UFC 230 - MSG Middleweight Showdown
When is UFC 230? Sunday 4th November, 2018 – 00:00 (UK)
Where is UFC 230? Madison Square Garden, New York
What channel is UFC 230 on? BT Sport 3
Where can I stream UFC 230? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT website
Daniel Cormier vs Derrick Lewis
After a lot of chopping and changing, injuries and disagreements for the main event at UFC 230, Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis have stepped up to pick up the pieces and headline at Madison Square Garden.
Instead of waiting for Brock Lesnar or granting Stipe Miocic a rematch, Cormier has accepted a fight with ‘The Black Beast’, perceiving this fight as less of a risk. Considering he is saving the card on short notice with only a couple of big fights left in his career, it makes complete sense.
However, he knows Lewis can never be taken lightly. He has a limited skillset but this skillset is absolutely devastating with unholy power in his hands, perfectly showcased in his recent fight against Alexander Volkov. He was getting outclassed for the duration of the fight but with 15 seconds left, he uncorked a huge right all the way from Louisiana to fold the 6’7” Russian.
So, although the champion will be the heavy favourite, Lewis is undoubtedly a threat with the most knockouts in UFC heavyweight history and although he went through three tough rounds only a month ago, he is already in good condition.
Lewis is likely to approach this fight in usual fashion; be patient, stifle any grappling and wait for openings to brutally counter attack. Considering this fight will be five rounds, he may be even more patient but considering he is up against the two-division champ and Olympic Wrestler, a first round blitz may be his best chance.
Cormier has the ability to completely dictate the fight. He will be able to take Lewis down at will but it will be a question of how much he cares about what the fans think. If he buckles to the pressure, he may decide to stand and trade with Lewis which is not smart but after his well-earned knockout over Miocic, he will back himself to find Lewis’ chin.
However, there is too much at stake for Cormier to lose now and considering he has been dealing with issues to his right hand, it is fully expected that he will take Lewis down, suffocate him, and submit an exhausted beast.
Winner: Cormier via Submission
Chris Weidman vs Jacare Souza
The rematch between Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold was another hugely anticipated fight on the UFC 230 card but Rockhold unfortunately picked up an injury. However, we still have one hell of a match-up thanks to Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza stepping up to the plate.
Weidman has been campaigning for another title shot but he has only won one of his last four so desperately needs this win to stay relevant in the title picture. That's a feeling Jacare is familiar with as he is coming off a loss to Kelvin Gastelum and at the age of 38, he does not have much time left to make a final run for the belt.
Weidman will be forced to change up his game plan as Jacare does not have anywhere near the stand-up skills of Rockhold but as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) world champion, he is even better than him on the ground.
Weidman will now be more inclined to stand in search for a knockout but what will be most intriguing for the fans will be a grappling battle. They are both complete MMA grapplers, with Weidman one of the best wrestlers in MMA with a black belt in BJJ and Jacare one of the very best BJJ practitioners in the sport with phenomenal wrestling.
However, when we see two fighters with similar elite skillsets, they tend to cancel each other out, forcing a stand-up battle where Weidman should just have the edge.
Winner: Weidman via Decision
David Branch vs Jared Cannonier
Jared Cannonier makes his middleweight debut at Madison Square Garden which will be very compelling considering he has fought the majority of his career at heavyweight. He has been given a stern test of the middleweight waters in the shape of the former two-division WSOF champion, who has only lost one of his last 13 fights.
David Branch bounced back spectacularly from that loss against Luke Rockhold in his last fight with a blazing knockout over the Brazilian stand-up specialist, Thiago Santos. This will flood his confidence which Cannonier is in short supply of after losing his last two fights against Jan Blachowicz and Dominick Reyes.
Branch will be the favourite and as a high-level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, we should expect him to take the fight to the ground especially considering Cannonier has made a living by knocking out heavyweights.
Cannonier has undeniable power and will hunt Branch’s chin but Branch is very confident in his striking and won’t be afraid to trade. Cannonier is also very competent on the ground and very strong in top-control so this fight will be fascinating wherever it goes but Branch has the class and experience to edge out a win.
Winner: Branch via Decision
Karl Roberson vs Jack Marshman
The hype train of Karl Roberson was briefly derailed after getting choked unconscious by Cezar Ferreira in his last outing. He arrived at the UFC at 6-0 on the back on a brutal 15 second knockout over Ryan Spann on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. He is looking to get back on a winning track against Jack Marshman who cannot wait to perform at Madison Square Garden.
The Welshman is also coming off a loss, losing two of his last three. Although these were against two of the toughest fighters in the division – Thiago Santos and Antonio Carlos Junior.
These guys are both extremely dangerous and natural finishers. Marshman in particular has ferocious power in his hands as well as a wealth of experience so he will look to feel Roberson out on the feet, respecting his offence while looking for openings.
Although Roberson only has seven professional MMA fights to his name, he is a mature and well-rounded fighter. He is also explosive on the feet and will be confident of trading with the Welsh slugger and although he got dominated in the grappling department against Ferreira, he is no slouch on the ground.
Roberson’s Wrestling advantage may be the deciding factor in earning his first decision but he will have to resist the urge to trade bombs with Marshman.
Winner: Roberson via Decision
Derek Brunson vs Israel Adesanya
We have an absolute barnburner to kick-off the main card in New York in the shape of Derek Brunson vs Israel Adesanya. They are two of the most exciting fighters in the division; they do not like each other and are electrifying strikers. The much-hyped Adesanya is unbeaten with 12 knockouts from his 14 wins and after edging past Marvin Vettori and Brad Tavares, he got called out by the UFC veteran.
Brunson is coming off a devastating head kick knockout courtesy of Jacare Souza and although he perceives Adesanya as a ‘step down’, he is desperate to get his hands on the unbeaten ‘Last Stylebender’.
They are both lethal strikers but if Brunson is smart, he will bank on his strong wrestling to take the fight away from Adesanya. His striking credentials speak for themselves with a Kickboxing record of 75-5-1 and although Brunson is also dangerous on the feet, Adesanya is in a different league when it comes to technique.
If Brunson rushes forward in his usual reckless style, Adesanya will eat him up with all limbs which is likely considering the animosity between them. Brunson needs to take the fight to the ground but the difference in class will allow Adesanya to pick Brunson apart, leading to a finish.
Winner: Adesanya via KO/TKO
Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric