Welcome to another thrilling episode of “Docket Does Predictions“, where we force all the CombatDocket staff into a tiny room and withhold Twitter for hours, until they commit to having on-record opinions on the next big card. This week, of course, its the easily arguable “best card of the year” UFC 214: DC vs JBJ, with a super-stacked set of fights from the top to bottom. To save you time and precious brain cells, we’ve kept it simple, and stuck to the Main Event for our predictions. We’ve got a handy, dandy chart for those that can’t be bothered with explanations or rationalizations. Or words. But if you want to know why our writers made the guesses they have, we go into some detail below. Enjoy!
UFC 214 Prediction Thoughts:
Dave Willford: This is another where I’m picking who I think will win rather than who I want to win. Jones just has too many ways to win and already showed that he could deal with Cormier’s wrestling in their first meeting. Jones by Decision, although I’d be very happy if I’m wrong and DC retains the belt.
Brandon Nocaute: I would love to tell you Daniel Cormier is gonna win this fight, I would love to say Jon Jones ring rust was gonna bother him, and that the OSP fight is proof DC would pull it off, and I would love to tell you that Jon Jones isn’t the same Jon Jones he once was. If only I believed all that. I do think ring rust will come into play and I don’t think Jones will be as dominant as last time. However, his length, athletic ability, and overall skill set will once again out shine the toughness and wrestling of Cormier and Jon Jones will win by unanimous decision.
Niall Fleming: I think the 1st fight was closer than i thought on 1st viewing. John has been away for a long time and with new rules limiting Jon’s relentless eye poking techniques i think it will give DC easier access to getting inside Jon’s reach where he can land his right hand with more frequency and not be as stumped in the clinch. I’m sticking my neck out and saying DC get it done in 3. Cormier by KO.
Michael Moore Jr.: Jones. I picked Cormier to win the first fight – and I’ll be the first to tell you that I was wrong. I’d love to pick him to win the second fight, but while my heart says Cormier, my brain is telling me that that a 38 year old is going to have a hard time winning a rematch against the 30 year old GOAT-contender. That said, there are a lot of interesting variables concerning this fight. Jones’ inactivity, for one – there is a huge precedent for fighters having long layoffs and not being the same upon their return: Muhammad Ali, “Sugar” Ray Robinson, etc. But the shortcomings they faced upon their return were almost always in the form of a younger, hungrier, next generation fighter. Cormier is not that. But he is the second best of this generation and one of the greatest in his own right. He has the skills to make this a competitive fight, the trick lies in the distance and pace. Cormier is likely to eat kicks and eye pokes from the outside distance, but if he closes the gap and brings it to where he is most in his element, he’ll have to contend with Jones’ unusual use of length, leverage, and wrestling. While Cormier can nail him with uppercuts and maybe snatch his patented high-crotch single from here, the fact remains that Jones is one of the most prolific infighters in the game and should be able to deliver punishing shots to the body while making Cormier work to stay off the cage and maintain his freedom from wrist-control. At his age, defending this and maintaining the pace against the younger, fresher man is going to be a tall order. Cormier’s best chance is to keep it within boxing range and hold the middle ground where he can work his superior boxing. I don’t see this as likely, but it is possible. I expect Jones to walk away with the win in what could be a competitive fight.
Benjamin Abrigo: Jones by T/KO – Death by a thousand oblique kicks leading to a late stoppage.
Brad Carr: Jones, My heart saying DC but have a feeling Bones is about to recreate some history.
Gil Shalev: Jones – I LOVE DC, but… Call me Fanboy Slim.
Kurt Chase-Patrick: Jones via UD over Cormier
Randy Hurley: Jones – sub
Tom Feely: Jones-Dec
Ethan Martin: Jones – Sub
Sam and Shawn: DC
Tim Dunkedon: JBJ
Dave: I see this going one of two ways: Woodley overpowers Maia and scores a quick KO, or Maia avoids Woodley’s power long enough that Tyron fades and Maia catches him in a submission in the later rounds. Woodley by KO in the second round
Brandon: Honestly, this is a 50/50 fight. I would love to see Demian Maia recognize his dream of being champion but unfortunately, I think he falls short once again. I do think Maia has a great chance to win. He has world class Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has developed ways to force guys to grapple no matter their background. If he can do it again he will leave as the new champion. On the other hand, Woodley is younger and supremely athletic with better striking, strong wrestling, and devastating KO power. I believe both men can pull it off but I’m leaning toward Woodley to land that overhand and end it early. Tyron Woodley by KO.
Niall: I’ve been imagining Maia struggling to get this to the mat and keeping it there since the fight was made, but as it draws closer I think Woodley has his eye off the ball. He may well stop Maia by KO but heart over head I think Maia finds a way. Maia by sub.
Michael: Woodley. This is such a classic striker vs grappler match-up and is reminiscent of an older, less refined version of the UFC – and I love everything about that fact. Of course, this isn’t the UFC from the 1990s – Woodley isn’t a striker, he is a wrestler who has adapted his power double into an overhand right with hellacious power and the ability to close a surprising amount of distance. And Maia, for all his shortcomings as a striker, has come a long way since his fight against Nate Marquardt at UFC 102. This is a fight that is going to be determined strictly by who can impose their will. Woodley, with such a strong wrestling background, should have a good chance at staying upright against Maia’s prodigious grappling. Look for him to stuff the takedown and punish Maia on the feet.
Benny: Woodley by KO – I expect we see Woodley in some dangerous positions early, but finds his range in the second round against a tired Maia.
Brad: Woodley, Wanted Maia to get this shot for so long but I just feel Woodley gonna overpower that slippery strangler.
Gil: Woodley – Judging by the Masvidal fight I don’t see Maia taking Woodley down.
Kurt: Woodley via 3rd round TKO
Randy: Woodley- TKO
Shawn and Sam: Maia
Dave Willford: This one is a hard pick for me, but for a different reason. I really want Evinger to win. She’s tough as hell, but much smaller than Cyborg. I think Cyborg will do what she does and swarms her early to end it. I feel dirty for this pick, but Justino by KO in the first round.
Brandon: Truly, I am hoping on a major upset. That said, Cyborg is likely to win. Still, I have a gut feeling that (depending on the ref) the toughness of Tonya Evinger will see her through. If that happens and this fight sees rounds four and five the ultra aggressive attack of Cyborg will have her tired and sluggish and Evinger will come through and finish late by sub or tko. Tonya Evinger by late sub.
Niall: The roof will open in the arena in Anaheim and Evinger will be lowered into the Octagon in a little cage while the predatorial Cyborg awaits her lamb to slaughter….ahem, I mean Evinger is tough I think she will survive a round or maybe two but surviving is all she will likely be doing. The scrappier she keeps it the better but eventually the ref will step in and raise Cyborg’s hand. Cyborg by TKO 3.
Michael: Cris Cyborg …Need I say more?
Benny: Cyborg by KO – Evinger wades forward into the danger zone, can’t get a takedown, and becomes another victim.
Brad: Cyborg, Love Tonya but damn she about to take one hell of a beating.
Gil: Cyborg – All due respect to the grit of Evinger, I never pick against Cyborg
Kurt: Cyborg via 1st round ko
Randy: Cyborg – TKO
Ethan: Cyborg – TKO
Shawn, Sam, and Tim: CYBORG!
Robbie Lawler vs. Donald Cerrone
Dave: This is a tough one for me. I really like both fighters, and could see either one winning. My guess is that the time away didn’t do Lawler any favors, and that Cowboy could catch him early, possibly with a high kick. Cerrone KO in the first.
Brandon: This is one of my favorite matchups of all time and it is another 50/50 fight. I’ve seen Donald Cerrone crumble to punches and Robbie Lawler is a great puncher. I’ve also seen Lawler crumble to kicks, which is Cerrone’s bread and butter. This is gonna be an interesting battle. It could be a long war or an early finish. My money’s on Cerrone to win by submission. His ground game is underrated and I think he pulls it out for this fight. Donald Cerrone Sub.
Niall: I think Lawler will be coming to end this quickly, he knows cowboy starts slow and I think he will look to let his hands go early and often without giving Cowboy the opportunity to settle into the contest. Lawler by early KO.
Michael: Robbie Lawler. This fight has all the makings of fireworks and is a matchmaker’s dream. That said, I think this is by far Donald Cerrone’s biggest test at welterweight. For as many winning streaks as “Cowboy” has put together during his UFC runs at both lightweight and welterweight, he has come up just short time and again during the big fights. With Lawler’s thunderous power, coupled with what should be a sizeable weight advantage, I expect his firepower to be too much for “Cowboy.”
Benny: Lawler by DEC – We all know this about Donald Cerrone. Solid, high-output boxing gives him fits. Cerrone finds success with kicks early, but Brutal Bob finds his range and rhythm after a few minutes.
Brad: Lawler, not gonna be the FOTN everyone expects, but early stoppage on the table
Gil: Cowboy – (See Fanboy Slim)
Kurt: Cowboy via UD in an absolute war
Randy: Cerrone – sub
Ethan: Lawler – TKO+
Shawn, Sam, and Tim: Lawler is violence.
Dave: Oezdemir has two wins over quality opponents since entering the UFC, beating Misha Circunov by KO and taking a split decision over Ovince St Preux. So he’ll be no pushover for Manuwa. Still, I think Manuwa has faced generally better opposition, and has the power to put away pretty much anyone. Manuwa by KO in the second round.
Brandon : In what could be a title eliminator Jimi Manuwa and Volkan Oezdemir. Truly this fight between striking specialist can go either way. Both are technical with finishing ability. However, I think Manuwa has the edge here. He should bring an advantage in speed and explosiveness while also having the ability to finish fights early I think Manuwa wins it by TKO late round one or early round two. Jimi Manuwa TKO.
Niall: Manuwa fights tend to end in stoppage and Oezdemir will be happy to strike with him. I see Jimi closing the distance and getting this done in the opening 2 rounds. Manuwa by KO.
Michael: Volkan Oezdemir. For me, this is probably one of the most pick ‘em fights on the card. Manuwa has looked quite good since dropping a loss to Anthony Johnson back in 2015, but Oezdemir has burst onto the scene from seemingly out of nowhere. This is going to be a battle of big power. Whoever lands first gets it done. After his stunning victory over Misha Cirkunov, Oezdemir might be able to accomplish just that.
Benny: Manuwa by KO – Brutal style match up for The Ooze (yeah, I’m giving him that name). He’s there to be hit just too much.
Brad: Manuwa, I may be biašed here but my man Jimi with the KO
Gil: Manuwa – Because all he needs is one.
Kurt: Manuwa via 2nd round TKO
Randy: Oezdemir – TKO
Ethan: Manuwa – TKO
Shawn and Sam: Manuwa