By Lance LeVan
UFC 182 will be held in Las Vegas on Jan. 3. Looks like this is going to be a very good fight card. The top three fights are going to be serious battles. A title belt may change hands and some fighters may move up (or down) in the rankings. Once again, all of these fights have the makings for “Fight of the Night.”
(C) Jon “Bones” Jones (20-1-0) vs. (No. 2) Daniel “DC” Cormier (15-0-0)
This is going to be a five-round light heavyweight (205 pounds) title fight. This is going to be a match that a LOT of people are going to be watching. Obviously, Jones is the current champion. His striking is very unconventional and difficult to duplicate in training. His ground and pound…and his deadly elbows are legendary. Those elbows can quickly end a fighter’s night. Jones’ wrestling and BJJ background make him comfortable if the match goes to the ground, but I am not looking for any submissions from the champ during this fight. Same thing goes for DC. He is a world-class level Olympic wrestler and a brown belt in BJJ. But if (when) this fight goes to the ground, I am not looking for submissions. These guys are going to be looking to do damage with their punches and elbows from the ground. One of the biggest factors in this fight will be the reach difference between these two guys. There is almost a 13-inch reach difference, which means that Jones can throw punches from a LONG way away. Cormier will either need to find a way to stand and trade with Jones…or take the champ down and dominate him from the top. If he allows Jones to find his range, he will stop throwing punches and will throw elbows in the clinch. Those elbows can open huge cuts very quickly and end the fight. If Cormier allows Jones to find his rhythm and his range…Jones will pick him apart and end this fight quickly. If Cormier can land his heavy hands…or he can impose his will on the mat…I think he has the tools to take the belt away from the champion. Either way, this will be a very technical and, potentially, very bloody fight. Both fighters are former wrestlers, so it is possible to see some good takedowns. In the end, I think that Cormier has been doing his homework and has a very sound game plan. Jones is a great fighter and has been an awesome champion, but now it is DC’s time. My prediction: Cormier wins via TKO in the third round.
(No. 4) Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (25-6-0 1NC) vs. (No. 8) Myles “Fury” Jury (15-0-0)
This is a three-round lightweight (155 pounds) fight. This is going to be an awesome fight. I have to admit that I am a big fan of both of these fighters. Cerrone’s kickboxing career is legendary and he is on a five-fight win-streak in the Octagon. Obviously he has great stand-up abilities. I am not sure of his BJJ training but he has a sick submission game from bottom. Jury doesn’t have the same experience that Cerrone does, but he has been tearing through the division with a purpose. Only three of his fights have gone to a decision. His last two fights were against some big names (Diego Sanchez and Takanori Gomi). This kid is a black belt in BJJ and has some mean hands too. Both of these guys are very fast…so I will try not to blink during the action. I know that Cerrone is on a streak and he is moving up in the rankings…but I just can’t overlook a 15-0 record. Jury is up-and-coming and a decisive win here will catapult him in the rankings…possibly even into contention for the title. Cerrone winning here will definitely move him that much closer to a shot at the belt, which he so badly wants. My prediction: Jury wins by TKO in the third round.
(No. 6) Hector “Lightning” Lombard (34-4-1 1NC) vs. Josh “The People’s Warrior” Burkman (27-10-0)
This is a three-round welterweight (170 pounds) fight that should be action-packed. This fight kind of confuses me. Burkman has been out of the Octagon since 2008 (UFC 90) and had lost four of his last five UFC bouts. He has been fighting in other venues, but now, on his first fight back in the UFC, he is going to fight Lombard, a 4th Dan in Judo and a black belt in BJJ. He also is unbeaten as a professional kick boxer. Not to mention… the guy is built like a tank. Burkman was (and probably still is) a really good fighter, but in my opinion, I don’t think he can handle all of the tools that Lombard is bringing to the table. Lombard hits hard, has world-class takedowns (Judo) and great submissions (BJJ). My prediction: Lombard wins via TKO in the second round.
Disagree with me about the UFC 182 matches? Let me know via Twitter @BlitzWeekly and we’ll see who has better picks the night of the fights.