MMA Forethought: UFC 222
UFC 222 features the quick return of Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino who is ready to defend her title against Invicta FC’s Yana Kunitskaya. Also in the co-main event, a contender match between the number one and number two featherweights in the UFC, Frankie Edgar and Brian Ortega face off to be the next man to fight for the title.
As always, Frontproof Media will take a look at the main card and attempt to give some forethought on how the fights could go down.
Cris “Cyborg” Justino (19-1-1) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (10-3)
This is a quick turnaround for Justino who just fought a very smart five-rounds against Holly Holm at UFC 219. She won a unanimous decision and the damage she took was minimal but when you add on weight cutting and another training camp so soon, one has to wonder how much she has truly recuperated. That being said, Justino showed she is more than strong and tough in her last fight and likely is good enough to face Kunitskaya. Kunitskaya touts seven of her ten wins by way of KO or TKO so she does have more than a puncher’s chance at winning. This is a tough fight to call but Justino has never been more motivated and she wins more than a title defense lately when she wins in the UFC, she wins a lot of respect and that could be what’s driving her to dominate this division.
Frankie Edgar (21-5-1) vs. Brian Ortega (13-0)
The destiny of Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway keeps getting put on hold due to injury. What is in place for UFC 222 is still worthy of pay-per-view status with undefeated Brain Ortega coming as a replacement with his highlight submission over Cub Swanson at UFC ___. Ortega has had a lot of hype behind him because of his performances in the cage. The young contender has worked his way to the top of his division with no trash talk; a rarity these days. However, the UFC has put rising stars in front of Frankie Edgar before and when Edgar “Answers” the promotion by testing these new guys, the new guys usually fail. Ortega will certainly be tested Edgar at UFC 222, he stands a chance at passing, but it is a slim chance.
Sean O'Malley (9-0) vs. Andre Soukhamthath (12-5)
O’Malley has been one of the most impressive and probably the most active and high profile fighter coming off of The Contender Series on UFC Fight Pass. Soukhamthath is coming off of second-round TKO win from the same card Ortega earned his shot tonight. If that means anything he could surprise fans tonight, but nothing seems to phase the undefeated O’Malley who holds most of his wins by knock out. He’s a heavy favorite in this fight and can likely do well here.
Andrei Arlovski (26-15) vs. Stefan Struve (32-9)
Arlovski has been in the game a long time. The former UFC heavyweight holds 17 wins by KO, three by submission and is coming off of a decision win over Junior Albini last November. While he has been having a hard time lately, the last win shows he still has some fight in him. Struve may be the tallest fighter in the promotion but sometimes he does not utilize the reach he has been blessed with. Still, the 30-year-old from the Netherlands could pose some trouble for Arlovski whose chin has been tested a lot lately and didn’t always pass. This one is a toss-up, but the safe money might be on Struve.
Ketlen Vieira (9-0) vs. Cat Zingano (9-2)
The “Alpha” Cat Zingano has been out of action for a while but her drive to earn a title has never wavered. She holds wins over current bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes, and former champ Miesha Tate. Zingano is a tough fight no matter how long she’s been out of action but Veira is likely aware and ready for what Zingano brings to UFC 222. The undefeated Brazilian is riding a three-fight-win streak of her own and Zingano will certainly be her toughest test to date. Zingano could show some ring rust when they fight, but if she doesn’t this is her fight to win.
UFC 222 takes place Saturday night live on pay-per-view from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. If Cyborg wins, expect “greatest of all time” (G.O.A.T.) conversations to follow.
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Feature Image: Ed Carbajal