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MMA: UFC 192 Preview and Predictions

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The UFC returns to Houston this weekend at the Toyota Center for UFC 192. The event is headlined by a UFC Light Heavyweight Championship bout between champion Daniel Cormier and top contender Alexander Gustafsson.

The title fight will make for a good main event, but the undercard is also loaded! Lets break down some of the top fights on the card.

Joseph Benavidez vs Ali Bagautinov (Flyweight)
Benavidez is the real deal at 22–4. When you factor in his only losses are to Dominick Cruz (twice) and Demetrious Johnson (twice). The last two UFC Flyweight champions. Benavidez is the closest thing to a sure pick winner on this card.

Jessica Eye vs Julianna Pena (Women’s Bantamweight)
Pena showed a lot of spark and skill in winning The Ultimate Fighter. She once again showed flash in her big win on April 4, 2015 victory over Miliana Dudieva which earned her the Performance of the Night award. Jessica Eye is a great striker but can do very little else. Eye will need to keep the fight on her feet or she may wind up getting upset by Pena. Eye doesn’t seem to have the focus most need to win at the highest stage.

Ryan Bader vs Rashad Evans (Light Heavyweight)
The 19 – 4 Ryan Bader is currently riding a four fight win streak and Rashad Evans is coming off of a near two year layoff. All signs point to a rusty Evans getting beat by the red hot Bader. I however, see things going differently. Bader has never been able to win the big one, meanwhile Evans is a savvy veteran who had proven he can finish fights on the ground and on his feet. Bader continues to ignore his strongest skill, his excellent wrestling background.

Unless Bader takes this one to the ground like he needs to do, I expect to Evans to win by decision. Bader must not focus on striking, and stick to what brought him to the dance in the first place, his wrestling! There is a strong chance, the winner of this will get the next title shot.

Johny Hendricks vs Tyron Woodley (welterweight)
Two of the very best in the welterweight division square off in this one. All signs point to Hendricks getting a rubber match with Robbie Lawler for the welterweight title with a win, so one would believe he should be very motivated.  His last victory over Matt Brown at UFC 185 in March 2015, was expected to be a shootout, and instead became a snoozefest. This fight has all the same tendencies between two guys with heavy hands.

Look for both men to try for the early knockout, but also be cautious of long exchanges late in the fight if it gets that far as both have a lot to gain with a victory and have a lot to lose by getting knocked out.

Daniel Cormier vs Alexander Gustafsson (lightweight championship)
This one can truly go either way. As hard as it is to justify Gustafsson getting a title shot, coming off of a first round knockout to Anthony Rumble Johnson. There is no denying his expansive skill set.  I believe this one screams upset alert! As good as Cormier is, and trust me, he is incredible!

He gives up a lot of size to Gustafsson and will not be able to get inside like he needs to do to use his powerful uppercuts and takedowns.  Cormier struggled big time with Jones, another man who had a lot of reach on him and we all saw the results.

Gustafsson has been given a second chance and is dangerous. Look for the big Swede to pull off the upset!

Until next time fight fans!

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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