UFC 219 Main Card Predictions – Can Holly Holm stop the Cyborg?

UFC 219 Main Card Predictions – Can Holly Holm stop the Cyborg?

UFC 219 takes place Saturday night, here’s who should have their hand raised from the Main Card.

Well, typically for UFC PPV events, I go to my pal Devon Sawa for his predictions via his popular Sawa Says feature. However, Devon and family are traveling across Asia. They’re playing with elephants, monkeys and seeing some incredible sites. So it falls on me to break some fights down and give the winners. I’m game.

Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino vs. Holly Holm – UFC Flyweight Championship

Cris Cyborg (18-1) has won eighteen consecutive fights. More than that, however, she’s become the most feared female fighter on earth. Her aura and fierce stature have her opponents shook before they ever step into the cage. She used to fight with a reckless abandon, but in her last few fights, she’s shown much more patience and she’s a better fighter for it.

Holly Holm (11-3) is just big time. She brings that rare big fight atmosphere with her and her boxing prowess makes her very, very dangerous. Holm had a three-fight losing streak, one of those losses seemed pretty dubious. She dropped a decision to Germaine de Randamie in the inaugural Featherweight championship. Many felt she’d won that fight, and she was fouled continuously by de Randamie.

This fight should come down to whether or not Holm can utilize her boxing to keep Cyborg off of her. Also, Cyborg’s stamina will most certainly be tested. Holly has absolutely incredible cardio and would be smart to push the pace early and try and drag Cyborg into deep waters late. Cyborg is the largest favorite on the card betting-wise, and that shocks me. I respect Cyborg, but Holly is legitimately almost tailor-made to deal with her. Man, this one is close. Really close. I suppose in the end I feel like Cyborg will overpower her and smother her early. I think Cyborg gets the first or second round stoppage but it would not surprise me to see Holm by Decision.

Cris Cyborg via TKO.

Khabib Numragomedov vs. Edson Barboza – Lightweights

Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0) has never once tasted defeat. I don’t know if he knows how to lose. He trains at AKA with killers like Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold, Cain Velasquez etc and as the saying goes, iron sharpens iron.  Khabib has good striking, but he has excellent wrestling and ground and pound. He’s also very capable of pulling off a submission if you get sloppy on the mat with him.

Edson Barboza (19-4) is a straight-up striker. That dude has punches, elbows, knees, and kicks that can not just knock you out, but ruin your entire month. He enters the fight on a three-fight winning streak over the likes of Beneil Dariush, Anthony Pettis, and Gilbert Melendez so you could say he’s on a roll. This is a huge fight for him as well.

This fight pits the number 2 and 4 ranked fighters in the UFC’s Lightweight division. Khabib says Dana White has promised him a title shot with a win, but sometimes those promises change. He is certainly deserving of a shot, be it against Tony Ferguson or Conor McGregor. I think this is easy to predict. If Khabin can stay away from getting hurt on his feet, he’ll own the takedowns and control the fight on the mat. He just has to avoid the big shot standing up. I think he will. Dominant, controlling victory from Nurmagomedov, earning an easy lopsided decision.

Khabib Nurmagomedov via Unanimous Decision. 

Daniel Hooker vs. Marc Diakiese – Lightweights

Daniel Hooker (14-7) is an Austrailian fighter whose claim to fame is currently having filmed the boomerang incident where Colby Covington got cracked with a boomerang by Fabricio Werdum. He could get work at TMZ is this whole fight thing doesn’t work out for him. His fight pattern is clear, since entering the UFC he has won, lost, won, lost, won …. so he’s due to lose here. Tough break, but that’s science for you. It’s as consistent as gravity.

Marc Diakiese (12-1) likes to strike. Check that, loves to strike. He will likely hold some standing advantages in this fight, and it could serve him well in the form of a performance bonus if he can knock out Hooker.  The lone loss on his record is a split decision defeat to Drakkar Klose in his last fight.

I think Marc Diakiese has a good chance to pull off the spectacular stoppage here. Daniel Hooker fights in a methodical style that could leave him open for some serious damage from the faster, more accurate Diakiese. I don’t see how this goes any other way than a KO victory for Marc Diakiese here.

Marc Diakiese via Knock Out.

Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza – Strawweights

Cynthia Calvillo (6-0) has jumped into title contention almost overnight. She showed up in the UFC in March of this year and already finds herself on the verge of a title shot. She defeated Joanne Calderwood in her last outing and will look to keep the train rolling Saturday night against former champion, Carla Esparza.

Carla Esparza (12-4) was the division’s first champion, however that seems long ago at this point. She’s got that whole science thing working against her as well, since joining the UFC she’s gone, win, lose, win, lose, win … so this next one looks like a loss. She does have the ability to turn it around, and her grappling is superior to Calvillo’s.

This should be a fun fight. Calvillo is like the lost Diaz sister. She trains with the fine folks at Team Alpha Male, and anytime she’s in the room, she’s definitely the Alpha Female. Cynthia has so much charisma and attitude you want her to succeed. She also has a ton of ability and is growing and getting better all the time. I think she’s going to outwork and outhustle Carla here. She could find herself in hot water in the clinch and on the bottom versus the Cookie Monster. I just think Calvillo has too much for Carla.

Cynthia Calvillo via TKO.

Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny – Welterweights

Carlos Condit (30-10) lives up to his horrific nickname, The Natural Born Killer. A savage inside the cage and a gentleman outside of it, Carlos is back to do what he loves to do. Unleash violence of the highest order. Condit has lost three of four, but those losses came to Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler, and Demain Maia. No shame in that. He trains at Jackson Wink in Albuquerque and he represents that team and state very well.  He’s an excellent striker and is tremendously well-rounded.

Neil Magny (19-6) seemed on the verge of a title shot back in 2016. He’d beaten Erick Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, and Hector Lombard consecutively and was looking to be unstoppable. Then he got stopped against Lorenz Larkin.  He rebounded and defeated Johnny Hendricks, but then lost his last outing against Rafael Dos Anjos. He needs a win here. Neil is very talented and does everything well. That said, I’m not his striking is as good as it needs to be against Condit. A wrestling match would benefit him, but I’ve never seen him stray away from striking for that long.

I think Carlos Condit will utilize a more varied attack here and hurt Neil Magny standing. I expect Carlos to land plenty of kicks and follow them up with knees and elbows standing. It would not shock me to see this one end via a flying knee. I just think Carlos has more ways to win, and he will do just that.

Carlos Condit via TKO.