Ahead of tomorrow night’s UFC 247, here’s a selection of our main-card predictions.
UFC 247 is finally upon us and while the card as a whole has in some ways been dwarfed by the two fights sitting in the main and co-main event positions, there are more than a few interesting matchups to be found below the main attractions.
With that in mind, here are our main-card predictions for Saturday night’s UFC 247.
Derrick Lewis vs. Ilir Latifi
In many ways, the decision to move to heavyweight is likely a good one for The Sledgehammer – a fighter who, despite standing at an admittedly undersized 5’10”, is as impressively strong an athlete, pound-for-pound, as there is in the sport today.
We all know what Derrick Lewis’ is about at this point. Freakish power, physical strength and an uncoachable ability to somehow always be in with a chance of winning.
We’ve seen his power retain all of its potency even in the dying embers of a given bout and in a matchup against Latifi, I think it’s fair to say that a slobber-knocker should be expected.
I do think that we’re seeing an increasingly diminished version of The Black Beast with each passing outing and with Latifi looking to make a splash in his new divisional home, do not be surprised to see Lewis cave in the fight’s second-half.
Had this fight happened a year ago I would back a Lewis KO all day but I have my doubts about the fan-favourite at this point in his career.
Prediction: Latifi via second-round TKO
Mirsad Bektic vs. Dan Ige
Mirsad Bektic has certainly lost some of the steam that saw him carve out a reputation as one of the finest featherweight prospects in the world a couple of years back but all in all, I remain impressed with his 6-2 UFC run up until this point.
Finish losses at the hands of mid-tier opposition in Josh Emmett and Darren Elkins have shown worrying holes in the overall game of the Bosnian-born fighter.
With the in-form Dan Ige ahead of him, there really is the sense that this is a pivotal fight for his aspirations at 145lbs.
Ige has quietly been turning out expectations on their head over the course of the last three or four fights – taking wins against solid opposition with a level of composure that has seen him prove quite a few people wrong.
I like his clinical approach to counter-punching against the more rigid, yet powerful, Bektic. I too was very excited as I watched Mirsad competing during his opening couple of fights inside the octagon but now, I do believe that we’re going to play witness to a statement victory from his American adversary.
Expect a clean and calculated performance to take it on the scorecards.
Prediction: Ige via unanimous decision.
Juan Adams vs. Justin Tafa
Juan Adams seems to fit the mold as yet another behemoth of a heavyweight who has all of the physical attributes necessary to trouble about 60% of the division, but will likely fall flat against those who outmatch him technically.
Now 0-2 in his last two outings, it’s hard to know what the future holds for the Dana White’s Contender Series veteran but if one thing’s for sure, it’s that a sub-minute KO loss to Greg Hardy is certainly not a good look for his aspirations.
He’s got power, for sure, and in Justin Tafa he’s going up against another brawler who will likely also live and die by their ability to find your chin as quickly as possible.
This one has ‘sloppy’ written all over it and to be honest, it’s almost odd to see it feature on the main-card. Perhaps Adams’ status as a hometown fighter may have worked in his favour here but as far as the fight itself is concerned, it’s a toss-up.
I’m going to side with Tafa simply due to the fact that I’ve seen less from him to suggest that he’s on the cusp of a losing stretch.
Don’t blink or you could well miss it, folks!
Prediction: Tafa via first-round KO.
Valentina Shevchenko (c) vs. Katlyn Chookagian
I don’t enjoy writing up predictions on fights like these. We all know exactly how this one should play out and yet, as I attempt to put words on paper, my mind drifts back to all of the times I have been completely and utterly wrong.
Still, we can only use the data we have in front of us and in this flyweight championship bout, there’s one clear favourite going in.
I realise that MMA math is practically useless but when you consider that Chookagian’s UFC run has only seen her lose out to Jessica Eye and Liz Carmouche – two women that Valentina handled with ease – it’s hard not to side with the champ.
The Bullet will go into this one with every advantage possible. She’s the superior striker, grappler, finisher, and her mental strength is befitting of the world’s #2 pound-for-pound fighter – behind only Amanda Nunes.
Chookagian is a good, solid fighter, make no mistake, but this one really should not be even remotely close.
Expect Shevchenko to dominate – although I think Chookagian’s defense and toughness will be enough to keep her in there from bell to bell.
Prediction: Shevchenko via unanimous decision
Read our prediction for the night’s headliner in full here.