UFC 214 takes place this Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. SCU’s two resident MMA experts (a.k.a. the only guys on staff who watch the sport enough to write articles on it) Kody & Andrew take a look at the action set to take place Saturday night on Pay-Per-View featuring Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones, Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia, and Cris Cyborg vs. Tonya Evinger.
Jimi Manuwa (MMA Record: 17-2) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (MMA Record: 14-1)
Andrew: Going into this fight, Jimi Manuwa comes into having won three of his last four bouts. After suffering a K.O. loss to Anthony Johnson on September 5th, 2015, Manuwa bounced back with two straight wins coming via K.O. His opponent, Volkan Oezdemir will be going into what will be his third UFC bout against many consider to be a top contender in the division.
Both fighters have won the majority of their fights by way of knockout, so this should be an interesting striking battle. While Manuwa has more experience than Oezdemir in the UFC, I can see Oezdemir getting the win here. I’m expecting this to be a fun bout, as Manuwa is a three time performance bonus winner, and Oezdemir’s fights rarely go to a decision. Don’t sleep on this PPV opener, and don’t sleep on Oezdemir.
Kody: Jimi Manuwa is a guy who had somewhat made a name for himself before ever stepping foot in the octagon (meaning I had heard of him before lol) and has consistently been pretty impressive throughout his career. He is 17-2 (6-2 in the UFC) and his only losses are to two of the top light heavyweights of this generation in Alexander Gustaffson and Anthony Johnson. I admittedly did not know anything about his opponent Volkan Oezdemir going into this review, but I see that he used to fight for Bellator, is 14-1 in his career and has 10 knockout victories. I also saw that he beat Ovince St Preux in his promotional debut for the UFC, which is no easy task as OSP has proven to be a solid measuring stick in his career thus far.
On paper it looks like this could be a very exciting fight, these 2 guys have 31 wins between the 2 of them of 25 of those come from via knockout, so I expect a fantastic stand up battle. With wins of OSP and Misha Cirkunov, Oezdemir had made his early UFC career on upset wins, and if he can do it again against Jimi Manuwa he will be joining an elite group of fighters to accomplish the task. With that being said, I see Jimi Manuwa getting the win and further cementing himself as one of the most interesting prospects at LHW.
Robbie Lawler (MMA Record: 27-11-1) vs. Donald Cerrone (MMA Record: 32-8-1)
Andrew: This was supposed to take place at UFC 213 in Las Vegas earlier this month. It ended up being pushed back after Donald Cerrone suffered a staph infection and pulled groin. Both fighters will go into this bout looking to bounce back from K.O./T.K.O. loses. Cerrone comes into this fight after suffering a T.K.O. loss against Jorge Masvidal on January 28th, 2017, snapping a four fight winning streak. Lawler will enter this bout for the first time since losing the UFC Welterweight Championship to Tyron Woodley on July 30th, 2016.
People who follow Mixed Martial Arts will probably tell you that this is a “Dream Fight” of sorts. A lot of people will be overly hyped up for this bout. There’s a reason for that. Robbie Lawler and Donald Cerrone are known for going to war when they’re inside the cage. I don’t expect this one to be any different. This is a fight that could go either way, but I see Robbie Lawler getting the win here. He’s had plenty of time to rest since his last bout, and will probably be the fresher fighter due to Cerrone having some injury issues not so long ago. Still, this should be a really fun fight.
Kody: In as long as I’ve watched MMA there has only been one fight I was more excited for when it was announced then I am for this one. That fight was also a welterweight fight, between Carlos Condit and Matt Brown (who are two of my favorites). Unfortunately that fight was plagued with injuries and never materialized. This fight had some issues with injury and I had a horrific case of deja vu, but am relieved it was quickly and will hopefully be able to take place on Saturday.
On paper this fight has fight of the night written all over it. A lot of times fights with this much hype tend to fail expectations but I don’t see how that would be possible with these dudes. I am constantly going back and forth on who I think will win this fight and it will probably change a million times before Saturday, but right now I am predicting Cerrone will get a little to brawl happy, and that will cost him with Lawler’s power.
UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship: Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (MMA Record: 17-1-1) vs. Tonya Evinger (MMA Record: 19-5-1, current Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion)
Andrew: Cris Cyborg finally gets her chance to fight for a UFC championship. After vacating the Invicta FC Featherweight Championship, Cyborg was aiming for a bout with former UFC Featherweight Champion Germaine de Randamie. After refusing to defend the title against Cyborg, de Randamie was stripped of the championship by the UFC. The UFC would eventually try to set up Cyborg vs. the current Invicta FC Featherweight Champion Megan Anderson at UFC 214 to crown a new champion, but Anderson dropped out due to personal reasons.
Now Cyborg will face the current Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion Tonya Evinger. Evinger (who won the first women’s MMA bout sanctioned by the CSAC in 2006 against Brittany Pullen) has fought mostly at 135lbs., and will be moving up a weight class for this bout. I can see that being a factor in this bout that will favor Cyborg. I think she’ll be able to press Evinger to control the fight, and will possibly score a TKO victory midway through the fight. Evinger is a very game opponent, but I don’t think she poses much of a threat to Cyborg. Then again, this is MMA. Anything can happen, and I could end up being completely wrong.
Kody: After all this time Cyborg is finally getting the title shot that everyone and their mother has been calling for. It wasn’t supposed to come against Tonya Evinger, but Megan Anderson pulled out, giving Evinger a golden opportunity, or potentially a death sentence. Cyborg is easily one of the most feared woman to ever fight in an octagon and has been on a tear while clamoring for this title fight.
Evinger is no slouch, she holds a title in the all female MMA promotion Invicta and is actually the more experienced fighter with 25 pro fights. That being said, Cyborg hasn’t lost a fight since her pro debut, which was in May of 2005 and she racked up 15 knockout wins her 19 fight career. I love a good underdog story, and would be generally shocked if Evinger pulled off a win, but I simply don’t see it happening. Cyborg takes this, probably by K.O.
UFC Welterweight Championship: Tyron Woodley (c) (MMA Record: 17-3-1) vs. Demian Maia (MMA Record: 25-6)
Andrew: After losing to Rory MacDonald on February 22nd, 2014, Maia started to go on a seven fight winning streak going into this title fight. With wins over names such as Gunnar Nelson, Matt Brown, Carlos Condit, and Jorge Masvidal, Maia was able to earn a shot against Woodley. For Maia, this will be his first title fight since losing a shot at the Middleweight Championship against Anderson Silva on April 10th, 2010.
While Maia has an amazing jiu-jitsu game that has brought him a lot of success recently, Tyron Woodley has a really strong wrestling background to counter that. Tyron’s biggest advantage comes in the striking department. I think that’ll be enough to keep Maia from being able to utilize his jiu-jitsu in this fight. As long as he keeps it standing, i can see Woodley retaining his title here.
Kody: I feel like a lot of people would call this a fight a wrestler vs BJJ match up, which I guess at its core might be true, but it is so much more then that. Maia is a former middleweight title contender, and has been on an absolute tear through the Welterweight division, racking up 7 wins over some pretty impressive talent like Andrew mentioned. I have been super impressed seeing the progression Maia has made in his stand up game and overall as a competitor.
The best way I can describe was Woodley has been doing is beastly. Much like Maia he started as someone who was very good at one thing, and you’ve been able to watch his growth as a mixed martial artist. I would be lying if I said Tryon was my favorite current title holder and quite frankly I’m not a huge fan of his (mostly because of what he did to Robbie Lawler) but my bias doesn’t blind me to what he is capable of doing. Maia has the Jiu Jitsu to submit anyone on any day, and on paper a good B.J.J. practitioner can be the kryponite to an aggressive wrestler, but I think Woodley’s strength and power are going to prove to much and Woodley will remain the champ, leaving me to think if Maia will always be a bridesmaid and never the bride, as the saying goes.
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Cormier (c) (MMA Record: 19-1) vs. Jon Jones (MMA Record 22-1)
Andrew: When these two men first faced each other on January 3rd, 2015, Jon Jones came out victorious handing D.C. his first and only loss in MMA. Since then, Daniel Cormier turned things around by winning the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and has gotten wins over Anthony Johnson, Alexander Gustafsson, and Anderson Silva. For Jon Jones, a series of personal and legal issues has had the former champion sidelined in the time since, with Jones having only fought once on April 23rd, 2016 for interim championship that he was later stripped of.
This is a really hard fight for me to cool. So much time has passed since their first encounter, and both guys are likely going to be coming into this looking very different. It’s hard for me to predict a winner in this one, but I’m gonna go with Jones via decision to reclaim his title. I think that despite his time away from competition, he’ll be able to get the better of Cormier. He was able to figure out D,C. before, and I think he’ll do it again. He’s one of the most skilled competitor in MMA today, and also has a high Fight I.Q. to go with those skills. I don’t think it’ll be as one-sided as their first fight was though. I think Cormier will put up a better fight, but I’m going with Jones on this.
Kody: After the UFC 200 fiasco I was pretty harsh on Jon Jones. I had spent the entirety of his career defending him only to be proven wrong time and time again. At that time I called for him to never fight again, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for this fight. I am very curious to see the Jon Jones that (hopefully) shows up come fight night. I would argue that he was the best fighter in the world, and the first time he fought D.C. he showed he was light years ahead.
That being said Jones had been out of commission for awhile now, and Cormier has been winning fights in that time frame. It’ll be interesting to see if Jones squandered away his best years, or if he will be able to find the form that made him the best in the world. Cormier presents himself as a generally nice dude and I feel like I should support him, but I can’t help myself from returning to the dark side. I say Jones wins the title back, and I am suckered back into being a big fan of his.
Andrew: UFC 214, on paper, looks like it could be one of the best UFC cards of the year. The main card is loaded with title fights and star power, and the prelims look very solid with Ricardo Lamas vs. Jason Knight, Aljamain Sterling vs. Renan Barão, and Brian Ortega vs. Renato Moicano being featured on FXX prior to the pay-per-view. This should be a fun one.
Kody: Overall this card is super solid and as much as I would love to be there live, I am looking forward to sitting with my family and friends and enjoying this card from top to bottom. On paper it looks like there is a lot of opportunity for fun fights and big finishes, and I am curious to see who steps up big on this card.
UFC 214 takes place Saturday, July 29th, 2017 at the Honda Center live on Pay-Per-View at 7pm PDT. Prelims begin on UFC Fight Pass at 3:30pm PDT, and contiunue on FXX at 5pm PDT.