What an incredible fight card. I wish I had time to go top to bottom on this one in depth but I have three fights of interest other than what I believe should be the main event: Tyron Woodley vs. Kamaru Usman!
Zabit Nurmagomedsharipov vs. Jeremy Stephens – I think both men have paths to victory in this fight. Jeremy Stephens needs to pressure Zabit with vicious intent early and hope for a night ending body shot. He always has knockout power and he could land but I’m hoping Zabit is more intelligent than that. Zabit has too many tools and is too sharp right now. He’ll weaken Stephens for three and win a very lop-sided decision.
Nurmagomedsharipov: Unanimous Decision
Ben Askren vs. Robbie Lawler – Thank you to the MMA Gods for making this happen. I love Lawler but he’s not the party I’m interested in seeing. No offense but I’ve seen and loved Lawler for years against top notch competition. I have also seen and loved Askren against middle of the road competition. Tonight the stature of the UFC wins. Robbie Lawler is too dynamic a fighter for Askren to dominate on the ground. It will go to the ground and Askren will win when it does but Lawler has one last night of this. He’s war-torn so I like this year off that he’s had. He won’t be as fresh but I think he’ll find a simple test in Askren, even if he fails, stay standing and fire punches intelligently. If Askren wins, it’s a ground and pound victory off a strike, that he’ll land.
Lawler: Unanimous Decision
Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith- There are keys to victory yet again for both men but they are lop sided in the champions favor. Jones is hittable, despite his low frequency of taking punches, he is hittable. I think Smith will find him in a way that no one else has but he’s the champion for a reason. He does anything and everything to win, including cheat but, you know what? He’s going to win this fight again, asterisk or not. Jon Jones will dominate Anthony Smith in round one but it will be a feeling process where Smith will blitz forward and land on Jones who will feel it but he’ll recover with ease and probably get fight ending corner advice. He’ll bring back the domination into round two for a late second round TKO stoppage.
Jones: TKO 2nd Round*