After setback at UFC Vegas 37, what’s next for Ryan Spann?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 37, Ryan Spann (19-7) got his first crack at a main event with the promotion. He was taking on former title challenger Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (36-16) who has turned into a bit of a gatekeeper at 205.

It was a massive opportunity for Spann who was looking to break through into the UFC‘s top ten at light heavyweight. However, the fight didn’t go according to plan for Spann.

When the fight first started, Spann looked pretty good. He looked very active on the feet. You could tell that he does a great job of listening to his corner. Often giving them verbal feedback while competed while their shouting instructions.

Spann was able to land a takedown at UFC Vegas 37 and land a few shots, but overall, it was a very swift and sour night for Spann. During an early exchange, Spann was dropped and hurt by Lionheart.

Spann was eventually able to regain his composure, but that didn’t last long. He would get wobbled and hurt again by Smith which resulted in him ending up with Smith on his back. Smith locked up a choke and Spann tapped at UFC Vegas 37.

Spann’s UFC Run So Far

As mentioned, this was Spann’s first real taste at the top of the light heavyweight division. It didn’t go well at all. However, that just goes to show that he has a lot more growing he needs to do.

Spann just turned 30 and he’s shown off a ton of raw tools during his run in the UFC. Back in 2017, Spann was finished in 16 seconds on his first fight on The Contender Series. After that loss, he went back the drawing board and won eight fights in a row.

During that stretch, he got another shot on The Contender Series where he picked up a quick first round finish to earn a UFC contract. Upon reaching the promotion, he started 4-0 which included wins over Devin Clark and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

Since then, he’s just 1-2 in his last three with the two losses coming by first round stoppage. He also has a first round win over Misha Cirkunov during that stretch. This tells me that he’s a fringe top ten UFC light heavyweight, but still has to sharpen some things up before he’s ready for the top.

What’s next?

With that, what’s next for “Super” Ryan Spann? Well, there are a couple of options. If the UFC wants him to reset a bit, I like a matchup with Dustin Jacoby (15-5-1). Jacoby is 5-0-1 in his last six and he’s just outside the top fifteen. This would be a good measuring stick fight for both men.

If they want to keep Spann fighting ranked opponents, I would look at the Volkan Oezdemir (17-5) – Magomed Ankalaev (15-1) fight in October. Whoever loses that fight would be a good fight for Spann as the loser would be in a very similar spot as him.

After dominant win at UFC Vegas 37, what’s next for Anthony Smith?

Anthony Smith

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 37, we saw a light heavyweight showdown between Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (36-16) and Ryan Spann (19-7). For Smith, he was trying to turn away another up and coming contender.

Lionheart was at the peak of the UFC‘s light heavyweight division entering 2020. However, two rough losses shuffled him back in the pack and there were a lot of questions regarding the desire of Smith to compete on the highest level.

The UFC decided to book him against some of the younger contenders to see where he was at. As a result, Smith went on a two-fight rampage where he stopped by Devin Clark and Jimmy Crute in the first round.

That said, the UFC decided to give Smith another tough rising contender this past Saturday in Ryan Spann. Once again, Smith answered the call in completely dominating fashion.

From the opening bell, Smith completely outclassed Ryan Spann. Lionheart dropped Spann multiple times before getting his back and submitting him in the first. It was the third straight first round finish for Lionheart in the UFC.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 37?

Make no mistake about it, Lionheart is back near the top of the UFC’s light heavyweight division after Saturday night. He did what the promotion asked in scaling back the competition to reset his career.

Out of this, Smith looks better than ever. His striking looks incredibly crisp and his ground game looks tremendous as he’s secured two submissions. After his win on Saturday, there was one light heavyweight that he called out.

That man is Aleksandar Rakic (14-2). Rakic is currently the UFC’s third ranked light heavyweight contender. Smith and Rakic fought last year with Rakic winning a dominant decision.

Now, you might ask why the UFC would rebook these two after Smith was dominated last year by Rakic? Well, they would for a couple of reasons. The first reason being that this looks like a completely different Lionheart.

Lionheart looks more motivated than ever and he looks more dangerous than ever. The second reason is that Rakic really failed to impress the UFC with his last performance. He defeated Thiago Santos, but nobody was excited about the fight or his victory.

With that, he lost a little steam. Rakic said on Twitter that he’s ready to go for a fight in December. Smith responded in the Octagon saying, “Merry Christmas to me.” This definitely looks like the direction the UFC should and will go next for Lionheart.

Anthony Smith submits Ryan Spann in the first at UFC Vegas 37

Anthony Smith

In the headliner of UFC Vegas 37, we saw a showdown in the light heavyweight division. Former title challenger Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (35-16) returned and took on rising contender Ryan Spann (19-6).

Smith was looking for his third straight UFC victory tomorrow night. It’s been a rollercoaster few years for Lionheart in the UFC. After first rising through the rankings, Smith hit tough times inside the octagon. Last year he lost two very tough fights to Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic.

After those losses, Smith’s back was against the wall and he’s won two straight since to get back on track. The last time we saw him was at UFC 261 when he stopped Jimmy Crute with a powerful leg kick.

Ryan Spann earned himself a UFC contract on The Contender Series and since then, he’s been sensational. Overall with the promotion, he’s 5-1 with the lone loss coming to Johnny Walker. If Spann can pickup the win tomorrow night, he will have shown everyone that he’s ready for the best in the division.

UFC Vegas 37 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 37 main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Smith took the center to start and landed a nice calf kick. Nice front kick to the body lands for Spann. Another low kick lands for Smith and Smith lands a right hand.

Spann gets a body lock and carries Smith over to his corner’s side of the cage. Smith is able to separate and the two have a big exchange. Spann gets dropped by Smith and Smith is all over him.

Spann is able to survive and he forces a scramble. He scrambles right into an armbar from Smith, but Smith can’t finish it. The two get back up to striking and Smith rocks Spann again with a big left hook.

Spann is extremely wobbly and he goes down again. Smith is all over him here and he takes the back of Spann. Spann gets flattened out by Smith and Smith locks in the rear naked choke and this one is over. Dominant performance by Lionheart.

Anthony Smith def. Ryan Spann by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 1

UFC Vegas 37 Preview: Anthony Smith – Ryan Spann

Anthony Smith

Tomorrow night in the headliner of UFC Vegas 37, we will see a showdown in the light heavyweight division. Former title challenger Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (35-16) is back as he’s taking on rising contender Ryan Spann (19-6).

Smith will be looking for his third straight UFC victory tomorrow night. It’s been a rollercoaster few years for Lionheart in the UFC. Back in June of 2018, Smith started a streak where he won three fights in a row.

That winning streak got him a fight with Jon Jones for the UFC title. He ultimately lost that fight, but bounced back big time with a win over Alexander Gustafsson. However, after that fight, he lost two in a row. That last lost coming against Aleksandar Rakic in a fight where he was completely dominated.

After that loss, Smith’s back was against the wall and he’s won two straight to get back on track. The last time we saw him was at UFC 261 when he stopped Jimmy Crute with a powerful leg kick.

Ryan Spann earned himself a UFC contract on The Contender Series and since then, he’s been sensational. Overall with the promotion, he’s 5-1 with the lone loss coming to Johnny Walker. If Spann can pickup the win tomorrow night, he will have shown everyone that he’s ready for the best in the division.

UFC Vegas 37 Prediction

There are going to be several key factors in this UFC main event. One of the key factors I’m going to be paying attention to is cardio. We’ve seen Ryan Spann have cardio issues in the past which could really hurt him.

This is a five-round fight and if Spann hasn’t drastically improved his cardio, he could be in trouble. While Spann has good power, I think he’s going to focus on trying to get this fight to the ground.

I do believe that he will be able to land some takedowns. That said, I don’t think he’s going to be able to finish Smith there. Lionheart is crafty and I expect him to get back to his feet in the middle rounds and control the stand up.

Ultimately, I’m banking on the lack of cardio in Spann for my UFC Vegas 37 prediction. I think by the later rounds, Smith is going to completely take over and I think we are going to see a late submission from Lionheart.

Prediction: Anthony “Lionheart” Smith by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 5

UFC books headliner between Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith and Ryan Spann

Anthony Smith

The UFC has booked a pivotal headliner in the light heavyweight division for September. Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith (35-16) is going to be taking on Ryan Spann (19-6). This fight is scheduled to headline a UFC Fight Night on September 18th.

Smith first dropped the news this past weekend on UFC programming and has since confirmed on Twitter. Lionheart will once again be taking on a hungry up-and-comer who will be looking to use him as a stepping stone.

Ryan Spann has been close to perfect since he made his UFC debut. Spann earned himself a contract with the world’s premier MMA organization when he appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2018.

He submitted his opponent in just 26 seconds to earn himself a contract. Once in the UFC, Spann won his first four fights including a submission win over Devin Clark. The highlight of his first four fights was a knockout win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in Brazil.

After starting 4-0, the UFC gave him a shot against Johnny Walker. The fight was back-and-forth and ultimately Walker got the first round stoppage. However, Spann bounced back well when he stopped the tough Misha Cirkunov in the first round back in March.

Lionheart = UFC Gate Keeper?

As for Lionheart, he will be looking to pick up his third straight victory. The last time we saw Smith he was taking on the surging Jimmy Crute at UFC 261. Lionheart looked better than ever that night. Smith used his jab to really do some damage throughout the first round.

Then, Lionheart landed a beautiful leg kick that completely messed up the knee of Jimmy Crute. Crute tried to fight through it but the doctor called a stop to the action in between rounds and Smith picked up the TKO win at UFC 261.

That was the second straight victory for Smith who looks more motivated than ever. Last year, Smith suffered a really tough defeat at the hands of Glover Teixeira. After that loss, he was dominated by Aleksandar Rakic and Smith looked like a shell of himself in that fight.

Many were questioning the UFC future of Smith. However, Lionheart found his motivation and scored back-to-back wins by stoppage. Taking this fight against a guy like Ryan Spann shows that Smith is simply ready to take on all comers and that Lionheart is a dangerous Lionheart.

After knockout loss at UFC Vegas 21, what’s next for Misha Cirkunov?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 21, we saw a matchup of top fifteen light heavyweights in the co-main event of the evening. Veteran, Misha Cirkunov (15-6), was taking on the rising contender, Ryan Spann (19-6).

Going into this matchup, I really liked Cirkunov’s chances. I figured we would see these two primarily exchange in a grappling affair. Considering the track record of both men, I figured we’d see the two wrestle early on in the fight.

However, both seemed content with standing early in the first. The one knock on Cirkunov is that he’s been finished a few times by strikes in the first round. He needed to get this fight into a grappling exchange early and he didn’t do that.

Spann was able to catch Cirkunov with a huge right hand that sat him down. Cirkunov was able to get up, however, he didn’t stay there for long. Spann followed up with some big shots to get the TKO victory at UFC Vegas 21.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 21?

This was a tough loss for Misha Cirkunov and a crucial one considering where he stands in the UFC. While Cirkunov remains in the top 15, he’s now just 2-4 in his last six fights inside the octagon.

It’s not just the four losses, but it’s four losses by first round knockout. That’s not a great look for a guy who was looked at as a potential UFC title challenger just a few years ago. In 2016, Cirkunov was 13-2 after defeating Nikita Krylov.

He looked like he was surging towards a title shot before hitting this rough patch. So what should the UFC do with him next? Personally, I think he should be matched up with the loser of the eventual matchup between Paul Craig (14-4-1) and Jamahal Hill (8-0, 1 NC).

Both of these guys rank just below Cirkunov in the UFC rankings. They were supposed to fight recently, however, Hill came down with COVID and the fight is being rescheduled. The winner should move up and the loser should take on Cirkunov next.

After big knockout at UFC Vegas 21, what’s next for Ryan Spann?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 21, there was a big matchup in the light heavyweight division in the co-main event. Rising contender, Ryan Spann (19-6), took on veteran Misha Cirkunov (15-6).

Going into Saturday night, I really liked Cirkunov’s chances. I believed we were going to see a grappling heavy fight and I believed that Cirkunov would have the big advantage. We’ve also seen Spann gas out which worried me in terms of his chances.

On the feet, I leaned a little towards Spann, but I didn’t think he’d be able to stop Cirkunov on the feet. However, I was dead wrong about that one. When the fight started, both men started exchanging on the feet.

The way the fight started certainly favored Spann. Spann said he wanted to be patient at UFC Vegas 21 considering all of the first round finishes that Cirkunov had. Well, just over a minute into the first round, Spann landed a massive right hand that put Cirkunov down.

Cirkunov bounced up, but Spann continued to hurt him on the feet. Eventually, Cirkunov collapsed and Spann followed up with a few shots before the referee stepped in. A massive win and arguably the biggest UFC win for Ryan Spann thus far.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 21?

UFC Vegas 21 was a beautiful bounce back fight for Ryan Spann. Spann was finished in his last fight by Johnny Walker. However, prior to him getting knocked out, he had hurt Johnny Walker. It was a back and forth battle that Walker ended up getting the better of.

Spann is now 5-1 in the UFC with the lone loss coming to Walker. With this win, Spann now sits at 11th in the light heavyweight division. So what should the promotion do with Spann after this big knockout win?

I think the next logical step for Spann would be to take on Nikita Krylov (27-8). Krylov is coming off of a loss, but he’s ranked ninth and he’s been in there with some of the best including Jan Blachowicz. A fight against Krylov would be a key test to see exactly where Spann is amongst the UFC’s elite light heavyweights.

UFC Vegas 21 Preview: Misha Cirkunov – Ryan Spann

In the co-main event at UFC Vegas 21, we will see a battle of top fifteen light heavyweights. Eleventh ranked Misha Cirkunov (15-5) will be taking on thirteenth ranked Ryan Spann (18-6) in the co-main event.

For Cirkunov, this will be his first fight in the octagon since September of 2019. These two were originally supposed to fight back in December, however, an injury to Cirkunov forced the fight back to UFC Vegas 21.

Since making his debut with the promotion back in 2015, Cirkunov has gone 6-3 inside the octagon and not a single fight has gone the distance. When he loses, we’ve seen him get finished via strikes in the first round.

However, when he wins, you see him show off his incredible grappling and submissions. Cirkunov is incredibly strong and has shown that inside the octagon. In his last UFC fight, he took out the talented Jimmy Crute in the first round by a Peruvian Necktie.

Standing across from Cirkunov at UFC Vegas 21 will be Ryan Spann. Spann is looking to bounce back after he suffered his first loss in the UFC. The first time we saw Ryan Spann around the octagon was on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2017.

That night, Spann was knocked out by Karl Roberson. After that, he won three straight to earn another shot on the Contender Series. He won that fight and won his first four in the UFC before getting stopped by Johnny Walker last September.

UFC Vegas 21 Prediction

When looking at the co-main event at UFC Vegas 21, I can’t help but think that this is a bad matchup for Ryan Spann. Spann has decent striking with decent power, but he does his best work on the mat.

However, his cardio is usually an issue and we have seen him struggle with guys who are better at grappling. I believe he’s going to be at a grappling disadvantage with Misha Cirkunov.

I’m expecting a lot of pressure early on from Cirkunov. I don’t expect Spann to have the power to keep Cirkunov off of him. I’m expecting this fight to be along the fence early in the first round.

From there, I see Cirkunov tiring out Spann before using his judo to get him down. Over the course of the fight, I just see the grappling and the strength of Cirkunov being too much for Spann. I think Spann can have moments of success, but I think his cardio ultimately fails him and Cirkunov gets the submission win at UFC Vegas 21.

Prediction: Misha Cirkunov by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) – Round 2

UFC Vegas 11 Recap: Colby Covington dominates Tyron Woodley

UFC, Colby Covington

Tonight, the UFC hosted their final fight night in the US before they head over to Fight Island for the next five weeks. This was arguably the most anticipated ESPN card of the summer with such a heated main event.

In the main event of the evening, welterweight rivals Colby Covington (15-2) and Tyron Woodley (19-5-1) finally fought. UFC Vegas 11 delivered an incredible night of fights so let’s dive into the recap of the main card.

Colby Covington dominates Tyron Woodley

The main event of the evening featured arguably the biggest grudge match of the year. Former champions, Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley stepped into the octagon to finally fight. The two top UFC welterweights have been begging for this fight for years.

As the UFC Vegas 11 main event got underway, Woodley immediately pushed forward. Covington seemed really patient to get things going. Both men exchanged leg kicks in the opening minute. Woodley went for a big right, and Covington immediately took Woodley down.

Covington started going to work with the ground and pound. Woodley worked his way back to the fence and used it to get back to his feet. Woodley was able to separate with three minutes left in the round. Covington continued to press forward pressuring Woodley.

Woodley landed a really good right body shot, but Covington countered with a big body kick. Covington landed a big right hand that he used to get back to a clinch. He did a really good job of landing good elbows in the clinch. Very good first round for Covington.

As the second round started, the former UFC interim champion started the pressure again. Woodley tried to throw some big shots, but nothing major came close early. Covington pushed Woodley back to the fence with shots, and immediately started to work from the clinch.

The two men separated, but Covington immediately pushed forward. Covington landed another body kick, but Woodley timed a good takedown. Woodley threatened with a guillotine as Covington defended, but it wouldn’t stick. Covington worked his way back to his feet.

Covington again looked to press Woodley back against the fence. The two men clinched again, and Covington pushed Woodley back to the fence. After they separated, Covington pushed forward with more pressure. Woodley was more active in round two, but it’s still a round for Covington.

The third round got underway with more Covington pressure. Woodley did seem pretty fresh, but an eye poke immediately paused the action. After the action resumed Woodley looked to press forward with big shots. Nothing hit the target and Covington countered with kicks.

Covington did a good job of keeping his hands up. Woodley pushed forward with big shots again, but Covington clinched him and pushed him against the fence. Covington did a really good job of landing some elbows in the clinch.

Woodley could not get off the fence as Covington’s pressure was very heavy. He tried to explode a few times, but Covington just pushed him back. Much less action in the third round, but its’ still a round that should be scored for Colby Covington.

As we entered the main event rounds, Covington continued to push forward with pressure. Covington landed a big headkick as he pushed Woodley back. Woodley landed a few really nice body kicks before Covington shot in and pushed him back against the fence.

Covington finally got the takedown and pushed Woodley to the ground. Woodley started looking a little fatigued from his back. Covington began to work the ground and pound with punches and elbows.

A big elbow bloodied the eye of Tyron Woodley. Covington was really coming on strong with the ground and pound in the fourth round. Covington’s pressure and shots were very heavy in the fourth round. Dominant fourth round for the former interim UFC welterweight champion.

As the final round got underway, Woodley was bouncing on his feet, but Covington backed him right up to the fence. Covington shot in and got another takedown. As Covington started working his top control something happened to Woodley. He winced in pain from his ribs and called for the fight to stop.

An odd finish, but nevertheless, a dominant win for Colby Covington. Covington called out the UFC welterweight champion and UFC’s BMF after the fight was over. A devastating loss for Tyron Woodley who has been dominated in three straight fights.

Eye Pokes lead to a draw in the Co-Main

The co-main event of the evening featured the UFC‘s record holder in virtually every category. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-15, 1 NC) was looking to get back on track after four straight losses. Niko Price (14-4, 1 NC) was the man standing in his way of snapping that skid.

As the fight got underway, Price immediately pushed forward with big shots. Cerrone was getting caught early and often. Price was stunning Cerrone with virtually everything he was throwing. Somehow, Cowboy stayed on his feet through the onslaught.

Cowboy landed a couple of big knees which slowed down Price. The two men engaged in a clinch as the pace slowed significantly. Cerrone looked to be regaining his composure while Price was trying to catch his breath. Cowboy landed a few additional big knees in the clinch.

Cowboy landed a big headkick as the two men broke. Cerrone looked to be more confident until an eye poke slowed his pace. After the fight resumed, Price landed a couple of additional big shots. However, Price caught Cerrone with another eye poke. This one loses him a point. The round should be a 9-9.

As the second round got underway, Price continued to push forward. The two men seemed a little more tactical to start the second round. Price landed a big body shot that backed Cerrone told the fence. Cerrone was looking to work the leg kicks as Price worked the jab.

Cowboy landed a big combination that seemed to get Price’s attention. Cerrone really started to find a rhythm with jab in the second. Price seemed more content to counter strike while Cerrone was throwing more combinations.

Halfway through the round, Price started picking up the pace again. Cowboy found himself against the fence and Price really started to throw some serious heat. Price started to pull away with the striking numbers late in the second round. Very close second round that I slightly lean towards Price.

The final round got underway with both men embracing. Price got the action started with some heavy leg kicks. Again, Price was pushing Cerrone back to the fence. Cerrone timed a nice takedown and briefly had Price’s back, but Price got right back to his feet.

The two men then started striking from distance. Cowboy was doing a really decent job of finishing combinations with kicks, but Price kept pushing the pace. Halfway through the round, Cowboy timed another really good takedown and got to Price’s back.

However, this time, Cerrone was able to hold onto the back for about 30 seconds. No damage, but significant control time. Both men then resumed the striking contest. These two were just trading, and both were landing good shots.

With one minute left, Cerrone really started to land the better shots. However, Price kept pushing forward. Cerrone was landing cleaner shots with 30 seconds left. Both men exchanged massive combinations near the end. I gave the final round to Cerrone which makes the fight a draw. The judges agreed scoring the fight a draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28).

Khamzat Chimaev’s UFC hype train continues

The biggest prospect in the UFC took center stage tonight. Khamzat Chimaev (8-0) was looking to continue to ride the incredible momentum that he gained over the summer. Veteran Gerald Meerschaert (31-13) was looking to derail the hype train.

As the fight got underway, Chimaev could not stop smiling at Meerschaert. Chimaev pushed forward with kicks and pressure. Meerschaert was pressed back to the fence and Chimaev lands one massive right that puts Meerschaert out cold. The Chimaev UFC hype train just went to the next level.

Johnny Walker finishes Ryan Spann in the first

The third fight on the UFC Vegas 11 main card featured a light heavyweight contest between Johnny Walker (18-5) and Ryan Spann (18-6). Spann was looking to remain unbeaten in the UFC while Walker was looking to get back to his old form after two straight losses.

As the first round started, Johnny Walker immediately landed a massive leg kick and followed it with a shot that wobbled Spann. After seeming rocked for a second, Spann shot in and landed a takedown. Walker worked his way back up to his feet, but Spann pressed him against the fence.

Walker was able to break the clinch, but Spann dropped Walker with a massive shot. Spann followed up with some big shots, but Walker regained his composure. Spann dropped him again briefly, but then shot in for a takedown.

In close quarters, Walker started landing massive shots to the side of Spann’s head. Spann seemed rock from the shots, but kept trying for a takedown. Walker landed a massive elbow that crumbled Spann. The ref called a stop to the action, and Walker got back in the UFC win column with a TKO.

Dern’s Jiu Jitsu too much for Randa Markos

The second fight that was live on the UFC Vegas 11 main card was a strawweight contest between jiu jitsu world champion, Mackenzie Dern (9-1), and veteran, Randa Markos (10-9-1). Dern was looking to make it two in a row on her climb in the strawweight division.

As the first round started, both ladies immediately had a big exchange. Dern slipped trying to throw a head kick and landed on her back. Shockingly, Markos followed her to the ground and almost found herself in a triangle.

Dern was really showing off her elite grappling skills. She was able to transition her triangle attempt into having top control. After landing some solid elbows, Dern moved to attacking an armbar. She was able to lock it in, and Markos was forced to tap. Another impressive display and UFC win for Mackenzie Dern.

UFC Vegas 11 final takeaways

UFC Vegas 11 delivered with some excellent fights. Of course one of the big stories of the evening has to be Khamzat Chimaev who decimated Gerald Meerschaert in the first round. Of course the main event was a one sided beating from Colby Covington.

Now, the UFC makes their way to Fight Island for an insane five weeks of fights. It’s going to be fun, and fans should be excited.

UFC Vegas 11 Preview: Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley finally meet

UFC, Colby Covington

Tomorrow night, the UFC will host their final event in the US before packing up and leaving for for Fight Island for the next five weeks. In the main event, we have a fight that has been years in the making and it has a ton of heat.

Former UFC welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley (19-5-1), and former interim champion, Colby Covington (15-2), will finally meet. The entire card is fantastic so let’s dive into the main card for previews and predictions.

Former UFC Champions Finally Fight

Tomorrow night is a big night in the UFC‘s welterweight division. The main event of the evening pairs two former champions and two top five contenders against each other. There’s not one fighter who has more on the line than Tyron Woodley.

Yes, nobody can take away what Woodley has done, but if he loses convincingly for a third time in a row, it might be time to hang it up. When the calendar turned to 2019 last year, many wondered who could beat Tyron Woodley.

The champion was dominant. He had brutal power in his hands, and fantastic wrestling. He used those tools to get to the top. However, his last two fights have seen a tentative Woodley who was outworked and outclassed by Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman.

Standing across from Woodley will be Colby Covington. One of the more polarizing figures in the sport, but also one of the best fighters in the world. Covington rose to the top of the welterweight division with his world class talent, and effective use of the microphone.

Starting in 2016, Covington went on a seven fight winning streak where he was not only undefeated but nobody really challenged him. Covington puts on a pace that many fighters just can’t keep up with. Last December at UFC 245, Covington took on Kamaru Usman.

The fight was razor close. I had the fight 2-2 going into the fifth round, but one judge had Covington up 3-1. He went on to lose by TKO, but he showed great striking and very solid overall skills in that contest. A rematch between those two could very much be in the cards.

As for this fight, Covington poses massive problems for Woodley. Woodley has really struggled with guys who push the pace and come at him heavy. Well, Covington is going to do the exact same thing. Covington is going to push forward with good striking and a pace that’ll be tough to keep up with.

The only path to victory that I see for Woodley in this fight is first round KO/TKO. If this fight gets into the second or third rounds, I think you’ll see Covington really start to cruise. I just don’t see Woodley getting the better of Covington in this one.

Prediction: Colby Covington by Unanimous Decision

Donald Cerrone vs Niko Price

The co-main event of the evening features a fantastic matchup in the UFC‘s welterweight division. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-15, 1 NC) takes on Niko Price (14-4, 1 NC) in a fight that promises to deliver. Many are saying this could be fight of the night.

Over the past two years, it’s pretty clear what’s going to happen in a Niko Price fight. He’s either going to knock you out or he’s going to get knocked out trying. He’s 3-3 in his last six with all fights getting stopped by TKO or KO.

Price has been in the UFC for a while and put together a pretty nice resume. He holds wins over Alan Jouban, Randy Brown, Tim Means, and James VIck. The one knock on Price over the last couple of years has been his inconsistency as he tries to climb the ranks.

What is there to be said that hasn’t been said about Donald Cerrone. Cowboy holds virtually every record there is to hold in the UFC and he’s making the walk again. This time he’s trying to snap a four fight losing streak inside the octagon.

Now, those four fights have all come against former champions. Prior to the losing streak, many thought Cerrone was going to get another crack at the title. Cowboy has great skills on the feet and on the ground which is why he holds the finishes record.

I think that we are going to see a fight that primarily stays on the feet. While Price has looked really good on his feet over his last few fights, I think Cowboy has a little more technical skill to get it done. I’m expecting a war, and in the end, I’m taking Cowboy.

Prediction: Cowboy Cerrone by Unanimous Decision

Khamzat Chimaev vs Gerald Meerschaert

The third fight on the main card features the UFC‘s new budding star, Khamzat Chimaev (8-0). Chimeav came out of no where over the summer, but with two dominant victories on Fight Island in just 10 days, the MMA world fell in love with him.

Taking on Chimaev is going to be veteran Gerald Meerschaert (31-13). One has to wonder just how much the disrespect is getting to Meerschaert. The UFC has already booked Chimaev to fight on Fight Island, and the fight with Meerschaert hasn’t even taken place.

Meerschaert is fantastic on the ground holding 23 professional wins by submission. He is by no means a cupcake opponent for anyone. While he hasn’t defeated any top guys, his losses have come against guys like Thiago Santos, Ian Heinisch, and Jack Hermansson.

Chimaev would remind you of a bigger version of Khabib Nurmagomedov. All he wants to do is slam his opponent to the ground and smash their face in. However, I think we might see a little different strategy at first with Chimaev.

I’ve seen a lot of footage of Chimaev’s striking, and it’s actually very good. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Chimaev look to strike a bit. However, eventually he’s going to want to take this down. While Meerschaert is really good on the ground, I think the storm of top pressure and shots are going to be too much.

Prediction: Khamzat Chimaev by TKO – Round 2

Johnny Walker vs Ryan Spann

In the second fight on the main card, we have a matchup in the UFC‘s light heavyweight division between Johnny Walker (17-5) and Ryan Spann (18-5). Walker is another case of how quickly the tide can change in a UFC career.

At this point a year ago, Walker was one of the top prospects in the division. His flashy style combined with his power and size made him look like a future champion. However, Corey Anderson put a halt to that at UFC 244.

Walker was finished in the first round. Then in his return fight, Walker lost to Nikita Krylov back in March. In both of those fights, Walker just didn’t look like the same guy. He’s going to look to get back to his powerful finishing style against Spann.

Spann will enter the octagon on Saturday night riding an eight fight winning streak. He made an appearance on the Contender Series back in 2018. and since making his debut, he’s 4-0 inside the UFC. Spann has looked fantastic minus his last outing.

In his last fight, he had a close decision win against Sam Alvey. However, before that he had finishes over Devin Clark and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Spann is a jack of all trades that will throw finishing strikes and submissions at you.

This fight is very close on paper. I can see both guys winning this fight, and a lot is going to come down to which Johnny Walker we see. If we see the Johnny Walker with swagger, I think he takes it. If not, I think Spann has multiple paths to victory. I’m going on a limb with Walker on this one.

Prediction: Johnny Walker by TKO – Round 1

Mackenzie Dern vs Randa Markos

Kicking off the main card is a good matchup in the UFC‘s strawweight division as Mackenzie Dern (8-1) takes on Randa Markos (10-8-1). Markos is a very seasoned vet who has been in there with some of the best that the division has to offer.

In her tenure, Markos has wins over the likes of Angela Hill and Carla Esparza. Her last three losses have only come against top competition like Amanda Ribas, Claudia Gadelha, and Nina Ansaroff. Markos is a tough out in this division.

She has really good skills on the ground, and she’s got a pressuring striking style that can give Dern problems. A key for this fight is going to be for Markos to keep it standing and strike from distance. That is her path to victory.

There might not be a better grappler in women’s MMA than Mackenzie Dern. She is an absolute wizard on the ground, and she operates like quick sand. Once the fight touches the mat, it’s just inevitable that she’s going to get the win.

Dern is still relatively green in her overall MMA game, but she’s improving with every outing. However, there’s no secret as to what her strategy is on Saturday night. She’s going to look for the takedown and submission to end the fight.

Randa Markos is so tough, but can she keep Mackenzie Dern off of her. That is going to be the question in this one, and I’m just not sure she can. If this fight gets in close quarters, I’m not sure it’s going to last very long despite Markos’ decent grappling skills.

Prediction: Mackenzie Dern by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 1

UFC Vegas 11 Outlook

This fight card is absolutely fantastic from top to bottom. The UFC is really putting their best foot forward on their final show before the promotion packs their bags for Fight Island. So many storylines and fun fights will fill up the screen on Saturday night.