UFC 230 will take place in the famous Madison Square Garden this Saturday, November 3rd. At one point a few months ago this had the opportunity to be one of the best cards of all time, but of course after a few injuries and complications we lost some big names along the way. Regardless, Saturday should still provide a great night of fights, concluding with a match for the UFC Heavyweight Championship and the title of “baddest man on the planet” between Daniel “DC” Cormier and Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis.

So, It begs the question, can Derrick Lewis do it? Can he clip and KO one of the best ever? Will DC be able to execute his game-plan effectively, even with an injury to his hand?

We’ll take a look at all of these questions, the four other fights on the main card, and my predictions for what I think will happen this coming weekend. 

Israel Adesanya vs. Derek Brunson

In what is sure to be an electric start to the PPV, the man who has been tagged as the next Jon Jones, Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya will go toe to toe with a UFC veteran gearing up to make his 14th appearance in the octagon, Derek Brunson.

Adesanya’s Coming Out Party

Now all hardcore fight fans know who Israel Adesanya is, but this will also be the first time that a lot of people are getting the pleasure to watch this young man fight. This will only be his 4th appearance in the UFC, and his first appearance on PPV.

Adesanya has been very vocal and confident regarding his fight with Brunson, as he feels like he is going to expose all of his weaknesses. if you have never seen Adesanya fight, you will be in for a treat. His likeness to Jon Jones is somewhat uncanny, he is so creative and able to pull anything out of his bag of tricks.

If Israel is able to dismantle a veteran like Brunson, then he will be officially established as a threat in the middleweight division, and a possible title contender at some point in 2019.

Brunson Derailing the Hype Train

This is a huge fight for Derek Brunson, he has the opportunity to re-establish his name as a true contender in the middleweight division, as well as the chance to shut up a man who has been calling him out the day since their fight was announced.

Coming off of a loss against Jacare Souza, Brunson will look to bounce back and avoid what would only be the second 2-loss skid of his UFC tenure. Brunson wants to once again showcase why a majority of his fights don’t go longer than one round, and you can tell that he wants to really hurt Adesanya. 

Matchup-wise, I really don’t know what is going to happen. We know that Brunson loves to lay it all out on the table, and Adesanya seems unmatched when it comes to striking. I’d love to see this go into the 3rd round and see if Brunson is capable of taking the Last Stylebender into deep water. But in all honesty, I think Adesanya is the real deal and has what it takes to make a run at the title in 2019.

Prediction:  Adesanya via 2nd Round TKO

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Karl Roberson vs. Jack Marshman

Although this is the least exciting fight on the main card, I don’t want to just ignore it. In middleweight action, Karl “Baby K” Roberson will do battle with the Welshman Jack “The Hammer” Marshman.

An Opportunity

Quite frankly, a bloody war or a highlight reel knockout would be beneficial to both Marshman and Roberson. All it takes is a memorable moment for fight fans to remember your name for years to come.

Karl Roberson is coming off of his first defeat inside the octagon, a fight in which he faced a true step up in competition in Cezar Ferreira. Roberson carries some heavy hands but is also keen for a submission here and again. Baby K is very technical and will look to counter Marshman as the Welshman marches forward, and don’t be surprised if Roberson tries to take the fight to the mat, as he carries a decent top game.

Jack Marshman is one for a war. Marshman will throw punch after punch with zero regard for his well being. Marshman also carries some heavy hands, backed up by his 13 knockout wins. If he can drag you into his world, it will be a long night for the opposition. Flurries of combinations will come flying to the head of Roberson in the beginning of this one, but Marshman will need to stay in the middle of the octagon and stay in the pocket while working the head and body.

The factor in this fight is whether or not Marshman can drag Roberson into his world. Marshman will have to be able to close the distance as safe as possible. If not, he will need to avoid eating leg kicks and show his toughness. Look for Roberson to counter early and often, and take the fight to the ground in the later part of each round, and eventually steal this one on points.

Prediction:  Roberson via decision

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David Branch vs. Jared Cannonier

Staying in the Middleweight division, the well-rounded veteran David Branch will face Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier, who is making his debut at 185 pounds.

Staying Smart

David Branch can do it all in the cage, he’s not outstanding at any one thing in-particular, but he is no slouch in any area of MMA. Branch should look to make the most of his Jiu-Jitsu background against Cannonier. Sure Branch could stand and bang, but why in the hell would he do that? Cannonier is a BIG man and packs a punch that’ll make you feel like your fighting a heavyweight.

Branch should stick to his guns and his wit and stand on the feet for as long as he feels comfortable then take the fight to the ground. If Branch wants to strike with a bigger opponent for longer than a few minutes, he COULD find success, but it isn’t worth it.

Big Stage, Big Performance

Jared Cannonier took this fight on short notice after Jacare Souza stepped up to face Chris Weidman in place of the injured Luke Rockhold in the co-main event. It is a risk, especially for his first fight in the packed Middleweight division. This is an amazing opportunity for the Killa Gorilla to make his mark at 185 and instantly establish himself as a threat in the future. A loss here definitely doesn’t hurt that much, but a win would propel him.

The key for Cannonier in this fight will be to move as much as possible, and to throw a volume of strikes while not letting Branch get in the clinch. KO seems like the only way for Cannonier to claim victory here, as Branch is much more skilled in about every other aspect. The more he throws, the better chance that he clips Branch.

I will never rule out someone like Jared Cannonier, but he is outmatched here. There is a chance that Branch could get too greedy and end up getting caught, but if David pays it smart he should walk out of MSG with another victory.

Prediction:  Branch via decision

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Chris Weidman vs. Jacare Souza

Co-main event time! Two top-tier middleweight veterans go toe to toe as Chris “The All-American” Weidman takes on Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in what is essentially a title contender elimination match.

Weidman Looking for Glory

What a roller-coaster  of emotions Chris Weidman has endured since he dropped his title back in 2015. A devastating KO loss to Yoel Romero, A rulebook “loss” against Gegard Mousasi, and injury after injury. Now, after a beautiful performance against Kelvin Gastelum, Weidman looks to make it two wins in a row and state his case for another crack at the 185 pound title.

Statement Time for Jacare

In what will be Souza’s 12th appearance inside the octagon, it seems like do or die at this point in his career if he wants to receive a title shot. at 38, there cannot be too much left in the Brazilians gas tank. A win over Weidman almost seals his position as the next contender for Robert Whittaker. More importantly, a win on Saturday will show that Souza is here to stay, and that he isn’t ready to become another gatekeeper.

The Matchup

It is a wonder that these two have never fought before. Although when you take a step back and see that this will only be Weidman’s 18th pro fight, it’s kinda crazy. These two men are equally matched, and neither man has any clear advantage over the other.

Weidman’s biggest advantage will be his reach, and more importantly his utilization of said reach, and how he uses his jab. Weidman is also the heavier hitter of the two, and historically has a better takedown percentage, but what Jacare brings to the table tends to negate these advantages.

Even though Weidman is a wrestler, Jacare will want to bring this one down to the mat. Jacare is a submission master at this point in his career, so it won’t be surprising if at some point in the fight he pulls guard. Jacare has also been notoriously hard to hit (unless your name is Robert Whittaker) so all in all it will come down to who is more up for the challenge of beating the other person at their own game-plan.

This is a great matchup that carries a lot of weight in terms of the Middleweight title picture in 2019. These guys are two of the best in the world, and two of the most well-rounded fighters in the UFC. In the end I think Weidman has what it takes to hurt Jacare and eventually seek out a finish whether it be through punches or even through submission, which would be a feat, as Jacare has never tapped out before. If the fight goes to the ground early I like Souza, but as the fight takes it’s toll on both men, I see Weidman coming out victorious.

Prediction:  Weidman via 3rd Round TKO

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Daniel Cormier vs. Derrick Lewis

It’s time for the main event of the evening. For the UFC Heavyweight Title, it’s possibly the best to ever do it, Daniel “DC” Cormier facing off against comedic genius and big bad scary man, Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis.

Legacy on the Line

Daniel Cormier has said that he will fight on Saturday, then one more time afterwards, and then call it a career. DC is only the second man to hold two championships at the same time, and has been a model athlete for the UFC during his tenure. Few men have accomplished what Cormier has been able to do, and his legacy is practically cemented. Although a KO loss on Saturday would definitely change people’s perception on where DC stands in the GOAT conversation.

This is such a dangerous fight for DC to take, plain and simple. You could say this for any heavyweight fight, but especially with Lewis. Derrick Lewis’ power is unmatched. We all know DC’s game-plan, he’s gonna fight smart, like Tyron Woodley smart. It’s essentially the Heavyweight version of DC facing Rumble Johnson.

It Only Takes One

Derrick Lewis actually has the chance to become Heavyweight champ on Saturday inside MSG. That’s a sentence I didn’t think I would write in 2018. It’s an amazing feat for someone like Lewis, he has battled so much on his way to the title, and now he has a chance of getting gold wrapped around his waist.

As we saw in his last fight against Alexander Volkov, it only takes one punch. Lewis was gassed, hadn’t landed anything significant, and was ten seconds away from losing the fight on points. Then he threw a right hand from hell and shut the lights out on the Russian. If he just keeps throwing punches against Cormier, who knows, one could land good enough to finish DC.

This is as one-dimensional of a fight that you can think of. Lewis has one plan, and that’s to knock out Daniel Cormier. Cormier will move, kick, land to the body, clinch, takedown, and do everything that isn’t trading with the Black Beast. 

It’s hard not to root for both of these guys. The hilarity of Lewis and the legend of Cormier are two staples in the world of the UFC. Someone has to lose, though. I see this fight going a lot like Cormier’s battles against Rumble Johnson, weathering an early storm followed by domination on the ground. Lewis’ cardio is not even close to the level of Cormier’s (regardless of how much sex he has been having) and I don’t think Lewis could go for 25 minutes with the champ if he wanted to.

Prediction:  Cormier via 3rd Round Stoppage 

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Let’s hope for a great night of fights this weekend. There is a lot to be excited for, and this can easily be a card that doesn’t seem amazing on face-value but turns out to be well worth the money (unless you’re watching on an illegal stream, of course). 

Hunter Shelton
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Hunter Shelton

Journalism major at the University of Kentucky. Sharing my love of sports and writing with the world.

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