Here’s a preview of the UFC 218 main card bouts

A breakdown of the fights on the main card of UFC 218 on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, with picks from the Review-Journal’s Adam Hill and Heidi Fang:

Max Holloway (18-3) vs. Jose Aldo (26-3)

Class: For Holloway’s featherweight title

Line: Holloway -330

Storyline: Holloway has been on an absolute tear since suffering a loss to Conor McGregor in 2013. He has destroyed each and every opponent to step in front of him in the cage and did the same to Aldo, the longest-reigning champ in division history, when they met in June. Aldo went into that bout as a slight favorite. While Holloway was the better fighter on that night, the dramatic shift in odds from the first meeting to the second appears to be a bit of an overreaction considering Aldo was having success early. Holloway’s reach, speed and power make him a very tough matchup, but Aldo is quite similar. One thing to watch is how well Aldo bounces back from his loss. After he lost to McGregor, he came back with one of the best performances of his career against Frankie Edgar the next time out.

Hill’s pick: Aldo by third-round knockout

Fang’s pick: Holloway by decision

Alistair Overeem (43-15, 1 No Contest) vs. Francis Ngannou (10-1)

Class: Heavyweight

Line: Ngannou -270

Storyline: There is no mystery to this one. This should essentially be a kickboxing battle until someone falls down. Ngannou is one of the fastest and most powerful heavyweight striking prospects to come along since, well, maybe Overeem. All of the expectations are on Ngannou, who has burst on the scene with five straight stoppage wins to start his UFC career, with the last three coming in the first round. Overeem is an ideal opponent to stand in front of him and showcase Ngannou’s strengths. It won’t be easy, however. Overeem is more than capable of ending Ngannou’s rise with one punch or kick and he has plenty of tricks from his years of fighting and kickboxing that could provide a challenge. A win here for Ngannou, who has relocated to Las Vegas, probably means a title shot.

Hill’s pick: Ngannou by second-round knockout

Fang’s pick: Ngannou by first-round knockout

Henry Cejudo (11-2) vs. Anthony Pettis (16-2)

Class: Flyweight

Line: Cejudo -270

Storyline: These are two of the rising stars in the flyweight division. Cejudo, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, has shown great improvements as a striker since losing a title fight to Demetrious Johnson. After narrowly dropping a split decision to top contender Joseph Benavidez, Cejudo destroyed former title challenger Wilson Reis in September. He may find himself in position to fight for the belt again with another win here. Cejudo’s striking is made even more effective by the threat of his elite wrestling skills that can dictate where the fight takes place. Pettis, the younger brother of former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis, has won four straight fights. He is very well-rounded, but has struggled to finish opponents even when he is in control. Cejudo represents the toughest test of his career. It’s a big challenge.

Hill’s pick: Cejudo by decision

Fang’s pick: Pettis by decision

Eddie Alvarez (28-5, 1 No Contest) vs. Justin Gaethje (18-0)

Class: Lightweight

Line: Gaethje -190

Storyline: The coaches from Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter” will do battle in what is expected to be the fight-of-the-night. That’s typically the expectation anytime Gaethje steps in the cage. To say he is willing to take a punch to land one is an understatement. At times, he’s willing to take three to land one. Gaethje appears to be in trouble nearly every time he fights, but nobody has been able to finish him. The former World Series of Fighting champion made a spectacular UFC debut in July when he was nearly knocked out by Michael Johnson before rallying to knock Johnson out. This could look very similar. Alvarez has also shown a willingness to brawl, but he’s also been finished. Gaethje has not. That durability could be the difference.

Hill’s pick: Gaethje by second-round knockout

Fang’s pick: Gaethje by third-round knockout

Tecia Torres (9-1) vs. Michelle Waterson (14-5)

Class: Women’s strawweight

Line: Torres -240

Storyline: Waterson was one fight away from challenging for the title, but dropped a top contender bout to Rose Namajunas in April. She definitely wants that fight back now that Namajunas has the belt. This is another very tough matchup, however. Torres is very strong and doesn’t take a whole lot of chances, making her difficult to attack. Waterson, known as “The Karate Hottie,” should find success if she can stay on the outside and pick Torres apart. “The Tiny Tornado” will be a huge challenge when she’s able to close range. Torres should win when they are in the clinch and has an edge in wrestling.

Hill’s pick: Torres by decision

Fang’s pick: Waterson by decision

Covering The Cage Videos
Covering The Cage: Live Interview With Elias Theodorou
Covering The Cage host Heidi Fang talks with Elias Theodorou to preview UFC on Fox and becoming a ring boy.
Covering the Cage: Roy Nelson interview
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk about the world of MMA as well as interview heavyweight Roy Nelson.
Covering the Cage: Feb. 6 Facebook Live
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang discuss UFC Fight Night 125 as well as preview UFC 221 and UFC 222.
Covering The Cage: Ronda Rousey joins WWE; UFC on Fox 27 recap
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang discuss Ronda Rousey’s move to WWE and recap UFC on Fox 27.
Covering the Cage: Jordan Rinaldi, UFC on Fox 27 preview
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk to fighter Jordan Rinaldi about his upcoming fight and preview the rest of UFC on Fox 27.
Covering The Cage Live: UFC 220 and Bellator 192 Recap
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang recap UFC 220 and Bellator 192.
Covering the Cage: Recapping 2017
Heidi Fang and Adam Hill go over their favorite moments of 2017 and pick their favorite fight, knockout and submission of the year.
Covering The Cage: UFC 219 Recap
Covering The Cage hosts Adam Hill and Heidi Fang recap tonights fights at UFC 219.
Covering The Cage: UFC 219 Picks
Covering The Cage hosts Adam Hill and Heidi Fang give their picks for the main card fights at UFC 219.
Covering The Cage: UFC 219 Preview
Covering the Cage hosts Adam Hill and Heidi Fang preview UFC 219 including Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm.
UFC 219 media day staredowns
Ahead of UFC 219's pay-per-view on Dec. 30, the stars of the main card faced off at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Cris "Cyborg" Justino will face Holly Holm in the main event for the women's featherweight belt.
Covering the Cage: UFC fighter Julian Marquez talks debut victory
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk with UFC fighter Julian Marquez. They discuss the beard competition between Marquez and Tyron Woodley, and the unexpected passing of longtime MMA coach and trainer Robert Follis.
Covering the Cage: Julian Marquez interview
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk about all things going on in the world of MMA and talk to Julian Marquez about his upcoming fight in Winnipeg.
Covering The Cage Live: UFC 218 Recap, TUF 26
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang recap The Ultimate Fighter 26 and UFC 218.
Covering The Cage: TUF 26 Recap, UFC 218 Preview
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang recap The Ultimate Fighter and preview UFC 218.
Covering the Cage: UFC 218, TUF 26 Finale preview
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang make their picks for the "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 26 Finale and UFC 218. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Covering the Cage: Kyra Batara interview
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk to Combate Americas Womens Atomweight Kyra Batara about her upcoming fight in San Antonio as well as Conor McGregor's potential incident at a bar and UFC 218.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like