BY LEVI JIORLE
UFC 223 is looking to be one of the best fight cards in a while. The card takes place on April 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The main event for the lightweight championship was originally supposed to be Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov, but Ferguson is now facing an injury. Max Holloway, the champ of the featherweight division, is now stepping up to take Ferguson’s place.
I don’t think this matters, though, because I have Nurmagomedov winning regardless.
Nurmagomedov definitely has the best grappling in the lightweight division, and maybe the whole UFC.
It’s crazy to see how he’s able to dismantle his opponents.
Many of his past opponents have black belts or brown belts in Brazilian jiu jitsu, but this never seemed to stop him from being dominate with his wrestling and sambo.
Ferguson has a slicker ground game than Holloway, so I think he would have posed more of a threat to Nurmagomedov.
Ferguson is able to get submissions from the full guard position, and has decent wrestling credentials to his name.
While Holloway is decent on the ground, he’s more of a striker, so any chance he has in this fight will be on his feet.
One aspect that makes Nurmagomedov so good is that he has solid boxing that goes along with his wrestling.
He knows that he isn’t a striker first, so he usually doesn’t waste too much time on his feet.
He doesn’t take a lot of damage; he’s able to get into the clinch without getting too battered by his opponents.
Since Holloway is taking this on short notice, his conditioning won’t be where it usually is for his fights.
He’s a striker that relies more on volume than power, so this becomes even more of a problem.
He has nine knockouts, which is a good amount, but he’s going up a weight class, so his power won’t even translate as much.
I see this fight ending with a submission from Nurmagomedov. He has plenty of time to find a choke or an arm lock since this is a five-round fight.
The key to a Holloway victory will be his takedown defense, as well as distance and angles.
He needs to make this a kickboxing match to stand a chance against Nurmagomedov’s mauling style.
The fight between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk is also a great fight.
This fight is for the women’s strawweight championship. This fight will be a rematch.
Namajunas, who was the underdog last fight, won by knockout in the second round.
Many people though that Namajunas would have taken the fight to the ground, since Jedrzejczyk is more of a sprawl-and-brawl fighter, but Namajunas was able to use her taekwondo background to stifle Jedrzejczyk’s Dutch-styled kickboxing.
I think that Jedrzejczyk has the talent to win this rematch. She was a dominate champion before, and she definitely has better boxing than Namajunas.
The big question is where Jedrzejczyk’s psyche is at. She seemed pretty rattled her last fight, so she needs to head into this match with focused.
The best chance Namajunas is still taking this one to the ground. She has been able to her use jiu jitsu to win in the past.
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