UFC 218

Holloway x Aldo 2

Picks, Parlays, and Predictions

It Came From Detroit

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PICKS

Holloway x Aldo
Ngannou x Overeem
Cejudo x Pettis
Gaethje x Alvarez
Torres x Waterson
Felder x Oliveira
Medeiros x Oliveira
Teymur x Klose
Casey x Herrig
Reyes x Kimball
Magana x Cooper

PARLAYS

“Comeback City” EDITION
Aldo (+230)
Alvarez (+155)
Waterson (+130)
Medeiros (+200)
$2.18 to win $124.40 “Golden Dollar” EDITION
Torres (-240)
Alvarez (+155)
Felder (-140)
Medeiros (+190)
Teymur (+190)
$1.00 to win $51.08

PREDICTIONS

145 x2 plus 187s at 155 and 205 during 218 in the 313

Max Holloway x Jose Aldo for the Featherweight Championship

Frankie Edgar had to go and injure himself so the UFC decided to run back a matchup that literally just happened. I feel the same about this fight now as I did when it first happened five months ago, except Aldo’s head might have gotten softer in the meantime. This should have been Cub Swanson’s opportunity, but nobody agrees with me so it is what it is. You can reread my original prediction here.

Alistair Overeem x Frances Ngannou for Most Intimidating Body

Ngannou smash! Overeem’s skull is too small because he’s not supposed to be a heavyweight and, regardless of his striking prowess, he always seems to cover up in exchanges which leaves him vulnerable to big shots. I’d rather be hit by a car than hit by Ngannou. Either way, the winner should be next in line for a chance at the belt. Enjoy watching these two statuesque men punch each other in the face until one of them crumbles.

Eddie Alvarez x Justin Gaethje for the King of Underground Violence

I know this fight is early on the main card, but I’m going to write about it anyways because I can do whatever I want. This may be a late Fight of the Year candidate and it’d be a shame to let it slip by. I fully expect Cejudo to break Baby Pettis, but I don’t know what to expect when Alvarez and Gaethje get into the ring.

Former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez has had an incredibly active career dating back to 2003. He’s knocked out more than half of the men that have faced him and has had a solid 4-2 run in the UFC, facing only top 10 contenders. Alvarez, who dubbed himself “The Underground King” after spending the majority of his career in smaller MMA promotions, likes to come forward and throw bombs and usually comes on top. Usually. In his first UFC title defense he was paired up with the notorious Conor McGregor, only to be completely outclassed on the feet and handed his second KO loss. That was the first time we’ve seen Eddie on the wrong side of a highlight reel.

Alvarez tried to erase the sting of the McGregor loss by facing another talented striker earlier this year, only to get battered around the ring again. It was a more back-and-forth endeavor, but he still did a little too much stumbling for my taste. When you rely on your chin to carry you through wars, it’s not going to last forever. These hard-nosed brawlers are always going to be up against a ticking clock. At higher levels, it takes finesse and subtlety to avoid amassing punches to the head. Fortunately, or unfortunately, neither Alvarez or Gaethje have signed up to play a chess match on Saturday.

Justin Gaethje might be brain damage personified. He stumbles more than he walks. Take whatever I just said about Eddie and multiply it times 10. Nay! Multiply it times 100. With only one fight in the UFC, Justin Gaethje rocketed himself into #1 on the “must watch” list. Gaethje and Michael Johnson beat the hell out of each other in a two round affair that seemed to last an eternity. It looked like they were fighting on ice. Both men were rocked but Justin refused to stop pushing forward, exactly as he’s done in every one of his 17 fights. He merely flirts with defeat, refusing to take a loss back home with him.

Despite being an NCAA All-American, Gaethje looks like he enjoys getting hit too much to wrestle. Fighting is in his blood and he’s happy to spill it all over the canvas. He’s not shooting for singles – he’s running at you and looking to turn your lights off. Even in the clinch, he’s more likely to fire off devastating leg kicks then drop down for a double. Remember when he was the only one with the heart to knock out a one-armed MMA fighter? I sure do. Justin was the reigning WSOF lightweight champion since early 2014 until he vacated to join the UFC earlier this year. If your name gets called for a match against Gaethje, the king of violence, prepare to fight for your life.

As far as this matchup is concerned, I can see it going either way. Both guys like to brawl and both guys take a lot of shots. I’m leaning towards Justin only because we’ve seen Eddie fall from grace so recently and the organization seems hesitant to give him a break. There’s no way his chin or his ego have had time to recover. At the same time, nobody can stay undefeated forever. Durability is key to their defense. Gaethje has had a solid run, but eventually someone is going to shut him off. To be fair, I’m not sure anyone has enough cardio to hit him in the head that many times. Michael Johnson was damn close to getting it done, but the gods of war always seems to smile in Justin’s favor. I’m also picking Gaethje because his frequent leg kicks are a valuable weapon, which will help weaken Eddie’s base and slow his movement. Straight punches would work wonders for both competitors, but wide, flailing hooks and uppercuts will obviously be the strikes du jour. It could end it seconds or it could last all 15 minutes, but both guys are going to do everything in their power to go home early. Enjoy whatever may come and understand why both men will have a reserved table in Valhalla.