The UFC returns to pay-per-view on Saturday night with UFC 210, and we have to admit, the card isn’t quite as attractive as some of the company’s most recent offerings. Although there is a marquee title fight in the main event between Daniel Cormier and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, the rest of the card (especially the prelims) is seriously lacking star power. Not to say that those fights can’t be entertaining or exciting — of course they can. But they don’t do much to sell PPVs or attract the attention of mainstream sports media.
Despite the less-stacked card, the main event should be worth watching alone. Cormier and Johnson will have rematch for the light heavyweight title almost two years after their first fight, which Cormier won by submission. Adding to the intrigue is that the winner will almost certainly fight Jon Jones later this year, whose return to the UFC is pending this summer when his suspension ends.
We’re skipping the prelims entirely this time and jumping straight into the main card. So whether you like to put some money on the fights or just want to sound smart in front of your friends, here’s our breakdown and predictions of the five bouts on the UFC 210 main card.
Will Brooks (-260) vs. Charles Oliveira (+200)
Will Brooks is a relative newcomer to the UFC and Saturday marks his first appearance on a big numbered pay-per-view after going 1-1 on free television cards so far. The 30-year old bring a sparkling 19-2 record to the table, but was knocked out in his last fight. Oliveira’s, on the other hand, is less impressive. He’s 21-7 (with one no-contest) and has lost three of his last four fights, explaining why bookies have him pegged as a 2-1 underdog in this fight. However, more than half of his 21 victories have been by submission, making him a sneaky upset pick against the less experiences Brooks. We know that Brooks is the favorite for good reason, but we just can’t resist taking a chance here.
Prediction: Oliveira by Submission.
Patrick Cote (-160) vs. Thiago Alves (+130)
If this was five years ago, a fight between Cote and Alves would have been a big deal. They are both former championship contenders (losing to Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre, respectively), but those days seem forever ago now. After a failed experiment to make 155-pounds, 33-year-old Alves returns to the welterweight division to take on a 37-year Cote. Unfortunately, the fight doesn’t mean much. Neither fighter is in the Top 15 rankings in any weight class and neither fighter owns an impressive win-loss record (Cote is 23-10 and Alves is 21-11). Longtime MMA fans may recognize these names, and the fight could still turn out to be entertaining, but it’s a bit of a throwaway now that we’re in 2017.
Prediction: Cote by Decision.
Cynthia Calvillo (-270) vs. Pearl Gonzalez (+210)
Cynthia Calvillo is the biggest favorite on the main card at UFC 210, despite only having a 4-0 professional MMA record and just a single UFC fight to her name (a submission victory over Amanda Cooper at UFC 209). If she doesn’t sound very experienced, don’t worry, because her opponent is also a newcomer to the scene. Despite already being 30-years-old, Pearl Gonzalez will make her UFC debut on Saturday night after going 6-1 in smaller promotions.
Frankly, we don’t know a lot about either fighter, since their careers are still in the early stages. Gonzalez has taken a page from the Ronda Rousey school of MMA, winning four of first seven fights via armbar submission. Calvillo has a pair of TKO wins to go along with a unanimous decision and a submission victory. Who will win? We’ll gonna stick with the favorite here.
Prediction: Calvillo via Decision.
Chris Weidman (-110) vs. Gegard Mousasi (-120)
There isn’t much to choose from between these two fighters, odd-wise. In fact, there isn’t even an underdog here, making neither fighter much of a great gamble. From a rankings point of view, it’s also super close. Weidman, the former middleweight champion, sits fourth in the UFC middleweight rankings, with Mousasi right behind him in fifth.
Mousasi brings a world of experience into the fight, with a 41-6-2 MMA record (along with a 12-1 amateur boxing record). However, he’s never been able to bring the success he had in DREAM or Strikeforce into the UFC, always coming up short when it matters the most. Weidman, meanwhile, in anxious to get back in the title picture. After all, this is a man who beat Anderson Silva twice in a row — no small feat. It’s a coin flip kind of fight, but we’re taking Weidman.
Prediction: Weidman via TKO.
Daniel Cormier (-105) vs. Anthony Johnson (-125)
This is the one fight that is really selling UFC 210. In fact, it’s not just these two fighters that people are interested in. The common thought is that the winner of this rematch will eventually have to fight Jon Jones when he returns from suspension this summer. But before either of them worry about the “real” light heavyweight champ, they have to get through Saturday night.
Cormier is one of the best in the world. In fact, he has just a single loss on his record (a 2015 loss to Jones, actually) and can win this fight in so many ways. He’s a great wrestler, a smart fighter, and has sneaky power in his his punches. Johnson, on the other hand, is slightly more one dimensional — he punches really, really hard. His nickname isn’t “Rumble” because of submission game.
It’s another fight where the bookies were apparently afraid to actually pick a favorite and a underdog, with both fighters getting a negative money line. Interestingly enough, Johnson comes out as the slight “favorite” between the two, as a $100 bet on Cormier will pay out $95 but the same wager on Johnson will only return $80.
Prediction: Cormier via Decision. He wants that Jon Jones rematch badly.