The KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York is the venue for UFC 210 with the light heavyweight rematch between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson headlining.
And ahead of fight night we’ve once again enlisted the services of Ultimate Fight Chat.
In a new twist, our friends at UFC have brought lightweight star Stevie Ray onboard.
‘Braveheart’ has weighed in with his own predictions below in a new feature we’re calling ‘The Writer versus The Fighter’.
Check it out…
DANIEL CORMIER vs. ANTHONY JOHNSON
In the absence of Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier has established himself as the kingpin of the light-heavyweight division.
The only blemish on the record of DC is that loss to Jones but since then he has won three straight, including defeating Anthony Johnson.
When Johnson and DC first squared off, the fight played out as many expected.
“Rumble” caught DC early but Cormier weathered the storm and eventually ground Johnson down, forcing the tap to claim the victory.
Just like the last encounter, this match-up is effectively raw power versus dominant wrestler.
Cormier has now felt the power of Johnson and I doubt he’ll want to feel it again, so we’re expecting him to come looking for the takedown from the get go.
The best chance for “Rumble” here is to clip him early again but be careful not to gas himself out with the follow up. He can’t afford to run out of steam, and most importantly, he needs to avoid those takedowns.
Johnson has a lot more about his game then just knockouts but we don’t believe he can outclass Cormier in any other department. For us, this fight will go much the same as the last, Johnson will chase the knockout, empty his gas tank, get taken down and possibly submitted again.
Ultimate Fight Chat: Daniel Cormier Stevie Ray: Anthony Johnson
CHRIS WEIDMAN vs. GEGARD MOUSASI
This is the perfect match-up for a middleweight division already littered with potential title challengers.
Gegard Mousasi has been on a lethal streak of late.
After suffering a surprise defeat to Uriah Hall in 2015, he bounced back by winning his next four straight and the last three of those by knockout.
“The Dreamcatcher” is a finishing machine, ending 34 of his 41 victories early. While Mousasi has been riding high, the same cannot be said for Chris Weidman.
“The All-American” went 10-0 to claim the middleweight strap in 2013 and followed that up with three successful title defences, before Luke Rockhold put him to the sword at UFC 194.
After an eleven month absence due to injury, Weidman next stepped inside the Octagon to face Yoel Romero at UFC 205 but again he suffered a defeat, this time by a brutal flying knee knockout.
After recording two consecutive stoppage losses, Weidman is in desperate need of a victory.
Mousasi generally doesn’t have many weaknesses but the one thing that has let him down in the past, and could be a major factor in the outcome of this fight, is his wrestling.
Weidman is an exceptional wrestler and we expect him to play it safe here and stick to his strengths. But we still feel that once Mousasi is able to stay off his back, he will be able to inflict enough damage to claim the victory, and possibly another knockout too.
Ultimate Fight Chat: Gegard Mousasi Stevie Ray: Chris Weidman
CYNTHIA CALVILLO vs. PEARL GONZALEZ
Cynthia Calvillo impressed in her UFC debut, submitting Amanda Cooper in just three minutes to extend her unbeaten record to 4-0.
Despite only having four pro fights to her name, Calvillo boasts an amateur record of 5-1 and the product of Team Alpha Male comes highly regarded by head coach Urijah Faber.
Calvillo, like most at Team Alpha Male, is an extensive grappler but more recently she has shown progress in her stand up.
Making her UFC debut opposite Calvillo on Saturday is Pearl Gonzalez. After losing her MMA pro debut in 2012, Gonzalez has since racked up six straight victories, five ending inside the distance.
She is another fighter with a solid wrestling background and is always searching to set up a submission.
This fight will most likely be determined by who gets the advantage on the ground. We think that will be Calvillo. The team and individuals she trains with are far superior to that of Gonzalez and that, coupled with the strong improvements in Calvillo’s overall game, leads us to believe she will be victorious come Saturday.
We’re going with Cynthia Calvillo to remain undefeated and continue her rise up the strawweight ladder.
Ultimate Fight Chat: Cynthia Calvillo Stevie Ray: Cynthia Calvillo
THIAGO ALVES vs. PATRICK COTE
Both these fighters are wily veterans of the sport with a wealth of experience inside the Octagon.
Thiago Alves returns to the welterweight division after an unsuccessful attempt at dropping to lightweight, missing the weight limit by seven pounds.
In his prime, Alves was one of the finest strikers in the division, once racking up five consecutive TKO victories caused by knees. But a long injury layoff seems to have curbed his predator instincts of late.
Patrick Cote has been in and around the top end of the rankings for some time and has fought some of the best talent the division has to offer.
Prior to losing to “Cowboy” Cerrone, Cote had won three straight, the last two by TKO. This will mark Cote’s 21st UFC appearance, having gone 10-10 thus far.
Both fighters are now on the wrong side of 30, both are coming off losses and both will be eager to show they can continue fighting with the UFC.
If Alves lets the shackles off, we can see him cruising this but Patrick Cote can never be counted out, he has shown a knack for grinding out decision victories before. But we’re sticking with Thiago Alves doing enough to get the win.
Ultimate Fight Chat: Thiago Alves Stevie Ray: Patrick Cote
WILL BROOKS vs. CHARLES OLIVEIRA
This is one of the standout fights on the card and has all the ingredients to be Fight of the Night.
Will Brooks moved from Bellator to the UFC in early 2016 with a big reputation and an impressive record of 19-1.
After an unspectacular debut win against Ross Pearson, Brooks then suffered his first defeat in three years, a KO loss to Alex Oliveira.
Brooks is a very versatile fighter with controlled explosiveness but so far he has been too restrained and will need to let go of the reigns if he is to fulfill his title aspirations.
Charles Oliveira has had a bad dip in form of late, only winning once in his last four. “Do Bronx” is a submission specialist but has been on the receiving end of his own expertise in his last two fights, tapping out to both Ricardo Lamas and Anthony Pettis.
Oliveira will have a three inch reach advantage for this fight and this becomes important because everything he does comes disguised behind his jab.
Brooks will need to work inside quickly and most likely tie him up and force him to the mat. If the fight gets there it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s over because Oliveira is still dangerous working off of his back, so Brooks will need to remain wary.
We give the overall edge to Brooks and we’re expecting him to grind out another decision victory.
Ultimate Fight Chat: Will Brooks Stevie Ray: Charles Oliveria
BEST OF THE REST
Myles Jury vs. Mike De La Torre
Jury to win.
Kamaru Usman vs. Sean Strickland
Usman to win.
Charles Rosa vs. Shane Burgos
Burgos to win.
Patrick Cummins vs. Jan Blachowicz
Blachowicz to win.
Gregor Gillespie vs. Andrew Holbrook
Holbrook to win.
Josh Emmett vs. Desmond Green
Emmett to win.
Katlyn Chookagian vs. Irene Aldana
Chookagian to win.
Jenel Lausa vs. Magomed Bibulatov
Bibulatov to win.
The all-out adventurous acca: all 13 Ultimate Fight Chat predictions in an accumulator.
Ultimate Fight Chat’s Main Card Picks: Brooks, Alves, Calvillo, Mousasi and Cormier.
Stevie Ray’s Main Card Picks: Oliveira, Cote, Calvillo, Weidman and Johnson.
And click here for the latest UFC 210 odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing