The UFC 187 Embedded series preamble has been interesting, but finally, the vacant UFC light-heavyweight crown will finally be decided tonight.
Unfortunately, the Rose Namajunas and Nina Ansaroff fight has been called off due to Ansaroff contracting the flu and being deemed by medical personnel as being unfit to participate.
Ansaroff weighed in four pounds over the 115 pound strawweight limit yesterday.
Meanwhile, it is likely that the new champion will have to bear the legitimacy cross in the absence of Jon Jones.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
Meanwhile, we finally get to see Chris Weidman defend his middleweight belt against Vitor Belfort.
MMA Crossfire Expert Kenai Andrews shares his thoughts on the card.
UFC FIGHT PASS EARLY PRELIMS (6:30PM ET/3:30PM PT)
JUSTIN “TANK” SCOGGINS (9-2-0) VS JOSH “THE GREMLIN” SAMPO (11-4-0)
Andrews: Both guys are on two fight losing streaks and need a win badly. The striking of Scoggins will keep the fight on the feet for most of the bout, favouring him. If it goes to the ground, Sampo will win. The Tank will prevail when the dust clears.
Andrews Prediction: Justin “Tank” Scoggins via unanimous decision.
ISLAM MAKHACHEV (11-0-0) VS LEO “THE LION” KUNTZ (17-1-1)
Andrews: Both fighters are making their debut, but the 31-year-old Kuntz hasn’t fought since December of 2013. He’s also eight years older than Makhacehev. My spider sense says Islam has the advantage.
Andrews Prediction: Islam Makhachev via unanimous decision.
MIKE “QUICKSAND” PYLE (26-10-1) VS COLBY COVINGTON (7-0-0)
Andrews: Pyle is a crafty veteran while Covington is replacing Sean Spencer. He has five submission wins but Pyle is his toughest opponent. I feel the upset here. Covington will secure the tap somehow after absorbing some punishment.
Andrews Prediction: Colby Covington via submission.
TSN PRELIMS (8PM ET/5PM PT)
#4 ROSE “THUG” NAMAJUNAS (3-2-0) VS NINA ANSAROFF (6-4-0)
NOTE: This fight has been cancelled.
URIAH “PRIME TIME” HALL (11-4-0) VS RAFAEL “SATO” NATAL (19-6-1)
Andrews: Which Uriah Hall will show up? The more focused one has been of late, but if the other one shows up, it could be an upset loss here. But I expect Hall to continue to utilize his standup to cruise to another stoppage.
Andrews Prediction: Uriah “Prime Time” Hall via TKO.
#8 DONG “STUN GUN” HYUN KIM (19-3-1) VS JOSH “THE PEOPLE’S WARRIOR” BURKMAN (28-11-0)
Andrews: Burkman ‘lost” against Hector Lombard in his last bout, but the result was overturned due to Lombard testing positive for steroids. Stun Gun is also coming off a loss to Tyron Woodley. Stun Gun has the power and skillset edge and I don’t think Burkman’s striking and ground game is good enough to offset it. The fight goes wherever Kim takes it.
Andrews Prediction: Dong “Stun Gun” Hyun Kim via unanimous decision.
#1 JOHN “THE MAGICIAN” DODSON (17-6-0) VS #9 ZACH “FUN SIZE” MAKOVSKY (19-5-0)
Andrews: Dodson is fun to watch and has beaten Moraga twice previously. He is plenty fast and likes to to go for the highlight reel finish. I don’t think Dodson will be as spectacular this time, but the result should be the same.
Andrews Prediction: John “The Magician” Dodson via TKO.
MAIN CARD (10PM ET/7PM PT)
JOSEPH BENAVIDEZ (21-4-0) VS JOHN MORAGA (16-3-0)
Andrews: Benavidez is arguably the best flyweight in the division not named Demetrious Johnson. Both have fought Johnson for the belt, but I think Benavidez’s skill set is better overall than Moraga’s. Benavidez will be looking for the guillotine and he will eventually lull Moraga into it.
Andrews Prediction: Joseph Benavidez via submission.
#3 TRAVIS “HAPA” BROWNE (17-2-1) VS #8 ANDREI “PIT BULL” ARLOVSKI (23-10-0, 1NC)
Andrews: After looking like a fish out of water against Fabricio Werdum, Browne redeemed himself in his last fight against Brendan Schaub. Fortunately, The Pit Bull is not Werdum and he should be able to fight his fight against him. Advantage Browne. But Arlovski still has that power as we saw against Bigfoot Silva. If he catches Browne with some good shots, I would not be surprised, but I think Browne puts him down before Andrei can knock him out.
Andrews Prediction: Travis “Hapa” Browne via TKO.
DONALD “COWBOY” CERRONE (27-6-0, 1NC) VS JOHN “THE BULL” MAKDESSI (12-3-0)
Andrews: Makdessi jumps right back into the fray, but he’s facing a tough opponent in The Cowboy. I’ve got Cerrone winning this one via submission.
Andrews Prediction: “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone via submission.
“THE ALL-AMERICAN” CHRIS WEIDMAN (12-0-0) VS #3 VITOR “THE PHENOM” BELFORT (24-10-0)
Andrews: Belfort has been on fire his last couple of fights, but will the delay in this title match cool him off? Belfort has to keep the fight on the feet and not let Weidman use his wrestling to grind him out. Plus he has to pressure Weidman and land some surgical strikes in the early rounds, which will take a lot of energy. Weidman will be too much and eventually grind Vitor out.
Andrews Prediction: Chris Weidman via unanimous decision.
ANTHONY “RUMBLE” JOHNSON (19-4-0) VS DANIEL “DC” CORMIER (15-1-0)
Andrews: The explosiveness and power of Johnson versus the wrestling and endurance of Cormier. It’s almost a pick’em, but Johnson looked impressive in picking apart Alexander Gustafsson previously. I think he catches Cormier before he gets a chance to grind Johnson out.
Andrews Prediction: Anthony Johnson via TKO.