UFC 207 Preview & MMANews.com Staff Predictions
By MMANews.com Staff Writer Matt Boone
With UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey less than 24-hours away, the staff here at MMANews.com came together to give their picks for the pay-per-view main card fights scheduled for Friday’s loaded fight card.
This weekend’s show marks the final pay-per-view on UFC’s 2016 calendar, one that has clearly been among the most successful and newsworthy years in the history of the entire sport of MMA, let alone the UFC as an individual promotional entity.
Featuring a five-fight PPV main card, a four-fight televised preliminary card and an individual UFC Fight Pass preliminary fight, UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey is scheduled to take place on Friday evening, December 30th, live on pay-per-view from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
MMANews.com will be providing live, round-by-round results coverage of the entire UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey pay-per-view this Friday evening. Make sure to tune into the site by approximately 7:30pm EST. / 4:30pm PST. for the start of the Fight Pass coverage. Stick with us from 8-10pm EST. / 5-8pm PST. for live coverage of the FS1 televised prelims and make sure to be with us starting at 10pm EST. / 7pm PST., as we begin our detailed round-by-round results coverage of the PPV main card, including live in-round updates.
UFC 207 Main Event
In the main event, the long-awaited Octagon return of “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey will take place, as UFC’s female mega-star will look to regain the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship that she introduced to the world, and lost in her last fight.
Rousey lost via crushing head-kick knockout to upcoming UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship contender Holly Holm in her last fight at UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia back in November of 2015. The rising pop culture phenomenon will look to return for the first time ever coming off of a loss, and will do so with a tough task in front of her in the form of Brazilian’s first-ever UFC Women’s Champion, Amanda Nunes.
Nunes won the UFC Women’s 135-pound title by dominating former UFC and Strikeforce Women’s Champion, Women’s MMA pioneer Miesha Tate, in the main event of the landmark UFC 200 event back in July.
With previous victories over the likes of upcoming UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship contender Germaine de Randamie, as well as wins over former Holly Holm conquerer Valentina Shevchenko and former UFC title contender Sara McMann, Nunes is definitely a formidable foe for Rousey’s first fight back inside the Octagon.
UFC 207 Co-Main Event
Supporting the main event is the UFC Men’s Bantamweight Title tilt that pits longtime division king Dominick Cruz against the latest challenger to come out of Urijah Faber’s “Team Alpha Male” camp out of Sacramento, California, undefeated knockout artist Cody “No Love” Garbrandt.
With three or more video taped encounters backstage at past events, Garbrandt and Cruz have had quite the build-up to their title showdown inside the cage at this Friday’s final UFC pay-per-view of 2016. Add in the fact that Rousey is doing extremely limited media for this event, and the Garbrandt-Cruz fight has basically stolen the show during the lead-up to this weekend’s big event.
UFC 207 PPV Undercard
Although the battle of former UFC Heavyweight Champions between Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum was pulled from the show, the fight in the third-from-the-top spot on Friday’s PPV main card is still a showdown of epic proportions, as the number one and number two contender in the UFC Bantamweight division will do battle.
In the first non-title featured bout on the main card, former UFC Bantamweight Champion and former Team Alpha Male member T.J. Dillashaw looks to inch one step closer to a title rematch with Cruz, or Garbrandt, depending on the outcome of their fight on the same card this Friday, when he meets dangerous knockout artist John Lineker in a style matchup that is eerily similar to the Cruz-Garbrandt title bout.
In the second bout on the PPV card on Friday night, Dong Hyun “Stun Gun” Kim makes his Octagon return for the first time since his win over Dominic Waters at the UFC Fight Night 79 event back in November of 2015, as he meets decorated striker and former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Tarec Saffiedine.
Finally, kicking off the UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey pay-per-view card this Friday night will be catch weight bout, as Louis Smolka meets Ray Borg in a 129.5 pound fight due to Borg missing the Flyweight mark of 125 pounds by 3.5 pounds at the official UFC 207 weigh-ins on Thursday morning.
Regardless, Smolka and Borg will do battle as scheduled. For those who missed it, check out MMANews.com Podcast host Tim Thompson’s exclusive pre-UFC 207 interview with Louis Smolka to find out what his mind state is heading into battle on PPV this Friday night.
UFC 207 FS1 Preliminary Card
Supporting the PPV main card on Friday is a four-fight preliminary card on FOX Sports 1 headlined by Johny Hendricks vs. Neil Magny in a special 173.5 pound catch weight bout due to Hendricks missing weight by 2.5 pounds at the official UFC 207 weigh-ins on Thursday morning.
With former UFC Welterweight Champion Hendricks dabbling in retirement talk and Magny coming off a loss to Lorenz Larkin prior to impressive wins over Hector Lombard (via stoppage) and Kelvin Gastelum, both guys have a lot to prove, and a lot riding on their meeting inside the Octagon this Friday night.
Also on the FS1 television preliminary card this Friday night are fights featuring the likes of Mike Pyle, who battles Alex Garcia, Brandon Thatch, who faces Niko Price and Antonio Carlos Junior versus Marvin Vettori.
UFC 207 Fight Pass Preliminary Fight
In the lone UFC Fight Pass preliminary fight, Tim Means returns to do battle against tough welterweight prospect Alex Oliveira in a 170-pound bout that will kick off an evening of exciting fight action inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Both Means and Oliveira will look to extend their two-fight winning streaks to three in a row when the two do battle in the first fight of the evening on Friday.
Means has gone 2-0 since his loss to Matt Brown in July of 2015, as he comes into Friday’s event fresh off of a pair of second round TKO victories over John Howard and Sabah Homasi. Meanwhile “Cowboy” Oliveira looks to improve to 3-0 after his loss to the other “Cowboy,” as he has picked up wins over former Bellator Lightweight Champion Will Brooks and James Moontasri since his loss to Donald Cerrone in February.
UFC 207 Betting Odds (as of 12/29)
Now that everyone is up to speed on the fights scheduled for Friday, it’s time to take a look at who the MMANews.com staff members are picking in the top five fights scheduled for the PPV main card this weekend.
Before we delve into the staff picks for Friday’s PPV fights, let’s take a look at how the betting odds for the UFC 207 main card look as of Thursday evening. Below are the latest UFC 207 betting odds, as listed via the official UFC website.
UFC 207 Betting Odds (via UFC.com)
* Amanda Nunes (+126) vs. Ronda Rousey (-146)
* Dominick Cruz (-220) vs. Cody Garbrandt (+185)
* T.J. Dillashaw (-250) vs. John Lineker (+210)
* Dong Hyun Kim (-135) vs. Tarec Saffiedine (+117)
* Louis Smolka (+110) vs. Ray Borg (-130)
To better understand the above numbers, follow the example using the current odds for the Nunes-Rousey headliner listed below:
In the case of the current odds listed above for the UFC 207 main event, if you were to place a $100 bet on the champion Nunes, and she wins on Friday, you would earn $126 profit. On the flip-side of the coin, a $146 bet on Rousey would net you $100 profit.
With all of that now behind us, it’s time to take a look at who the MMANews.com staff members are favoring in the five pay-per-view main card fights at Friday’s UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey pay-per-view.
UFC 207 MMANews.com Staff Predictions
So, how do the various members of the MMANews.com staff view this Friday’s pay-per-view card? Do they side with the current Vegas odds, or are some of our team members poised to make some dough on Friday’s big fights? (Assuming they are the type to gamble, of course!)
Below is a look at who each of the MMANews.com staff is picking to get their hands raised in each of the five fights scheduled for the PPV main card at Friday’s UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey year-end event.
LOUIS SMOLKA vs. RAY BORG
Matt Boone: Louis Smolka
Tim Thompson: Louis Smolka via Unanimous Decision
Dana Becker: Louis Smolka via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round 3
Fernando Quiles Jr: Louis Smolka via Decision
Adam Haynes: Ray Borg via Decision
Jake Kirby: Ray Borg
MMANews.com Staff Total: 4-2, Louis Smolka
Fernando Quiles Jr. Breaks Down Smolka vs. Borg
Smolka and Borg are both rising flyweights who recently had their winning streaks snapped. Smolka looked unstoppable in four fights before his upset loss to Brandon Moreno. Borg just switched to Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA, but I think the change in philosophy and style may be too much for him to handle at this time. I have Smolka winning by decision.
DONG HYUN KIM vs. TAREC SAFFIEDINE
Matt Boone: Dong Hyun Kim
Tim Thompson: Dong Hyun Kim via TKO in Round 3
Dana Becker: Dong Hyun Kim via Decision
Fernando Quiles Jr: Dong Hyun Kim via Decision
Adam Haynes: Dong Hyun Kim via TKO/KO
Jake Kirby: Tarec Saffiedine
MMANews.com Staff Total: 5-1, Dong Hyun Kim
Fernando Quiles Jr. Breaks Down Kim vs. Saffiedine
If Kim is to win this fight, he’ll need to avoid the kicks of Saffiedine. The last Strikeforce Welterweight Champion can slow his opponents down with hard leg kicks that take their toll as the fight goes on. I think Kim’s strategy will be to get it to the ground and keep striking until the final horn sounds. I’ll go with Kim by decision.
T.J. DILLASHAW vs. JOHN LINEKER
Matt Boone: T.J. Dillashaw
Tim Thompson: John Lineker via KO in Round 1
Dana Becker: T.J. Dillashaw via Decision
Fernando Quiles Jr: T.J. Dillashaw via Decision
Adam Haynes: T.J. Dillashaw via TKO
Jake Kirby: T.J. Dillashaw
MMANews.com Staff Total: 5-1, T.J. Dillashaw
Fernando Quiles Jr. Breaks Down Dillashaw vs. Lineker
The power of Lineker can’t be denied. He’s the type of fighter to tuck his chin, bite down on his mouthpiece and swing for the fences. The problem here is that Dillashaw’s technique is almost second to none. I think on the feet, Lineker will be outmatched and outclassed. Dillashaw will stick and move to earn a decision victory.
UFC MEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (5 ROUNDS)
DOMINICK CRUZ (C) vs. CODY GARBRANDT
Matt Boone: Dominick Cruz
Tim Thompson: Dominick Cruz via Unanimous Decision
Dana Becker: Cody Garbrandt via TKO in Round 1
Fernando Quiles Jr: Dominick Cruz via Decision
Adam Haynes: Dominick Cruz via Decision
Jake Kirby: Dominick Cruz
MMANews.com Staff Total: 5-1, Dominick Cruz
Fernando Quiles Jr. Breaks Down Cruz vs. Garbrandt
It’s no secret that Garbrandt despises Cruz. These two have had split-screen interviews twice and both times, Garbrandt appeared to lose his cool. I think the story remains the same in the fight. “No Love” will swarm, but he will get taken down and countered on the feet. I believe barring a quick knockout, it’s going to be a long night for the challenger. Cruz by decision.
UFC WOMEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (5 ROUNDS)
AMANDA NUNES (C) vs. RONDA ROUSEY
Matt Boone: Ronda Rousey
Tim Thompson: Ronda Rousey via Submission (armbar) in Round 2
Dana Becker: Ronda Rousey via Submission (armbar) in Round 1
Fernando Quiles Jr: Amanda Nunes via TKO in Round 1
Adam Haynes: Ronda Rousey via Submission (armbar)
Jake Kirby: Ronda Rousey
MMANews.com Staff Total: 5-1, Ronda Rousey
Fernando Quiles Jr. Breaks Down Nunes vs. Rousey
I have no doubts about Rousey’s focus. I think she is prepared for this fight mentally and physically. Having said that, I don’t think that will be enough. Nunes has hit her stride, finishing three of her last four opponents. I think “Lioness” lands a hard punch early and “Rowdy” turtles. This allows Nunes to followed up with some ground-and-pound for a first round TKO win.
GET INVOLVED: Who are you picking to win the fights at this Friday’s UFC 207 pay-per-view? Leave your own predictions and give your own personal analysis in the “Comments” section below. You can also interact with other MMA fans via our official Facebook page and/or our official Twitter page.
Join us here on Friday evening, December 30th, for live round-by-round results coverage of the UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey pay-per-view.