There was an overwhelming feeling that the UFC was cooking up something big for UFC 187, and this card shouldn’t disappoint featuring not one but two title fights on the line. Jon Jones was originally scheduled to face top Light Heavyweight contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in a championship bout until Jones was stripped of his title.
Johnson will now face Daniel Cormier in the main event, for the vacant Light Heavyweight belt and fans will be pumped to see a new champion crowned. Middleweight champion Chris Weidman is also putting his title on the line against the always dangerous Vitor Belfort who has been on a roll lately beating some very tough fighters on his way to a tile shot. The other three main card bouts feature plenty of talented mixed martial artists as Donald Cerrone steps in the octagon versus John Makdessi, Travis Browne faces Andrei Arlovski and Flyweight Joseph Benavidez takes on John Moraga. UFC 187 promises to have Las Vegas rocking, let’s take a closer look at some of these bouts.
UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, Saturday, May 23rd, 8:00 PM ET
Odds: Cormier -125, Johnson +105
Donald Cerrone -450 vs. John Makdessi +350: Donald Cerrone is moving up the UFC Lightweight rankings, and he’ll look for his eighth straight victory when he welcomes John Makdessi into the octagon. Cerrone is a very well-liked fighter who has won fight of the night and performance bonuses in many of his bouts. He is an elite kickboxer who also possesses great submission skills and he can be a nightmare for opponents who don’t tread cautiously. John Makdessi will face his greatest challenge yet, and he’ll need to find a way to deal with the tremendous height and reach disadvantage. Makdessi possessed good striking ability and he’ll have to find a way inside Cerrone’s guard without getting peppered by leg kicks and punches. Makdessi is game but he may be a little out of his element here.
Pick: Cerrone -450
Chris Weidman -500 vs. Vitor Belfort +385: Weidman and Belfort has the potential to be a very exciting bout and the Middleweight title will be on the line when these two fighters square off in the octagon. Vitor Belfort is a well-respected veteran who’s had his ups and downs in the UFC. He’s been in rare form lately winning five of his last six fights, and his last three bouts by knockout, versus some very tough competition. Weidman, well known for his two victories over Anderson Silva will look to defend his Middleweight title, as well as his perfect record in the octagon. Weidman has the height and reach advantage in this bout but Belfort will probably look to keep things standing up as he’s shown a proficiency for knocking opponents out lately. Weidman’s biggest advantage will be his wrestling ability and if he can control the fight without getting rocked by Belfort he’s got a great chance to retain his title.
Pick: Weidman -500
Daniel Cormier -125 vs. Anthony Johnson +105: All eyes will be on Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson this Saturday as a new Light Heavyweight champ will be crowned. Johnson received performance of the night honors with his knockout victory over Alexander Gustafsson to earn a title shot versus Jon Jones, who was then replaced by Daniel Cormier. Johnson is a devastating striker who has finished plenty of fights by knockout. He is also a championship caliber wrestler but he’ll have to weary of Cormier’s submission attempts as he has been susceptible to these tactics in the past. Cormier is a very well rounded fighter who can win in a variety of ways. If he can find a way to slow Johnson down with leg kicks it will be very beneficial towards his chances of winning the fight. This fight should be very close, in the end Johnson’s six inch reach advantage combined with his striking ability could be the difference.
Pick: Johnson +105