The UFC touches down for the first time in Zagreb, Croatia, which is Stipe Miocic’s native land. He’ll be watching the main event closely, as the main event is hot on his trail towards landing the next title shot.
This fight could definitely signal the changing of the guard at the top of the UFC’s heavyweight division.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
Kenai Andrews shares his thoughts on the main event matchups.
#9 MARYNA MOROZ (6-1-0) VS CRISTINA STANCIU (5-0-0)
Andrews: Great matchup. Moroz is welcoming Stanciu to the octagon, where it will be interesting if the UFC jitters come into play. She is aggressive and and put you away on the feet or the ground, but I feel the experience of Moroz should overcome the young lion.
Andrews Prediction: Maryna Moroz via unanimous decision.
IGOR POKRAJAC (25-12-0, 1NC) VS JAN BLACHOWICZ (18-5-0)
Andrews: Blachowicz gets an opponent willing to stand and bang, which increases his chances of winning. As long as the fight stays on the feet and he can avoid the knockout power of Pokrajac, I have to go with the youth of Blachowicz.
Andrews Prediction: Jan Blachowicz via TKO
TIMOTHY JOHNSON (9-2-0) VS MARCIN TYBURA (13-3-0)
Andrews: Johnson did not look good in his last fight with cardio issues in his last fight. And he weighed in at 262 for Tubyra! I think Tybura, – who weighed at 247 – and likes to use submissions, can use this to his advantage and take some starch out of Johnson. Then, go in for a submission.
Andrews Prediction: Marcin Tybura via submission.
FRANCIS NGANNOU (6-1-0) VS CURTIS BLAYDES (5-0-0)
Andrews: Both guys have one (1) combined fight of UFC experience and yet, Ngannou should still have a slight advantage as he looks to in better shape and is more technical. Blaydes will also have to overcome the UFC jitters.
Andrews Prediction: Francis Ngannou via TKO.
DERRICK LEWIS (14-4-0, 1NC) VS GABRIEL GONZAGA (17-10-0)
Andrews: Which Gabriel Gonzaga will show up? Sure, he got a decision win in his last matchup, but he’s had too many fights where he looked lacklustre. Derrick Lewis, as long as he avoids the ground, will pull off the mild upset here.
Andrews Prediction: Derrick Lewis via TKO.
#4 BEN ROTHWELL (36-9-0) VS #5 JUNIOR DOS SANTOS (17-4-0)
Andrews: Dos Santos has ruled near the top of the division for over 5 years now. He’s still a good fighter, but the toll of the damage he’s taken over the years is showing itself. Taking massive amounts of damage with your boxing will not get it done anymore. Rothwell, despite being the bigger guy, uses a lot of technical savvy to get the win without taking the damage.
Andrews Prediction: Ben Rothwell via TKO.