The weekend is here and with it comes the return of the Octagon, as UFC On FOX 29 goes down from the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona this Saturday evening. As we do for every big UFC events, we’ve got three of MMANews’ finest here to bring you their expert analysis and predictions for the main card fights scheduled for Saturday’s show.
UFC On FOX 29 features an intriguing main event, as Justin Gaethje takes on Dustin Poirier to determine a potential future UFC Lightweight Championship contender. In the co-main event of the evening, Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira moves in on short-notice to replace Matt Brown against former interim UFC Welterweight Champion “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit.
Also on the card this weekend is the return of The Last Stylebender, as New Zealand’s finest, Israel Adesanya, returns for his second trip to the Octagon to face Marvin Vettori. Rounding out the four-fight main card this weekend will be “The Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson vs. Cortney Casey.
MMANews.com staff writers Matt Boone and Fernando Quiles Jr. will be giving their picks for this installment of our Staff Predictions Roundtable. Check out their analysis and predictions for Saturday’s main card fights below.
- Lightweights: Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje
- Welterweights: Carlos Condit vs. Alex Oliveira
- Middleweights: Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori
- Women’s Strawweights: Michelle Waterson vs. Cortney Casey
UFC ON FOX 29 STAFF PREDICTIONS
Dustin Poirier (22-5, 1 NC) vs. Justin Gaethje (18-1)
Matt Boone: We’ve got an exciting main event, as “The Diamond” takes on “The Highlight” with plenty on the line. Because of the shape of the Lightweight division, a win here for either guy could be huge. With Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson seemingly out of the picture right now, a win in Saturday’s main event for either guy, particularly if it’s an impressive one, could set up a future title showdown against new 155-pound king Khabib Nurmagomedov. Gaethje was undefeated until losing his last fight by KO to Eddie Alvarez. Poirier has two big wins in recent fights over Anthony Pettis and Jim Miller, with a fight to Alvarez going to a No Contest ruling after some illegal knees. This is a tough one to call. The experts are favoring Poirier slightly, and I’d have to agree. (Prediction: Dustin Poirier)
Fernando Quiles Jr. This may be the most difficult fight I’ve ever had to call. We’ve seen both men butcher fighters on the feet, but we’ve also seen them be on the receiving end of a knockout. Poirier was brutally finished by Michael Johnson, while Gaethje had the light shut off agaisnt Eddie Alvarez. Poirier rebounded nicely from the knockout, while Gaethje is just recovering from it. Gaethje will get hit with plenty of clean shots, but how long is it before Poirier wears down? Can Poirier finish Gaethje? It’s tough to call, but I’ll say Gaethje stops Poirier. (Prediction: Justin Gaethje)
CONSENSUS: TIE (1-1)
Carlos Condit (30-11) vs. Alex Oliveira (17-5-1, 2 NC)
Matt: In our co-main event we have Carlos Condit vs. Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira after Matt Brown was forced to pull out of the originally scheduled bout due to injury. The odds favor Oliveira in this one by over a two-to-one margin. It would appear that the experts are giving up on The Natural Born Killer. I’m not so quick to do so. He’s only lost to the cream of the crop and Cowboy hasn’t quite proven himself to be among the elite just yet in my opinion. With that said, I’ll give a slight edge to the former interim UFC Welterweight Champion. (Prediction: Carlos Condit)
Fernando: After going to war with Robbie Lawler for the UFC welterweight title, Condit dropped two straight to Demian Maia and Neil Magny. Condit had no answer for the grappling. Alex Oliveira has showed his grappling skills before, the bout with Will Brooks comes to mind. But he can get lured into a striking battle and that will be Condit’s best shot at winning the fight. I think in the end, Oliveira will turn to the grapling to hand Condit his fourth straight loss. (Prediction: Alex Oliveira)
CONSENSUS: TIE (1-1)
Israel Adesanya (12-0) vs. Marvin Vettori (12-3-1)
Matt: I’m as excited for this fight as any other on the main card, as The Last Stylebender returns. New Zealand’s finest makes his second trip to the Octagon after an incredibly impressive debut in February, where he TKO’d Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221. Adesanya is undefeated, looks like Jon Jones, and might have the same potential as “Bones.” He’s fighting a solid veteran to test his skills and by all accounts, he should pass with flying colors. (Prediction: Israel Adesanya)
Fernando: There’s a lot of hype surrounding Adesanya, but he may get tested here. Vettori is crafty on the ground and if you leave your neck exposed, he will capitalize on it. Adesanya has finished all of his opponents, while Vettori has yet to be finished. I’ll lean towards Adesanya, but wouldn’t be surprised if the outcome is different. (Prediction: Israel Adesanya)
CONSENSUS: Israel Adesanya (2-0)
Michelle Waterson (14-6) vs. Cortney Casey (7-5)
Matt: The Karate Hottie comes into this fight riding a two fight losing streak for the first time in her career. She is a slight underdog against Casey, who is only 3-4 inside the Octagon. I would tend to disagree with the experts based on that factor alone. Waterson has proven herself to be a game fighter and I expect nothing less this Saturday night. (Prediction: Michelle Waterson)
Fernando: Waterson has hit a rough patch as of late, but her recent losses were to current strawweight champion Rose Namajunas and fifth ranked Tecia Torres. There’s still plenty of fight left in the “Karate Hottie” and this match-up feels like it was booked as a bounce back bout. With losses to Claudia Gadelha and Felice Herrig, Casey hasn’t been able to break through and I don’t believe she’ll do so here. (Prediction: Michelle Waterson)
CONSENSUS: Michelle Waterson (2-0)
What do you think of the above analysis for UFC On FOX 29? Do you agree or disagree with the predictions? Let us know by sounding off in the Comments section below. Join us via Twitter @mmanews_com on Saturday evening for live UFC On FOX 29 results coverage!