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.