UFC 229 - Breakdown & Predictions
When is UFC 229? Sunday 7th October, 2018 – 01:00 (UK)
Where is UFC 229? T-Mobile Arena, Paradise, Nevada
What channel is UFC 229 on? BT Sport 2
Where can I stream UFC 229? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT website
Khabib Nurmgomedov vs Conor McGregor
Tony Ferguson vs Anthony Pettis
This mouth-watering match-up has been conveniently placed on the UFC 229 card so Tony Ferguson or Anthony Pettis can step in should the main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor fall through.
Ferguson makes his remarkable recovery after that horrific knee injury after tripping on a bit of wiring just days before his scheduled title fight with Nurmagomedov. It seemed a cable was the only thing that could stop ‘El Cucuy’ as he has been on a tear with ten-fight winning streak – the longest streak in UFC lightweight history.
He comes into this fight with a chip on his shoulder after relinquishing his interim title and watching McGregor take his spot against Nurmagomedov but a win over Pettis will put him back at the front of the queue.
A queue not respected by Pettis, who is looking to push straight to the front with a win. Although he has only won three of his last eight fights, we saw a glimpse of the old ‘Showtime’ in his last fight against Michael Chiesa.
Both these guys in their prime provides one of the most compelling match-ups on paper but Pettis has struggled for consistency and who knows how healthy Ferguson is. His injury was enough to end a career but he is back with his unconventional training like nothing ever happened.
This fight will be entertaining wherever it goes. Their lightening ground skills are deadly – Pettis is more technical and Ferguson is innovatively unorthodox – but they are both as prolific as it gets. However, this fight is likely to go to the floor after damage on the feet which they are also prone to delivering.
Ferguson will be wild, elusive and disrespectful of the stand-up skills of Pettis and if he lands at his usual rate, his will control the fight. Pettis needs to relax and let his hands and feet go to interrupt the tempo of Ferguson but providing ‘El Cucuy’s’ knee is healthy, his durability combined with his output may be enough to get him back on track for a shot at the belt.
Winner: Ferguson via Decision
Ovince Saint Preux vs Dominick Reyes
Dominick Reyes’ impeccable start to his UFC career has been rewarded with a huge fight against Ovince Saint Preux (OSP). Reyes arrived to the UFC at 6-0 with five finishes but there is always a question whether a fighter can step up when faced with UFC competition. He answered that question spectacularly with knockouts over Joachim Christensen and Jared Cannonier and a submission over Jeremy Kimball.
OSP is in a different class to these opponents and is also a potent finisher so this is a highly anticipated test for Reyes. OSP has been in the cage with some of the best light heavyweights in the world and this experience will make him the heavy favourite even though Reyes is unbeaten.
Both these guys have proven their submission prowess, especially OSP, who is the only fighter in the UFC with three Von Flue chokes to his name. However, this fight is expected to remain on the feet unless damage forces the fight to the ground.
Both fighters are long but Reyes utilizes his reach more effectively as he strikes from range, and that will be the key for him. OSP has all the experience but if Reyes is patient and keeps the distance by circling he can pick shots from range to set up the killer blow and cause the upset.
Winner: Reyes via KO/TKO
Derrick Lewis vs Alexander Volkov
This is a titanic clash between two top contenders in the heavyweight division. A division in that is up in the air after Daniel Cormier dethroned Stipe Miocic with Miocic calling for a rematch and Cormier eyeing up a more lucrative fight with Brock Lesnar. Whatever happens, Derrick Lewis and Alexander Volkov need to keep winning to have any chance at a shot at gold.
As you would expect from two top class heavyweight strikers, they are knockout experts with an incredible 37 between them. Lewis has been struggling with back issues in recent years but that hasn’t stopped him from piling on the wins with eight from his last nine fights.
Volkov can easily be the dark horse in the division. He looked superb in his first two UFC fights but his most recent bout against the former champion, Fabricio Werdum, got everyone’s attention. He dominated the Brazilian, finishing him off with devastating punches.
Lewis will rely on his brutal and explosive power to counter the Russian who will go about his business in a more technical fashion. Lewis will try and keep the fight at close range but negating the height and reach advantage of Volkov is no mean feat.
He fights from range masterfully and is expected to chop Lewis down with kicks and knees to the body and legs to set up openings to find the jaw. His speed and cardio will be key to maintaining that distance and avoiding the threat of Lewis.
Winner: Volkov via KO/TKO
Michelle Waterson vs Felice Herrig
The much-anticipated UFC 229 card kicks off with two experienced strawweights – Michelle Waterson and Felice Herrig. There is hardly anything between these ladies on paper and their skillsets should provide an intense battle in the cage.
Waterson is usually smaller than all her strawweight opponents but has the skill to make up for it which we saw with two submission wins in her first two fights and although she went on to lose against Rose Namajunas and Tecia Torres, she bounced back with a hard-fought decision win over Cortney Casey in her last fight.
Herrig’s four-fight winning streak was broken in her last outing against Karolina Kowalkiewicz which was another close call, but she is backing herself to recapture her form and add a big name to her record.
This should be fascinating. They both have extremely strong striking backgrounds – Waterson from Karate and Herrig from Kickboxing – but they are also tremendous grapplers so this fight could go anywhere.
Their stats are interesting considering how similar they match up. As you would expect, they both have a high output of strikes but Waterson boasts almost double the accuracy yet absorbs less shots. They also like to utilise their wrestling to mix things up but Waterson has far more success, boasting an impressive 86.7% accuracy, whereas Herrig is successful with only 31.8% of her takedowns.
This promises to be a closely contested fight and considering the lack of knockout power and impressive endurance of both ladies, this is likely to end in a decision.
Winner: Waterson via Decision
Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric