UFC 232 Predictions: Jones vs. Gustafsson

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UFC 232

UFC 232 is upon us. For the final time in 2018, the UFC will be holding a pay-per-view card inside The Forum in Inglewood, California. Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson will collide for a second time in the main event for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title. The co-main event will see women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg defend her gold against women’s 135-pound ruler Amanda Nunes.

Of course MMA News has kept you covered with updates leading up to UFC 232. We’ve got weigh-in results today and we’ll be keeping you posted with live results, highlights, and post-fight tidbits tomorrow night. Right now, we’ve got main card predictions courtesy of myself, Ed Carbajal, and Andrew Ravens.

Here’s how the rest of the UFC 232 main card stacks up:

  • Light Heavyweight: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson
  • Women’s Featherweight: Cris Cyborg (c) vs. Amanda Nunes
  • Welterweight: Michael Chiesa vs. Carlos Condit
  • Light Heavyweight: Ilir Latifi vs. Corey Anderson
  • Featherweight: Chad Mendes vs. Alexander Volkanovski

Chad Mendes vs. Alexander Volkanovski

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Volkanovski did a great job lobbying for this fight, but I don’t see things going his way. Mendes is an elite featherweight who has given the cream of the crop in his division issues. I don’t think Volkanovski is at that level, but of course this is a huge opportunity to prove otherwise. I’m going with Mendes here. I think he’ll mix up his grappling and striking well enough to give Volkanovski some fits (Prediction: Chad Mendes)

Ed Carbajal: Volkanovski is riding a five-fight win-streak in the UFC and has not lost a fight overall, since 2013. Mendes has never not brought his best to a fight and even on short-notice he can do well enough to give his opponent a true challenge and a fight against someone like Volkanovski should be no different. He came back after a layoff with a first-round KO win over Myles Jury last July and with that type of motivation, this fight may not see the distance. A finish is coming and while it is hard to pick against Mendes, a win here could do more for Volkanovski’s career. (Prediction: Alexander Volkanovski)

Andrew Ravens: No doubt this will be the toughest challenge in front of Volkanovski but if he wants to get near the top of the division and eventual title shot, he has to get past Mendes. On the flip side, Mendes is going to be bringing his A-game into this contest and build off the momentum that he had in his return against Myles Jury. As much as I think most would like to see Mendes continue his winning ways, I have the young lion taking out the veteran by unanimous decision. (Prediction: Alexander Volkanovski)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Alexander Volkanovski

Ilir Latifi vs. Corey Anderson

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Latifi has brute strength. He has knockout power and can latch onto a choke if your takedown attempt is sloppy. What we saw in Corey Anderson’s last fight was perhaps the most methodical performance of his career. Anderson didn’t rush anything, picked his spots, and even had Glover Teixeira staggered a few times. I think that Corey Anderson beats Latifi more times than not. (Prediction Corey Anderson)

Ed Carbajal: While Anderson is the younger man in this match up, he has shown that he is vulnerable to being finished by way of KO or TKO. Three of his four losses are by knockout or TKO and five of Latifi’s wins have come that way. Both men are riding a two-fight win streak but Latifi has proven to try and finish more as of late. Anderson could pull off another decision but Latifi seems to be more driven. (Prediction: Ilir Latifi)

Andrew Ravens: In my mind, Anderson has always been someone who has been right on the verge of making it to the elite level of the division but has yet to get there. With getting a winning streak together, he should get through Latifi, who has looked outstanding his last two bouts. This should be a great performance by Anderson and I have him winning by third-round TKO. (Prediction: Corey Anderson)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Corey Anderson

Michael Chiesa vs. Carlos Condit

Fernando Quiles Jr.: It’s safe to say that Carlos Condit isn’t the same fighter he once was, but he’s still fun to watch. I expect some back-and-forth action with Chiesa getting the better of “The Natural Born Killer.” I think Chiesa will have a bit of a second wind at welterweight and will have that extra boost not having to cut so much weight. (Prediction: Michael Chiesa)

Ed Carbajal: Both men are carrying losses on their records and when looking at the quality of opponents they have wins over, in this match looking at when those fights happened may matter more in trying to predict this one. Both men have been caught in chokes lately so either they will try to out strike one another or see who has the better ground game. Condit may some mental hurdles he’s trying to fight too losing his last four fights. The guard has been changing in 2018 and this could be the fight breaks the losing streak for Chiesa. (Prediction: Michael Chiesa)

Andrew Ravens: For the last two years, fight fans have been waiting to see the old Condit back inside of the Octagon but hasn’t delivered. Although Chiesa is coming into this fight on a two-fight losing streak, I don’t see Condit making a comeback. Chiesa has had two tough fights back-to-back but I think he gets past Condit with a fun unanimous decision win. (Prediction: Michael Chiesa)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Michael Chiesa

Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes

Fernando Quiles Jr.: No one should be sleeping on Amanda Nunes. She’s a UFC champion for a reason. Nothing was handed to her and she might have the speed and durability to give Cyborg issues. With that being said, I think the strength advantage for Cyborg will be key here. Cyborg sometimes leaves herself vulnerable in the grappling when she zones out in the stand-up, but she often times hops right back up to her feet. I think if Nunes struggles standing, she won’t have much to lean on. (Prediction: Cris Cyborg)

Ed Carbajal: Nunes may be biting off more than she can chew in this fight against Justino. Quality of opponents, experience, strength, and durability all favor the women’s featherweight champ at UFC 232. While Nunes was able to pull off upsets and wins in her division, Justino has proven she can win there and given the fight is for her title, it is hard to pick against her. (Prediction: Cris Cyborg)

Andrew Ravens: The toughest fight of both fighters careers up to this point and if there is anyone who can beat Cyborg it’s Nunes. The only issue that I have with it is due to the weight and that’s a big advantage for Cyborg. I do think this goes the distance and is mostly a stand-up fight. Cyborg retains by unanimous decision. (Prediction: Cris Cyborg)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Cris Cyborg

Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson

Fernando Quiles Jr.: If this Jones vs. Gustafsson II plays out like the first fight did, then the “Fight of The Night” bonus is in the bag. Both men showed technical brilliance and high fight IQ in their first encounter and I expected another solid effort from both men. Gustafsson will stuff his share of takedowns and have his moments on the feet, but I think “Bones” pulls it off again for a unanimous decision victory. (Prediction: Jon Jones)

Ed Carbajal: Both fighters have had significant downtime to rest, recoup, and prepare for one another. However, the last time Jones came back from being away from action, his performance, compared to the rest of his career was not what fans expect of Jones. He still won his last fight against Ovince St. Preux at UFC 197, but he’ll have to bring more against Gustafsson. Gustafsson while not having fought since May of 2017, was away due to injury. If cage-rust is a thing, this is Gustafsson’s fight to win but Jones has proven to be able to pull off wins but time could catch up to him too. Hard to pick, leaning towards Jones by decision. (Prediction: Jon Jones)

Andrew Ravens: If this fight is half as good as their first then we are in for a heck of a main event. It will be interesting to see how Jones performs after a long layoff and if he will look like the old Jon or the one that we got in the OSP fight. If he’s not on top of his game then that’s a big advantage to Gustafsson. You can never count out Jones in a fight despite his outside of the Octagon issues. I have Jones getting it done and reclaiming his title by split decision. (Prediction: Jon Jones)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Jon Jones

Do you agree with the UFC 232 main card predictions of the MMA News staffers? Who do you think will win the PPV fights? Let your voice be heard in the comments below. Be sure to stick with MMANews.com for coverage of UFC 232 all weekend.