Nunes vs Pennington

UFC 224 Fight Card Preview and Predictions: Nunes vs. Pennington

Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington

The UFC 224 main event will see Amanda Nunes aim to defend her UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship for a third time. She faces Raquel Pennington, who is riding a four-fight win streak coming into the title fight.

Because of that, Pennington will be better served taking that approach to Nunes while fighting from range in order to stay out of the way of the Brazilian’s devastating strikes and knockout power.

Raquel Pennington recent form and fight record

Res. Opponent Method Event Date
Win Miesha Tate Decision (unanimous) UFC 205 November 12, 2016
Win Elizabeth Phillips Decision (unanimous) UFC 202 August 20, 2016
Win Bethe Correia Decision (split) UFC on Fox: Teixeira vs. Evans April 16, 2016
Win Jéssica Andrade Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 191 September 5, 2015
Loss Holly Holm Decision (split) UFC 184 February 28, 2015

Amanda Nunes recent form and fight record

Nunes, on the other hand, needs to gain the upper hand early by implementing a more aggressive approach on the feet, much like she did against former champion Ronda Rousey. While such an approach carries risks, it will leave Pennington on the back foot, which may make it easier for Nunes to take the fight to the ground.

Res. Opponent Method Event Date
Win Valentina Shevchenko Decision (split) UFC 215 September 9, 2017
Win Ronda Rousey TKO (punches) UFC 207 December 30, 2016
Win Miesha Tate Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 200 July 9, 2016
Win Valentina Shevchenko Decision (unanimous) UFC 196 March 5, 2016
Win Sara McMann Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Saint Preux August 8, 2015

 

A BJJ black belt and a Judo brown belt, Nunes has a bigger advantage on the ground against Pennington than she does on the feet. This means that Nunes will have a better chance at dominating and winning the fight by taking it to the ground.

Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington prediction

It will be a close fight with Nunes and Pennington both mainly fighting from range and occasionally landing solid, clean strikes. Nunes has a lot of momentum behind her at this point and that will make all the difference in this bout.

Nunes via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 49-46).


Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza vs Kelvin Gastelum

The co-main event of this weekend’s UFC 224 card sees The Ultimate Fighter 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum face former Strikeforce Middleweight champion Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza. It will be a huge match for both fighters, as the winner will cement themselves as a top contender at 185 pounds and may even see themselves next in line for a title shot.

Despite having fought some of his career as a welterweight, Gastelum is a strong middleweight fighter as seen by his TKO finishes over Michel Bisping, Tim Kennedy and Nate Marquardt. While he cannot be overaggressive against Jacare, Gastelum needs to move forward and look for opportunities to land powerful strikes against the Brazilian.

Kelvin Gastelum recent form and fight record

This will likely make Jacare shoot for desperate and telegraphed takedowns, which will wear him out and allow Gastelum to take advantage and finish Jacare early.

Res. Opponent Method Event Date
Win Michael Bisping KO (punch) UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Gastelum November 25, 2017
Loss Chris Weidman Submission (arm-triangle choke) UFC on Fox: Weidman vs. Gastelum July 22, 2017
NC Vitor Belfort NC (overturned) UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum March 11, 2017
Win Tim Kennedy TKO (punches) UFC 206 December 10, 2016
Win Johny Hendricks Decision (unanimous) UFC 200 July 9, 2016

Against a talented and young fighter like Gastelum, Jacare will need to use his 14 years of MMA experience – and the smarts that have come with it – to reign victorious. The Brazilian will be best placed by being his slight reach advantage and landing quick and effective counter strikes while making Gastelum miss.

By doing this, Jacare has a much better chance of tiring Gastelum out, which will make him easy to be taken down and submitted by the submission master that is Ronaldo Souza.

Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza recent form and fight record

Res. Opponent Method Event Date
Win Derek Brunson KO (head kick and punches) UFC on Fox: Jacaré vs. Brunson 2 January 27, 2018
Loss Robert Whittaker TKO (head kick and punches) UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Reis April 15, 2017
Win Tim Boetsch Submission (kimura) UFC 208 February 11, 2017
Win Vitor Belfort TKO (punches) UFC 198 May 14, 2016
Loss Yoel Romero Decision (split) UFC 194 December 12, 2015

Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza vs Kelvin Gastelum prediction

It will all depend on whether or not age has caught up to the 38-year- old Jacare. He looked good against Derek Brunson back in January, and we think he’ll continue to look good and beat Gastelum via submission in the 3 rd or 4 th rounds.


Vitor Belfort vs. Lyoto Machida

UFC 224 will see two Brazilian legends – Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida – go head to head in a main card clash. Although both fighters are past their primes, the fact that this may be the final fight for both fighters means Machida and Belfort will bring everything they have into the Octagon.

Vitor Belfort recent form and fight record

Res. Opponent Method Event Date
Win Nate Marquardt Decision (unanimous) UFC 212 June 3, 2017
NC Kelvin Gastelum NC (overturned) UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum March 11, 2017
Loss Gegard Mousasi TKO (head kick and punches) UFC 204 October 8, 2016
Loss Ronaldo Souza TKO (punches) UFC 198 May 14, 2016
Win Dan Henderson KO (head kick and punches) UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3 November 7, 2015

One of Belfort’s keys to victory has been his speed, which has contributed to his many finishes inside the Octagon. However, like most ageing fighters, Belfort has slowed remarkably in recent years, which means he will put himself at great risk if he brings his traditionally aggressive approach to Machida’s precise counter-striking style.

Instead, Belfort will be better served by bringing a more diverse game plan to the fight. Machida is known for using kicks in almost all his fights, and Belfort may have a better chance of winning by countering Machida’s kicks with takedowns.

Lyoto Machida recent form and fight record

Res. Opponent Method Event Date
Win Eryk Anders Decision (split) UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Anders February 3, 2018
Loss Derek Brunson KO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida October 28, 2017
Loss Yoel Romero KO (elbows) UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Romero June 27, 2015
Loss Luke Rockhold Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC on Fox: Machida vs. Rockhold April 18, 2015
Win C.B. Dollaway TKO (body kick and punches) UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dollaway December 20, 2014

Machida has traditionally gained a reputation for being an elusive, hard-to- hit fighter, but this has changed for the worse as he also continues to slow down with age. The former UFC Light Heavyweight champion has also shown himself to be easy to knock down and finish in his last few fights, which is good news for Belfort and his powerful hands.

In order for Machida to win, he can continue to fight at range given that Belfort likely no longer has the speed and movement to get inside and stun Machida with strikes. However, he needs to diversify his approach to ensure that he does not leave himself vulnerable to being finished.

Vitor Belfort vs. Lyoto Machida prediction

Both fighters will have their moments, but age and ring-rust will be the defining factors leading to who wins this weekend. Whilst Belfort still wields phenomenal power he may wear himself down in attempting to unload on Machida, who is no stranger to evading danger by anticipating his opponents’ ring craft. Back Machida to take out a close decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

 

Find more UFC fight tips and predictions on our UFC homepage. 

Leave a Reply