UFC 222 Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya: 8 Fights to Watch For

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BRYAN CARAWAY (21-7) VS. CODY STAMANN (16-1)

After defeating two prospects more than 20 months ago Caraway just disappeared from the fight scene. Injuries prevented him from taking any potential fights that could have seen him spiral up the division. But he seems to be back now and in good spirits. Caraway has a good record of 4-1 in his last five fights and Stamann presents a solid opportunity for him to make a comeback. Cody Stamann possess better striking than the wrestling dominant Caraway. Stamann also has the age factor to his favour. Caraway being a much experience bantamweight could easily handle this young prospect if he comes with the same mindset he defeated Aljamain Sterling and Eddie Wineland.

HECTOR LOMBARD (34-8-1) VS. C.B. DOLLAWAY (16-8)

The once heavily touted middleweight prospect who had an immense hype train when he first arrived in the UFC back in 2012. Hector’s record went out of the window with 3-6-1 in the last six years. He’s lost four in a row now and stands at the very near of his UFC stint. A loss would leave him being left by the UFC. A win either would also not guarantee that he continues. The middleweight division has moved so far ahead that the 40-year-old Cuban would need years to challenge the champion. Fighting a gatekeeper like Dollaway is his best bet to resurge his losing skid. Dollaway with his wrestling presents little danger to the Judo expert with immense power behind his punches. If Hector manages to close the distance and take Dollaway to the ground, things can get interesting.

JOHN DODSON (19-9) VS. PEDRO MUNHOZ (15-2)

The Brazilian Munhoz finally gets to meet the quickest fighter of the division. Munhoz comes with a four-fight win streak while Dodson lost a split decision to Moraes three months back. Munhoz primarily a ground fighter lacks the KO power that Dodson has displayed. He would rely solely on his ground game and try to keep the magician on the mat throughout the fight. If Dodson manages to connect his trademark shots, then its light out for Munhoz.

MACKENZIE DERN (5-0) VS. ASHLEY YODER (5-3)

Makenzie Dern went from an unknown MMA fighter to be known as the hottest prospect of 2017; thanks to her looks and he skills. She’s a BJJ blackbelt with a perfect record of 5-0. Having fought in lesser known organizations, Dern only fought once in Invicta FC. Submissions are her way of winning the fights, though she has displayed crisp striking in all of her fights. Ashley Yoder has a perfect opportunity to spoil Dern’s UFC debut and derail the hype train. But she’s lost two of his recent fights and has nothing to lose except being cut from the roster. Dern on the other hand is the fan favourite and has got all the skills to tackle the spider monkey.

CAT ZINGANO (9-2) VS. KETLEN VIEIRA (9-0)

Ketlen gets the third biggest named fighter of her career and she seems to be extremely positive about this matchup. She even has plans to challenge for the bantamweight title after she defeats Cat Zingano. But Cat is unlike her previous opponents. The former title challenger is known for her striking and elite BJJ skills. But injuries and other personal challenges have kept her side lined for most of the time. Her biggest win was against the current champion Amanda Nunes whom she TKO’ed. Ketlen despite being the underdog won in her previous two fights against top talent. Her striking isn’t too much but her ground skills will be tested against Zingano. If Zingano finds her range and lands perfect shots, she can get her hand raised and challenge the champion.

STEFAN STRUVE (28-9) VS. ANDREI ARLOVSKI (26-15)

Despite losing five fights in a row, Arlovski still continued to fight in the UFC and picked up his first win in two years. His performance might have not been praise worthy, but he did manage to not get knocked out. He hasn’t fought anyone like Struve, who has 8-inch height advantage. Struve is difficult to take down and knockout. His kickboxing stands out and the reach advantage gets him ahead in the point scoring. But what makes the skyscraper so dangerous is his ground game and submission skills. Arlovski’s only hope for victory is to trade it safe and take it to the final round. His speed and accuracy can score him some points but its his will that will get him the victory.

FRANKIE EDGAR (22-5-1) VS. BRIAN ORTEGA (13-0)

Ortega is on a roll and showcases improved game every time he steps inside the octagon. He’s put away every type of fighter that was thrown at him in the last five appearances despite being the underdog. Frankie will be his ultimate test and a major step up to competition. Brian’s biggest threat to Frankie would be his ground game and submission skills. Though Frankie is an ace level wrestler, he’s had difficulty against taller fighters. Brian will use his range keep Frankie away. While the answer circles around in quick movements to look for any openings from t-city. Frankie’s never been stopped kin his career and if Brian beats him like he says its history in the making.

CRISTIANE JUSTINO (19-1) VS. YANA KUNITSKAYA (10-3)

This short notice fight between the Invicta FC bantamweight champion Yana and UFC’s featherweight champion is a main event saviour after Max Hollaway’s injury forced him to withdraw.  Yana doesn’t bring anything special which Cyborg hasn’t experienced. Apart from age, Yana is still way behind Cyborg when it comes to the striking and ground game. Yana could try to match up in the striking department but the physical strength of Cyborg would play well in the clinch and on the ground. With an astonishing 84% KO/TKO rate, Cyborg would only need couple of rounds to dismantle the Russian Yana.

Sohail Syed

Sohail Syed

Writer, Fitness Trainer, Boxing & Kickboxing Coach, Marketing & Branding Professional with 10+ years of experience.

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