During the UFC 200 card, the promotional video for UFC 201 debuted. Even after the “MMA Hangover” of International Fight Week and the last two weekends of great cards, nearly every fight fan is ready for what promises to be an all-out war.
Though the card lost the UFC flyweight championship bout between the current, and only, champion Demetrious Johnson and challenger Wilson Reis, there is still plenty to get excited about on this card.
UFC 201: Breakdown and Predictions
HONORABLE MENTION FIGHT
The main event of the prelims we’ve got UFC company man Ed Herman taking on Nikita Krylov.
Ed Herman vs. Nikita Krylov
UFC Company man Ed Herman has been in the UFC since his stint on the Ultimate Fighter 3 in 2006. He has taken any fight they brought in from of him. This includes being sent to StrikeForce in 2013 to face Jacare Souza. After a year layoff, he returned in January this year and took out Tim Boetsch in the second round.
Krylov started out a little rocky in the octagon, dropping two of his first three bouts. He has recently caught fire with four finishes in his last four bouts. The most recent win coming against Francimar Barroso via submission in the second round.
There’s a reason why Ed Herman is a fan favorite. He’s likable, he steps up to any challenge given to him by the company and usually puts on solid fights. In his last six bouts, however, he has traded wins back and forth. This trend could continue if Krylov comes out of the gate aggressively.
PREDICTION: Krylov wins VIA TKO (Ground and Pound) in Round 2
Starting off the main card we have two tough flyweights as Ian McCall takes on Justin Scoggins.
Ian McCall vs. Justin Scoggins
#5 ranked Ian McCall is coming off a seventeen-month layoff, due to multiple injuries. He is looking to get back in the win column on Saturday night. McCall is coming off a decision loss at 130 pounds against John Lineker. Linekar failed to make the 125 weight limit for the flyweight division.
McCall is 2-3-1 in the UFC, but his only losses in the division come from the current champion Demetrious Johnson, who he also had a draw with back in 2012, and the #1 ranked Joseph Benavidez.
With a win over McCall, #13 ranked Justin Scoggins will crack the top ten and put himself in title contention. Scoggins started his UFC career strong, winning his first two fights in the octagon. He then dropped back to back fights in 2014. Since then, he has won his last two fights against Josh Sampo, and Ray Borg.
Both men have held gold outside the UFC and are looking to get closer to a showdown with arguably the pound for pound best fighter in the world in Demetrious Johnson.
PREDICTION: Ian McCall wins VIA Unanimous Decision
Matt Brown vs. Jake Ellenberger
This welterweight bout keeps the winner in the upper tier of the division. The loser will likely slide down the card, or could even be dealt walking papers. With those stipulations starring down these fighters, this could easily give the Fight of the Night a run for its money.
#8 ranked Matt Brown won seven fights in a row, before falling to the, now champion, Robbie Lawler. Since then he has only one one of his last three bouts. Brown is looking to make a statement and rebound from his submission defeat at the hands of Demian Maia.
Jake Ellenberger has hit a tough skid in his career, with his only win in three years coming at the hands of an aging Josh Koscheck. Ellenberger is coming off back to back losses after the new number one contender Stephen Thompson (who Matt Brown has defeated) KO’d him with a spinning hook kick. He also took a decision loss to #13 Tarec Saffiedine.
Brown has put a lot of miles on his fight odometer, but he is still one of the hardest men to finish in the division. With Ellenberger looking to prove he still has a lot left, we could see some of the fireworks for the main even spill out early in this one.
PREDICTION: Matt Brown wins VIA KO in the first round
Érik “Goyito” Pérez vs. Francisco Rivera
#15 ranked Érik Pérez is looking to inch closer to the top ten of the bantamweight division with a win over Francisco Rivera. 5-2 in the UFC, “Goyito” has split his last four fights, going 2-2. His last fight put him back in the win column with a unanimous decision over Taylor Lapilus at The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale: Magny vs. Gastelum.
#12 ranked Rivera has had a rough go in the octagon, going 4-4-1. His draw came after he KO’d Roland Delorme at UFC 149, but the result was overturned after Rivera tested positive for ephedra. Rivera has dropped his last two fights. His last loss came by split decision to Brad Pickett at UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Bisping.
Prediction: Érik “Goyito” Pérez VIA Unanimous Decision
Co-Main Event: Rose Namajunas vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
The co-main event matchup between these strawweights is a potential title eliminator between two of the best women in the division.
#3 ranked Rose Namajunas may have lost in her first UFC appearance, but has come back better than ever. She submitted Angela Hill and Paige VanZant. Namajunas also got the decision over Tecia Torres in the highly anticipated rematch from their 2013 bout.
Karolina Kowalkewics is coming in as the #5 strawweight in the world and with an undefeated record of 9-0 (2-0 in the UFC). Before entering the UFC, Kowalkewics was KSW Flyweight Champion (55 kg champion).
Namajunas is always an exciting fighter who’s always looking to bring the action, and she’ll plan on using that aggressive style to land her the victory.
This will be Kowalkewics third fight at 115, and if she sticks and moves, stuffs the takedowns, and uses her grappling offensively when necessary, she will earn the win that should punch her ticket to title contention.
PREDICTION: Kowalkewics wins VIA Unanimous Decision
Main Event: Robbie Lawler (C) vs. Tyron Woodley
The main event of the evening is sure to have everything hardcore fans and casual fans love to see, nonstop action, big shots and heavy hands being thrown.
Robbie Lawler has been on a war path his last few fights, and with each win has added to his Championship Reign the Legacy of a great champion. Coming off of a super competitive split decision victory over 5th ranked Carlos Condit, Lawler is looking to make it six wins in a row against his challenger.
#3 ranked Tyron Woodley will finally get his shot at the title after waiting nearly 9 months to get it. Woodley has won four out of his last five bouts inside the Octagon. He was supposed to cement his status as the #1 contender against Johnny Hendricks at UFC 192. That was before Hendricks pulled out of the fight due to complications during weight cutting. That granted Woodley the title fight, though he sat out and waited for Lawler to take on Condit. Woodley hasn’t fought since January of last year.
Continuing the comeback story
Maybe the best comeback story in MMA history, Lawler went from a “What could have been” story, to UFC Welterweight Champion of the world. It looks like he has no plans to stop anytime soon.
Woodley has had plenty of time to prepare for this fight but he hasn’t stepped into the octagon for six months. If Woodley has any ring rust or blows his load trying to finish the fight early, this could be a rough night. Lawler seems to get stronger and more violent the later the fight goes on. At this point in his career, he seems impossible to finish.
PREDICTION: Robbie Lawler retains VIA TKO in the fourth round
LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 11: Robbie Lawler walks to the Octagon to face Rory MacDonald in their UFC welterweight title fight during the UFC 189 event inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 11, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)