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UFC 230: Our questions, answers, and predictions

UFC 230

The first of the final three UFC PPVs of 2018 comes to us tonight from Madison Square Garden: the snakebit UFC 230 show that has seen more changes than a Broadway show.

Helping me dissect this show a bit for our dear readers is our event recapper duo of Ryan Frederick and Paul Fontaine.

The card:

  • UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier vs. Derrick Lewis
  • Chris Weidman vs. Jacare Souza
  • David Branch vs. Jared Cannonier
  • Karl Roberson vs. Jack Marshman
  • Derek Brunson vs. Israel Adesanya
  • Jason Knight vs. Jordan Rinaldi
  • Sijara Eubanks vs. Roxanne Modaferri (Eubanks missed weight by 1.2 pounds)
  • Julio Arce vs. Sheymon Moraes
  • Ben Saunders vs. Lyman Good
  • Matt Frevola vs. Lando Vannata
  • Shane Burgos vs. Kurt Holobaugh
  • Brian Kelleher vs. Montel Jackson (Kelleher missed weight by 2 pounds)
  • Adam Wieczorek vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima

What are you most looking forward to?

Paul: The main event fascinates me. If both guys were 100%, I feel like the result would be more of a foregone conclusion but Lewis just took one of the worst one-sided beatdowns of any heavyweight in history and then won, while Cormier admittedly couldn’t even make a fist three weeks ago. Conventional wisdom says Cormier wrestles him to death but at some point, Cormier could catch with that overhand right and if so, we have a new heavyweight champion. Even if it’s boring, it won’t be because Lewis could lmake a comeback at any time. And the fact it’s 25 minutes long means he has just that much more time to do.

Ryan: The main event is intriguing especially given the circumstances. Both men clearly aren’t at their peak when it comes to having a proper training camp and proper preparation for this fight. When that happens, you have to favor talent, and that is Cormier all the way. Lewis absolutely has a chance because he hits so hard, but I see Cormier being able to have his way in this one. I also like the fact we have sort of a middleweight tournament going on with the main card.

Josh: I'm going to diverge a bit from the top billing and go to the simmering feud between Israel Adesanya and Derek Brunson which will finally boil over in just a few hours. These two have been at each other for a few months and you can tell it's not made up; there's legit heat. I didn't think Adesanya could get past Brad Tavares and he did. Brunson hits hard but always seems to make a mistake. I'm excited to see how this plays out tonight.

Anything being slept on?

Ryan: I can’t really say it’s being slept on, but Brunson vs. Adesanya should be fireworks and isn’t getting near the amount of attention that I expected. It’s a huge stepping point for Adesanya, but Brunson doesn’t always deliver when there is pressure on him. It definitely could be the fight of the night.

Paul: Julio Arce vs. Sheymon Moraes, both with sparkling records, should be a fun fight with two future contenders at bantamweight. Arce has only lost twice in his career, coincidentally both times to Brian Kelleher, who also fights on this card. Moraes is a former title contender in WSOF.

Josh: For a former champion that defeated one of the greatest of all-time, I don't sense a lot of buzz about the return of Chris Weidman. There's just this thing about him where people are either super high or meh on him. Then again, it could be the time off he took or it could be the fight itself which I'll get to right now...

Anything not doing it for you?

Josh: I am not excited about Weidman-Souza at all. It's been more than a year since the former champion was back in there with a big win over Kelvin Gastelum and while I understand Luke Rockhold had to pull out due to injury, Souza isn't the guy I really want to see him fight. In his last outing, Gastelum dominated him and is getting a title shot this February. He's 3-3 in his last six and I fear his title shot opportunities have passed. So yeah, I'm not excited about the co-main tonight.

Paul: The heavyweight fight opening up the Fight Pass prelims has the potential to put someone to sleep before the card even starts. I’m not expecting much at all from that one.

Ryan: I’m not really looking forward Eubanks vs. Modafferi, and that has a lot to do with Eubanks. She was originally going to be getting an undeserved title shot on this card, but it was then pulled for various reasons. Not only does she start complaining loudly about it, but then she goes and badly misses weight for a non-title fight on this card. Imagine if she had still been in a title fight. Then, she goes and acts like it’s no big deal that she missed weight and continues her act of being mad about having a title shot taken away. Her attitude towards everything has completely taken away any interest in seeing her fight.

What’s the intrigue with the show?

Paul: That Lewis can become the most unlikely UFC champion since Matt Serra would have to be it. If he does, he could be a potential breakthrough star and I think a fight between he and Brock Lesnar would have genuine crossover appeal and do great business.

Ryan: It is definitely the main event. Lewis even said it himself: if he becomes a UFC champion, everyone should be ashamed. It’s not that he doesn’t have heart and ability, he’s just being real with himself about his current standing in the sport. I’m also intrigued in the co-main between Weidman and Souza, mainly to see if Weidman still has what it takes to be a title contender.

Josh: It's what happens with Brock Lesnar, or even Jon Jones, if Cormier loses. This is a big risk for Cormier and with a loss, his leverage is lessened into picking his spot for one last fight before retirement. I said on my podcast this week that I feel like Cormier is Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, about to get out of the game but gets unlucky at the wrong time. I hope for our sake that isn't the case for good ol' DC, but I have this feeling it will be. If Lewis wins, I don't think we're getting Lewis-Lesnar.

What will be people talking about most after the show is done?

Paul: Probably who Lesnar will fight when he returns to the Octagon. After winning back the WWE Universal title at Crown Jewel, it would certainly be unique if he had a chance to pull off the rare double of holding the heavyweight titles in both pro wrestling and MMA. I’d say it’s a virtual lock that he challenges the winner of the main event.

Ryan: It will definitely be whoever wins the main event and what comes next. You assume it’s going to be Lesnar, but you can never be so sure with the amount of money the WWE continues to throw at him for doing minimal amount of work. After that, who knows what could happen. It’s also going to be fun to see how the contenders at middleweight shake out after this is all over.

Josh: That Cormier made a big mistake in taking this fight on short notice and that the Lesnar fight is gone. It sounds crazy, but given all the weird shit surrounding this card and how we got here, I have this feeling that our excitement about Cormier-Lesnar or Cormier-Jones III is going to have some cold water dumped on it. I hope I'm proven wrong.

Who wins?

- Cormier vs. Lewis

Cormier: Paul, Ryan
Lewis: Josh

- Weidman vs. Souza

Jacare: Paul
Weidman: Ryan, Josh

- Brunson vs. Adesanya

Adesanya: All of us

- Sijara Eubanks vs. Roxanne Modafferi

Modafferi: All of us 

- Ben Saunders vs. Lyman Good

Good: Paul, Ryan
Saunders: Josh