UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier Picks

UFC 187 is on Saturday night on the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main card will be available on pay-per-view and there are two titles fights, so I’d say it’s worth the money. However, UFC 187 could have been so much more.

First off, Jon Jones is out as champion, which means Anthony Johnson will now fight Daniel Cormier for the title. Donald Cerrone was expected to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov, which would have been awesome, but the Russian has a knee injury.

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Johnson vs. Cormier Predictions – UFC LHW Championship

  • Anthony Johnson (19-4) +100 vs. Daniel Cormier (15-1) -110

Both of these guys want the title real bad and even the bookies don’t know which way this one will go. Cormier couldn’t beat Jones, but he’ll get another chance to win the title, much sooner than he though. It’s hard seeing him let this chance slip through.

Cormier is a great wrestler, but Johnson has 85% TDD and averages more TD’s than Cormier. Johnson has a striking edge and he can finish this early if he connects. Johnson also has a 6” reach edge that he has to exploit to keep Cormier at a distance.

UFC 187 Main Card Predictions

  • Chris Weidman (12-0) -500 vs. Vitor Belfort (24-10) +435

Weidman won by TKO/KO against Munoz and Silva twice in his last three fights prior to fighting Machida. He beat Machida, but it took a 5-round decision. Now he has to fight Belfort who knows this is likely his last chance to fight for a UFC Championship.

Belfort is 38 years old and his aggressive style will be tough to maintain. Weidman is the much bigger fighter (6’2” – 78” Reach vs. 6’0” – 74” Reach) and he has a dominant ground game due to elite wrestling and jiu-jitsu. I’m on Weidman ITD at -200 odds.

  • Donald Cerrone (27-6-0-1) -545 vs. John Makdessi (13-3) +465

Cerrone has won seven fights in a row, but he hasn’t finished anyone in three straight. Nurmagomedov would have been an insane match-up. Makdessi lost to Alan Alves last year and he’s nothing more than a prelim fighter, but he jumped at this chance.

I expect Cerrone to look for an early finish to continue building momentum and solidifying his #1 contender status. Cerrone is +120 to win ITD and that’s what I’m going with. Makdessi has only been stopped once, but he hasn’t fought anyone like Cerrone either.

  • Travis Browne (17-2-1) -430 vs. Andrei Arlovski (23-10-0-1) +380

Arlovski is a grinder and he has won four in a row, including the last two against Schaub and Silva. However, Browne is another type of fighter. He only has two career losses and he has knocked out 13 guys in his career. I’ll be betting on Browne to win by TKO/KO.

Browne can KO anyone in the UFC. His odds to win by TKO/KO are -190, which isn’t great. Arlovski doesn’t attempt many TD’s and he isn’t going to be able to stand and bang with Browne. Arlovski has been knocked out seven times in his career already too.

  • Joseph Benavidez (21-4) -605 vs. John Moraga (16-3) +505

I can’t imagine any way Moraga wins this fight, but then betting on Benavidez at -605 isn’t ideal either. Benavidez has only lost to Johnson recently and walked through most other opponents, however, McCall and Ortiz both went the distance with him.

Moraga doesn’t get the same respect as most fighters in the division, but I believe he can last the distance. Benavidez is -130 to win by decision and that’s my best bet. Benavidez is a class above Moraga, but Moraga has improved a lot and will give it a good go.