The next UFC action takes place this Saturday in Buffalo. It’s an important card not only for the fights on tap but because it will take place in the state of New York. This will be the first card since the state recently lifted the MMA ban (in 2016). In the Octagon, the spotlight is on the light heavyweight division at UFC 210 where champion Daniel Cormier and challenger Anthony Johnson will have their rematch.
The two fought at UFC 187 in May 2015, and while Johnson (22-5) got off to a quick start, becoming the first man in the UFC to knock Cormier (18-1) to the ground, the champ quickly got back up. He would go on to win by submission. Johnson has scored three straight knockouts since then, two in the first round, over the likes of Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira, who are no slouches. However, Cormier is still arguably the best wrestler in the division and can smother Johnson again. The challenger needs to create space for his power punches and avoid going down to the ground. If this fight is fought on the ground, Cormier has the advantage. Both fighters are priced at -115.
Former middleweight champion Chris Weidman (13-2) takes on Gegard Mousasi (41-6-2). Mousasi has held belts at 205 pounds in Strikeforce and DREAM, where he was champion at middleweight and light heavyweight. Weidman has suffered tough losses as he lost the belt to Luke Rockhold, then got hurt, then he was knocked out by Yoel Romero. He’s in a real funk right now. If he had a clear mind, he’d be the clear-cut favorite as Mousasi has consistently beaten the second-tier guys but struggled against the elite fighters. But that doesn’t appear to be where Weidman is at these days. That could set up well for Mousasi, who has won four in a row with the last three coming via TKO/KO. He is the favorite at -130 while Weidman comes in at EVEN.
The women’s strawweight division features Cynthia Calvillo (4-0) and Pearl Gonzalez (6-1), who is making her UFC debut. Calvillo submitted Amanda Cooper in the first round of her UFC debut in March. That was even more impressive as she did it on 10 days’ notice. Gonzalez has won four times by submission but the UFC lights can be too much for some. That’s why Gonzalez is a +200 underdog, and Calvillo is favored at -260.
Thiago Alves (21-11) returns to welterweight to face Patrick Cote (23-10) in a matchup of veterans. Cote is coming off a TKO loss to Donald Cerrone last June while Alves is also fresh off a stinging defeat. He tried to make lightweight for a match with Jim Miller, but he failed to make 155 pounds and then lost anyway by unanimous decision. Alves has 12 knockouts to his name with 10 going to Cote, so this match looks like it’ll end up with a stoppage. Cote is favored at -170, with Alves coming in at +140.
Former Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks (19-2) and Charles Oliveira (21-7, 1 NC) will open up the main card. Brooks was knocked out in his UFC debut by Alex Oliveira (no relation to Charles) in October. Oliveira has lost three of his last four and might be fighting for his UFC contract. He is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace but he can be stopped. Brooks looked nervous in his first UFC bout, but he is a well-rounded lightweight with speed and power. He is a huge -270 favorite for this 155-pound match while Oliveira comes in at +210.