UFC 230 Preview: Early Preview and Top Fights to look forward to
We finally have a main event for the much awaited and much hyped MSG card, UFC 230 scheduled for November 3rd. With the double champion, Daniel 'DC' Cormier and Derrick 'Black Beast' Lewis headlining an otherwise stacked card, let's dig in to analyse the fight card which has all the potential to be one of the biggest and best cards of the year despite the loss of our co-main event in Nate Diaz vs Dustin Poirier, after Dustin Poirier had to pull out due to injury.
THE MAIN EVENT
It doesn't get bigger than the reigning double champ and the #1 pound for pound fighter in the world defending his newly earned heavyweight strap in the main event against the ever dangerous fan favourite Derrick Lewis.
Stylistically and statistically DC is a huge favourite in this heavyweight title fight against Lewis. DC has time and again proved his mettle at the biggest stage of MMA and has truly established himself as a complete well-rounded fighter and not just a dominant wrestler which we all knew he was.
Cormier has endless cardio and is extremely intelligent and puts a relentless pace on his opponents which have been his key to victory and his dominant reign in the UFC. On the other hand, Lewis brings legit one-punch KO power and tremendous heart which was well on display in his last fight at UFC 229 when he knocked out Alexander Volkov in the last minute of the fight after being brutally out-struck for the entire fight. Derrick Lewis proved to the world that no matter how hurt or tired he is, just one of those vicious right hands can shut your lights out.
On the other hand, the champion put his own KO power on full display when he knocked Stipe Miocic in the 1st round to win the belt, showing the world that he too can close the show at any point of time. Skill to skill, DC is miles ahead of Lewis, whose wrestling and cardio have always been an Achilles heel for him and in all probability DC is favoured to win this fight but with someone as powerful and crazy as Derrick Lewis, there's always that excitement of 'what if he lands?!'
LUKE ROCKHOLD VS CHRIS WEIDMAN 2
The middleweight rematch the entire world has been waiting for, which was earlier fixed for UFC 209 when Chris Weidman had to withdraw due to injury, is finally happening at UFC 230 when two former champs collide in a title-eliminator of sorts.
Both Rockhold and Weidman have been on sketchy runs lately but the way the middleweight division is shaping up, the winner of this fight has a solid chance to be the next challenger to take on the winner of Whittaker vs Gastelum who was earlier announced by the UFC to be the opposing coaches on TUF 28.
Rockhold vs Weidman is a very intriguing contest stylistically. Both men are amazing grapplers with world class takedowns as well as dominant top control and ground and pound. What makes this fight even more interesting is the way their first fight went when Rockhold TKOd Chris in the 4th round to take the belt and hand the 'All American' his first career loss. It was a close fight both on the feet and on the mat until Weidman attempted a spinning back-kick which resulted into a takedown and Luke just dominated Weidman for the remainder of the fight.
Chris Weidman is coming off a long lay-off and a dominant win before that over the current title challenger Kelvin Gastelum. Many seem to have forgotten that fight but Chris looked like he had gotten his championship calibre back when he submitted Kelvin via arm-triangle after dominating the 10th planet BJJ black belt on the mat. Luke Rockhold is coming off a vicious KO loss handed to him by Yoel Romero but looked amazing in his previous bout before that against David Branch when he stopped him by tap out due to strikes. The rivalry between these two former champs is real with both believing that they are the best middleweights in the world.
JACARE SOUZA VS DAVID BRANCH
Another compelling middleweight contest greets us as #5 ranked BJJ legend Jacare Souza takes on #7 ranked David Branch at UFC 230. In a stacked middleweight division filled with young and upcoming talent, the 38-year-old veteran Jacare Souza has continued to hold his own and remain in the top 5 with his impressive performances against top fighters.
His UFC 230 bout against Branch will be his 3rd fight this year making him one of the more active fighters on the roster. Souza is coming off a razor close split decision loss to the current title challenger Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 224 in May and a devastating 1st round knockout win over Derek Brunson in January before that. Souza has time and again proved that he has all the tools to become a champion at 185 lbs with his legendary ground game and a crisp and technical standup combined with his vicious KO power, but has always failed after getting right to the top, first by losing to the reigning champion Robert Whittaker and then to Kelvin Gastelum in his last fight.
David Branch also looked reinvigorated after his devastating loss handed to him by Luke Rockhold in September 2017 when he finished Thiago Santos via KO in the first round in his last fight. And to consider what an absolute beast Santos is, Branch handling him the way he did last time around proves that he is playing for keeps.
Stylistically this is anyone's fight. Branch probably has the advantage standing up with crisper kickboxing and knocking out a dangerous striker Santos in his last fight also suggests that he's got his timing and finishing instinct back, something which lacked in his fight against Rockhold where he was unable to get the finish even after visibly hurting Rockhold. But Souza is no joke standing up either and at the mat it's safe to say that there's no one as crafty as him in the middleweight division and he can dominate you with top control or throw slick submission off his back and from top control as well all in all making this a compelling and fun to watch fight.
DEREK BRUNSON VS ISRAEL ADESANYA
The hype machine, the undefeated phenom 'The Last Stylebender' Israel Adesanya is back on UFC 230 taking on the ever-dangerous striker Derek Brunson in what can potentially be the fight of the night on this card. Israel has looked absolutely phenomenal in his undefeated 14-0 run and has been sparking comparisons to the hype of a young Jon Jones.
Although unable to finish his last two fights, Israel has been an absolute killer and has finished all his fights before that with KO/TKO. Israel is very crafty on the feet and the former pro kickboxer brings world-class striking and footwork techniques to the octagon. Israel is very hard to hit and his movement and footwork and unorthodox striking techniques have caught the eye of the entire MMA world and everybody is looking closely at this rising star, who many believe has all the makings to be a future champion.
But he faces the veteran and the perennial top 10 contender, Derek Brunson this time around who will without a doubt test Adesanya's striking and also his chin in this grudge match. Brunson and Adesanya have been going at each other on social media and also fired off at the UFC summer press conference and it's safe to say that these two do not like each other and will definitely put it all out in the Octagon come November 3rd.
SLEEPER FIGHTS ON THE CARD
There are some interesting fights on this card which seem to have been ignored by the media and the fans with the suspense regarding the main event and Dustin Poirier withdrawing from the fight but they are ones to watch.
Jason Knight vs Jordan Rinaldi- Featherweight
Jason Knight returns to the octagon with an eye for redemption after having lost his last 3 fights against the newcomer Jordan Rinaldi. Knight caught the eye of the UFC and the MMA fans by his brash and exciting fighting style and the heart and grit he showed in the octagon. Knight racked up a 4 fight win streak before losing to Ricardo Lamas at UFC 214 and then losing another 2 fights after that. Knight is looking to bounce back in the win column and raise his stock and again become a prospective contender at 145 lbs. Rinaldi is relatively new in the UFC with just 3 fights 1 win and 2 losses in the octagon. Relatively unknown he has a chance to catch everyone's eye with an impressive win over fan favourite Jason Knight.
Matt Frevola vs Lando Vannata
Being scouted from Dana White's contender series, Matt Frevola coming out of the Matt Serra-Ray Longo camp is one to watch as he takes on the crafty 'Groovy' Lando Vannata. Vannata has been on a rough run lately with winning just one out his last 5 with one draw and four losses but Vannata has shown signs of improvement in every fight. Lando's crafty striking will be matched up against the strong grappling that the Serra-Longo camp fighters usually bring making this an interesting fight and a possible contender would rise at the end of this contest.
Sijara Eubanks vs Roxanne Modafferi
After all the talks of Eubanks and Shevchenko headlining UFC 230 have come to an end former Ultimate Fighter prospects Eubanks and Modaferri are set to battle in a women's flyweight division bout. Eubanks was set to fight Nico Montano on TUF final for the flyweight belt but having pulled out of the fight at the last minute, Modafferi battled Montano for the inaugural flyweight title eventually losing the fight to the first ever women's flyweight champion Nico Montano. Eubanks and Modafferi now have a chance to rise as a contender at the newly created flyweight division and a possible title shot later might be available for the winner next year.
The UFC has managed to put together a great card for the fans even after the disaster of losing Yoel Romero vs Paolo Costa and Nate Diaz vs Dustin Poirier due to injuries and UFC 230 is bound to raise the roof off MSG with compelling middleweight match-ups and a heavyweight classic main event.