I share some thoughts, opinions, and takeaways from a surprisingly entertain UFC 206 Pay-Per-View Card this past weekend. I also recap how my predictions did:
-I was really down on the UFC selling the 206 card as a Pay-Per-View level event due to the talent and lack of title implications on the line. I still stand by my opinion this was not a card worthy of charging near $70 for, but I’ll gladly admit the fights delivered from a pure entertainment stand point, which is more than some higher-profile cards can claim (cough UFC 200 cough).
-Max Holloway established himself as the new king of 145lbs by securing the interim bantamweight belt by destroying Anthony Pettis. Pettis was never in this fight, as Holloway controlled the distance and pace from the opening bell. Holloway did what champions do, close the show on an opponent you have out classed. Will Jose Aldo’s disappearing act continue or will he emerge from the shadows to challenge the new belt holder. Personally, outside of a Holloway vs Aldo scrap, the 145lbs division is a little shallow at with McGregor moving on to 155lbs; sans maybe the newly invigorated Cub Swanson. If Holloway can beat Aldo, he could be in line for a long reign as champion.
-I’ll admit I slept on the Cub Swanson vs Dooho Choi fight; as I did not even offer a breakdown or pick for the fight. I thought it was the UFC’s attempt to promote Choi vs a well-known name who might have been a little past his prime. I was totally wrong about that. This fight not only won fight of the year, but is #1 with a bullet now for fight of the year after the absolute war these two displayed Saturday night. Cub Swanson showed why no one in the featherweight division should ever take him lightly. His pace and unorthodox striking was on full display against a super technical & apparently ironed chinned Choi. Swanson absolutely clobbered Choi with some monster shots throughout all three rounds of their fight, yet Choi stood in the pocket and delivered some of his own bombs back on Swanson’s chin. The fans got a fantastic back and forth fight between two really game fighters, and best of all the judges go the decision right making sure a great bout didn’t end in controversy. I’d love to see a rematch of these two, but I think Cub Swanson might have his sights set on the new champion Max Holloway if Jose Aldo no shows . If Swanson fights like he did Saturday night, he can give anyone in that division a tough night.
-Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone put the 170lbs division on notice with his emphatic switch kick knockout of the iron-chinned Matt Brown. Brown tested Cerrone with a knock down mid-way through the fight, but outside of that one scary moment, Cerrone looked in total control for the majority of the fight. Cerrone is a rare breed who can adjust mid-fight to use his large variety of elite skills to get the victory however it needs to come. It was great to see both warriors squash their beef in the ring, and have an appreciation for what both make them such tough opponents. I’m not sure how much Matt Brown has left in the tank, and I always want fighters to go out on their own terms but I would not be upset to see him hang it up after maybe one more farewell fight. The UFC needs to get the Woodley vs Thompson 2 rematch scheduled as soon as possible because Donald Cerrone rightfully deserves a shot at the winner. A ‘Cowboy’ vs’ Wonder boy’ title fight would be an amazing fight; I have my fingers crossed we get to see that fight.
-Tim Kennedy looked horrendous. I do not know if it was ring rust, a bad training camp, or if age has just finally caught up to one of the toughest dudes on the planet but it was an awful night for him. Kennedy is normally known for his unrelenting cardio but he looked completely gassed after the 1st round. It only got worse from there.
-Props to Kelvin Gastelum for taking on a bigger opponent, and handling him with ease. Gastelum got a lot of critiques and rightfully so, prior to his fight with Kennedy due to his weight issues. However, if he can find a way to comfortably fit into the 185lbs division; he could pose a real threat to some top 10 185lbs due to his speed & ever improving striking. Despite his impressive UFC 206 performance, I do not see the UFC brass allowing him to compete at 170lbs for a the foreseeable future or at least until they can trust him to make weight consistently. It’s a shame too, because I think Gastelum is a legit title contender at 170lbs, vs just a really good top 10 fighter at 185lbs, but he only has himself to blame for that.
UFC 206 Predictions
(Kennedy (-139) via Unanimous Decision) / Over 2.5 rounds (-200) (Loss/Win)= -$60
(Cerrone -270) via Submission) / Bonus Play: (Under 2.5 rounds -120) (Win/Win) = +$130
(Max Holloway (-195) via TKO) (Win) = +$52.50
UFC 206 results (4-1) (+$122.50)
Prediction Record Year to Date (24-20-0) (-$247.50)
-Record & predictions based on Win vs Loss predictions only. Unless specified otherwise I use increments of $100 (for + odds predictions) & $110 (for – odds bets) as hypothetical wagers for each prediction.
-Predictions & Records are for entertainment value only
*Stats via www.UFC.com