LWOS Picks the Fights: UFC 187

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UFC 187 emanates live on pay-per-view on Saturday night from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Last Word on Sports MMA crew – Trent Dozier, Moe Fuggahn, Michael Hutchinson, Brian Kirk, Stephen Rivers, Stephanie Schneider and Victor Vargas – bring you their picks and analysis for the main card fights.

UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
Anthony Johnson vs Daniel Cormier

Picking Johnson: Fuggahn, Kirk, Hutchinson, Vargas
Picking Cormier: Dozier, Rivers, Schneider

Kirk: “The first new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion in four years will be crowned this Saturday night, and with former champ Jon Jones indefinitely out of the picture, there’s no better match-up than Anthony Johnson vs Daniel Cormier in the division at the minute. Johnson has been a revelation since returning to the organization, easily disposing of Phil Davis, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Alexander Gustafsson, while Cormier most recently lost his first pro MMA bout despite going the distance with Jones. We already know what to expect stylistically: Cormier will call upon his world class wrestling while Johnson will push the pace with his raw, explosive striking. The question is which will prevail? I thought Johnson would have given Jones the toughest test of his title reign and he has been such a powerhouse since coming back to the UFC. I think he will prove too strong for Cormier. Johnson packs too much power in his hands for Cormier and although he will inevitably spend some time on his back in the fight, his striking will be Cormier’s undoing. Johnson by third round knockout.

UFC Middleweight Championship
Chris Weidman (c) vs Vitor Belfort

Picking Weidman: Dozier, Fuggahn, Kirk, Hutchinson, Vargas
Picking Belfort: Rivers, Schneider

Vargas: “What a difference a year makes. The first time this bout was scheduled was last Memorial Day weekend. TRT misuse and several injuries later, the long overdue match-up is now finally upon us. If this fight had occurred last summer, picking a TRT-less Vitor Belfort over a young talent like Chris Weidman would have been preposterous. Now, one year and two injuries later, the fight between Weidman and Belfort seems a bit closer due to so many unknown variables between the two men. However, even after Weidman’s injuries and 10 month layoff, he should still be able to come out with a win. Belfort is 38-years-old, coming off an 18-month layoff, and there is absolutely no way to tell how he’ll perform. Expect some wild exchanges in the first round, followed by a dominant round, and finish, for Weidman in the second.”

Donald Cerrone vs John Makdessi

Picking Cerrone: Dozier, Fuggahn, Kirk, Hutchinson, Rivers, Vargas
Picking Makdessi: Schneider

Hutchinson: “Yet another short notice fight on the card, I have the originally scheduled fighter, Donald Cerrone, taking the fight with ease over his opponent, John Makdessi, who is taking the fight on short notice. Cerrone has proven himself as a top five lightweight, but Makdessi has yet to face anyone near the caliber of Cerrone. This should be an entertaining, one-sided finish for Cerrone.”

Travis Browne vs Andrei Arlovski

Picking Browne: Dozier, Fuggahn, Hutchinson, Vargas
Picking Arlovski: Kirk, Rivers, Schneider

Schneider: “Andrei Arlovski, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion, takes on Travis Browne in a match-up I love. This is sure to be a fight where someone is getting knocked out, although a submission isn’t out of the question either. Since Arlovski’s return to the UFC he has defeated two top contenders in the likes of Brendan Schaub and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Browne hasn’t had easy opponents in his last several fights either. He has defeated Schaub and Josh Barnett, but suffered a loss to current interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum. This fight has potential for Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night honors. Despite Browne’s recent success and how good he has looked in recent fights, I am an Arlovski fan, and I have no doubt that he will come away with the win at UFC 187.”

Joseph Benavidez vs John Moraga

Picking Benavidez: Dozier, Fuggahn, Kirk, Hutchinson, Rivers, Schneider, Vargas
Picking Moraga: none

Fuggahn: “John Moraga is an excellent fighter and despite a previous title shot, he hasn’t quite proven that he belongs with the true elite fighters in the division. On the other hand, Joseph Benavidez knows he belongs and will continue to march towards a third crack at UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson. Moraga isn’t quite at Benavidez’s level and is outclassed in all aspects of the fight. I expect Benavidez earn a lopsided decision.”

Undercard Bout to Watch:
Dozier – Dong Hyun Kim vs Josh Burkman
Fuggahn – John Dodson vs Zach Makovsky
Kirk – John Dodson vs Zach Makovsky
Hutchinson – Dong Hyun Kim vs Josh Burkman
Rivers – John Dodson vs Zach Makovsky
Schneider – Uriah Hall vs Rafael Natal
Vargas – Rose Namajunas vs Nina Ansaroff

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