UFC 193 Main Card: Preview and Predictions

image UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm takes place live this Saturday from the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. In the main event, UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey takes on multiple-time boxing world champion and current UFC bantamweight, Holly Holm. UFC straw-weight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk defends her strap versus Valerie Létournéau in the co-main event. UFC Fight Pass prelims for the card begin at 6:15 pm ET, while the four-fight Fox Sports 1 prelims start at 8. The five-fight pay-per-view card starts at 10pm ET. Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm Despite a lot of talk and hype about this possibly being Rousey's most intriguing fight to date and in turn, being the most challenging, I don't see it being too much different to what every other girl has experienced in the octagon with Rousey. I expect Holm to fight her fight, as she always does, keeping her distance, throwing the odd body kick and roundhouse kick but mostly trying to box on the outside and wear Rousey out, early. I don't see Rousey being quite as pressuring as her recent fights, right out of the gate. I believe Rousey will look to try her hand at boxing Holly momentarily because she's a competitor and that is what she loves to do. Ultimately though, Rousey will turn to her bread and butter and hip-toss Holm on her back and armbar her around 3 minutes into the first round. Pick: Rousey Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valerie Letourneau I may be in the smallest of minorities here but I'm gonna go ahead and say it anyway. I believe Joanna will be given a hard time here early because of Letourneau's extremely underrated striking, she's been heavily overlooked here because there's so much hype surrounding the polish champion but Joanna hasn't exactly been facing even competent strikers in her two most recent performances in Penne and Esparza, what Letourneau represents is an absolute challenge for Joanna on the feet and someone who's more than capable of striking with Joanna, if she's smart, for at least 2 rounds. Where I see Letourneau ultimately succumbing though, is in the cardio department, Jedrzejczyk's constant forward pressure coupled with Letourneau's monstrous cuts to 115 pounds, (she used to fight at 135, by the way.) will ultimately swing the bout in the champions favour, I expect this fight to go to decision with Letourneau making it compelling for as long as her cardio holds up but with Jedrzejczyk ultimately pulling away in the final 3 rounds to take a decision on the biggest stage of her career so far. Pick: Jedrzejczyk Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva Of course, this being the rematch and their first fight being arguably the greatest heavyweight fight in MMA history, nobody would've really expected this to live up to expectation, naturally, but when you factor in the fact that both guys have looked quite bad since then, in particular Silva, who in testing positive for elevated testerone, partially ruined the narrative of the first encounter, has looked a shell of himself without the now banned testerone replacement therapy. Hunt has gone 1-2 since then and both guys' seem to be showing the wear of being a long-time fighter. I think it's fair to say that today, neither guy is who they were in their first clash, but Silva, a lot more so. So I'll go with the less diminished fighter and quicker and more powerful puncher Mark Hunt to get a first round knockout over Silva, who's chin has severely diminished since getting off TRT. Pick: Hunt

Uriah Hall vs. Robert Whittaker

For me, this is easily the best fight on the card this weekend, in a sense, I was secretly delighted that Hall was the late replacement because this makes for a very explosive contest between two violent strikers with heavy hands and explosive movement. In Hall, you may have a guy who really turned a corner in his career, with his last win being undoubtedly the biggest of his career, thus far with a knockout over Gegard Mousasi.

In Whittaker, similar to Hall, we've always got the sense that this kid has got special talent but at welterweight he couldn't quite beat the calibre of guys he needed to. Since making the change to middleweight, he has looked outstanding and it seems this is the perfect weight class for him.

I expect a 3 round fight here with Hall just edging the fight with his distance control, speed and precision striking, but expect this one to be a closely contested fight with both guys landing often.

Pick: Hall

Stefan Struve vs. Jared Rosholt. Firstly, I'm going to start off by saying this isn't exactly the most thrilling heavyweight fight on paper, but what it does represent is a chance for two upcoming heavyweights to make their name on the biggest stage they could possibly ask for in the organisation. I like Rosholt here, even if it's only based on his ability to consistently pressure and take it to the mat almost as often as he'd like. He seems to be the aggressor in most of his fights and I don't expect that to change here, I think he takes the tall Dutchman down at will en route to a unanimous decision win, further establishing himself as a solid prospect for the division. 

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