UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship: Amanda Nunes (c) (15-4) vs. Raquel Pennington (9-5)
Nolan Howell: Pennington has a solid boxing game and is mostly known for being a really game and pressuring fighter, but against the lengthy striking game of Nunes, that really won’t matter all that much. Pennington can be exploited in the clinch and tie-up situations as well and Nunes seems to be one of the stronger women at featherweight as it is, so there really just doesn’t seem to be an avenue for victory for Pennington here. Amanda Nunes by third-round TKO.
Middleweight Bout: Kelvin Gastelum (14-3) vs. Ronaldo Souza (25-5)
Nolan: Souza has become a problem on the feet, but Gastelum is a good striker who often relies on the threat of the takedown to set up his striking. When that is taken away here against a world-class grappler like Souza, it might not be as easy for him. The taking away of the mixture in Gastelum’s game makes me lean towards Jacare here. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza by second-round submission.
123-lb Catchweight Bout: Amanda Cooper (3-3) vs. Mackenzie Dern (6-0)
Nolan: Dern’s stand-up last fight looked like a liability to me against someone like Cooper. Though the ground game will always be the bread and butter and is enough of a margin to make Dern the favorite, I like Cooper to get in enough punches early to throw off Dern and get the upset. Amanda Cooper by unanimous decision.
Bantamweight Bout: Brian Kelleher (19-8) vs. John Lineker (30-8)
Nolan: Lineker seems to have found his stride at bantamweight and won’t put himself into too much trouble against the power submission game that Kelleher has while having the advantage striking. John Lineker by second-round TKO.
Middleweight Bout: Lyoto Machida (23-8) vs. Vitor Belfort (26-13)
Nolan: Machida has always been the better striker of the two, though I would have liked to see this match almost five or six years ago, when Belfort was practicing a more karate style. However, barring Belfort capturing his old speed, this should be Machida pacing himself to a highlight reel KO in the sunset of his career. Lyoto Machida by first-round KO.