UFC 216: Ferguson vs Lee (Preview & Predictions)
UFC 216 gets underway this weekend in the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history that stunned the evergreen hustle and bustle which characterizes Sin City.
On that note, the MMA community has now come together in wake of this terrible tragedy, with UFC President Dana White announcing that the promotion plans to donate $1 million to victims of the Las Vegas shooting tragedy.
We, here at Sportskeeda, send our thoughts and prayers to every person affected by the senseless violence. Speaking of which, the MMA world has been abuzz about the severe lack of UFC promotional muscle behind UFC 216, in wake of the aforementioned incident. However, despite rumours of the card potentially being postponed, the organization seems to be taking an optimistic step by going forward with its latest PPV presentation as planned; headlined by an Interim UFC Lightweight Championship matchup between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee.
Besides, the show gives us the return of P4P great Demetrius ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson who looks to break Anderson Silva’s record for consecutive UFC title defences by keeping his strap for the 11th consecutive time. Additionally, the card also features a Heavyweight showdown between former divisional kingpin Fabricio Werdum and KO artist Derrick Lewis. Furthermore, the card also brings us more familiar faces as Bobby Green, Lando Vannata, Nik Lentz and Beneil Dariush look to make a statement in their respective divisions. So, without further ado, here are the predictions and preview for UFC 216—
Indian fans can watch UFC 216 on Sunday, October 8th at 7:30 am only on Sony ESPN & Sony ESPN HD.
#1 Tony Ferguson vs Kevin Lee
This fight is Tony Ferguson’s to lose and barring a flash KO/sub I can’t possibly see a likely path that has Lee take home the Interim 155-pound strap against ‘El Cucuy’.
Both fighters have excellent strength and conditioning, with Ferguson having a slight edge in cardio and Lee having the advantage in pure grappling strength. Besides, when you talk about skills, Ferguson is the better striker by a fairly large margin, whilst in the grappling department, both combatants are even.
I see Tony stalking Kevin down, with the latter having his moments early on, before eventually fading from Round 3 onwards and succumbing to Tony’s maniacal pressure.
Prediction: Tony Ferguson def. Kevin Lee via TKO
#2 Demetrius Johnson vs Ray Borg
DJ is the favourite to take this one—per Vegas odds—and rightfully so. Johnson is better on the feet, mat as well as in the mental sphere than his UFC 216 foe.
I see Borg incorporating a ton of movement in his game early on, but getting countered hard on the feet. The chances of this fight ending as DJ lands a few knees in the clinch is pretty high.
Expect something similar to Johnson’s win over Henry Cejudo, with Mighty Mouse tagging Borg on the feet and sleeping him with a few ground strikes.
Prediction: Demetrius Johnson def. Ray Borg via KO
#3 Fabricio Werdum vs Derrick Lewis
Fabricio Werdum has been in the eye of the storm over his comments against Tony Ferguson at a recent Q&A, where the former Heavyweight Champion resorted to calling the latter a few disparaging homosexual terms.
Werdum has since, apologized to the fans, with the UFC issuing an apology as well. Speaking of which, Vai Cavalo seems to be a bit distracted this time around, which in turn is a bad idea against someone who carries as much one-punch KO power as Lewis.
Regardless, although Werdum may be off his game—albeit to a certain extent—I still expect him to stay away from Lewis’ wide hooks; take Lewis to the ground and submit him.
Prediction: Fabricio Werdum def. Derrick Lewis via Submission
#4 Mara Romero Borella vs Kalindra Faria
Mara Borella and Kalindra Faria are relatively unknown fighters to the casual fans, but will undoubtedly look to make their presence felt in the UFC’s newly-formed Women’s Flyweight division.
I envision this fight as seeing Borella use her better understanding of distance and timing to outwork Faria on the feet, with the ground scrambles being relatively uneventful. Borella will likely edge this on the judges’ scorecards.
Prediction: Mara Romero Borella def. Kalindra Faria via Decision
#5 Beneil Dariush vs Evan Dunham
Beneil Dariush is a legit top-10 talent in the UFC’s shark tank of a Lightweight division, and regardless of his brutal KO loss to Edson Barboza, he still remains one of the best technical standup strikers in the game today.
Although Dariush doesn’t carry as much KO power in his strikes, his striking and grappling technique will enable him to run away with a clear-cut decision against fellow veteran Evan Dunham.
Prediction: Beneil Daruish def. Evan Dunham via Decision