The Ultimate fighting championship will head down to Mexico for the first time in its history on Nov. 15 for the UFC 180 card. The original headliner for the event was a heavyweight title bout featuring defending champion Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum, but an injury to the former ended those plans. Now, Mark Hunt will step up and face Werdum for the interim heavyweight title at the Mexico City Arena.
Here are my UFC 180 predictions:
Fabrício Werdum vs. Mark Hunt
Hunt (10-8-1, 7 KOs) looked awesome during his last outing, becoming the first person to stop Roy Nelson inside the Octagon. Fabricio Werdum (18-5-1, 9 submissions) wasn’t able to finish Nelson during their encounter, but he did hand out a rather vicious beating, making it clear he was the superior MMA fighter.
Werdum has been the most impressive heavyweight not-named Cain Velasquez (or Daniel Cormier when the big man was still fighting in the big boy division), and his evolution from a BJJ specialist to an amazingly well rounded mixed martial artist with exceptional striking skills is nothing short of spectacular.
Mark Hunt has also made some improvements over the years, but this is an incredibly tough matchup for him. Werdum is the rangier man, and he’ll enjoy a five-inch reach advantage when he squares off against Hunt. Werdum is also the technically superior striker, then there’s the fact he’ll enjoy a huge advantage if the fight hits the ground.
Sorry Mark Hunt fans, but your boy only has a puncher’s chance here.
Prediction: Fabricio Werdum wins via TKO.
Jake Ellenberger vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Gastelum (9-0-0, 3 KOs) remains undefeated inside the Octagon, and he’ll be in for a stiff test when he squares off against Ellenberger (29-8-0, 18 KOs) at UFC 180. Luckily for him, Ellenberger is coming off consecutive losses to Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler respectively, so he doesn’t exactly have a lot of momentum heading into his showdown with Kelvin.
On paper, Ellenberger is the better grappler, but Gastelum’s wrestling is good enough to force a standup battle. Ellenberger has serious power in his hands, but Gastelum is the more efficient striker. Kelvin should get the better of the striking exchanges, and establish himself as a contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division.
Prediction: Kelvin Gastelum wins via decision.
Ricardo Lamas vs. Dennis Bermudez
Bermudez (14-3-0, 4 KOs) made a strong statement during his last outing, handing out a vicious beating to Clay Guida. He’ll now get an opportunity to establish himself as a title contender when he squares off against Lamas (14-3-0, 4 KOs) at UFC 180.
Bermudez has come a long way since his days on the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter reality TV series, significantly improving his striking, grappling, and his ability to mix things up. Bermudez has started to show signs that he is a special MMA fighter, so I expect him to pass this test in flying colors.
Prediction: Dennis Bermudez wins via TKO.
Remaining UFC 180 Predictions:
Edgar García defeats Héctor Urbina
Jessica Eye defeats Leslie Smith
Augusto Montaño defeats Chris Heatherly
Alejandro Pérez defeats José Alberto Quiñónez
Gabriel Benitez defeats Humberto Brown Morrison
Enrique Briones defeats Guido Cannetti
Marco Antonio Beltran defeats Marlon Vera
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.
Don’t forget to check out my UFC 180 FightPicks shortly before the prelims start. Up +19.38 units so far this year.