UFC 235: Usman v. Woodley Official Prediction

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Okay, it’s 5:52 CST and I’ve got to get home to these fights. As always I use my Fight Analysis Criteria to make these predictions.

  1. Usman and Woodley had the common opponent of Demian Maia with Colby Covington fighting him in between.
  2. Demian Maia has a pressure style but as he’s said in his fights before that no one needs to get hurt and he rarely does in his competition in the modern era. Somehow, Maia’s style allows him longevity so he looked very good in both fights. In five against Tyron, he was active and pursued many takedowns to failure. He looked okay for five against Usman, perhaps wars with Tyron and Colby slowed him or perhaps it’s a testament to Usman. We’ll see. Just know that their fight with him as a mutual opponent is relevant. There are times when that is not the case. Looking at their mutual opponent: Demian Maia, I must say that Usman looked better. He had sharper rounds four and five after a strong turn of the tide in the third. He got his confidence boost by stuffing all takedowns in round one, stuffing them easier in round two while mounting an offense, and comfortably stopping them in round three while focusing on his offense ahead of defending. The opposite could be set of Woodley. Woodley’s confidence came strongest in round two and continued into round three after stuffing all of Maia’s take downs in round one and realizing that he could do so easily. In round four, he put his defense ahead of his offense and stayed that way in the championship rounds of four and five.
  3. Tyron Woodley is 5’9″, 170 lbs, has a 74 inch reach, and is 36 years old. Usman is 6’0″, 170 lbs, has a 76 inch reach, and is 31 years old. Usman is longer, taller, and younger. In this case, Tyron is just at the age where his age could still be a benefit considering potential for maturity and experience – he has 23 professional fights to Usman’s 15 and 3 losses to Usman’s 1. However, since it’s all so close, it’s a stale mate. Usman still wins the tale of the tape on height and reach.
  4. This is among the most interesting fights in welterweight history. These men are evenly matched in so many ways. Both men are coming to impose their will and Tyron is a much stronger, more explosive fighter with tighter punches and excellent counters. Usman will be ready for it. He’ll pursue take downs early and land successful leg kicks in the first round and he’ll always be out of reach and at the end of Tyron’s explosions that will be placed sparsely throughout the round coming off the fence. Round two will be similar and Woodley will spend a great deal of time feinting and exploding and Usman will react and clinch. Neither man will have much success in round two. In round three Usman will mix up body kicks and clinch work. He’ll try some to chain some wrestling together against the cage and tire out Tyron who will defend it. This is Tyron’s greatest opportunity to land a tight hook inside and put Usman down and he might but it will be towards the end of the round and Usman will himself safe in full guard. Woodley will come out either confident from the knockdown in three or he’ll come out explosive in four to show he has it. Usman will begin to impose his will chaining take downs and more effective clinch work and distance striking to win this round. Usman will also win round five in a similar fashion. I just don’t see Tyron’s explosions being effective on Usman as they were not against Maia.
  5. X-Factors: Woodley training with Funky Ben Askren is going to be just the trick for Usman’s attempts at cage wrestling but Woodley will still tire from defending all of it. Usman needs to turn up the pace even more than usual and doing so may put him at risk for Woodley’s tight and powerful right counter. Kamaru Usman turns it on in rounds three, four, and five, and Tyron Woodley turns it on in two and slows down by four. Woodley is a massive step up for Usman whose gas tank will be used for more than stuffing takedowns and avoiding set up striking from Maia. The same can be said for Tyron. Tyron has more power, Usman has more pace. Pace wins this one.

Official Prediction: Kamaru Usman by Split Decision.

 

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