Main Card in a battle of ranked Strawweights jockeying for key position in the division. Felice Herrig is trying to get back in the win column after seeing a four fight win streak come to an end in her last bout, a Unanimous Decision loss to Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 223 in Brooklyn earlier this year. Following back to back losses to current Champ Rose Namajunas and fellow contender Tecia Torres, the Karate Hottie was able get her groove back and grind out a split decision win over a very game opponent in Courtney Casey at UFC Fight Night Glendale in April.
This is a pretty evenly matched fight. Waterson holds the technical edge, while Herrig is stronger overall and as tough as they come. Note: Herrig has never been finished in 21 professional bouts.

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: Waterson via Decision

D’Bo’s Picks: Waterson via Second Round Submission

#2 Derrick Lewis (+150) vs. #5 Alexander Volkov (-170)

Derrick “the Black Beast” Lewis (20-5-0) and Alexander “Drago” Volkov (30-6-0) collide in an important Heavyweight clash. Both Volkov and Lewis guys are used to winning roughly four out of five times they step into a cage, so neither of these guys like to give an inch to their opponents. While the Black Beast has been plagued by back problems at times in victory (F. Ngannou, T. Browne) and defeat (M. Hunt, etc.), he has found himself ranked the highest (#2) in his UFC career and Lewis is right there in the Heavyweight title picture.

Literally standing in his path to the belt is 6’7 Alexander Volkov. After finishing former Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum in the headliner at UFC London, Drago is himself a win away from fighting in a number one contender bout with a win over Lewis. In addition to beating Werdum, Volkov has wins over Tim Johnson, Roy Nelson, and Stefan Struve on his resume since joining the promotion in 2016. Pretty impressive stuff.

I’m gonna take the Black Beast to get the job done, in a high pressure situation.

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: Lewis via Second Round KO

D’Bo’s Picks: Volkov via Decision

#7 Ovince Saint Prieux (+180) vs. #12 Dominick Reyes (-220)

“OSP” Ovince Saint Prieux (23-11-0) will face the “Devastator” Dominick Reyes (9-0-0) in what should be an exciting Light Heavyweight fight. Since April 2017, OSP has won four out of five bouts, receiving Performance bonuses three times for his stoppage wins over Tyson Pedro, Corey Anderson and Yushin Okami. Since joining the UFC in June 2017, Dominick Reyes is 3-0 with three First Round stoppages of Jarod Cannonier, Jeremy Kimball, and Joachim Christensen. Reyes is a former football captain and graduate of Stony Brook University, and will be looking to showcase his talents against the toughest opponent he has faced in his career. OSP is always slept on, but I believe Reyes will stick to form and get the job done once again by First Round Knockout.

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: Reyes via First Round KO

D’Bo’s Picks: Reyes via First Round KO

#2 Tony Ferguson (-350) vs. #8 Anthony Pettis (+290)

Former Interim Lightweight Champion Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson (24-3-0) returns from a freak knee injury to face Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (21-7-0) in the UFC 229 Co-Main event. After injuring his knee during media obligations for UFC 223 in Brooklyn, and having the UFC strip away his Interim Lightweight belt almost immediately, El Cucuy will return to action this weekend with a chip on his shoulder. Ferguson is still riding a ten fight streak dating back to 2012. He has won a performance or Fight of the Night bonus in five of his last six bouts, with the lone exception being his Interirn title winning submission of Kevin Lee at UFC 215.

Anthony “Showtime” Pettis showed some flashes of his old self in his last fight at UFC 226, earning a Performance of the Night bonus for his First Round stoppage (body kick) of Michael Chiesa. Pettis is now 2-1 since moving back to the Lightweight last summer. Pettis
will be competing on the same card as his brother, Sergio, for the first time Showtime lost his belt to Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 185 in 2015. Anthony had previously vowed to avoid fighting on the same card again, due to the emotional tension in the locker room that exits for a pair of brothers that are together readying for individual fights. Sergio will be competing against Jussier Formiga on the Fox Sports Prelims in an important Flyweight matchup. It will be interesting to see if that result impacts Showtime as he heads into battle with a blood thirsty Boogeyman.

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: Ferguson via Second Round Submission

D’Bo’s Picks: Pettis via Third Round KO

MAIN EVENT—UFC Lightweight Championship

{C} Khabib Nurmagomedov (-165) vs. #1 Conor McGregor (+145)

The King is back! The “Notorious” Conor McGregor (21-3-0) returns to the Octagon following a near two year layoff to face undefeated rival, UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0-0). The clash between these two was inevitable, but the Media Day drama—involving McGregor and company retaliating in defense of Artem Lobov being bullied by Khabib in an exchange caught on camera the day before. The infamous “Dolley Attack” response on the Fighter bus in the Barclays Center loading area carrying Khabib— resulted in McGregor’s New York arrest, multiple legal disputes and fight cancellations on the UFC 223 Card.

And then we fast forward six months.

The first Press Conference two weeks ago at (an empty) Radio City Music Hall in New York City, promoting UFC 229 saw a brash McGregor hurl a tirade of insults and expletives at Khabib and his crew. Khabib was cool as usual, but Saturday, is when we shall see all the bad blood finally boil over.

Will Khabib stay composed and exact his plan to beat an opponent as talented as McGregor? Khabib is undefeated with twenty six wins. That’s insane. But he has never fought anyone remotely close to McGregor’s striking abilities. Conor’s precision in striking and footwork could spell Khabib’s demise, unless Khabib can prove that his chin can withstand a shot from McGregor. These two will definitely dislike each other before, after, and during the fight, but I am excited to see how it all shakes out.

I think the UFC’s biggest star will deliver. The King is back!

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: McGregor via Second Round KO

D’Bo’s Picks: McGregor via First Round KO

The UFC is off for the next three weeks before heading to Canada 🇨🇦 for UFC Fight Night Moncton: Volkan vs. Smith. Share your thoughts and picks with us for UFC 229 in the Comments section below, and enjoy the fights! 👊🏻