Not one but two titles will be on the line at UFC 213. For the first time since knocking Ronda Rousey out, Amanda Nunes will defend her women’s bantamweight strap in a rematch against Valentina Shevchenko. Meanwhile, the interim middleweight title will be on the line as Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero collide. Check out our picks for those huge championship fights, as well as the rest of the fights on this stacked main card.
Check out our picks for those huge championship fights, as well as the rest of the fights on this stacked main card.
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UFC 213: Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2 Preview
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship
Despite being the defending champ and claiming six of her seven UFC wins via stoppage, Nunes finds herself as the underdog in this rematch with Shevchenko, whom she beat via unanimous decision last year. And while Shevchenko looks like the more accomplished striker, Nunes is a threat to finish the fight either with her stand-up or on the mat with her Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
It’s disconcerting to see champions getting underdog odds, but in this case, it should make Nunes good value, as she is a superior all-around fighter than Shevchenko, which should see her successfully defend her belt.
Writer’s Prediction: Nunes (-105) wins via second round TKO.
Interim UFC Middleweight Championship
Whittaker’s resume is certainly impressive. The 26-year-old Aussie’s got back-to-back TKO finishes, first over Derek Brunson and then over Jacare Souza. He has also earned a post-fight bonus in four of his last six fights.
However, Romero’s resume is better. The 40-year-old is still undefeated in the UFC, with six of his eight wins coming via KO/TKO. Romero has also taken down Jacare, and finished former champions Lyoto Machida and Chris Weidman. He’s earned this (interim) title shot, and he’s not about to let it go to waste.
Writer’s Prediction: Romero (-105) wins via unanimous decision.
There shouldn’t be too many surprises for either fighter, seeing as this will be their third career matchup. Each fighter has taken one win from the other, and both remain very dangerous. But while Werdum has turned himself into a very capable striker with outstanding ground skills, he might not be able to take Overeem down. And as long as the fight is on the feet, Overeem stands a better chance of scoring a big fight-altering blow.
Writer’s Prediction: Overeem (-140) wins via first round TKO.
This matchup should be a relatively straightforward one for rising heavyweight prospect Curtis Blaydes. His striking still needs some more polishing, but his takedown abilities are excellent, and he should be able to bring the kickboxer Omielanczuk down to the mat. The Pole doesn’t have great wrestling skills, and will hardly offer too much resistance if Blaydes manages to bring him down.
Writer’s Prediction: Blaydes (-800) wins via first round TKO.
It’s desperation time for Showtime Pettis. The former lightweight champ is moving back up to 155 after a failed experiment at featherweight. He already lost his last three fights at lightweight, and any further setbacks could have dire consequences.
A matchup with Miller should be just what he needs to get back on track, though. Miller won’t be afraid to stand and bang with Pettis, who remains a dangerous striker. That extra bit of motivation should give Pettis enough of an edge to earn a much-needed win.
Writer’s Prediction: Pettis (-250) wins via second round submission.
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