UFC 165 features a compelling light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. Jones has looked so dominant as the champion that he has even considered a move to heavyweight, where fights with Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos have been talked about. However, Gustafsson believes he is the perfect foil for Jones, and truly believes he will be walking away with the belt after Saturday night.
Let’s now take a look at the rest of the main card and make some predictions.
Pat Healy vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov: This lightweight showdown could determine the next no. 1 contender in the division, and both of these fighters are well-rounded. However, Khabib comes into this bout with the superior wrestling, and his undefeated record is a testament to this. He will grind Healy down each round, utilizing his relentless wrestling attack, and could possibly get the finish late in the fight.
Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov wins via unanimous decision
Costa Philippou vs. Francis Carmont: Both of these middleweights are competent strikers and train with some really good fighters. Costa holds the power advantage in this bout, and this will serve him well going up against Carmont, who has looked sensational as of late. Costa will pick his shots, and will avoid the takedowns from Carmont. Once Costa finds his rhythm early, he will land a power shot that will end Carmont’s night.
Prediction: Cost Philippou wins via TKO in the first round
Brendan Schaub vs. Matt Mitrione: Both Schaub and Mitrione have power in their hands, but they don’t have the best chins, making this fight a toss-up. Schaub is the better wrestler in this bout, an advantage he will need to use to avoid the power shots of Mitrione. He will engage in the stand-up battle, but when the opportunity presents itself, he will get the fight to the ground. He will control Mitrione for the majority of the fight, earning a decision. This fight will look a lot like Schaub’s fight with Lavar Johnson.
Prediction: Brendan Schaub wins via unanimous decision
Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland: This interim bantamweight title fight will be a war, as both fighters can end the fight standing or on the ground. Wineland has a lot of experience under his belt, and his boxing is some of the best in the division. If he lands flush on any fighter, they will be going down. This was clear in his bout with Scott Jorgensen, where Wineland was able to get an impressive finish over a fighter who had never been finished like that before.
However, Barao is a completely different type of fighter, and may be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. His kicking game is lethal, and opponents find themselves in danger every time they go to the mat with him. In this bout, Barao will land some brutal leg kicks, and he will find the openings to take Wineland down. Wineland will put up a good fight and will showcase his warrior spirit, but it will not be enough for the victory.
Prediction: Renan Barao wins via unanimous decision
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson: Jones is the best fighter on the planet right now. He is dominant in terms of using his range and finishing fighters on the ground via his elbows and punches. Gustafsson is a great fighter, and his takedown defense has come a long way, but it will be no match against Jones, who will engage on the feet for a little bit and then take the fight into his realm. Jones will land some good shots from the top, forcing Gustafsson to wilt.
Prediction: Jon Jones wins via TKO in the second round