One of the deepest pay-per-view cards of the year goes down tonight at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois for UFC 238. The card is headlined by flyweight champion, Henry Cejudo and top bantamweight contender, Marlon Moraes for the vacant UFC Bantamweight title after the belt was relinquished by former champ, TJ Dillashaw earlier this year due to a performance-enhancing drug violation. We live in a world where Cejudo has a win over one of the pound-for-pound all-time MMA greats in Demetrious Johnson and a TKO win over an all-time great UFC bantamweight in TJ Dillashaw. Cejudo can add to his legacy tonight by becoming the fourth ever simultaneous double-champ in UFC history, joining the likes of Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier and current double champ, Amanda Nunes. He will have a tough outing with Marlon Moraes, who has a similar skillset with Cejudo. Moraes has finished his last three fights against Aljamain Sterling, Jimmie Rivera, and Raphael Assuncao. While Cejudo may have the wrestling skills, I believe Moraes is still the better fighter if it goes to the ground thanks to his elite jiu-jitsu skills. Moraes is also better on the fight and that is where I predict the fight will end. I will take Marlon Moraes to claim the vacant UFC Bantamweight title with a KO finish in the third round. Here are my thoughts and predictions for the rest of the card.
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Eye(UFC Women’s Flyweight title)
This should be a pretty easy fight for Shevchenko as she is clearly the second best female fighter in the UFC at the moment and the only one to go the distance twice with Amanda Nunes. Eye comes off of three lackluster victories and will get overwhelmed by Shevchenko’s kickboxing.
Prediction: Shevchenko via TKO – 4th round
Tony Ferguson vs. Donald Cerrone
The people’s main event of the evening between elite lightweights should be a Fight of the Year contender. Cerrone has caught a third wind in his roller coaster MMA career since having a kid. Ferguson is one of the most entertaining fighters in the business. If Cerrone can attack Ferguson’s legs early, he can capitalize and look for a finish but I believe Ferguson’s game is just too complex and he will walk away with the next title shot.
Prediction: Ferguson via submission – 3rd round
Jimmie Rivera vs. Petr Yan
Rivera is in desperate need of a victory if he wants to remain in the upper echelon of UFC bantamweights as he on the brink of losing three of his last four fights. Yan is undefeated in his four fights with the UFC and will look to bring his high-octane offense to Rivera.
Prediction: Yan via decision
Tai Tuivasa vs. Blagoy Ivanov
Arguably should not be on the main card with some of the incredible fights in the prelims. I do not think a lot of people care about this fight, but we all want that shoey!!!
Prediction: Tuivasa via KO – 1st round
Tatiana Suarez vs. Nina Ansaroff
The featured ESPN prelim should determine who fights for the women’s strawweight belt next. Ansaroff does not finish fights but she believes in herself and has grinded out victories against Randa Markos and Claudia Gadelha. If Suarez is able to get Ansaroff on the ground, it is going to be a long night for the partner of Amanda Nunes.
Prediction: Suarez via submission – 2nd round
Aljamain Sterling vs. Pedro Munhoz
Talk about an elite fight that is buried in the prelims. This is a phenomenal fight at bantamweight and if either guy can get a finish, they should be in line for a title shot over the winner of Rivera vs. Yan. Munhoz has the knockout skills. Aljo has the submission skills. Something has got to give.
Prediction: Munhoz via TKO – 2nd round
Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Alexa Grasso
Both ladies need a win. Kowalkiewicz will try to fend off a three-fight losing streak while Grasso will not want to lose three of her last four. Have to believe that both of their jobs are on the line tonight.
Prediction: Kowalkiewicz via decision
Ricardo Lamas vs. Calvin Kattar
After a shocking win over Darren Elkins, will Lamas keep the momentum going and possibly spark a second run at featherweight? With Kattar’s only UFC blemish coming against Renato Moicano, expect him to get a second straight win in a fight that is being underlooked and could very well steal the show tonight.
Prediction: Kattar via TKO – 3rd round
Rest of the card: Hill via decision, Lewis via TKO, Popov via KO, Calderwood via decision