UFC 187 Johnson vs. Cormier Draft Kings Predictions: MMA Spotlight

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Nothing like a night of dual UFC title belts on the line, as the leading MMA promotion heads west to Las Vegas, Nevada. Anthony Johnson and Daniel Cormier both hope to take over a division left by one of the pound for pound best, and now suspended, Jon “Bones” Jones. The UFC middleweight division also brings in a bout that has been in the making it seems like forever. Numerous injuries caused champion, Chris Weidman, to withdraw with previously scheduled cards with Vitor Belfort; now after waiting for over two years, Belfort will finally get his wish to have a chance at stripping Weidman of his belt. Donald Cerrone and Andrei Arlovski also grace the main card with their presence, bolstering an already stacked UFC 187 card. The early pre-lims hit Fight Pass at 6:30 pm EST, changing over to FOX Sports 1 at 8 pm EST, with the final stop coming on Pay Per View at 10 pm EST. No other card has fit better than this one on Memorial Day weekend, let the analysis begin!

#1 Anthony Johnson (19-4) vs. #3 Daniel Cormier (15-1) Light Heavyweight Title Bout – The title now vacated, a new UFC light heavyweight champion must be crowned Saturday. Minus the drama having to do with Jon Jones, this is quite the intriguing match up in its own right. Johnson possesses the power to put the lights out on just about anyone who steps in a cage against him, and Daniel “DC” Cormier boasts some of the best wrestling credentials on the roster. If there is a weakness to find in “Rumble” Johnson, is that he has not always had consistent take down defense, nor technically able to fend off submissions. Cormier is not exactly the prettiest of strikers, and does seem to gas in the later rounds. In short, these two are complete polar opposites of one another. There is a higher finishing upside with Anthony Johnson, the guy has just been on a complete tear since joining the light heavyweight division. As interesting of a match up this is, the fantasy factor is bleak. Either go big with Anthony Johnson, or sink, Cormier will ride this to a decision if he can. Look for “DC” to use his superior wrestling this time around, something he lost track of in his last title fight. Daniel Cormier via Unanimous Decision.

[C] Chris Weidman (12-0) vs. #3 Vitor Belfort (24-10) Middleweight Title Bout – Every single time the MMA Spotlight has sided against Chris Weidman, the champ seemingly runs through the opposition. Nothing on paper really astonishes anyone with Weidman, the champ just continues to surprise in each and every UFC title defense. Belfort is explosive as it gets in the middleweight division, but reputably fails in title fights. Not only are his lackluster performances in title fights detouring, “The Phenom” has not fought since 2013. Unlike the main event, a finish in this fight is almost inevitable. Tired of looking like a fool each time Chris Weidman defends the belt, the MMA Spotlight is siding with the champ this weekend. Bet the house on Weidman, and hope to be handsomely rewarded at the end of the night. Chris Weidman via Technical Knockout.

#3 Donald Cerrone (27-6) vs. John Makdessi (12-3) Lightweight Bout – A win away from the title, Donald Cerrone almost certainly finishes this fight quickly. A self-proclaimed exciting fighter, and a devastating finisher, Cerrone has not put his opponent to sleep in his last three fights, a streak he is looking to end Saturday. John Makdessi is a veteran of the cage, fighting nine times inside the octagon, “The Bull” has held his own fighting through the lightweight ranks. This is a huge opportunity for Makdessi to make noise in the division, and his name heard among the best in the division. Unfortunately, “Cowboy” Cerrone is surging for a title shot, inching closer and closer to the dream. Fantasy wise, Cerrone is widely known for his reckless style and aggressive nature. Donald Cerrone via Technical Knockout.

#3 Travis Browne (17-2-1) vs. #8 Andrei Arlovski (23-10) Heavyweight Bout – This is a tough one, Arlovski is just making it tougher as he keeps beating some of the best upon his return to the UFC octagon. Travis “Hapa” Browne is unpredictably explosive, coming with a wide array of powerful shots in the first round. If Arlovski wants to continue to surprise in the heavyweight division, he needs to weather the storm in the first round and wear on Browne in the later rounds. Travis Browne is known for gassing past the first, while becoming an easily punch-able target in the process. Another finish in this fight is easy to predict, the one doing so though, is a whole different story. Andrei Arlovski gets the coin toss in this one. Andrei Arlovski via Knockout.

#2 Joseph Benavidez (21-4) vs. #5 John Moraga (16-3) Flyweight Bout – What a great match up between two high-octane flyweights. Both Benavidez and Moraga do not know the meaning slow and methodical when it comes to fighting, these two throw and deal with the repercussions later. Moraga’s submission game has been very opportunistic lately, while using a very underrated wrestling game to add a new dimension to his brawling style. Benavidez has been on the top of the ladder for quite a while, finishing 15 of his 21 fights. The power and aggressiveness these two garner is rare in the flyweight division. Fantasy factor is low in this one though, both are tough as nails to finish, but it will be an exciting opening bout nonetheless. Joseph Benavidez via Unanimous Decision.

The Following Saturday the UFC heads to Brazil, as Carlos Condit makes his long anticipated return from a knee injury to face Thiago Alves. Condit was last seen in a UFC cage when he fought Tyron Woodley, suffering a torn ACL when took down by Woodley. Nik Lentz and Charles Oliveira occupy the co main, with a nice grouping of solid fights that follow. For more coverage and fantasy predictions, continue to follow as the MMA Spotlight provides the inside analysis of these cards.

Commentary by Justin Huffman

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Photo Courtesy of Tiago Cata’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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Photo Courtesy of Tiago Cata’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License