UFC 214 Preview
Coming off of a lackluster UFC 213 the UFC is looking primed to give fans one hell of a show with UFC 214: Cormier vs Jones 2. This will be the last UFC pay-per-view of the summer as they are giving way to Mayweather vs McGregor on August 26th. My advice? Take the money you're thinking about spending on MayMac and instead spend it here. In fact, since the price tag for the Cash Grab of the Century is over $100, just buy this twice. It promises to be much more entertaining.
I know, I know... Anyone who read my UFC 213 preview must be laughing at me talking up another UFC event. I'll admit, 213 sucked hard. In my defense the main event was pulled the morning of the event, well after I had written that. Pile that on top of Lawler vs Cerrone being pulled a week prior and you had a recipe for something more akin to an overdose of melatonin than a premier offering from the top combat sport organization in the world.
So yes, 214 can't help but top 213, and I think has a chance to be the PPV of the year. The card is loaded with three title fights. First is the third UFC bout for the heavily touted Cris Cyborg looking to take the vacated Women's Featherweight Title in a matchup against Tonya Evinger. The co-main event will have Tyron Woodley defending his Welterweight Title against top ranked contender Demian Maia. And the main event has been a long time in the making. Jon Jones has finally stopped doing coke and wrecking cars into pregnant women long enough to again face off against Daniel Cormier for the Light Heavyweight Title. As if those three fights weren't enough, we also get to watch Robbie Lawler and Donald Cerrone square off. Two hardcore brawlers throwing down? Yes please! The PPV will start with Jimi Manuwa taking on Volkan Oezdemir in a Light Heavyweight bout, the winner possibly being in line to face whomever comes out on top in Cormier vs Jones.
Just typing all of that has me pretty pumped up. It should be a great card, again, possibly the best offering of the year. Here we go:
Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa vs Volkan Oezdemir
Manuwa comes in as the number three contender in the Light Heavyweight division, two spots above Oezdemir. Both fighters are riding win streaks into this bout that as mentioned above could position one of the two for a title shot against the winner of the main event. Both men are strikers that like to stand and trade which should be entertaining given their power. Neither of Manuwa's previous two wins went the distance, with him winning by KO and picking up performance of the night bonuses in both. Oezdemir comes in off of a KO victory in addition to a decision over division mainstay Ovince Saint Preux back in February. This should be a great start to the night. Manuwa comes in as a slight favorite at -185 and that's who I'd take.
“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler vs Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone
This is one UFC fans have been wanting for a long time. It's been delayed numerous times, most recently having been pushed off of UFC 213 due to an injury to Cowboy. I am very, very excited to watch this Welterweight matchup. Robbie Lawler was one half of the best fight I've ever seen when he won a decision over Carlos Condit at UFC 195 in one of the bloodiest gut-check fights you'll ever see. Donald Cerrone fights everyone all the time, the man never stops fighting. He's endeared himself to fans with his beer-swilling hard work attitude and willingness to take on as many fights as Dana White throws his way. We haven't seen Lawler since he was knocked out early in round one and lost the belt to current champ Tyron Woodley. Frankly, I'm a bit nervous about that as I didn't think it was possible to knock out the re-vamped Lawler. I'd hate to see this be the beginning of the end a-la Chuck Lidell who developed a glass jaw after years of brawling. Lawler comes in as the slight favorite at -165 and as long as that KO at the hands of Woodley was not indicative of some new issue, look for Lawler to get back on track. Do not miss this one!
Cris Cyborg vs Tonya “Triple Threat” Evinger
An anointing over a year in the making. Cris Cyborg has been a feared name in women's MMA for as long as I can recall. She destroys everyone. So much so that Germaine de Randamie refused to take this fight and instead vacated the belt she took from Holly Holm. Tonya Evinger is coming to the UFC as the Invicta Bantamweight champ, not that that matters at all. Cyborg is here and that's all you need to know. Cyborg is the -1100 favorite and rightfully so, she will win this. If you're thinking this could be a Holm over Rousey type upset, you'll collect at a cool +650. Good luck with that...
Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley vs Demian Maia
The co-main on the card is for the Welterweight Title. Woodley is the champ having claimed the belt from Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 and defending against Stephen Thompson (twice). Maia is riding a seven fight win streak and presents a very tough challenge for the champ. While Woodley does have explosive power, we've seen him unable to knock out Stephen Thompson in consecutive bouts. Maia is as dangerous as they come in the ground game and that is where he is most comfortable. This one will be very interesting. Woodley is not afraid to take the fight to the mat, but I'm not sure that would be in his best interest against a world class submission artist. Maia will certainly look to avoid Woodley's power and seek the ground game, but that too will be no easy feat against Woodley's superb takedown defense. I think this will be a great watch for those who can appreciate the intricacies of an MMA fight and I really have no strong feeling either way on who takes it. Woodley is a moderate favorite at -210. For the sake of picking, give me the champ to keep his belt.
Daniel “DC” Cormier vs Jon “Bones” Jones
The much hyped rematch is finally here. These two faced off at UFC 182 all the way back in January of 2015 with Jones winning by unanimous decision. At that time Jon Jones was in the midst of a run of title defenses and garnering mass praise as possibly the best UFC fighter in history. Since then, Jones has found himself making headlines everywhere except the Octagon. Cormier defeated Anthony Johnson to take the Light Heavyweight belt after Jones was stripped of it following a hit-and-run in which he ran a light and struck and injured a pregnant woman. This rematch has been scheduled and canceled twice, once with DC pulling out to injury and the most recent with Jones failing a USADA drug test for which he received a one year ban.
With all of that behind them, the two rivals are finally set to settle their long feud. Neither fighter has held back in the press for this one, both lobbing one verbal hay-maker after another. DC can claim the high ground here as Jones' checkered past does present itself as an easy talking point. Jones however has the victory over DC and in the end that is all that matters.
Looking back to their first bout two things were apparent. First, Jones, a tall and lanky fighter, has a huge reach advantage over the more stoutly built DC. Officially listed as a 12 inch advantage, Jones used this in combination with his patented push kicks to strike very effectively. Secondly, DC seemed to really put it all out there, pushing the pace and getting in Jones' face to trade with him for the whole 5 rounds. In the end however, it wasn't enough.
I'm not sure what will be different this time around. Jones' last action was against Ovince Saint Preux in April of 2016 and he looked pretty rusty. If he looks anything like he did in that fight, DC has a real shot. If Jones returns to his old form, I think we see a repeat of the first bout with Jones just having too much athletic prowess and sheer size advantage for DC to be decisively effective against him.
I'm pulling for DC in this one. He's become a really likeable guy in his reign as champ and I would like to see him avenge this loss that has stung him for a while. That being said, I'm not sure how he gets it done. If Jones should happen to win this one I would hope that he can put his past demons behind him and put himself fully into being the fighter everyone says he can be. Either way, this should be a good fight and if you really sink yourself into the back story, it's as compelling as anything going in sports these days. Jones is a moderate favorite at -250. As much as I want DC to keep the belt, Jones wins it.