The UFC returns on August 4, 2018 with a pair of title bouts that will also serve as rematches between the protagonists.

Let’s check out some of the key fights of UFC 227 and break down each one of them:

T.J. Dillashaw vs Cody Garbrandt
5 RD, UFC bantamweight championship
Odds: Dillashaw -120, Garbrandt -110
Odds from Bovada as of 8/2/18

T.J. Dillashaw defends his UFC bantamweight title against former champion Cody Garbrandt at the main event of UFC 227 on August 4, 2018 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Reclaiming The Title

The bout will be a rematch of their UFC 217 co-main event bout where Dillashaw won the title by knocking out Garbrandt in round two. During that fight, both fighters started out red hot as each landed their best shots. Dillashaw was rocked and absolutely hurt at the end of the first round.

But in a surprise turn of events, Dillashaw turned the tables on Garbrandt in the second round as he found a way to recover quickly and drop Garbrandt later in the round. The victory gave Dillashaw his old title back while the loss was the first in the career of Cody Garbrandt.

Looking For Redemption

Dillashaw is considered one of the best bantamweights today. He is a very technical striker whose last two defeats have come via controversial split decision. The only clear defeat in T.J’s career was John Dodson’s 1st round knockout win over him in the TUF 14 bantamweight tournament in 2011.

Garbrandt is Dillashaw’s former sparring teammate but who has since shown no love to the current champion. These two have been going at each other on paper even before their first bout. After Dillashaw silenced Garbrandt, the former champions is looking for redemption on Saturday night.

Chasing a Ghost

Dillashaw owns the best footwork in the UFC roster. The 32-year-old champion can move back and forth plus sideways with extreme ease. He can switch his stances at any given moment and still land with conviction from either hand. Dillashaw continually weaves in and out of his opponents’ range and analyzes before he makes every move.

According to Fightmetric, Dillashaw makes his opponents’ miss 66% of the time and he absorbs just 2.91 significant strikes per minute. Sometimes, when Killashaw gets in his groove, he is so hard to hit that his opponents are like chasing a ghost. Just ask Renan Barao that.

Pure Power

While Dillashaw is more of finesse, Cody Garbrandt is pure power. The 27-year-old has six wins inside the UFC octagon, four of them by knockout including three stoppages in the very first round. Once he finds your chin, Garbrandt’s confidence grows by the minute and he unleashes a fury that often leads to the finish.

No Love comes off the gates quickly. As a fast starter, you can see his power the moment he lands his first big shot on his opponent. Just look at the expression on their faces the moment Cody connects. He gets in the face of his opponents and dares them to throw then punishes them with a counter-striking game that is off the charts. You can refer this to Dominick Cruz with whom Garbrandt stood toe to toe with during their encounter.

Gonna Be Close

As the odds suggest, this should be a very close fight where neither fighter can say that he is the clear favorite. In their first bout, both fighters were rocked but it was Dillashaw who landed the biggest blow that won him the fight. However, it could have been the other way around if it was Cody Garbrandt who landed first.

No, this isn’t just about who lands the big one first. But what we’re saying is Garbrandt could have easily won that first bout too. And if you look at the fight, he fought out of his character during that encounter. Did the bad blood get into his head? Perhaps. But if Garbrandt gets his composure this time around, there is no doubt that No Love is gonna put a hurting on his bitter rival.

Who Wins?

Dillashaw is still the better technical fighter and perhaps the smarter guy inside the octagon. But if this will be an almost exclusive striking battle like the first one, Garbrandt has the better chance to win. Both possess punching power but we think Garbrandt has more pop in his punches.

Indeed it will be interesting how Cody bounces back from his first win. But based on his recent form and given his confidence in his striking game, I think he shows what he’s made of on Saturday night.

Our Pick

We’re picking Cody Garbrandt to reclaim his world title and win by knockout.

Place Your Bet Here

Demetrious Johnson vs Henry Cejudo
5 RD UFC flyweight championship
Odds: Johnson -500, Cejudo +350
Odds from Bovada as of 8/2/18

The co-main event of UFC 227 isn’t just also a title fight, it is also another rematch.

At UFC 197 in 2016, Demetrious Johnson successfully defended his UFC flyweight belt by knocking out former Olympic wrestling gold medalist Henry Cejudo in round one of their title fight. The win was DJ’s 8th consecutive title defense and that streak now stands at 11, which is the UFC record.

Pound For Pound

Johnson is considered as the best pound for pound fighter in the business and his track record speaks for itself. Mighty Mouse has lost just twice in 30 bouts with one draw and his last loss came at the hands of Dominick Cruz in 2011 when he moved up in weight to challenge for the UFC bantamweight title.

Since losing to Cruz, Johnson has returned to strengthen his grip of the flyweight division which he has ruled since its inception in 2012. Not only has he not lost since dropping a decision to Cruz, he’s also won his fights with relative ease and without being truly put to the test. Well, that’s just how good Mighty Mouse has been through these years.

Building His Resume Back

On the other hand, Cejudo-the 55 kg Olympic wrestling gold medal winner in 2008, suffered a split decision loss to Joseph Benavidez after the Mighty Mouse debacle. But since then, he’s built back his resume with back to back victories over ranked contenders Wilson Reis and Sergio Pettis.

Cejudo’s win over Pettis was defining. The latter had won four fight in a row and looked like he was headed to a title shot against DJ but Cejudo completely dominated Pettis from start to finish, keeping his opponent’s vaunted striking at bay while imposing his wrestling game on Pettis. Cejudo landed 3 of 5 takedowns to ground Pettis.

Speed and Quickness

Demetrious Johnson has won his last 13 fights and he is coming off back to back armbar submissions over Wilson Reis and Ray Borg. Against Borg, he landed 172 strikes and converted on 8 takedowns which is an utter domination of his foe. Johnson has a record of 27-2-1 with 5 knockout wins to his credit.

The key to Mighty Mouse is his speed and quickness. It doesn’t just enable him to lands his punches and kicks with ease, it also helps him when he rushes his foes or when he grapples with them. To top those, Demetrious Johnson has tremendous conditioning and you can make a case that he can fight for more than five rounds. He’s a small fighter but as they say big things come in small packages.

Improved Striking

Henry Cejudo is the most accomplished wrestler in the UFC’s roster. We often talk about Daniel Cormier’s wrestling pedigree but Cejudo is without doubt the best wrestler in the promotion. A former Olympic gold medalist, Cejudo controls his fights with takedowns or even just with his takedown attempts. Only a few fighters can hang with him on the canvass.

Recently, Cejudo has shown a big improvement in his striking game. Ever since he entered the UFC, his striking has always been his weakness. But after scoring a knockout over Wilson Reis at UFC 215, he’s got the rest of the division taking notice not just with his striking but with his punching power as well.

Wrestling Will Be A Factor

Since their first encounter, Henry Cejudo has shown dramatic improvement in his striking ability and he’s looked more comfortable on his feet but I don’t think it’s still enough to outgun a highly technical fighter like Demetrious Johnson who floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee inside the UFC octagon.

No question, Cejudo’s wrestling will be a big factor in this match. Remember that he was able to take Mighty Mouse down to the ground during their first bout. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to capitalize on that and Johnson was quickly back on his feet and he stopped Cejudo later in the first round. The problem for Cejudo though is that Mighty Mouse is just comfortable fighting on the ground and he is on his feet. He has 11 wins by submission and if there’s one part of his game that’s often overlooked because he’s so spectacular on his feet, it’s his submission skills.

Who Wins?

Cejudo may want to test his newfound power against Mighty Mouse but once he feels he’s getting outstruck, he’s going to try and take this fight to the ground where he hopes to dominate with his wrestling pedigree. But Johnson is going to catch him with a submission move if this fight stays too long on the ground.

We’re picking Demetrious Johnson to win, likely by submission. If you like that pick, you might want to go to so and go to MMA Props. The odds of Mighty Mouse winning by submission is much better at -150. If you want to play safe though, just go and pick Demetrious Johnson straight up at +450. Odds are a little high but this should be another sure win for him.

Our Pick

We’re picking Demetrious Johnson to win, likely by submission

Place Your Bet Here

Cub Swanson vs Renato Moicano
3 RD Featherweight bout
Odds: Swanson +300, Monciano -400

Cub Swanson returns to the octagon hoping to avoid the first three-fight losing streak of his long MMA career. The 34-year-old veteran faces Brazilian Renato Moicano who is looking to solidify his place in the UFC’s featherweight rankings.

Veteran Versus Up and Comer

Swanson is one of the more experienced fighters in the UFC. He’s been here long enough to be one of the most respected fighters in the business. However, Swanson find himself in a funk to start 2018. After getting submitted by Brian Ortega last December, he lost via unanimous decision to Frankie Edgar last April 21st. With a two-fight losing streak, Swanson finds himself as an underdog against an up and comer.

Renato Moicano has fought five times under the UFC promotion and has won four of those bouts. His only loss came at the hands of Brian Ortega at UFC 214. After beating Calvin Kattar at UFC 223 last April, Moicano barged into the rankings as the UFC’s 10th best featherweight. Looking to move up, he hopes to add a big name to his resume by defeating Cub Swanson.

Phone Booth Fighting

Cub Swanson is known for his phone booth fighting. He’s one tough guy who’s willing to stand and trade with the best of the best, win or lose. What makes him special though is that while he can dish out punishment, he can also absorb as much. In fact, of his nine losses, Swanson has only been knocked out once and that was in 2009 when he was stopped by Jose Aldo.

In five of his last six bouts, Swanson has outstruck his opponents by at least 10 strikes. So if you are Moicano, you’d want to avoid an exclusive striking battle against Cub Swanson. What you want though is to take him to the ground because four of his last five losses have come via submission.

Diverse Striker

Renato Moicano is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt and that makes him very dangerous on the ground. Like many Brazilian mixed martial artists, he is also a diverse striker, who mixes his punches well with nasty leg kicks. That versatility makes him a dangerous opponent for anybody, including a veteran like Swanson.

In three of his last four bouts, Moicano has outstruck his opponent by at least 20 total strikes. Most recently, Moicano landed 117 total strikes against Calvin Kattar who only landed 41 on the Brazilian. Yet despite his striking prowess, Moicano hasn’t earned a single win by knockout, with 7 of his wins coming by decision and 5 by submission.

Value On Swanson

There is value to make a bet on Swanson in this fight. Since 2012, Cub Swanson has lost just four of fourteen bouts and those losses have come against the current featherweight champion Max Holloway and #1 contenders Brian Ortega and Frankie Edgar (twice). On the other hand, Moicano is on a four fight winning streak but his only big win was a split decision win over Jeremy Stephens. Interesting, really.

The American is also without doubt the most accomplished mixed martial artist with the much better fight resume. Inside the octagon, I also think that Swanson is the better and more complete fighter than Moicano. As far as betting is concerned, there is some serious plus money on Cub Swanson.

Who Wins This?

If Renato Moicano decides to stay on his feet and strike with Cub Swanson, it could be very fatal for him. In his last bout against Calvin Kattar, Moicano was rocked early in the fight and looked like he was in trouble. Fortunately, he was able to recover and win by decision. But if that was Cub Swanson who rocked him, it could have been a different story.

Swanson has knocked out 11 of the 25 fighters he’s beaten and he surely knows how to rock his foes. Moicano’s best chance of winning this fight is to take it to the ground and expose Swanson’s submission defense. This is probably going to be a back and forth affair which has the potential to be the fight of the night. As far as picking a winner is concerned, we like Swanson’s plus money and the fact that he has a vast advantage in experience over his opponent.

Our Pick

We’re picking Cub Swanson to win via close decision.

Place Your Bet Here

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