TJ DILLASHAW VS CODY GARBRANDT
Cody Garbrandt has the power, skill and determination to beat TJ Dillashaw and regain his bantamweight title in the main event of UFC 227 this Saturday. Dillashaw has the same tools to make it 2-0 against his former teammate. So what this fight may come down to is who was affected more by their first bout in NYC last November? Suffering your first loss, and by knockout, no less, can be a traumatic blow to a fighter’s ego, and some are never the same again. If Garbrandt comes into this fight the slightest bit gun-shy, Dillashaw may repeat that result at STAPLES Center. But if Garbrandt is still the cocky gunslinger who nearly stopped Dillashaw at the end of the first round, this then turns into a five-round war of wills which has the potential to be the best bantamweight title fight ever. These guys are that good.
He proved his point.
DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON VS HENRY CEJUDO
Is two years enough for Henry Cejudo to beat Demetrious Johnson the second time around? Well, it’s tough to pick anyone against “Mighty Mouse,” but Cejudo still has world-class wrestling, his standup game looked spectacular against Wilson Reis, and if he’s been obsessed with Johnson since their first bout, I will refer back to Antonio Tarver’s rematch with Roy Jones Jr., when he shocked the world and knocked RJJ out. Writing up the story after the fight, I called it a magnificent obsession, and maybe that’s what it takes for Cejudo to do his own world shocking this weekend.
THIAGO SANTOS VS KEVIN HOLLAND
Thiago Santos isn’t the kind of guy most would like to face in their UFC debut, but Kevin Holland appears to be cut from a different cloth than most. Calm, cool and collected, Holland embraces moments like this, and now it’s up to him to perform against a fighter coming off a knockout loss, but who has the power and experience to spoil Holland’s first visit to the Octagon.
POLYANA VIANA VS JJ ALDRICH
The UFC’s strawweight division is stacked with talent, but that talent has been there for years leaving precious little room for the next generation to start making their presence felt. That changes on Saturday, as Polyana Viana and JJ Aldrich have the opportunity and the main card platform to announce their arrival as the next big thing at 115 pounds.
CUB SWANSON VS RENATO MOICANO
If you’re a fan of MMA, then you’re a fan of Cub Swanson, and this weekend he will have plenty of friends and family cheering him on as he fights a short trip from his hometown of Palm Springs. It’s a tough fight for Cub in the form of rising star Renato Moicano, but with life outside the Octagon better than ever for the California veteran, that usually translates into winning performances on fight night.
PEDRO MUNHOZ VS BRETT JOHNS
A good scrap is expected when top 15 bantamweight contenders Pedro Munhoz and Brett Johns square off. Both are coming off losses, so expect to see them hungrier than ever to get back to winning ways and on track for a 2019 crack at the 135-pound crown.
RICKY SIMON VS MONTEL JACKSON
I loved the Ricky Simon vs. Benito Lopez matchup, but maybe that one’s just not in the cards after several near-misses. But we’ve got a quality replacement opponent in unbeaten Montel Jackson, and given Simon’s impressive come from behind win over Merab Dvalishvili in his UFC debut earlier this year, there should be some fireworks in LA.
MATT SAYLES VS SHEYMON MORAES
One of five graduates from Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Matt Sayles may be a newcomer to fighting in the UFC, but he has been around UFC-level talent for years as a member of the Alliance MMA team. Not surprisingly, he will be in tough against Brazil’s Sheymon Moraes, who is looking for his first Octagon win after dropping his debut to Zabit Magomedsharipov.
"I just hope to prove to everybody and change their mind by showing that I can be one of the best and that I’m a lot more talented than people might give me credit for.” - At just 24 years old Matt Sayles is out to prove himself. #UFC227
Any longtime boxing fan will tell you that there was nothing like the LA battles between two Latino fighters back in the 70s. Consider this the MMA version of that, as Alex Perez faces Jose Torres in an early Fight of the Night candidate at 125 pounds.
RICARDO RAMOS VS KYUNG HO KANG
It was loud in Madison Square Garden when Ricardo Ramos knocked Aiemann Zahabi out with a spinning back elbow in November. But you could still hear the blow land at Octagonside. Add in Ramos’ ground game and he’s a scary matchup for Kyung Ho Kang or anyone at 135 pounds.
DANIELLE TAYLOR VS WEILI ZHANG
The only numbers you really need to know when it comes to Chinese newcomer Weili Zhang are that she’s 16-1 with 16 consecutive wins and 15 finishes. Those are “WOW” numbers. And yeah, she wasn’t facing UFC competition like Danielle Taylor night in and night out, but you’ve got to pay attention to see what she brings to the Octagon this weekend.
"This guy is gonna throw punches and try to put me out. So I’m gonna be smart enough to stick to the game plan and just beat this guy.” - @ChitoVeraUFC on his #UFC227 opponent Wuliji Buren.https://t.co/5xxP0TmtZv
— UFC News (@UFCNews) August 2, 2018
It’s a short notice opportunity for Marlon Vera to snap a two-fight losing streak against Wuliji Buren and, on paper, the Ecuador native should have the skill and experience to do so. But Buren is hungry and determined to get his first UFC win, and if he catches Vera napping, he has the tools to pull off the upset.