UFC 207: Lightning Picks

2016 is almost over, and the UFC is closing the year with a fantastic card. UFC 207 takes place this Friday (not Saturday) night from Las Vegas, Nevada. Fans will witness one of the most anticipated returns in combat sports history, as Ronda Rousey steps into the octagon once again to fight Amanda Nunes for the female bantamweight title. That is, however, not the only bout worth your time. Without further ado, let's get to the lightning picks:

Johny Hendricks vs. Neil Magny

The FS1 portion of the card has a banging headliner that people are forgetting about, as Johny Hendricks (17-5 MMA, 12-5 UFC) faces Neil Magny (18-5 MMA, 11-4 UFC) in the welterweight division. Back in August, Magny received a brutal beating from Lorenz Larking that sent him back home within 5 minutes. That said, Lorenz owns some of the most dynamic striking in the division. Hendricks is a restrained power puncher who hasn't finished an opponent since November 2012. Neil is well-rounded and heavily underrated by the masses. Plus, he will have an eleven-inch reach advantage (I've never seen such reach difference in the WW division).

Prediction: Neil Magny

TJ Dillashaw vs. John Lineker

Moving on to the PPV, TJ Dillashaw (13-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) and John Lineker (29-7 MMA, 10-2 UFC) face off in a possible bantamweight title eliminator. Super excited about this one. TJ has masterful striking and movement, while Lineker holds an amount of power not often seen in the lighter weight classes. I'm sticking with Killashaw. John does most of his work when opponents are against the cage, and I believe TJ's footwork will keep him moving in angles that will confuse Lineker. I expect the former champ to put on a clinic.

Prediction: TJ Dillashaw

Dominick Cruz vs. Cody Garbrandt

The evening's co-main event will feature a clash of shockingly different styles as Dominick Cruz (22-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) defends his 135 strap against knockout artist Cody Garbrandt (10-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC). In my opinion, this is Dom's fight to lose. From the second these two were seen in the same room or screen, Cruz has dominated every verbal exchange, even getting Cody to storm out of an interview. Garbrandt is an emotional individual who loves to push forward and hunt for the head. That's precisely what Cruz plays with. We obviously can't forget the vicious force the challenger pours into every bomb, so a one-punch finish is entirely possible. Nevertheless, I believe the champion's elusiveness will keep him safe until the latter rounds when the strikers become survivable.

Prediction: Dominick Cruz

Ronda Rousey vs. Amanda Nunes

Now, I had a lot to say about this matchup. So much that I had to write a pre-fight analysis exclusively covering the main event. You can read it here. Nevertheless, I'll give you a taste of what the piece looks like, alongside my prediction. Enjoy the fights!

"Predicting this fight's outcome is extremely challenging. You can make a case for both women. I could see Rousey stepping in, engaging in the clinch, and finishing Amanda if she gets aggressive and blindly moves forward. On the other side, saying Nunes will maintain range, patiently pick her shots, and catch Rowdy with a bomb that wraps the evening is by no means an improbable statement. While I've been going back-and-forth over the past month or two, it is Ronda's reclusiveness towards the public and press that sealed the deal for me."

Prediction: Amanda Nunes

December 2016 Accuracy Thus Far: 66.6% (6/9)
- UFC 206: Lightning Picks
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