The new WME-IMG era hasn’t seen a lot of success with UFC pay-per-views just yet. Ownership has had issues with injuries and lackluster cards and must be wondering when they’ll start making a return on their $4-billion investment.
UFC 210 might not be a stacked card, but it has a few bouts that should get some eyeballs. With no Ronda Rousey or Conor McGregor, the promotion has been looking for a big draw. They clearly miss Light-Heavyweight Jon Jones who is set to return from his suspension this summer. He will most definitely want his title back and so Daniel Cormier (18-1) defending that light-heavyweight title against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-5) will be of interest.
Also in the co-main event is a middleweight matchup that on paper appears to be a real barn burner. Chris Weidman (13-2) looks to return to his winning ways against a dangerous Gegard Mousasi (41-6-2).
The rest of the card is solid but it’s the main and co-main events of the evening where we will spend most of our prognosticating energy on as we predict the winners of those two great fights.
UFC 210 Odds and Predictions
Daniel Cormier (c) (-120) vs. Anthony Johnson (+100)
This is the second time these two light-heavyweights will face off, and although it’s easy to reimagine a different result, I’m having a tough time going against Cormier.
The 37-year-old, who last competed back in July at UFC 200, had to face Anderson Silva on short notice. As a result, the former U.S. Olympic wrestler played it safe in his strategy by out wrestling and grinding his opponent to much to the fans chagrin. Cormier won a lackluster decision but once again failed to win over the UFC fanbase. The champ doesn’t deserve the boos and hate he receives but until Jon Jones returns to rightly claim what’s his, Cormier will forever be recognized as a placeholder instead of the great fighter he truly is. To watch a former Olympic wrestler dominate the sport of MMA is something to behold and we should appreciate the talent.
So as we wait for the second coming of Jon “Bones” Jones this summer, Cormier and Anthony Johnson get to decide who will face the former champ.
Johnson is the most feared power puncher in all of combat sports. He has a right hand that could end the fight as soon as it starts, not to mention a left head kick that could knock an opponent’s cranium into the 4th row.
However, the last time these two men faced off, Cormier weathered the Johnson storm and was able to grind the big man down until he was able to slap on a rear-naked choke in the third round. “Rumble” Johnson isn’t built to throw power punches past two rounds and Cormier has that wrestling pedigree that can go all night.
If Johnson wants that light-heavyweight title, he needs to finish the fight early otherwise it’s going to be a similar result to the one we saw back at UFC 187 in 2015.
Winner: Daniel Cormier (And still UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion)
Gegard Mousasi (-125) vs. Chris Weidman (+105)
Remember when people were singing the praises of Chris Weidman being the unstoppable wrestling machine in the UFC’s middleweight division? Well, he was stopped. Twice.
The former champ is coming off two knockout losses in a row, both in devastating fashion. First, there was Luke Rockhold taking Weidman to the proverbial woodshed for a prolonged beating at UFC 194 and then the former two-time Division 1 All-American ate a massive flying knee courtesy of Yoel Romero at UFC 205. For the first time ever, the New York native looks beatable.
Meantime, his opponent, Gegard Mousasi, is on a four-fight win streak and another victory could catapult him nicely into the middleweight title mix. Unfortunately it’s a tad crowded in that group with Georges St. Pierre and middleweight champ Michael Bisping holding things up with a proposed bout happening sometime later this year.
A win over Weidman could mean Mousasi might be the guy to face the likes of a Yoel Romero or the winner of Robert Whittaker and Jacare Souza at UFC on FOX 24 as we wait for the result of the GSP vs. Bisping matchup.
Mousasi was a prodigy fighter who was considered to be a guy who would win multiple championships and be the next big thing. However, since the international fighter made his UFC debut in 2011, he battled two years of inconsistency and a laissez-faire attitude when it came to being the best. But maturity is a funny thing, as the 31-year-old has finally put it all together and is now living up to the grand expectations that were put on him at a very young age.
Weidman will have to use all the wrestling he can muster to stay away from Mousasi’s high-level striking. The problem is Mousasi is no slouch on the ground and has an excellent submission game. Closing the distance will be key for Weidman so that he avoids Mousasi’s vicious kicks and killer combinations.
Mousasi may not be able to wrestle at Weidman’s level, but if he can avoid the clinch and mix up his striking similar to what Rockhold’s strategy was, this fight could end in a TKO. It’s tempting to take Weidman via decision in this fight but a motivated Mousasi has more weapons in his toolbox.
Winner: Gegard Mousasi