Cleat Geeks

UFC 198

If you read my UFC 197 preview, then you were just as amazed as I was just how accurately it played out. This is one of the hardest sports to predict. Any fighter at this level has a chance for a win on any given night. The fights in UFC 198 would be tough to predict for anyone trying to play Nostradamus. Unfortunately Anderson Silva had to pull out of his bout with Uriah Hall, which had fight-of-the-night potential, but the card still has its compelling storylines.

cyborg-vs-smith.0.0Terrifying female Brazilian striker Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino finally makes the move from Invicta to the UFC. Many picked this as the only woman who could have dethroned Ronda Rousey. We now know that to be untrue, but there still seems to be a Mayweather/Pacquiao feel to the possibility of “Cyborg” vs Ronda, if that match were to ever take place. That journey begins when Justino takes on 8-6 Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith. Smith has fought many of the sport’s best female fighters, but she seems to be the UFC’s sacrificial lamb to get the casual fans excited about “Cyborg’s” arrival to the promotion. I hope for Smith’s sake, she is prepared to take some of the heavy blows that will inevitably be coming her way. I love when the underdog finds a way to stifle a perceivably unstoppable force, but I expect an early KO for Justino.

Hopeful title challenger, “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza will have the Brazilian fans wondering who to cheer for when he faces longtime UFC vet Vitor Belfort. The beauty of Brazilian MMA today, is that we already know to expect a very complex jiu jitsu arsenal from fighters like this, but the way they throw hands, I wouldn’t be surprised if the entirety of this fight took place on the feet. “Jacare” still seems to be performing in his prime, whereas Belfort looks to be on the declining side of his career. This doesn’t mean that Vitor won’t add another highlight reel finish to his collection, but this may be one of the toughest fights in his career, which is a bold statement to make.SouzavsBelfort

Vitor Belfort’s fight history is full of MMA’s hall of fame names. “The Phenom” has fought Randy Couture, Wanderlei Silva, Sakuraba, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Alistair Overeem, Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Chris Weidman in his lustrous career. If you have ever watched a fight in your life, you recognize the list of warriors that Belfort has gone to battle with. He is as seasoned as they come, but many questions still remain when delving into the intricacies of Vitor. He was once given a pass to use TRT for medical reasons, which led to a few disgruntled UFC fighters. Many were upset due to the fact that once Vitor was able to use TRT, he all of a sudden became nearly impossible to defeat. Now that USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) is involved with the UFC, he will receive no such special treatment. Even if this advantage was allowed to him, I still think Souza would find a way to win this fight, and the next shot at champion Luke Rockhold. Interestingly enough, Rockhold will be rooting for Belfort tonight, as he wants a chance to redeem his second career loss which he suffered in May of 2013.

UFC-198_580633_EventFeatureThe main event is undoubtedly the most exciting fight on this card (obviously most main events are), but not for the obvious reasons. I would have expected a fight like this to be featured on the UFC 200 card, but I appreciate the early showing. Werdum was slated to fight Cain Velasquez in a rematch, but an injury to Cain took that off the table. When the UFC announced that Stipe Miocic would fight in his place, many were shocked that Werdum then pulled himself out of the title fight on short notice. He claimed that he also had an injury. An injury that he had no problem fighting Cain with, but not Miocic, unless he was able to have a full fight camp. This raised a lot of questions for many critics, and rightfully so. How could Werdum be so confident that Velasquez wouldn’t pose a threat to take back his belt, even if Fabricio had to fight him at less than 100 percent? What was he so afraid of when Stipe was thrust into Cain’s place? Whatever the reason, all of these questions will be answered tonight when this fight finally takes place. As a fighter, I love everything that Miocic brings to the table, but I would be very surprised if he stopped the rampage that Werdum is on. He has won nine of his last ten fights, all of which have been in impressive fashion. Regardless of tonight’s outcome, I believe that this fight will produce one small step for the UFC, but one giant leap for the Heavyweight division.

 

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