UFC Heavyweight Championship: Stipe Miocic (c) (17-2) vs. Francis Ngannou (11-1)
Luke Irwin: Ye of little faiths in Stipe. Jeez, champ can’t get a break. Nobody’s doubting Ngannou’s power, but when was the last time you saw Miocic starched? Even on the occasions he does get rocked, his recovery time is top-notch. I think he drags Ngannou into the later rounds and wears him out. Miocic via R4 TKO.
Nolan Howell: Miocic is way too hittable on the feet to survive one Ngannou punch, but really, who could survive one anyway? That isn’t a knock on Miocic. Ngannou has handled competent wrestlers before Miocic and Miocic will be best served to get the fight down and serve up some ground and pound. I don’t think he gets the chance though as Ngannou shrugs him off and finds a spot. Francis Ngannou by first-round KO.
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Cormier (c) (19-1) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (15-1)
Luke: Same as above, really. Cormier has faced the best of the best at both light heavyweight and heavyweight, and except for his last bout with a juiced-to-the-gills Bones, doesn’t get rocked. Cormier’s gas tank is fantastic and I’m banking on him cashing in on his prediction on the Jim Rome show, and finish him in the late rounds. Cormier via R4 Submission.
Nolan: Is Volkan Oezdemir’s name Jon Jones or did he sell his soul at the crossroads for the soul of Jon Jones? No? Daniel Cormier by unanimous decision.
Featherweight Bout: Calvin Kattar (17-2) vs. Shane Burgos (10-0)
Luke: As far as regionals go, this is East coast vs. New England, CFFC vs. CES. “The Boston Finisher” hasn’t finished a fight since 2010. I think Burgos has real potential and more weapons at his disposal. Burgos via R2 Submission.
Nolan: Both have gotten past some of the tougher gatekeepers in the UFC, but Burgos has been more tested in two fights. Though the hometown booking would suggest otherwise, it seems like the Bronx will be better than Boston, not that the town isn’t used to that already. Shane Burgos by unanimous decision.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Francimar Barroso (19-6) vs. Gian Villante (15-9)
Luke: Real battle of light heavyweight start-and-stop gatekeepers here on this main card. Sort of a tossup. Barroso via SD.
Nolan: Nothing against Villante, but when it comes to picking his fights, the best thing to expect is his inconsistency. Francimar Barroso by unanimous decision.
Bantamweight Bout: Rob Font (14-3) vs. Thomas Almeida (21-2)
Luke: This could steal the show and be a barnburner. Both of these guys have insane power for any division but especially for bantamweights. When two strong strikers enter against each other, it either results in fireworks, or a horrible kickboxing bout. Going with the former on blind faith. Almeida via R1 TKO.
Nolan: Almeida will come forward and pressure Font and it will depend on whether Font can counter effectively or gets drawn in. Almeida is the more dangerous fighter on the feet and sometimes that’s enough. Thomas Almeida by second-round TKO.