UFC 205 is just days away and the anticipation is through the roof. With an unprecedented three title fights taking place on the card, and two former world champions also in the mix, it is no wonder that the event has already broken the gate record for Madison Square Garden. The 'biggest' event in UFC history may very well break the pay-per-view record set by UFC 202 earlier this year. Following is a breakdown of every fight on the card –
1. Joanna Jedrezejczyk vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz for the Women's Championship
Joanna Jedrezejczyk (12 wins, 0 losses) is putting her title on the line for the fourth time against the uprising Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10 wins, 0 losses). Both women have met each other in the amateur leagues in Poland four years ago, with Jedrezejczyk winning by submission. The times have changed but there is no debating the dominance that the champion has exhibited in all of her previous fights in the UFC. After beating Carla Esparza for the title, Jedrezejczyk has been on a roll, taking home two decisions and a knockout win over formidable opponents.
Jedrezejczyk is a former professional kickboxer and her precision striking is unmatched in the UFC. She will have big-fight experience on her side as well as the giant wave of momentum. The only aspect of her game that needs some polishing is her ground game. Having only recorded one victory by making her opponent submit, Jedrezejczyk is not the most comfortable on the mat.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz is an accomplished martial artist with good striking and a solid technical base. With seven decision wins under her belt, her conditioning has been tested and she has proven to be a great athlete too. Being undefeated in her own right, she might have a few surprises up her arsenal, but it is unlikely to be enough to unsettle Jedrezejczyk.
Prediction : Jedrezejczyk
2. Tryon Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson for the Welterweight Championship
Newly-crowned champion Tryon Woodley, puts his title on the line against ‘Wonderboy’ Stephen Thompson. After knocking out Robbie Lawler to claim the title, this will be Woodley’s first title defence. Being an expert wrestler and having a strength advantage, he will look to impose his will on his gifted challenger to retain his title.
Stephen Thompson is not a novice and is sure to cause all sorts of problems for Woodley. Being the better striker with better precision, he will frustrate the champion into committing a mistake. The deciding factor comes down to whether Woodley gets thrown off his game as a result.
In a wrestling showdown, Woodley wins hands down. But Wonderboy can become champion if he can employ his punching strategy and not get taken down by Woodley. It all comes down to small decisions.
But the pick for this fight is Stephen Thompson, who will surprise everybody with his smart striking and evading Thompson’s baiting.
Prediction: Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson
3. Chris Weidman vs Yoel Romero at Middleweight
Chris Weidman makes his much-awaited return to the Octagon against Yoel Romero. Originally scheduled to have a rematch with Luke Rockhold, the former Middleweight champion was forced to pull out due to injury. He will be looking for redemption against Romero.
Having relatively similar styles, both fighters will engage in a war of attrition and one on Sunday. Weidman and Romero have near-identical records – Weidman (13 wins, 1 loss), Romero (12 wins, 1 loss). The similarities don’t stop there. Both are exceptional wrestlers. Romero was an Olympic silver medalist. Chris Weidman is a former collegiate All-American Wrestler.
The only point of contention is confidence heading into the bout. Yoel Romero has not been defeated inside the Octagon since April, 2013. Chris Weidman is coming off a long lay-off and a crushing loss against Rockhold. The emotional favourite remains the underdog as Romero has looked unstoppable in his recent fights. If Weidman wins, it will be a truly remarkable feat but as it stands, Romero is the better bet, having momentum and a slight edge in striking.