2020 is off to a pretty fun start due to Conor McGregor and, tonight, Jon Jones kicking off the pay-per-view calendar. However, both cards lack the top-to-bottom excitement that PPVs should, but that won’t stop us from looking at some of the fights on this card and analyzing our two title fights. Let’s get into it!
Lauren Murphy vs. Andrea Lee
Andrea Lee will look to bounce back from her first UFC loss against Joanne Calderwood back in September of last year. She is currently riding a 3-1 record in the UFC and will need a convincing win against Lauren Murphy to keep her name in the hat of contenders at flyweight. For Murphy, she returns to the Octagon for the first time since last August where she picked up a TKO win over Mara Romero Borella.
Lee is the better athlete in this matchup and should look to piece up Murphy for all three rounds before landing the takedown. This fight will be one-sided for Lee and she will get a flyweight title contender fight following a win tonight.
Prediction: Andrea Lee via decision
Trevin Giles vs. James Krause
I’ve never seen a fighter accept a matchup on 24-hours notice, but that is exactly what James Krause is doing after Antonio Arroyo pulled out due to a scary medical situation. Krause normally fights at welterweight so that extra 15 pounds may be a hindrance to his pace in the fight. He’s currently riding a six-fight win streak in the UFC, where he has scored finished in three of. Trevin Giles is fighting for his job tonight. He is 1-2 in the UFC and has lost his last two fights. He has the clear advantage with having a full fight camp, but not having tape on Krause could be a negative for him entering the Octagon.
There’s no reason for me not to pick Krause here. He loves throwing down and packs a very heavy right hand. Giles can throw as well but gets a little too undisciplined in his striking, which is where Krause will take advantage of him.
Prediction: James Krause via TKO
Derrick Lewis vs. Ilir Latifi
LET THOSE HANDS FLY BIG MEN!
Lewis versus Latifi is one of those fantasy matches that you pray and hope they just stand and bang for 15 minutes. However, Latifi does have a great ground game that he can expose Lewis on. Lewis is very inconsistent in how he handles adversity. He has given up when he gets taken down at times, but we all remember his legendary comeback against Alexander Volkov back in October of 2018.
Latifi is packing a lot of weight for a small frame at 5’10. I see Lewis taking care of business tonight in a stand-and-bang WAR.
Prediction: Derrick Lewis via KO
Mirsad Bektic vs. Dan Ige
A fun featherweight showcase on the pay-per-view card sees Bektic compete in the Octagon since a loss to Josh Emmett last July. Bektic could easily make himself a threat at featherweight, but due to his inactivity, he always gets an unranked fighter. However, Dan Ige is no slouch. This is Ige’s first fight since last June. He is riding a four-fight win streak and will look to get his first signature win in the Octagon.
This one is going to come down to who lands the one big shot first to stun their opponent. Bektic has the advantage on the ground and they are pretty equal on the feet. Due to each man’s long layoff, it’s a toss-up as to who has improved since last summer, but I am sticking with experience.
Prediction: Mirsad Bektic via decision
Juan Adams vs. Justin Tafa
Throw down gents. Just throw down.
Prediction: Justin Tafa via TKO
Women’s Flyweight Championship: (c)Valentina Shevchenko vs. Katlyn Chookagian
This fight comes down to which Shevchenko we will get. We will get the non-action, slow-paced, clinch battle that Shevchenko tried pulling off against Amanda Nunes in their rematch or against Liz Carmouche in her last fight? Or, will we get the one that knocked out Jessica Eye with a head kick and dominated Holly Holm in a five-round striking clinic? Chookagian has shown better strides in pushing the pace in her fights and actually landing significant strikes instead of feinting with her patented “Huh-Huh”.
These two ladies are just on different levels. Shevchenko is world-class on the feet and has a great submission game as well. I just do not see a path to victory for Chookagian unless pushes the pace and makes it an ugly striking affair where she could catch Shevchenko a couple of times.
Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko via decision
Light-Heavyweight Championship: (c)Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes
The Greatest of All-Time, Mr. Jon Jones is back and ready to defend his title against rising, undefeated newcomer Dominick Reyes. I would have liked Reyes’ chances had Jones not had a scare in his last fight against Thiago Santos. It could have gone either way when it went to the judges and I don’t think Jones wants to have that again. Jones come in with a 7.5-inch reach advantage over Reyes but both men are the same height. I have not seen Reyes on the ground much, which means he is going to have to pull off a performance like Alexander Gustafsson had when Gustafsson and Jones first fought. I can see Reyes having some moments, but in the end, Jones will find a way to get him on the ground and go to work.
Prediction: Jon Jones via submission
Picks for the rest of the card: Austin Lingo(DEC), Andre Ewell(TKO), Journey Newson(DEC), Mario Bautista(SUB), Khaos Williams(KO)