Tony “El Cucuy “ Ferguson, 36, 6’ vs. Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira, 31, 5’10”
You want to see two of the best and easily most exciting ninja’s in MMA history fight to the death? look no further. These are both rangey, skilled strikers (what you want), with ridiculous submission ability (fun), in the Lightweight 155lb division (ideal size), and all the motivation and heart you could ask for. Let’s hope they have enough time in this fight to showcase their array of talents, because as always with the elite, it could end quick.
Do Bronx is on a tremendous win streak since settling in at 155lbs (a winner of 7 straight – all finishes!) and adding to his career accomplishments that include the most finishes in UFC history (16), most submissions in UFC history (14), and the most performance-of-the-night awards (10). Obscene. Oliveira stats alone make him a future hall of famer, and it’s been fun to witness his career resurgence (turnaround?) at his correct weight. He is a force with great style, and a lot of momentum on his side….. The knock on him is his level of competition (Lee, Lentz, Gordon, Jim Miller, Clay “the fire hydrant” Guida, the weaker Teymur brother, Gareth Lewis)… AND the dirty little secret is that he struggles against taller fighters. These both have me concerned.
El Cucuy is a different animal. He fights a unique, fan-friendly style, getting into wars with everyone he fights – and normally out toughs his opponents, including action hero type moves which entertain. In a Tony Ferguson fight, there will be violence and there will be blood. Unfortunately for him, this leads to “Fight of the Night” performance awards, not always “Performance” of the nights. Tony is also coming off one of the worst beatings in the sport’s history only 6.5 months ago to the punishing Justin Gaethje.
Whats at stake? Well, considering the Tony or Charles vs. Khabib odds would be the closest of any other Lightweight including Conor or Poirier, the winner of this fight has the only chance of getting “The Eagle” (why is it not “the Bear”) out of retirement (not named GSP, and mainly because Khabib already dismantled Dustin and Conor). So, essentially, the next biggest fight in the entire sport is on the line.
My Prediction: Hard to get the recent Gaethje fight out of my head, and/or the relative ease at which Oliviera is making this sport look. I do think Ferguson is coming back to the octagon too fast. I also believe Do Bronx will get tested to his absolute limits, and we’re not exactly sure what that means at this level. The overwhelming feeling I have is: question Tony’s toughness at you own peril. El Cucuy vs Khabib 6, anyone?
Deiveson Figueiredo 32, 20-1, vs. Brandon Moreno 27, 18-5-1, for the 125lb Championship.
Moreno is 5’6” with a 70” reach, while DF is 5’4” with 68” (decent edge, because both so small). Moreno is Mexican, always seems to win by decision, but does have better volume/output which is a very important stat of late. Deveison is Brazilian, seemingly much meaner/tougher, but most importantly he’s a finisher. And at 125 you don’t see a ton of finishes in general as they are too light hitting. Frankly, I don’t really care too much to predict Flyweight matches, but from Mighty Mouse, to Henry Cejudo, to now Figueiredo – the 125 Champ always seems to win easy. Deveison by KO or guillotine.
Renato Moicano 31, 14-3-1 vs. Rafael Fiziev 27, 8-1
Fiziev is jacked, swings for the fences on even his tight hooks, and uses impressive combination punch, kicks, knees, body/head shots – you don’t want to have to fight this guy. He is from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and he is coming for the belt (eventually). I think you will see several of the big brawlers in the division duck this guy (Conor, Poirier, Felder will want no part, but I am getting ahead of myself)..…… Now, I like the parallels of Moicano with Do Bronx – a true BJJ athlete, effective in all aspects of a fight, especially once they move up a weight class (he is). And, from what we know, Fiziev has a suspect ground game (a blue belt, makes mistakes) and gas tank (muscle head), and his defense will remind you of the matrix (so far it has worked for him, but he hasn’t been around a while). So, Moicano must take this Russian down and get a submission (or tire him out early) to have any chance. It’s possible. For me, it’s Fiziev by KO – you really just don’t want to have to fight this dude.
Junior dos Santos 36, 21-8 vs. Ciryl Gane 30, 6-0
JDS was the Heavyweight Champion in 2011. A decade ago. Junior’s last three fights: KO’d by Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes, and then Jairzinho Rozenstruik in under roughly 15 minutes of total fight time. And he’s stepping back in against whom some think could be a future Champion. Need I continue? Well, let’s hope for a quick submission finish. JDS is probably the better fighter overall, but I give him only a slight chance against this up and coming 6.5 feet of nightmare fuel. Yes, his best win is against “Tanner Boser,” so there is risk, but Ciryl is new and taken zero damage to date. We see it every big card, a Brazilian retirement fight. Obrigado JDS, you were the man for a while.
Billy Quarantillo 32, 5’10” 15-2 vs. Gavin Tucker 34, 5’7” 12-1
Billy Q has many fans, not exactly sure why. Gavin is a Canadian with power and speed. First round could be all Tucker. Later stages I side with Q. Tough fight. When in doubt take the bigger fighter?
Cub Swanson 37 vs. Daniel Pineda, 35
We know Pineda wants to take Swanson to the ground and pound, and that Swanson is a stand up point fighting vet. Cub has fought everyone, usually always in a fun scrap, but he loses all the time these days. Pineda’s strategy is a bit of nightmare for Swanson. Good fight. Take Cub small, odds look wrong, he shouldn’t be the underdog.
Kevin Holland 28, 20-5 vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza 41, 26-8-1
One question – how does Holland have 25 fights? Since 2015 as well? Crazy. Jacare has been fighting since 2003 (red flag), has 35 fights and is an ex Strikeforce Champion (read: very old). Doesn’t add up to me, but let’s move on. I love all of this: “I’ve had an excellent camp. I brought in some tough guys to help me.” Jacare told Combate. “Lots of experienced people, like Lyoto Machida. Great coaches, like Adrian Jaoude, my wrestling coach. My camp was very tough. I’m well, happy and relaxed. I’ve really been feeling great physically, it’s been a while since I’ve felt this great. I had been kind of lazy, so I brought some guys over to kick my ass everyday. I brought over coaches, great people to help me. Now I’m in incredible shape. I did a great job and I’ll be excellent in this fight.” What a relief. Better than his “I have been doing a little crossfit with my wife in our garage during lockdown” – bit, before the Blachowicz bout.
The Fight: How does Holland get to 5 wins in a row in 2020 here? Knock him out with a left. Kevin is the more natural, better boxer. It could happen if Souza decides to abandon his greatest skill (8 time World Jiu-Jitsu Champion, ADCC Champion) and stupidly decide to stand and trade punches again like he has too often the past few years. But let’s get serious. A healthy Jacare at 185 (how does he make this cut?) is one of the fiercest competitors in this sport. One of the greatest BJJ practitioners to roam this earth. Ever. Can’t wait to see him walk in the ring. And I can’t wait to watch Holland feel the pressure when Jacare gets his hands on him.
My Prediction: Jacare rips Holland’s arm off. Not kidding, it’s in play. This is a mismatch of overall abilities that you rarely see when the professional odds are 50/50. Holland has one path to victory – a boxing KO. He should be a +400 underdog. Jacare only loses to the best of the best. But because of Age and momentum, we get a gift. Armbar or Kimura, but he will get that win.
Only bet of night: Jacare by Submission