Biggest Card of the Year so Far once again falls in Anaheim’s Lap – UFC 241 Preview

UFC 208 was an event scheduled to take place in Anaheim California in January of 2017. The event didn’t take place and they ended up getting gifted the biggest UFC event of the year in August of 2017 as a result. The same thing happens to Anaheim now, TJ Dillashaw was supposed to face Henry Cejudo at UFC 233 but they moved it to the premier ESPN card to start out the partnership with a bang. The card fell through and once again Anaheim was gifted an incredible card with some solid prelims that lead into three incredible main card fights.

Middleweight: Ian Heinisch (-160) Vs. Derek Brunson (+130)

Ian Heinisch is taking another big step up in competition on saturday when he takes on Derek Brunson. Heinisch took on Cezar Ferreira and Antonio Carlos Junior, two BJJ Black Belts and defeated both of them handily. Brunson is a much different fighter than the Brazilian’s however. Brunson is coming off of a impressive win over Cardio-King Elias Theodorou and is now in that phase of his career where he is a gatekeeper. After his loss to Ronaldo Souza, The UFC realized Brunson is best used as a person to gauge how ready a fighter is and they fed him Israel Adesanya to check his cred and Israel passed the Brunson test with flying colors. Ian Heinisch is a much less flashy prospect than Adesanya but he is arguably more well rounded. Heinisch has wins from Knockouts, Submissions and decisions and usually is able to dictate where the fight goes. His ability will be tested more by Brunson than by his previous opponents but I still expect Heinisch to take a decision. Ian Heinisch Def. Derek Brunson

Featherweight: Sodiq Yusuff (-275) Vs. Gabriel Benitez (+215)

“Moggly” Benitez is a baller in the cage. The way he took out Humberto Bandenay was seen by some as impressive enough to receive a few Knockout of the Year nods. His problem here is that he faces an equally impressive prospect in Sodiq Yusuff. Yusuff is 8-1 as a professional with strong wins over Sheymon Moraes and Suman Mokhtarian. In addition to being a Contender Series fighter, Yusuff gets a big push from the Nigerian/African MMA crowd whom support Kamaru Usman, Francis Ngannou and Israel Adesanya. That crowd sees Yusuff as their next chance at a title challenger. Yusuff is easily the best fighter that Benitez has fought and I don’t see Benitez coming out firing like usual as he hasn’t fought since may of 2018. Yusuff by Decision. Sodiq Yusuff Def. Gabriel Benitez

Middleweight: Yoel Romero (-150) Vs. Paulo Costa (+120)

I hope USADA took a hike for this fight and just let these Aliens roid up hard. Romero and Costa are two of the hardest punchers in the Middleweight Division and both have had success in their recent fights. Costa is 11-0 with finishes in every fight while Romero is a former 2X title challenger who hits harder than a Mac Truck that snorted C4 and allegedly is made of metal. Romero is 42, and while he hasn’t shown any sign of slowing down, that’s what I’m basing my bet on. Costa is younger and arguably as superhuman as Romero. Costa by TKO. Paulo Costa Def. Yoel Romero

Welterweight: Nate Diaz (+110) Vs. Anthony Pettis (-140)

Nate Diaz is fighting. I REPEAT. NATE DIAZ IS FIGHTING!!!! He will be facing Anthony Pettis at Welterweight and the winner of this fight either Face’s Conor McGregor or is next in line to face the winner of Poirier/Khabib/Conor, which is interesting because these guys are fighting at Welterweight but only Lightweights are seeming to take notice of this battle. Diaz hasn’t fought since his UFC 202 rematch with Conor McGregor where he lost via Majority Decision. UFC 202 was a long time ago and I believe this is the longest layoff of Diaz’ Career. Pettis fought a few times recently and feels a lot healthier since his change to Welterweight. I see Pettis taking a Unanimous Decision here, but if Diaz wins, Anarchy will overtake both Welterweight and Lightweight. Anthony Pettis Def. Nate Diaz

Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Cormier (-145) Vs. Stipe Miocic (+115)

I hate when former titleholders hold out for an immediate rematch, it almost never ends well (Joanna Jedrzejczyk/Rose Namajunas, Cody Garbrandt/TJ Dillashaw, Frankie Edgar/Benson Henderson, BJ Penn/Frankie Edgar, many others). However, Stipe is an interesting case as he took time to recover from his knockout loss back in July of last year and looks to be in really good shape. DC Looks to be in really good shape as well and if successful I can see him retiring on top. I think this ends well for DC. Stipe will win a round and take it to decision but Daniel’s Wrestling and leverage will be instrumental in his success. Daniel Cormier Def. Stipe Miocic

Other Selections:

Lightweight: Devonte Smith (-850) Def. Khama Worthy (UNL)

Bantamweight: Raphael Assuncao (+150) Def. Cory Sandhagen (-185)

Lightweight: Drakkar Klose (-200) Def. Christos Giagos (+160)

Bantamweight: Manny Bermudez (-145) Def. Casey Kenney (+115)

Women’s Strawweight: Hannah Cifers (-285) Def. Jodie Esquibel (+225)

Bantamweight: Kyung Ho Kang (-190) Def. Brandon Davis (+155)

Women’s Flyweight: Sabina Mazo (+100) Def. Shana Dobson (-130)

 

 

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