The Ultimate Fighting Championship will head to Poland for the first time for the UFC Fight Night 64 card. The event will be headlined by Pride legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović and the first man to knock him out inside the Octagon, Gabriel Gonzaga.
Here are my UFC Fight Night 64 predictions:
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Mirko Filipović
A battle between two MMA veterans that seem to be past their prime, this could either turn out to be quite entertaining given both men are in similar phases of their MMA careers, or the worst main event in UFC history. Gonzaga (16-9-0, 9 submissions) is coming off back to back losses, while Cro Cop (30-11-2, 22 KOs) has back-to-back knockout victories against Satoshi Ishii.
The first fight between these two was a rather one-sided affair that came to an end when Gonzaga landed a rather unexpected head kick, handing Cro Cop his first loss in the UFC.
Both men have had limited success since their first encounter, including multiple knockout losses to mid-tier competition. Clearly, neither man’s chin is really there at this point, meaning this fight could easily go either way.
Cro Cop is the technically sharper striker, but he’ll be in over his head if the fight hits the ground. However, I expect him to do a better job of keeping the fight standing this time around. The Croatian has been more committed to the grappling arts since his first run in the UFC, and while that doesn’t mean he’ll anywhere close to Gonzaga’s level BJJ wise, his improved wrestling should be the different maker at UFC Fight Night 64. Gonzaga last two performances have been arguably the worst of his UFC stint, making this the perfect time for Mirko to avenge the loss. I expect Cro Cop to stuff a few takedowns attempts early on and force a stoppage via strikes, most likely via head kick.
Prediction: Mirko Cro Cop wins via knockout.
Jimi Manuwa vs. Jan Błachowicz
Certainly the most hype worthy fight on this card, expect fireworks when these two collide. Manuwa (14-1-0, 13 KOs) is coming off the first loss of his MMA career to Alexander Gustafsson, while Błachowicz (18-3-0, 7 submissions) made a strong statement during his UFC debut, pulling off a huge upset against Ilir Latifi via knockout.
Both men are excellent strikers, and a majority of their UFC Fight Night 64 contest will likely be contested standing up. As impressive as Błachowicz looked against Latifi, Manuwa has looked even better against tougher competition, and he should be able to get the better on the striking exchanges until he lands something big.
Prediction: Jimi Manuwa wins via knockout.
Remaining UFC Fight Night 64 Predictions:
Pawel Pawlak defeats Sheldon Westcott
Joanne Calderwood defeats Maryna Moroz
Seth Baczynski defeats Leon Edwards
Bartosz Fabiński defeats Garreth McLellan
Sérgio Moraes defeats Mickael Lebout
Yaotzin Meza defeats Damian Stasiak
Anthony Hamilton defeats Daniel Omielańczuk
Izabela Badurek defeats Aleksandra Albu
Marcin Bandel defeats Steven Ray
Taylor Lapilus defeats Rocky Lee
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 Fight Night 64 FightPicks shortly before the prelims start. Up +16.35 units so far this year.