UFC 228 Staff Predictions

8
UFC 228: Woodley vs. Till
Photo Credit: MMAFighting.com

The Octagon travels to Dallas, Texas this weekend with the UFC 228: Woodley vs. Till pay-per-view on Saturday evening. The show goes down from the American Airlines Center featuring a highly anticipated showdown for the UFC Welterweight Championship in the main event.

As is always the case before a big MMA event, MMANews.com has you covered from multiple angles with pre-fight insight and analysis from several veteran MMA writers. Staff writers Tim Thompson, Andrew Ravens and Ed Carbajal will be breaking down this Saturday’s main card fights.

The PPV fights include the aforementioned Tyron Woodley vs. Darren Till headline bout for the 170-pound title, but will not include the scheduled co-main event for the UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship between Nicco Montano and Valentina Shevchenko, as Montano was hospitalized and the fight was canceled. In a late addition, Bantamweights John Dodson and Jimmie Rivera will join the PPV card in what will surely be an explosive opening bout. Rounding out the main card on PPV this Saturday night will be Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Brandon Davis, Jessica Andrade vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Niko Price.

  • Welterweight: Tyron Woodley (c) vs. Darren Till
  • Featherweight: Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Brandon Davis
  • Women’s Strawweight: Jéssica Andrade vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
  • Welterweight: Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Niko Price
  • Bantamweight: John Dodson vs. Jimmie Rivera

UFC 228 STAFF PREDICTIONS

John Dodson vs. Jimmie Rivera

Tim Thompson: Rivera is looking to rebound from his disappointing first career loss. Perennial contender Dodson looks to play spoiler. Dodson will have to speed average, but I think Rivera will be bigger and more technical. Rivera will win by split decision. (Prediction: Jimmie Rivera)

Andrew Ravens: In an exciting late addition to the PPV card, Bantamweights Rivera and Dodson will clash in what will surely be an exciting opener. Both guys have single-shot knockout power and explosive abilities in many different areas of the game. I expect a finish in this one, it’s just a matter of who gets it done, when and how. While Rivera is likely expected to win by many, I think Dodson will pull this one off. (Prediction: John Dodson)

Ed Carbajal: Rivera is coming off of knock out loss to Marlon Moraes which may or may not have changed the UFC’s number five ranked bantamweight. With 15 of his 21 wins coming by way of decision, he could out-work the number seven ranked Dodson, who has all nine of his losses by decision. However, if the knock out is still lingering in Rivera’s mind he stands to get caught here. Still, Rivera has a strong support system with Tiger Schulman’s MMA and likely gets back in the win column here via decision. (Prediction: Jimmie Rivera)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Jimmie Rivera

Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Niko Price

Tim: Price and Alhassan are two of the most exciting young talents in the Welterweight Division. Someone’s 1 has got to go. Alhassan is extremely versatile, but Price has faced the better competition. I look for Price to grind out this fight for a UD victory. (Prediction: Niko Price)

Andrew: Kicking off the card is two guys who like to finish fights, and it appears that fight fans are almost guaranteed for a finish in this one. The story is simple in this one, Alhassan goes all out in the first-round and has finished all of his fights in the early going. The only time that he went past the first round was when he suffered his first and only loss. Thus, if Price can weather the storm, then the chances of him getting his hand raised increases. I have Alhassan coming out and getting the first-round TKO victory. (Prediction: Abdul Razak Alhassan)

Ed: Niko Price is coming off of a unique knock out win over Randy Brown from UFC Fight Night 133. Because of that, he may be the favorite to win but Alhassan’s wins are all by KO or TKO and he has only lost by decision. Price has a youth and reach advantage but an off angle punch Alhassan could easily end the fight early. (Prediction: Abdul Razak Alhassan)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Abdul Razak Alhassan

Jéssica Andrade vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Tim: Both of these women are in title talks with a win. This appears to be a technique vs power matchup. I like Kowalkiewicz to keep her distance and out point Andrade for a unaninous decision victory. (Prediction: Karolina Kowalkiewicz)

Andrew: An important fight in the women’s strawweight division as you could make a case for the winner of this fight getting the next shot at the strap. Both women enter this fight on a two-fight winning streak and looked impressive in their own respected ways. I have the slight edge to Kowalkiewicz by split decision, but this is a toss-up. (Prediction: Karolina Kowalkiewicz)

Ed: Andrade holds a win over Claudia Gadhela , someone that finished Kowalkiewicz at UFC 212. Not that past fights against former opponents carry much weight in a new fight, but the way the wins come do. Kowalkiewicz can be crafty enough to pull off another decision but Andrade is likely not going to let up any pressure for that to happen. (Prediction: Jessica Andrade)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Brandon Davis

Tim: I don’t think there is any point in trying to call this anything besides a one-sided beat down. Davis is talented but Zabit is a top 5 Featherweight in the world. Look for Zabit to be creative and land at will. Zabit wins via KO in round one. (Prediction: Zabit Magomedsharipov)

Andrew: I would be shocked if Magomedsharipov isn’t the massive favorite in this one. He has torched everyone that has been in his path, and this fight will be no different. Although Davis has had some success, since his time on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, he has struggled in the UFC by going 1-2. Magomedsharipov gets it done in a dominating way by second-round TKO. (Prediction: Zabit Magomedsharipov)

Ed: Magomedsharipov was originally supposed to fight Yair Rodriguez but Rodriguez withdrew due to injury a few weeks ago, making this a short notice fight for Davis. If Magomedsharipov’s past performance shows anything it will be that, it does not matter who he is facing. Davis deserves credit for stepping in on short notice but that generally doesn’t not work in favor of the fighter coming in so close to fight night. (Prediction: Zabit Magomedsharipov)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Zabit Magomedsharipov

UFC Welterweight Championship
Tyron Woodley (c) vs. Darren Till

Tim: I am very high on Darren Till and his size should be a huge factor in this fight, but is anyone more unappreciated than Tyron Woodley? The guy is a great talent and I think his reign continues. Woodley wins via 4th round RNC. (Prediction: Tyron Woodley)

Andrew: Through all of the drama and interesting matchmaking by the UFC, this fight is actually going to happen, and it’s intriguing. Till has a ton of hype coming into this fight even though some could say that he lost in his last fight against “Wonderboy” Thompson. He’s talented and has faced some elite names in his most recent fights. Woodley’s in an interesting spot as he hasn’t fought since last year and in those fights, he has not looked dominant but rather appearing to do just enough to get the win. The expectation is that if Till can push Woodley and aggressively come after him, then it may fire up Woodley where he gets back in the mindset of “kill or be killed.” Thus, he could return to the fighter he was once he was a title contender before being a champion. I strongly think that Woodley is the best welterweight in the world and finds a way to beat Till after five long rounds in order to earn the unanimous decision victory. (Prediction: Tyron Woodley)

Ed: Till seems to have fast-tracked his way to a title shot ever since his win over Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 118. While he is riding a four-fight-win streak it is a bit marred by his weight cutting issue and his statements about how difficult they are as of late. He has youth and reach over Woodley, but exciting or not Woodley has shown his cage experience is craftier than most he has faced and likely has a plan to pull off a win over Till. (Prediction: Tyron Woodley)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Tyron Woodley

What are your thoughts on the above predictions and fight breakdowns? What are your predictions for UFC 228? Sound off in the Comments section below, and make sure to join us here at MMANews.com and via Twitter @mmanews_com for the best UFC Liverpool results coverage.