Let’s try this again! Undaunted by the shenanigans that took the wind out of UFC 200’s sails, the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion has doubled down with a historic mega pay-per-view (PPV) card this Saturday night (Nov. 12, 2016) inside Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. Yes, UFC 205 fight week is finally upon us, featuring a main event between McGregor vs Alvarez Featherweight champion, Conor McGregor, looking to make history and capture the Lightweight belt from 155-pound roost ruler, Eddie Alvarez In addition, Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley will defends his belt against Stephen Thompson in the co-featured fight of the night, while women’s Strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, will look to keep her perfect professional record (12-0) intact at the expense of fellow Pole, Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
McGregor Vs Alvarez
World title triple header! That’s not all, though, not even close. Former Middleweight champion Chris Weidman will lock horns with Yoel Romero in a terrific 185-pound scrap and Donald Cerrone and Kelvin Gastelum will throwdown in a fine 170-pound contest.
UFC 205 features seven “Prelims” undercard matches that will to set the spectacular stage, three of which will stream live McGregor vs Alvarez on UFC Fight Pass and the remaining four will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1. Let’s first take a look at what the World Wide Web has in store for fight fans this weekend:
155 lbs.: Thiago Alves vs. Jim Miller
Ravaged by injuries, Thiago Alves (21-10) fought just once between 2012 and 2015, winning a decision over Seth Baczynski. He returned in January and knocked out Jordan Mein before suffering a knockout loss of his own to Carlos Condit the following May.
This will be both his Lightweight debut and his first fight in more than 17 months.
Jim Miller (27-8) — once on the brink of the Top 10 — suffered a 1-4 stretch from the end of 2014 to the beginning of 2016, the sole win a split decision over Danny Castillo. He’s recently righted the ship somewhat with consecutive victories over Takanori Gomi and Joe Lauzon.
He has submitted 14 opponents as a professional.
If this fight took place about four or five years ago, I’d be all over it. As is, it’s more wince-worthy than drool-worthy. Alves is held together with duct tape and positive thinking at this point, while Miller’s only quality performance in his last seven fights came against the smoking ruin of “Fireball Kid.”
That’s not even mentioning the fact that Alves — whose adversarial relationship with the Welterweight limit is the stuff of legend — is trying to cut another 15 pounds. Assuming everything works out for him, though, he has the stylistic edge. His wrestling is every bit as good as Miller’s and his overall striking technique outstrips his foe’s. If he can get his dried-out jerky slab of a body to the scale and then to the cage, he takes a competitive decision.
Prediction: Alves via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Belal Muhammad vs. Vicente Luque
Belal Muhammad (10-1) — fresh off a knockout of Steve Carl for the Titan FC title — gave Alan Jouban all he could handle in his “Fight of the Night”-winning debut despite losing the decision. “Remember the Name” returned two months later to pound out Augusto Montaño in Hidalgo, Texas, and earn his first UFC victory.
He has knocked out four opponents overall and will give up an inch of height to Luque.
After losing to Hayder Hassan in the climactic fight of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 21 and to Michael Graves in his official Octagon debut, Vicente Luque (10-5-1) proved his mettle with three consecutive stoppage victories. Most recently, he obliterated Hector Urbina in 60 seconds with one of the year’s best one-punch knockouts.
He replaces Lyman Good, who ran afoul of USADA approximately two weeks before fight night.
Luque’s just 24 years old and looks like he could make a real dent in the division, but the style match up isn’t in his favor. Muhammad figures to have a slight edge on the feet and his sturdy counter-wrestling takes Luque’s submission prowess out of the equation. Muhammad also knows how to work the body and wear down opponents, which could pay great dividends considering Luque’s lack of prep time.
The Brazilian is dangerous enough to make Muhammad work for it, but expect the latter to take a clear decision as he takes over down the stretch.
Prediction: Muhammad via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Liz Carmouche vs. Kaitlyn Chookagian
Liz Carmouche (10-5) — who squared off with Ronda Rousey in the UFC’s first-ever women’s fight — has gone even (2-2) since falling short in that bout. In her most recent fight, “Girl-Rilla” out-gritted Invicta standout Lauren Murphy to snap a two-fight losing streak.
This will be her first fight in 18 months.
Kaitlyn Chookagian (8-0) joined UFC with two CFFC belts around her waist and a 45-second knockout in her most recent effort. She kept up the momentum with a decision win over Lauren Murphy at UFC 191.
She is three inches taller than Carmouche at 5’9.”
Carmouche’s major issue is that, while she possesses one of the division’s best top games, she’s very limited on the feet and doesn’t always set up her takedowns well when she can’t physically overpower her foes. Chookagian may have spent a significant chunk of her career at Flyweight, but she more than held her own against Murphy’s grappling and figures to have the striking edge.
If Carmouche was more consistently effective with her wrestling and wasn’t coming off such a long layoff, she’d have a great shot here. With said issues and Chookagian’s strong recent performance, though, I’m picking her to keep her undefeated record intact.
Prediction: Chookagian via unanimous decision
Four more UFC 205 “Prelims” fights remain to preview and predict, including a pair of Top 10 fights at Lightweight and Featherweight. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs!
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 205 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card McGregor vs Alvarez start time at 10 p.m. ET.