UFC 230 Madison Square Garden Preview and Predictions

This weekend the octagon heads to New York City to play host for UFC 230. The main event will be for the UFC heavyweight title as current UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier takes on Derrick Lewis. This pay-per-view will also play host to some big matchups in the UFC’s middleweight division. Jacare Souza will face off against former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Also on the card up and coming middleweight (currently undefeated) Israel Adesanya will take on Derek Brunson. Two more middleweights will be facing off, as David Branch will take on Jared Cannonier. Now it’s time where I give my predictions for UFC 230.

Cormier vs Lewis: Let’s be honest absolutely no one saw this main event coming. It was almost set in stone that Cormier would be taking on Brock Lesnar next, and Derrick Lewis just fought at UFC 229. So it was a nice surprise when the UFC announced this as the main event. Daniel Cormier is currently undefeated at heavyweight. His last win was against arguably the greatest heavyweight off all time Stipe Miocic. You can tell Cormier has more power at heavyweight and he proved that when he knocked Stipe Miocic out.

Cormier opponent Derrick Lewis has arguably the most heart when it comes to fighting. His last fight against Alexander Volkov showed how much heart he really has. Lewis took a straight beating for the first, second, and a majority of the third round. The final seconds of the fight Lewis connected with a punch that ended the night for Volkov. Lewis is probably the heaviest hitter in the heavyweight division and he definitely has the ability to put any heavyweight to sleep with one punch. The problem is he’s never faced fighter as skilled as Cormier. Cormier has some of the best wrestling in the UFC and if he can grind Lewis out and make him tired it could be an easy win for Cormier. The biggest factor in this fight for me depends on how much the cardio of Derrick Lewis has improved. He looks slimmer than ever heading into this fight against Cormier, and I believe he’ll surprise many UFC fans with his performance Saturday night. I don’t think Cormier will just run right through Derrick Lewis, and I see this fight being a back and fourth entertaining fight. I do want to see Derrick Lewis win the heavyweight title, but unfortunately Daniel Cormier is just on a different level than Lewis’s past opponents. My official prediction for this one is Cormier winning in round 4 via submission.

FILE – In this Jan. 20, 2018, file photo, Daniel Cormier celebrates a win over Volkan Oezdemir after a light-heavyweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 220, in Boston. Cormier believes not having to cut weight will serve him well when he returns to the octagon to meet heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in July’s UFC 226 pay-per-view headliner. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File)

Weidman vs Souza: This is a fight between two of the best grapplers in the middleweight division. Chris Weidman’s wrestling is almost unmatched at middleweight, while Jacare Souza is easily one of the most dangerous submission artists in the UFC. If Weidman takes Souza down it could be very dangerous. It’s going to be hard for Souza to take Weidman down, because Weidman’s wrestling is so high level. I honestly see most of this fight playing out on the feet. I think Weidman is the faster striker, but I do believe Souza has more power than Weidman. This fight should be very entertaining and in my opinion I think this fight wins fight of the night. It’s Chris Weidman’s hometown so the crowd is definitely going to be electric. The way I see this fight playing out is Souza clipping Weidman in round 2. This will lead to Weidman shooting in for the takedown, which will help Souza implement his jiu jitsu. My official prediction for this one is Jacare Souza getting the win via second round submission.

Adesanya vs Brunson: One of the hottest young middleweight prospects in the UFC Israel Adesanya will face off against his toughest test in the UFC so far Derek Brunson. Adesanya’s last performance against Brad Tavares was pretty much a striking clinic. Even though Adesanya didn’t get the finish he still looked like a legitimate contender in the middleweight division. Derek Brunson is coming off a loss against Jacare Souza, but before that fight he was on a two fight win streak where he knocked out both Lyoto Machida and Daniel Kelly. If Brunson wants to still be considered a contender in the middleweight division this is a must win for him. If he comes into this fight planning to stand with Adesanya I don’t see him getting the win. I think Derek Brunson needs to lean on his wrestling to get the win. He can’t be careless with his takedowns or he could find himself waking up staring at the ceiling of Madison Square Garden. I do see this fight going to a decision but it’s honestly a toss up, If Adesanya can stuff Brunson’s takedowns I see him getting the win easily. This is do or die for Brunson and I think he knows that. I see Brunson coming into his fight timing his takedowns perfectly and controlling Adesanya on the ground. My official prediction for this one is Derek Brunson winning via decision.

Stephen Caloggero (@Steveo_calo)

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