UFC 236 is almost here. The event will be held inside the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia tomorrow night (April 13). Headlining the card will be an interim lightweight title bout between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier. Taking the co-main event spot will be an interim middleweight title showdown between Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya.
MMA News continues to keep you posted on the latest UFC 236 updates. Earlier today, we covered the weigh-ins, which you can see the results for here. Myself, Ed Carbajal, and Andrew Ravens have once again linked up to provide main card predictions for UFC 236.
Take a look at the bouts set for the main card:
- Lightweight: Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier
- Middleweight: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya
- Light Heavyweight: Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.
- Welterweight: Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant
- Light Heavyweight: Ovince Saint Preux vs. Nikita Krylov
Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier
Fernando Quiles Jr.: This fight has all the makings to be thrilling and bloody fast. Poirier has dynamite in his hands, but Holloway has speed and a jab that’ll have anyone’s head snap back. While he’s unproven at lightweight, I don’t think a move up will have a negative impact on the featherweight title holder. I think Poirier has his moments, but ultimately gets stopped later in the fight as Holloway begins to use his footwork and combinations to pick him apart. (Prediction: Max Holloway)
Ed Carbajal: This second fight between Poirier and Holloway is taking place long after their first. Since 2012, both fighters have evolved well past the men they were at UFC 143 so the outcome could be a lot different in the main event. However, if Poirier was the better man back then, he has only gotten better since and might be able to copy his success from last time. (Prediction: Dustin Poirier)
Andrew Ravens: A tough fight and even harder pick. To get it out of the way, yes, these two have fought before, but that was SEVEN years ago with Dustin taking the win. Both fighters have evolved so much since then that they’re completely different fighters and thus will bring a different fight to the fans. Holloway is on such a different level right now, and I think the fact that he gets to save 10 pounds in weight cutting will give a side to him that we haven’t seen in recent memory. Holloway by decision. (Prediction: Max Holloway)
CONSENSUS: 2-1, Max Holloway
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya
Fernando Quiles Jr.: I don’t think there’s any denying that the key for Gastelum here will be how effective he can be mixing up his strikes with the grappling. We’ve seen Israel Adesanya thwart takedown attempts from Brad Tavares and Derek Brunson, but Gastelum will be a true test. If we approach the later rounds and Adesanya starts looking like he did against Marvin Vettori, then he’s in trouble. I don’t think it’ll get to that point as I believe Adesanya will prove his level of striking is something Gastelum hasn’t seen before, not even when he fought Uriah Hall. (Prediction: Israel Adesanya)
Ed Carbajal: Adesanya’s toughest test might be Gastelum at UFC 236. While he went the distance with Anderson Silva, it was a decision win. Gastelum’s resume has more quality opponents and might be able to shut down anything flashy Adesanya brings to the cage. Still, of Gastelum’s three losses, two are by decision. If Adesanya can avoid Gastelum’s power he could win that way too. But it’s hard to pick against the younger, more experienced man in front of him. (Prediction: Kelvin Gastelum)
Andrew Ravens: Israel is the hot new star right now with the majority of fans getting behind him as the next big thing. I might be in the minority here, but I don’t think he gets past Kelvin here. Might just be a gut feeling but I don’t see it. Kelvin has been on fire as of late and will bring a big level change in the competition that Israel hasn’t fought in the past. There’s a reason why he’s the #1 contender. Kelvin gets it and sends the surging prospect to the drawing board. I got Gastelum via decision (Prediction: Kelvin Gastelum)
CONSENSUS: 2-1, Kelvin Gastelum
Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.
Fernando Quiles Jr.: This is a scrap between two heavy hitters. Anders and Rountree Jr. both have knockout power. Rountree Jr. looked to built off his momentum after a stunning finish over Gokhan Saki, but Johnny Walker ran through him. Anders is coming off a controversial split decision loss to Elias Theodorou. I think Anders is itching to make a statement here and he’ll walk through Roundtree Jr.’s strikes to deliver the harder shots. (Prediction: Eryk Anders)
Ed Carbajal: Rountree seems to make comebacks when he loses and carries a lot of knockouts to his credit. However, when fighters that come by way of football like Anders, the chances of knocking him out are slim. Both men are coming off of losses and if bouncing back is any kind of motivation, Anders is likely over his two-fight skid and probably wants to make a point at UFC 236. (Prediction: Eryk Anders)
Andrew Ravens: Well, if Anders can survive the first round of this contest then he should be fine to win the fight. It’s just that he has to do one thing and it’s to survive. Khalil has real potential but must get his cardio issues fixed if he wants to be taken seriously as a top name. Anders walks away with the ugly win by decision. (Prediction: Eryk Anders)
CONSENSUS: 3-0, Eryk Anders
Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant
Fernando Quiles Jr.: Jouban certainly has experience on his side in this fight, but that doesn’t always lead to victory. Grant is known for his knockout power and Jouban has been stopped before. With that said, I think Grant may fall short on the big stage against the crafty Jouban. I think “Brahma” keeps his distance and frustrates Grant on the feet. (Prediction: Alan Jouban)
Ed Carbajal: This is an odd fight on the card as Jouban’s experience seems to double Grant’s but that does not mean the fight is lopsided. Most of Grant’s wins come by way of knockout and anyone can get caught with the one punch that leads to a finish. Still, siding with Jouban’s experience here and picking him for a cautions win. (Prediction: Alan Jouban)
Andrew Ravens: A real pick em here as either fighter could get the win. Both fighters are coming off wins. Jouban has been too inconsistent for me right now. Yes, he’s fought more notable names than Grant, but he is also 2-2 in his last four fights. I have Grant winning by second-round TKO. (Prediction: Grant)
CONSENSUS: 2-1, Alan Jouban
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Nikita Krylov
Fernando Quiles Jr.: The story going into this fight is that Krylov was the first victim of Saint Preux’s Von Flue choke back in March 2014. Krylov has a 24-5 record, but he falls short against competitors that are mid-tier at best. Saint Preux himself is a gatekeeper at light heavyweight. I don’t see enough improvements in Krylov’s game to convince me that he’ll get past Saint Preux in the rematch. (Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux)
Ed Carbajal: Another match with two men coming off of losses. However, these men have faced one another before and like the main event, both fighters have evolved since the last time they fought. Saint Preux has had a better run in the UFC than Krylov and while he may be the older man in the fight, familiarity might be a factor in his favor too at UFC 236. (Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux)
Andrew Ravens: OSP continues to be the gatekeeper in the light heavyweight division, and this fight is no different. Krylov needs to get past him to reassure fans that he’s still on the rise. OSP also needs a big win. I think this fight is one of the better bouts on the card as they both need to give a big performance and should lead to a fun fight. Another pick em. OSP by decision. (Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux)
CONSENSUS: 3-0, Ovince Saint Preux
That’ll do it for the UFC 236 predictions. Do you agree with the MMA News staffers? Who do you think will emerge victorious on the main card? Give us your predictions in the comments below and be sure to stick with us for live coverage of UFC 236.