I almost wrote this card off a month ago, but now it's starting to feel exciting. We get a title fight with Demetrious Johnson, arguably the best fighter in the UFC, and the return of one of my original favorite fighters in Andrei Arlovski. The only possible downside is that Arlovski is going to get finished, and Johnson is going to dominate an over-matched opponent, making for a very one-sided affair.
in the MAIN EVENT:
DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON (UFC Flyweight Champion) vs. ALI BAGAUTINOV
Johnson will retain his title based solely upon that fact that pronouncing Bag-a-uuu-tee-nov's name is damn near impossible. Champion names should be relatively easy to roll off the tongue.
Seriously though, Johnson is too fast and there isn't much of anyone who can compete against him just yet. Johnson wins the fight via unanimous decision (50-45).
in the CO-MAIN EVENT:
TYRON WOODLEY vs. RORY MACDONALD
I can't stand Rory MacDonald. The guy once used the girliest Rihanna song to walk out to, and didn't do so out of irony or fun. He did it because he's a hipster douchebag, and has terrible taste in music. Unfortunately, he's also a very talented fighter. ALSO unfortunately, he's a talented boring fighter.
On the flip side, Tyron Woodley is ALSO a relatively boring fighter when he tries to make it a wrestle-fuck match with his opponent, and his conditioning is nowhere near as good as MacDonald's (wow, that's a pun out of context). I give Woodley the advantage in the first round, but MacDonald will survive and take the fight to a decision. MacDonald wins via unanimous decision (29-28), making him next in line for the welterweight title shot.
RYAN BADER vs. RAFAEL "FEIJAO" CAVALCANTE
I'm actually looking forward to this fight, because I'm not the biggest Ryan Bader fan. I'm also not a huge "Feijao" fan, but he has had a lot of success knocking out wrestlers in the past, so I see him having similar successes against the glassier-chinned-than-usual Bader.
Cavalcante defeats Bader via TKO in ROUND 2.
ANDREI ARLOVSKI vs. BRENDAN SCHAUB
Since he learned how to submit people, I've become a bit of a better fan to Schaub. He's still kind of a doof, and he's also fighting one of my all-time favorite fighters. Back in the early-to-mid 2000s, Arlovski was a seemingly unbeatable, ripped-as-hell heavyweight. But, this isn't 2004, and he's had a string of losses outside of the UFC that exposed how suspect and paper-thin his chin is. His standup skills are not as good as they once were (his fight against Anthony Johnson in WSOF is evidence of that), and Schaub is only getting better. I don't think Schaub will pull a submission off on the Sambo master, but I do think he has it in him to put Arlovski to sleep. I'm going to be bold and say Schaub will defeat Arlovski via KO in ROUND 1.
Johnson wins by unanimous decision (50-45)
MacDonald wins by unanimous decision (29-28)
Cavalcante wins by TKO (Round 2)
Schaub wins by KO (Round 1)