In just three days, UFC 214 will take place at Honda Center in Anaheim, California for the seventh time and if MMA Gods shower their blessings then this stacked card will remain intact. Ever since the card was announced, it has seen five fights get cancelled due to fighter’s pulling out due to injuries. Three title fights are lined up in this card featuring Cris Cyborg, Tonya Evinger, Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones.
KAILIN CURRAN (4-4-0) VS. ALEKSANDRA ALBU (2-0-0)
Hawaii’s Kailin Curran takes on Russia’s Aleksandra Albu who makes her come back after a 2-year break since her last fight in April 2015. Albu submitted her opponent in the debut but a nagging injury and her studies kept her side lined and off the UFC radar. Kailin despite being the active fighter is currently 1-4 in her last five fights. She’ll be looking to snap out of the losing bracket and that too with a solid performance to make sure her journey in this division continues. One of Kailin’s training partner at RVCA gym happens to be the legendary Cris Cyborg and having her camp alongside Cyborg would only boast her confidence. But the physically dominating, Albu who would be eager to put on a show has the slight advantage with her striking and ground game. This could be the fight where both strawweight’s can make a mark in the strawweight division with their superior performances.
BRIAN ORTEGA (11-0-0) VS. RENATO CARNEIRO (11-0-1)
It’s the battle of the undefeated featherweights as Brian ‘T-City’ Ortega and Renato ‘Moicano’ Carneiro collide to break the streak this weekend. Brian Ortega returns to the Octagon after 14 months layoff due to his shoulder injury. In his last three fights, Ortega successfully stopped all the opponents in round 3 via submission, TKO and KO victories. Renato Carneiro also stays undefeated in his last three UFC outings but the level of competition he has faced does not match Ortega’s. This is a test for Renato who with a win against the exciting fighter Ortega can look to climb up the featherweight ladder, but the journey starting with T-city doesn’t look that easy for him.
RENAN BARAO (34-4-0) VS. ALJAMAIN STERLING (13-2-0)
Since his fall from the grace, Barao has gone 2-3 inside the Octagon failing to recapture title belt, which
was truly his for a long time. Surprisingly, this fight is being fought at a catchweight due to his previous weight cut issue. Though Barao’s leg kicks and punches are still in place, the only thing he needs to worry about is the wrestling and takedowns of Aljamain. Despite making a good start in the UFC, ‘The Funkmaster’ Aljamain succumbed to two losses but he managed to bounce back with a win against Augusto Mendes early this year. Aljamain’s favorite fight finisher happens to be choke and if he manages to take down Barao to the mat and keep him there; chances are Aljamain can look for a submission victory against the former champion.
JASON KNIGHT (20-2-0) VS. RICARDO LAMAS (17-5-0)
This featherweight matchup has the potential to turn into a deadly scrap as Jason ‘The Kid’ faces the toughest test of his career – #3 Ricardo ‘The Bully’ Lamas. A 10-year age difference between the two can quickly go into the favour of the much resilient Jason who edges with his toughness and submission game. Jason has won 4 of his last 5 fights while Lamas seen ups & downs as he complied 2-3 in his last 5 fights. Lamas also possesses good wrestling and if he manages to defend the takedowns and apply his own striking game, then it’s going to be a long night for Knight. With a win over Jason, Lamas can look up to being back into the title contender line up. Jason by defeating a top ranked fighter can expect to see his rankings to go up and see him swim with the bigger sharks later this year.
JIMI MANUWA (17-2-0) VS. VOLKAN OEZDEMIR (14-1-0)
With a revived contract in place, the heavy favourite ‘Poster Boy’ Jimi Manuwa faces rising prospect Volkan Oezdemir in the crucial light heavyweight matchup. Jimi had been rallying for the title shot against Daniel Cormier, after winning two consecutive fights. Though his trash talk could not generate the attention and interest from the UFC brass, a potential win over Volkan can land him a fight against the winner of the title fight on the same card. This would be Volkan’s third straight fight inside the octagon since he debuted back in February 2017. Despite being the underdog, Volkan is confident he can knockout Jimi Manuwa giving his reputation for finishing Misha Cirkunov in just 28 secs of the first round and 10 of his 15 fights ended by KO or TKO. Jimi is also known for knocking out opponents and has won 15 of his 17 fights via stoppages. If Jimi can play smart and withstand the early pressure, then the following rounds can go in his favour.
ROBBIE LAWLER (27-11-0) VS. DONALD CERRONE (32-8-0)
Hardcore fight fans rejoice as two of the most baddest dudes from the welterweight division and probably in the entire MMA world are going to meet inside the octagon. Fireworks are going to be all over the arena when these two brawlers meet and the fight will be remembered for ages. Lawler is coming off a loss to Tyron Woodley where he also lost his title belt and hasn’t competed in since. Cerrone being the more active fighter defeated Alex Oliveria, Patrick Cote, Rick Story and Matt Brown in spectacular fashion. With his mentor Matt Huges hospitalized, Lawler doesn’t feel the same going into this fight. He must be mentally present and solve the puzzle in front of him – that is Cowboy Cerrone to get his hand raised. With a slight mental advantage, Cerrone can possibly out strike Lawler in the later rounds, but if a well-prepared Lawler steps in the octagon then Cerrone is in deep trouble.
CRISTIANE JUSTINO (17-1-0) VS. TONYA EVINGER (19-5-0)
The women’s featherweight division opened whole new possibilities for potential super fights and a new title up for grabs. De Randamie was the first woman to win the title but was quickly stripped off after her refusal to defend it, a heavily criticized action from the UFC. The belt if up for grabs again with the opportunity for Cris Cyborg and current Invicta FC champion Tonya Evinger. It’s a fight Tonya would have never said No, as she gets this close to holding two belts from two different organizations and in two weight classes. ‘Triple Threat’ Tonya is on a 11-fight win streak and hasn’t lost in the past 6 years, defeating the talent outside the UFC. Cyborg looked untouchable in her last seven fights, and there is little that Tonya can bring in the stand-up department. Cyborg would be smart enough to not let the fight go the ground and let Tonya take the top position.
TYRON WOODLEY (17-3-1) VS. DEMIAN MAIA (25-6-0)
The second title fight of the event features an explosive striker and a ground game expert in the co-main event. Demian Maia the much-deserved welterweight finally gets his call answered for the title fight after winning seven straight fights against the top fighters from the division. All his wins have come by submission and that is what he has been known all through the fighting career. Demian has worked to break this stereotype and improved his striking game, but against a well-rounded fighter like Tyron Woodley it’s not going to be an easy task. But for ‘The Chosen One’ this is not an exciting matchup and considers a win over Maia ‘just a small step up’. Woodley with his athleticism can easily outclass Maia in the early rounds to take the lead and if he manages to keep him away could win the fight easily. For Maia, his life-long dream of fighting for the belt comes true, but it’s going to be a tough uphill battle.
DANIEL CORMIER (19-1-0) VS. JON JONES (22-1-0)
The hatred between DC and Jones only worsens with each passing hour and the moment they step into the cage, all hell might break lose. This is a rematch DC and Jones have been waiting for more than anything else. DC even went ahead to say no to fighting Jimi Manuwa as he felt he had some leftover business with Jones. Since losing to Jones back in 2015, DC has been on a four-fight win streak defeating the likes of Anthony Johnson, Alexander Gustafsson and Anderson Silva. Jones in his last fight against St. Preux was unable to showcase his true self, but with coming back to the title contention he is super charged and excited to get back his belt. The fight can take the same route as their previous meeting, only if DC can get Jones hurt early and keep pushing the pressure till the final rounds. Jones needs to get back to his old self using variety of striking skills and perfectly defending the takedowns. If DC manages to defeat Jones for the first time inside the octagon, then the case will be put to rest as to whether he is a true 205 champion.