Following a tumultuous day filled with controversy at weigh-ins, UFC 210 is set to go Saturday night in Buffalo.
Daniel Cormier somehow managed to shed 1.2 pounds in a matter of minutes during his weigh-in and now will try to defend his UFC light heavyweight title belt against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. The two fought at UFC 187 for the belt, and Cormier won the fight via submission.
Also on the card, Pearl Gonzalez makes her UFC debut following a series of strange events Friday afternoon. Gonzalez was removed from the card because she had breast implants, which are not allowed for fighters under New York State Athletic Commission rules. However, Gonzalez later was put back on the card and will fight up-and-comer Cynthia Calvillo.
Finally, Gegard Mousasi and Chris Weidman will try to position themselves for a middleweight title shot in the co-main event.
Here is a full preview for every main-card fight, with odds from our friends at OddsShark and some predictions.
Lightweight: Charles Oliveira (21-7, 1 NC, +190) vs. Will Brooks (18-2, -225)
While Brooks was dominant in Bellator, he really doesn’t finish fights, as seven of his last eight wins have come via decision. Brooks does have excellent takedown defense, (86 percent, per FightMetric), and that could help him against Oliveira, who is dominant on the ground (2.7 submissions/15 minutes). Brooks likely will rather trade blows in this one, since he averages 4.15 significant strikes per minute.
Prediction: Brooks via unanimous decision
Welterweight: Patrick Cote (24-10, -146) vs. Thiago Alves (26-11, +126)
The lightweight division wasn’t too kind to Alves. He missed weight in his lightweight debut at UFC 205 and lost via unanimous decision to Jim Miller. Alves returns to the welterweight class to fight Cote, who last fought and lost to Donald Cerrone. Alves has the slight advantage on the feet, landing 3.49 significant strikes per minute compared to Cote, who lands 2.80 per minute. Alves also is more accurate in takedowns.
Prediction: Alves via unanimous decision
Women’s strawweight: Pearl Gonzalez (6-1, +220) vs. Cynthia Calvillo (4-0, -260)
If you haven’t heard of Cynthia Calvillo, you probably will after UFC 210. The Californian trains with Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male and already has won four consecutive fights since turning pro last summer. She made her UFC debut last month at UFC 209, where she dominated Amanda Cooper, recording three submissions and finishing the fight in the first round. With just a little over a month of rest, Calvillo returns to the octagon to try to get her fifth win in eight months.
Prediction: Calvillo via second-round submission
Middleweight: Gegard Mousasi (41-6-2, -110) vs. Chris Weidman (13-2, -110)
Mousasi is dominant on his feet, and he has outstruck his last four opponents 179-42, while recording three knockout wins in the process. He also hasn’t been taken down in a fight since losing to Jacare Souza back in 2014 — seven fights ago. Weidman loves to go for the takedown, but Mousasi’s biggest strength might be his takedown defense, clocking in at 82 percent, per FightMetric. Weidman’s last opponent, Yoel Romero, also had a strong takedown defense, and Weidman struggled with that.
Prediction: Mousasi via second-round TKO
Light heavyweight title: Anthony Johnson (22-5, -115) vs. Daniel Cormier (18-1, -105)
I’m in the camp that believes the only way Rumble has a shot is if he finishes the fight in the first two rounds with a knockout punch. His biggest strength in this fight is his devastating and powerful punch, which can knock anyone out with a single blow. Since his first loss to Cormier, Johnson has recorded three knockouts in two rounds or less, and has outstruck opponents 40-9. The problem? Cormier can take a punch. He recently went the distance against Alexander Gustafson in a fight where he withstood 120 significant strikes. Cormier’s only loss to Jon Jones also went the distance.
Prediction: Cormier via unanimous decision
Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images