MMA Forethought: UFC 218
By Edward Carbajal; Joel Croichy
UFC 218 is probably one of the most stacked pay-per-viewsthis year next to UFC 217 . It occurs the day after the Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale (TUF 26) and features a heavyweight clash that will likely make highlight reels Monday morning and a title fight between two of the promotions best featherweights. The fight some hardcore fans are looking at though is between the two TUF 26 coaches in Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje.
As always, Frontproof Media will take a look at the main card and try to give some forethought on how the fights could go down.
Max Holloway (18-3) vs. Jose Aldo (26-3)
In their first encounter, both Max Holloway and Jose Aldo put on an exciting “Fight of the Night” title unification bout where Holloway reigned victorious. So, it was expected that these two were eventually going to meet again. Current UFC Featherweight Champion Holloway has displayed both incredible striking ability along with an excellent ground game throughout his MMA career. Since 2014, Holloway has remained undefeated compiling 11-straight wins with six of them coming by way of KO/TKO. His upcoming opponent, Aldo is a former two-time UFC Featherweight Champion and is considered as one of the greatest featherweight MMA fighters ever to compete. He is an all-around competitor who has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and gathered 16 stoppages so far in his career. However, Holloway’s confidence is at an all-time high, especially with his impressive winning streak and he should be able to pick up another stoppage win over Aldo. Pick: Max Holloway -Joel Croichy
Francis Ngannou (10-1) VS Alistair Overeem (43–15-1)
The co-main event will be a heavyweight collision between two dangerous power hitters; Francis Ngannou and Alistair Overeem. MMA and kickboxing veteran, Overeem is a former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, DREAM Interim Heavyweight Champion, and K-1 World Grand Prix Champion. Since making his professional MMA debut in 1999, Overeem has captured 43 wins with 19 coming by way of KO/TKO and another 19 via submission. Across the cage from him will be Ngannou who has made a name for himself lately in the UFC heavyweight division. He is currently enjoying a nine fight-winning streak in which he gathered all five of his UFC wins via stoppage. Ngannou must avoid Overeem's clinch game and select his shots wisely while standing to pick up the win. Pick: Francis Ngannou-Joel Croichy
Eddie Alvarez (28–5-1) vs. Justin Gaethje (18-0)
Former titleholders Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje will collide in a lightweight contest which has all the potential of receiving the “Fight of the Night” award. In this matchup, you have two top lightweight UFC competitors who usually fight at a ridiculous pace and show entirely no fear whenever exchanging strikes with their opponents. Former WSOF Lightweight Champion, Gaethje is impressively riding an 18 fight-winning streak and has never tasted a loss so far in his MMA career. In his last outing, Gaethje had one of the best UFC debut bouts, where he stopped Michael Johnson in the second round at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale. Former two-time Bellator Lightweight Champion and former UFC Lightweight Champion, Alvarez has gathered 28 wins with 15 coming by way of KO/TKO. This fight has the ingredients of being a three-round close, competitive battle with each fighter winning a round. With compiling 18 straight wins and looking to beat a former champion, Gaethje should pick up the win. Pick: Justin Gaethje -Joel Croichy
Henry Cejudo (11-2) vs. Sergio Pettis (16-2)
On paper, this is a pretty even matchup. Both men tote a lot of decision wins and both only have two losses. While Pettis has more wins under his belt the pressure of an Olympic caliber wrestler should not be ignored in Cejudo. However, Pettis' striking game could be the factor that earns another decision win if he plays it safe and tries to "stick and move". Easier said than done against Cejudo who gets a takedown when he wants it. Cautiously leaning towards Cejudo for the win. -Ed Carbajal
Tecia Torres (9-1) vs. Michelle Waterson (14-5)
Torres is riding a two-fight win streak while Waterson is coming off of a loss against the current strawweight champ Rose Namajunas. Torres likes to grind out wins with her wrestling but it could be difficult against former the former Invicta FC champ. Waterson's footwork and takedown defense could put Torres in a position to exhaust herself in trying to earn the win. However, if Torres does get Waterson down that opens up submissions which Waterson has been susceptible to. Still, Waterson will likely be able to score enough from afar to get the win. Picking Waterson for the win. -Ed Carbajal
UFC 218 is one of those rare pay-per-views that have a fight worthy of being a main event on the entire main card. Aldo and Holloway having fought before could produce a completely different fight since anything can happen in the fight game. This is not one you want to pass on and with Alvarez and Gaethje on it, somehow it seems a bit out of order but well worth your coin if you can swing it.
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Feature Image: Ed Carbajal/Frontproof Media