After months of shit talking and speculating as to who’s the better man in life outside of the Octagon, former Strikeforce heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier will finally have his chance to try and defeat Jon “Bones” Jones—the youngest UFC champion ever, and the guy to literally reveal to the world the very real mortality of some of the sport’s biggest legends—and take the light heavyweight title belt for himself after its been with Bones since he snatched it right out of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s grasp.
Who knows what’s going to happen—Daniel Cormier is an incredible athlete, and his accolades speak loudly enough. As a former Olympic wrestler and a legendary NCAA D1 wrestler, he’s made some people look weak and unprepared when prior to their encounter with this guy they seemed pretty damn good. Without a doubt, Bones vs. D.C will be one of the best fights the UFC has ever, ever put on, and we cannot wait to see if Jones truly is the Chosen One or if Cormier is the one to change the light heavyweight division forever.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick glimpse at some of the more exciting preliminary fights that will lead to this upcoming Saturday’s main card, which also features a co-headliner between Cowboy Cerrone and Myles Jury, as well as appearances from Hector Lombard and Nate Marquardt.
Once upon a time, Evan Dunham was a rather promising Lightweight prospect. Time hasn’t been kind to him, however, and he’s found himself having lost four of his last five wins. Granted, he faced Rafael dos Anjos—the current number one contender to Pettis’s crown—Cowboy Cerrone and Edson Barboza, in that order. No easy task, but three straight losses are a dangerous for any man fighting in the middle of the pack. He faces Rodrigo Damm, who’s been on a similarly lukewarm run in the Octagon, losing to Al Iaquinta and Rashid Magomedov earlier this year. Damm’s been knocked out and technically knocked out a few times, but what he lacks in his striking game he certainly makes up for in his submissions, having amassed six wins in his professional career by way of submissions. Expect Damm to try and bring the fight to the floor in order to avoid the three inches that Dunham holds over him.
Dunham is the more complete fighter with strong ground game and better striking than Damm—this will most likely go to decision.
Team Alpha Male’s Danny Castillo, who will face Paul Felder in another lightweight bout, needs to really bring his top game if he is to win this match. He hasn’t been flying the flag as high as the rest of his teammates. Paul Felder is undefeated with nine wins under his belt, and Danny Castillo is coming off a wishy-washy 2014, with a win over Charlie Brenneman—who was just let go from the UFC for a lack of wins—and a loss to the rising Tony Ferguson. Now, Castillo’s been saying that he’ll be “teaching Felder how to lose,” but Felder, low-key as he is, is a very dangerous opponent, with six of his nine wins coming by TKO or KO. It’ll be a battle, no doubt.
In the women’s matchup, Alexis Dufresne faces Marion Reneau, whose last three wins have all occurred within the fight’s first round. Dufresne, however, has finished her first five professional fights in the first half of the first round. But even with that in mind, she’s had trouble making weight, which might present a problem for her when she faces Reneau in terms of being in shape. If she comes in looking good, she’ll most likely just plow through the smaller Reneau, but if she’s not, Reneau might just come out on top for a relatively big upset.
Of the Dagestanis, Omari Akhmedov is not the best, but he still brings the kind of signature heated striking of his compatriots like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Rashid Magomedov. Facing the Swedish Mats Nilsson, who is most likely not going to be as strong as his opponent, having dropped to welterweight from middleweight. If Mats Nilsson allows for Akhmedov to connect strikes, he’ll lose quite quickly.
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