The Ultimate Fighting Championship will kick of 2015 with the UFC 182 card. The Jan. 3 event will be capped with a title headliner featuring Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier.
Here are my UFC 182 Predictions:
Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier (light-heavyweight title fight)
MMA fans will be in for a rare treat when these two undefeated fighters (Jones’ only loss came via DQ during a fight he dominated from start to finish) clash at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Cormier (15-0-0, 6 KOs) has looked pretty good ever since his decision to drop down to the light-heavyweight division, stopping Pat Cummins – who has turned out to be a pretty good fighter – in 79 seconds, then ragdolling Dan Henderson during his next fight, putting the MMA legend away via rear naked choked in the third round.
Jones (20-1-0, 9 KOs) has been just as impressive inside the Octagon lately, handing Glover Teixeira a serious beating earlier in the year.
This fight really comes down to who the better wrestler is which is hard to tell on paper, despite the fact Cormier is clearly the more decorated wrestler.
Both men are very good strikers, defensively and offensively. Jones will enjoy a 12-inch reach advantage, and his legs are significantly longer. That should be enough to give Jones an advantage in the standup department.
Alexander Gustafsson showed us all that there are some holes in Jones standup defense that a fighter with nice hands like Cormier can exploit, but “DC” isn’t anywhere as rangy as the Swede.
This fight comes down to if Cormier can close the distance and land a hard shot that puts Jones away, or take the champ down and score points. DC’s wrestling credentials say he should be able to take Jones down at least a few times at UFC 182.
Not sure he’ll be able to keep him there though.
Jones was really good at getting back to his feet when Gustafsson took him down, and there’s a very good chance he flips the switch on Cormier and puts the former Olympian on his back. That strategy worked well for him against Chael Sonnen and it very well could against DC.
Also, it is worth noting that Jones was able to take Cormier down with ease during their press conference brawl.
DC has the tools needed to give Jones his toughest test ever, and I expect him to do so at UFC 182. The winner of this bout will likely be determined during the fifth round, but given all what I’ve seen from Jones over the years, I expect him to pass this test and cement his status as a very special fighter.
Prediction: Jon Jones wins via decision.
Donald Cerrone vs. Myles Jury
Cerrone (25-6-0, 15 submissions) has been on a tear lately, winning five consecutive fights. Jury (15-0-0, 7 KOs) is yet to taste defeat inside the Octagon, sporting a 6-0 record with the UFC.
Both men are solid strikers, with decent grappling skills to complement their standup skills. The glaring difference between these two is the fact Cerrone has a significant advantage in the experience department.
Cerrone has faced nothing but top contenders ever since he joined the UFC via the WEC merger, and his recent victims include Eddie Alvarez, Jim Miller, and Edson Barboza.
Jury is yet to face top-level opposition (unless you count a 36-year-old Takanori Gomi or a punchy Diego Sanchez) and Donald Cerrone is a legit contender for the lightweight title.
It’s hard to see Jury emerging victorious from this one.
Prediction: Donald Cerrone wins via KO.
Remaining UFC 182 Predictions:
Nate Marquardt defeats Brad Tavares
Kyoji Horiguchi defeats Louis Gaudinot
Hector Lombard defeats Josh Burkman
Danny Castillo defeats Paul Felder
Marcus Brimage defeats Cody Garbrandt
Shawn Jordan defeats Jared Cannonier
Evan Dunham defeats Rodrigo Damm
Omari Akhmedov defeats Mats Nilsson
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 182 Predictions FightPicks shortly before the prelims start. Up +17.94 units so far this year.