weather icon Overcast

Previews and picks for UFC 230

Updated November 2, 2018 - 2:47 pm


A breakdown of the fights on the main card of Saturday’s UFC 230 card at Madison Square Garden in New York, with picks from the Review-Journal’s Adam Hill and Heidi Fang:

Daniel Cormier (21-1, 1 No Contest) vs. Derrick Lewis (21-5, 1 No Contest)

Class: For Cormier’s heavyweight title

Line: Cormier -650

Storyline: Cormier appeared to have no interest in taking a fight until either Brock Lesnar or Jon Jones was ready to come off suspension, but decided to put those massively lucrative opportunities on the line to take a short-notice fight against Derrick Lewis when this event needed a headliner. Cormier saw it as a chance to make a quick payday against an athletically-inferior opponent. It’s not without some risk, though. Lewis has won nine of his last 10 fights and has a ton of power, as evidenced by his last-second win over Alexander Volkov last month in a fight he was losing for nearly the full 15 minutes. Lewis has the proverbial puncher’s chance and it’s probably his only shot. He will need to land his right hand at some point in order to change the fight. Cormier has many more paths to victory and should have a massive cardio edge. The one question may be his surgically-repaired hand, but Cormier insists it will be fine. Cormier has never lost a round in 14 fights at heavyweight.

Hill’s Pick: Cormier by second-round submission

Fang’s Pick: Cormier by fourth-round knockout

Chris Weidman (14-3) vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (25-6, 1 No Contest)

Class: Middleweight

Line: Weidman -190

Storyline: Weidman expected a showdown with fellow former champion Luke Rockhold, but Rockhold was hurt during training camp and was forced to pull out. Souza is one of the most accomplished grapplers in the sport and is difficult to prepare for on short notice, but it’s actually a decent matchup for Weidman. While he is known for his wrestling and has developed as a striker, Weidman is actually an elite grappler. Souza can submit anyone at any time, but Weidman should be able to neutralize his jiu-jitsu and possesses a clear edge in wrestling and technical striker. Souza is a bit wild in his striking, though he does have power. Weidman will have to avoid that.

Hill’s Pick: Weidman by decision

Fang’s Pick: Weidman by decision

David Branch (21-4) vs. Jared Cannonier (10-4)

Class: Middleweight

Line: Branch -350

Storyline: Branch was slated to get a big opportunity against Souza, but lost out on the fight when Souza moved up the card to face Weidman. He’ll need to avoid letting that disappointment affect his performance. Branch has developed quite a bit as a striker, but should return to his roots against a powerful slugger with limited skill on the ground and questionable cardio. The more the fight stays on the feet, the more Branch is allowing Cannonier a chance to land something. Branch could win on the feet, but is unlikely to lose on the mat. He will probably look to get it there early and often.

Hill’s Pick: Branch by second-round submission

Fang’s Pick: Cannonier by second-round knockout

Karl Roberson (6-1) vs. Jack Marshman (22-7)

Class: Middleweight

Line: Roberson -275

Storyline: Both are aggressive strikers, though Roberson is a bit more well-rounded. Marshman will try to make this a brawl. He’ll want to fight at close range and will be more than willing to stand in the pocket and exchange big shots. Roberson will try to maintain fundamentals and keep more of a distance. He’s capable of picking Marshman apart from the outside, but he could also walk him down or change levels and get a takedown. Marshman isn’t known for his grappling, but has posted five submission victories in his career. Roberson just has more paths to a win, which is why he is favored. Marshman has an edge in experience, however, and probably has a better chance than the line would indicate.

Hill’s Pick: Marshman by second-round knockout

Fang’s Pick: Marshman by second-round submission

Derek Brunson (18-6) vs. Israel Adesanya (14-0)

Class: Middleweight

Line: Adesanya -335

Storyline: Adesanya is a flashy striker who is quickly making a splash in the UFC. His ability to combine a dynamic and explosive style with an entertaining personality makes the New Zealander one of the more intriguing young stars to emerge at middleweight in quite some time. This is a huge test, however. Brunson’s wrestling could prove to be Adesanya’s kryptonite and he has enough power to be a problem on the feet. Adesanya has the ability to make opponents look silly and could do the same to bettors looking to back Brunson, but there is far too much value on Brunson to not take a shot on him at the window.

Hill’s Pick: Adesanya by third-round knockout

Fang’s Pick: Adesanya by third-round knockout

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA and UFC coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Covering The Cage Videos
Greg Hardy, former NFL star, on MMA knockout
The former NFL star needed just 17 seconds to score a knockout on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series (Adam Hill/Review-Journal)
Marlon Moraes says Henry Cejudo will regret stepping up to bantamweight - VIDEO
UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo is coming up to the bantamweight division to battle Marlon Moraes for the vacant belt on June 8 at UFC 238. Moraes said Cejudo will regret going after a second title in a new division and added that he thinks his path will cross with former champion TJ Dillashaw in the future.
Paige VanZant details her arm injury, when she can return - VIDEO
UFC strawweight Paige VanZant was briefly linked to fight at UFC 236, but had to withdraw from the bout due to a broken arm. As a guest on the RJ Ringside Podcast, she detailed the injury and also spoke about joining the M-1 Global booth as a color commentator.
UFC 236 Press Conference Highlights
UFC 236 will feature a pair of interim title fights. In the main event, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will face lightweight contender Dustin Poirier and middleweights Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum will collide in the co-main event. UFC 236 will take place in Atlanta, Ga., on Apr. 13.
Jon Jones retains light heavyweight belt at UFC 235 - VIDEO
Jon Jones retained the UFC light heavyweight belt when he earned a decision over Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC 235.
Kamaru Usman crowned new champ at UFC 235 — VIDEO
Kamaru Usman became the first African-born fighter to claim a UFC belt when he defeated Tyron Woodley to become the promotion's new welterweight champion.
UFC 235 Official Weigh-in Results - VIDEO
All 24 fighters competing at UFC 235 at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2 stepped on the scale prior for the official fight card weigh-ins. All four fighters competing in the title bouts slated for the event made weight.
UFC's Jones says he has no shame after recent drug test results are released - VIDEO
Though recent drug test results still show trace amounts of Turinabol in his system, UFC light heayvweight champion Jon Jones says he has no shame and is hiding nothing as he prepares for his UFC 235 title bout against Anthony Smith.
Anthony Smith stays level-headed prior to UFC 235 title fight - VIDEO
Despite UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones being in the spotlight for drug test discrepancies and other outside the cage struggles, Anthony Smith says he is tuning out the noise and remaining focused on the challenge of beating the reigning champion in the cage.
UFC 235 Media Day Highlights
Highlights and staredowns from the top three fights on the UFC 235 fight card taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2.
Dustin Poirier beats up Max Holloway at UFC 236

Dustin Poirier bloodied Max Holloway and won a unanimous decision for the UFC interim lightweight title on Saturday night, denying Holloway his chance to become only the fourth fighter to hold two belts at the same time.

Poirier bloodies Holloway, wins UFC interim lightweight belt

Dustin Poirier bloodied Max Holloway and won a unanimous decision for the UFC interim lightweight title on Saturday night, denying Holloway his chance to become only the fourth fighter to hold two belts at the same time.