Monday, January 18, 2021

UFC – Henry Cejudo vs TJ Dillashaw – Predictions & Preview

The UFC’s first big fight card shown on ESPN is less than 24 hours away, and it features a massive headline bout, with Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo fighting to save his division against Bantamweight king, TJ Dillashaw. There have been a lot of last minute changes to this card, but we still have some fan favourites fighting on Saturday night, as well as some rising contenders. We’ve listed our Lazy Fan predictions below:

ESPN+ Prelims

Welterweight: Kyle Stuart (11-1-0) vs Chance Rencountre (12-3-0)

Prediction: Kyle Stuart

Welterweight: Belal Muhammad (14-2-0) vs Geoff Neal (10-2-0)

Prediction: Belal Muhammad

Lightweight: Dennis Bermudez (16-9-0) vs Te Edwards (6-2-0)

Prediction: Dennis Bermudez

Prelims:

Bantamweight: Cory Sandhagen (9-1-0) vs Mario Bautista (6-0-0)

Prediction: Cory Sandhagen

Light Heavyweight: Alonzo Menifield (7-0-0) vs Vinicius Moreira (9-1-0)

Prediction: Vinicius Moreira

Women’s Flyweight: Joanne Calderwood (12-3-0) vs Ariane Lipski (9-1-0)

Prediction: Ariane Lipski

Lightweight: Alexander Hernandez (10-1-0) vs Donald Cerrone (34-11-0 1NC)

Prediction: Alexander Hernandez

Main Card

Light Heavyweight: Glover Teixeira (27-7-0) vs Karl Roberson (7-1-0)

Big respect to Karl Roberson for stepping up to take this fight with Glover Teixeira on short notice, especially when he’s normally a Middleweight fighter. That being said, I can only see this going one way. I expect Glover to pick up the win here, he has experience on his side and though he can no longer hold his own with the top level guys, he has proven recently that he isn’t quite a walkover for the up and comers just yet. Though I think it is time for him to hang up the gloves, maybe after one more high profile fight.  

Prediction: Glover Teixeira

Women’s Flyweight: Paige VanZant (7-4-0) vs Rachael Ostovich (4-4-0)

Paige VanZant, former golden girl of the UFC, comes into this fight looking to put a stop to her two fight losing skid. VanZant is 1-3 in her last four and has not fought for over a year, since breaking her arm in a spinning attack during her last fight. Ostovich is coming into this fight on the back of a loss, after alternating wins and losses in her last six. If that pattern continues, she’ll be due a win on Saturday night.

I’m taking VanZant for this one. Most of her losses have come against fighters that have gone on to be major stars in the promotion, so you almost can’t hold it against her. Though she does need a big win on Saturday night if she wants to stop this skid, otherwise she might end up being another Sage Northcutt.

Prediction: Paige VanZant

Flyweight: Joseph Benavidez (26-5-0) vs Dustin Ortiz (19-7-0)

This bout is a rematch from a fight way back in 2014, in which Joseph Benavidez picked up a unanimous decision win. Ortiz will be coming into this one not only seeking to avenge his previous loss, but also to push his current winning streak to four. A win over Benavidez, one of the biggest names in the division, would surely push him up towards title contention if the division does stay open.

Alternatively, Benavidez holds a victory over current champion Henry Cejudo, albeit a split decision victory, but that always comes to something when you’re laying claim to a title shot. Benavidez has gone 8-1 over his last nine, and a win on Saturday would definitely give him a strong case for a shot at the Flyweight title… if that still exists that is.

Prediction: Joseph Benavidez

Lightweight: Gregor Gillespie (12-0-0) vs Yancy Medeiros (15-5-0 1NC)

This is definitely an interesting fight in the UFC’s crowded Lightweight division. Despite only being 31, Medeiros has been a mainstay in the UFC for almost 6 years, though he has been unable to string together more than a three fight win streak in that time. Coming off a loss to Donald Cerrone back in February 2018, Medeiros is looking to get his push into the rankings back on track.

Gregor Gillespie has been on a tear since he made it to the UFC in 2016, going 5-0 in the organisation, picking up two performance of the night bonuses and one fight of the night bonus in his last four. Gillespie has a deadly submission game, and is currently 15th in the UFC’s Lightweight rankings. A win over Medeiros would help nudge him ever closer to the top 10, and I think that is exactly what is going to happen.

Prediction: Gregor Gillespie

Co-main Event

Heavyweight: Greg Hardy (3-0-0) vs Allen Crowder (9-3-0 1NC)

In all honesty, the only reason Greg Hardy is the co-main event for this card is due to his history as an NFL player. These two men both earned their shot in the UFC through Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender series, with Crowder losing his promotional debut against Justin Willis back in December 2017, and this will be his first fight since.

Hardy is making his UFC debut after winning three fights in the span of four months last year, finishing all three by KO/TKO within a minute of the first round. Allen “Pretty Boy” Crowder will be by far the most accomplished fighter he has faced so far, and I think this is going to show on fight night. It might be a short UFC stint for Greg Hardy.

Prediction: Allen Crowder

Main Event

Flyweight: Henry Cejudo (C) (13-2-0) vs TJ Dillashaw (C) (16-3-0)

TJ Dillashaw
TJ Dillashaw

There is a lot riding on the line in this fight, and everyone involved knows it. While Dana White hasn’t outright said that a Dillashaw win would spell the end of the UFC’s Flyweight division, he also hasn’t stopped either fighter from referencing it, repeatedly. It was a key factor in Thursday’s pre fight press conference, with Cejudo stating that he is fighting for much more than himself on Saturday night. Cejudo even went as far as to ask White to strike a deal with him, to keep the Flyweight division open if he wins on Saturday night, though Dana didn’t seem overly keen on the idea.

“This is much bigger than me,” Cejudo said. “This is for all the flyweights that are not big enough to make 135 pounds. I’m fighting for their family. There’s a big inspiration for me. When I’m inspired – I know I can get this done. There’s no better person to – the UFC, Dana – then to throw the Hail Mary to me.”

Unfortunately, I feel we could be seeing the end of the 125lb division, with Demetrious Johnson moving across to ONE Fighting Championship, the writing was already on the wall. Cejudo is a strong fighter, probably the best his division has to offer (excluding Mighty Mouse), but TJ Dillashaw is just a class above. I think we’re going to see a fairly one sided fight, but Cejudo will earn a lot of fans respect in the process.

Prediction: TJ Dillashaw – #AndNew

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