Matt Erickson July 29, 5: The UFC puts on one of the biggest cards in its history today with three title fights at the top of the bill, including one of the most anticipated rematches ever.
Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window. The two fought at UFC more than two years ago, and Jones won a unanimous decision when he was champ.
Things have changed plenty since then. Jones was stripped of the belt and Cormier won it. Then Jones won an interim title, only to have that stripped, as well. Still, despite just one fight since he first fought Cormier, Jones is more than a favorite at the sports books.
He also has the edge in the picks from our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts, but just by a margin. Manuwa is close to a unanimous pick, but has to settle for a margin. What are fight fans hoping for when Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz meet for a third time, and will it be enough to convince scores of viewers to pony up for the pay-per-view?
Check out the best social media posts from fighters and their lives outside of the cage in the past week. Mairbek Taisumov continued riding his big wave on Saturday, even if there was a major bump in the road to get there. Magomed Ankalaev had to have been thinking about redemption when he stepped in the cage Saturday in Moscow. Please enter an email address. While Jury has slipped up lately, he did so against high level competition. One of the losses saw him go toe to toe with a great fighter in Cerrone and he at least made it to the finish line.
Since then, El Cucuy is just We think he can do that with a knockout. The second female fight at UFC could be better than the first, as the undefeated Calvillo gets tested versus the Pearl Gonzalez. Does that make her a threat to dispatch the slightly more experienced Gonzalez in just her second UFC bout? Gonzalez has also proven to be tough as nails in seven career MMA matches, losing just once by Decision and angling he way to four submission wins.
Experience and skill-set could shine through here, as Gonzalez might actually be a little underrated in this spot.
She has a pretty nasty floor game that will likely pop up in a fight where Calvillo will likely try to end things early with her fists. Brooks just got taken out by Alex Oliveira, but had been riding an awesome 9-fight winning streak.
He could be looking to start it back up in this fight, where his versatile skill-set and toughness could be challenged. Brooks is easy to get behind when you look at his resume and his ability to finish fights in a variety of ways, but this feels like a tough spot to trust him in. This could be a tough one, seeing as Brooks has been amazing at avoiding submission exits. The first one has to come eventually, though, and Oliveira is skilled enough to be the first to trip Brooks up on the ground.
UFC is pretty loaded, as we can see, but it also includes some big names. Thiago Alves certainly qualifies, as the Pitbull has dealt with some bad luck late in his career.
He still owns three solid wins over his last seven bouts and has the goods to turn things around yet at 33 years old. That could be why he draws a pretty interesting fight with Patrick Cote , who is arguably just as dangerous when it comes to his striking ability. Both of these fighters are on the outside looking in when it comes to the top contenders in the welterweight class, but a win here could vault either of them into a much bigger fight. We get a very nice secondary headlining act at UFC , as Chris Weidman will try to work his way back to a championship fight after losing two bouts in a row.
Weidman started his MMA career off nicely with a run, but got rocked by both Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero in his last two fights.
Weidman is still a big name and a dangerous fighter, but his skid has many thinking Gegard Mousasi might be the safer bet. So far Vegas agrees, with Weidman coming in as the mild underdog with odds and Mousasi entering as the slim favorite. The reality here is Weidman is a falling star that is trending in the wrong direction. After getting blasted in each of his last two fights, are we to bank on him suddenly bouncing back against such a tough opponent?
Cormier prepares to defend his light heavyweight title belt against Johnson , giving UFC fans a sick rematch and a title showdown, all in one. There should be very real concern that Cormier could lose for just the second time in his career, as the year old Johnson gave him a fight the first time around and has some ferocious power 16 KOs. Johnson is a nasty challenge and Cormier is due for a good beating.
That does it for our look at a jam-packed UFC slate. Hopefully we provided a little insight to help you make your final picks.