- Middleweight – 185 lbs
- Welterweight – 170 lbs
Till to win on points
Hats off to local lad Darren Till for pulling in the UFC to Liverpool for this inaugural event. He is aptly matched for speed, sharpness and cardio in Stephen Thompson, who also operates on the back foot and counters hard. The pair are tough to split which is why we are giving the nod to the more fighter, but only on points. If this was pay-per-view in the USA our prediction would be with Thompson but this is the Liverpudlian’s time to show the welterweight devision he’s the new king of the Octagon.
Magny to win outright
Credit to British debutant Craig White for stepping up to face Neil Magny at short notice on his home stage. It’s a shame the underdog couldn’t wangle in an extra few weeks to fully prepare for an opponent who brings a wealth of Octagon experience and is hitting a purple patch. For those reasons alone we’re tipping Magny to return to USA with another tick in the win column.
Machida to win outright
Finally these two Brazilian Octagon veterans meet after such an elongated wait. If only it could have happened 10 years ago when both fighters were at their peak and mauling any challenger who dared to step in their paths. Time has weakened the prospect of this fight being anything other than a retirement eliminator. Machida possibly edges this one based on sharpness and form, so we’ll be backing him to sneak in a KO or points win.
Maia to win outright
Maia comes to the rescue to save an otherwise sinking Fight Night main card in Chile, South America. He goes into this event as favourite, possibly owing to reputation over recent form. The Brazilian faces Nigerian Usman who knows a thing or two about rag-dolling his way through the welterweight division. Expect the highlights to spring from action on the canvas rather than from any stand-up exchanges. If Maia sticks to his strengths of magicking a submission out of nothing then has has this one in the bag.
Carlos Condit vs. Matt Brown:
Brown to win outright
This a UFC match-up that feels like it should have happened five years ago. The Natural Born Killer isn’t showing good form having been laid off for two years and then making a dog’s dinner of his comeback against Neil Magny. Meanwhile The Immortal is riding high after smashing Diego Sanchez inside one round. Brown holds the upper hand on paper but as we’ve seen when two veterans of the Octagon go at it, anything is possible. It’s Brown who gets our vote – keep ’em peeled for a late TKO.
Gastelum to win outright
Gastelum has been quiet in recent months after demolishing former champion Michael Bisping in the first round. Given that every man and his dog fighting at 185 lbs has thrown their name into the hat for a shot at the title, it’s surprising that we haven’t heard more campaigning from the Californian. He will be a clear favourite in the eyes of the bookmakers and worthy of a high stake, even if the odds are short. Gastelum should do enough to win convincingly for setting the stage for a potential title fight once Whittaker returns from injury. Take the American to win by TKO.
Luke Rockhold vs. Yoel Romero:
Rockhold to win outright
They say that Rockhold, on his day, is the best middleweight on the planet. He didn’t live up to that tagline when he got clocked by Bisping, which almost seems like yesterday. Two years later and he must shake off the ring rust to face an even heavier hitter in Romero who can still move with the best of them at 40 years of age. If Rockhold is 100% fit this is his fit, but should he struggle to find his rhythm then the outcome is 50/50. Context aside, we’ll back The Model for a points win.