UFC 197: Cormier vs. Jones II will air on April 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
#1 JON “BONES” JONES (21-1-0) vs. #6 OVINCE SAINT PREUX (19-7-0)
This is a five round fight for the UFC Interim Light Heavyweight Championship. In this fight are two fighters looking to get the next crack at the belt against current champion Daniel Cormier and they will have to prove to the world why they have what it takes to become champion. Jones brings jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and wrestling that has lead him to becoming the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport of MMA as well as a former Light Heavyweight Champion. Saint Preux brings kickboxing and jiu-jitsu that has helped him rise to the number six spot in light heavyweight rankings as well as being efficient in knockout power as well as grappling techniques. With this fight being made on short notice it looks nothing close to how Cormier and Jones would have turned out to be as Jones looks to take this fight with almost mere ease as his techniques are far greater than that of Saint Preux. Though Saint Preux has shown some good improvement over his time competing in the UFC and so maybe he could give Jones somewhat of a fight, but it is highly unlikely that will be the case since Jones possesses great standing and ground game, which is something Saint Preux is not use to. Unless Saint Preux manages to unfold great techniques in this fight then the fight looks to be no different that Jones’ fight against Chael Sonnen at UFC 159. My prediction: Jones wins via knockout in Round 1.
(C) DEMETRIOUS “MIGHTY MOUSE” JOHNSON (22-2-1) vs. #3 HENRY “THE MESSENGER” CEJUDO (10-0-0)
This is a five round fight for the UFC Flyweight Championship. In this fight will be two of the greatest flyweights to ever compete inside the octagon of the UFC in a fight that looks to not only be the flyweight fight of the century, but also the fight that could get the division the recognition it has long been looking for since becoming a part of the UFC in 2011. Johnson brings pankration, jiu-jitsu and wrestling that has made him a very effective grappler and striker to where he holds an impressive MMA record along with being the current and first UFC Flyweight Champion. Cejudo brings Muay Thai and wrestling that has helped him rise to the top of the flyweight division in a little over a year and remain undefeated with a record of 10-0 with the help of his Olympic wrestling where he was a gold medalist winner in the 2008 Summer Olympics. With all the flyweight title fights that have taken place in the UFC none could be as big as this fight as both fighters contain great wrestling along with impressive striking that they have learned to combine with their wrestling making their techniques that more effective when competing inside the octagon. It seems that this fight is a pretty even matchup and may even be in the running for a possible “Fight of the Night,” but what will decide the key factor in this fight will be who has the better ground game and takedown defense, which in that case looks to favor Cejudo no doubt all from his Olympic wrestling background as Johnson has never faced that type of wrestling and I am not sure if he will be able to fight Cejudo that well with all his wrestling. Though Johnson does have impressive speed and striking power that has always come to great effect in his fights and that could be where Cejudo loses control as he does not have near the striking Johnson does. However, if Johnson relies too much on his striking to get him a win then he might lose his guard and Cejudo will take him to the ground and begin to unleash his fury upon him showing him why he is a force to be reckoned with. My prediction: Cejudo wins via TKO in Round 4.
#3 ANTHONY “SHOWTIME” PETTIS (18-4-0) vs. #8 EDSON “JUNIOR” BARBOZA (16-4-0)
This is a three round fight in the lightweight division. In this fight are two fighters who are coming off of a loss and plan to get back on the road to victory and earn a possible title shot in the near future. Pettis brings boxing, taekwondo, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu and wrestling that has made him a well-rounded striker and grappler that even have made him a former UFC Lightweight Champion. Barboza brings boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, taekwondo and jiu-jitsu that has made him an excellent striker and very well-rounded in three different weight classes making him a tough opponent for many fighters. With both fighters bringing an almost identical technique of skills the fight looks to be fairly even and possibly a contender for “Fight of the Night.” Though what will possibly be the key factor to this fight is the amount of athleticism that each fighter has. In that case, Pettis looks to be in the upper hand with his speed and ability to throw freak strikers like no one else in the sport of MMA and looks to do just that in the hopes of not only adding an impressive victory to his record, but place himself back in the running to reclaim the belt. However, Barboza does have plenty of athleticism as well and could throw a few surprises himself with his impressive striking and ground game, which could be all that he needs to catch Pettis off guard and score a few deadly points on him with the possibility of finishing Pettis or beating him in a decision adding his biggest win to date. Though in order to do so he will have to keep his ‘A’ game up in order to stay right with Pettis or he will find himself in a difficult situation that he will not want to be in against a fighter like Pettis. My prediction: Pettis wins via knockout in Round 2.