The new era of the UFC is officially starting tonight in Brooklyn. UFC kicks off their 2019 schedule and newfound partnership with ESPN with a Fight Night card in Brooklyn tonight. They are doing this with a HUGGGEE main event. TJ Dillashaw, the bantamweight champion versus Olympic gold medalist and UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo. Before we get into that let’s dive into the rest of the main card and give out some picks as well. Odds are if you are just a casual MMA fan this event isn’t going to be for you outside of the main event. It’s not an overwhelming fight card but it’s a nice way to get our feet wet with the new UFC/ESPN partnership.
Glover Teixeira vs Karl Roberson
This fight is opening up the main card and essentially its a pick em fight. A toss-up basically. Roberson comes into the fight on short notice, he’s a product of Dana White’s Tuesday Nights Contender Series holding a 7-1 record, 2-1 officially in the UFC. Glover has been up and down as of late. Not being able to put back to back wins together since 2016 and for the life of me I cannot get the image of Anthony Johnson punching him in the face and sending him back to the Stone Age out of my mind.
For that and the 11 year age gap between him and Roberson, I am going to take Roberson in this fight by decision. He seems like a guy who has a lot to prove and wants to make a name for himself in the UFC and him stepping in on short notice is definitely his chance.
Paige Vanzant vs Rachael Ostovich
My girl Paige Vanzant returns to the octagon for the first time in a year. She is coming off back to back losses, hopefully in Brooklyn she can get back in the win column. Ostovich had a very unfortunate and sad blow at the end of 2018. She was a victim of domestic abuse and suffered a broken orbital bone and other injuries. I think with PVZ finally being healthy and her arm being at 100% this should be a tune up fight for. I’m taking Paige easily and I think her victory will come in way of a 2nd round submission and this will kick off a successful 2019 for her.
Joseph Benavidez vs Dustin Ortiz
With many believing tonight could be the final time we see a flyweight division in the UFC, its only right we get two flyweight fights on this card. Benavidez who has a win over current champion Henry Cejudo squares up with Dustin Ortiz for the second time in their careers. Benavidez won the first matchup by unanimous decision back in 2014. Benavidez has a lot fight miles on him but it doesn’t show as he still moves at a very fast pace and is still one of the top names in the division. I don’t think Ortiz has improved much over the years as his career has been nothing to brag about. I’ll take Benavidez by decision once again because we all know what a rarity it is to see a finish in the flyweight division.
Gregor Gillespie vs Yancy Medeiros
This should be a fun one. Gillespie who is the more well-rounded fighter will more thank likely try to use his takedowns to take this fight to the ground to wear down Medeiros. Medeiros if he can defend the takedown could outstrike Gregor on the feet. So this fight is going to come down to how well Yancy Medeiros defends the takedown and if Gregor can control Medeiros once this fight is on the ground. I think Gregor coasts to yet another win and remains undefeated to go 16-0 and he will do so by a decision. I don’t think Medeiros is going to quit and it’s going to take a lot for Gregor to wear him down.
Greg Hardy vs Allen Crowder
NFL player turned MMA fighter, Greg Hardy makes his UFC debut. He had two knockouts in Dana White’s Contender Series and I guess that warrants him the co-main event… I don’t know that annoys me. If anything Benavidez/Ortiz warrants the co-main more than woman beater Greg Hardy but I’m not Dana White. I don’t know much about Allen Crowder but I have my fingers crossed he punches a hole straight through Greg Hardy’s face. I think Crowder uses his experience, gets through round one, tires out Hardy and dismantle him in round two. Welcome to the UFC Greg, hope you’re not here long. Crowder by KO, Round 2.
TJ Dillashaw vs Henry Cejudo
This fight right here is what it’s all about. What could have been Demetrious Johnson vs TJ Dillashaw turned into this. Henry Cejudo shocked the world by defeating DJ in August to win the flyweight title. It was such a close fight and you can just tell the judges were going to give it to Cejudo. Dillashaw on the other hand has been is coming off back to back knockout wins over former teammate Cody Garbrandt. TJ is such a skilled striker and very unique with how he throws and the combos he puts together at people. He truly is a different breed. Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist wrestler, can just wear you down and then strike when you’re vulnerable. If Cejudo can take this fight to the ground it’s going to be a rough night for TJ. But if this fight remains upright which I believe it will, TJ will out strike, out throw and just completely pick apart Cejudo. Will the weight cut affect Dillashaw tonight? We’ll see. As a guy who’s been around I don’t think he’ll have much of an issue tonight. I am riding with TJ, I have always rode with TJ ever since his fight with Renan Barao back in 2014. He had me hooked. I didn’t have any doubt in my mind he would blow through Garbrandt and I think he will blow through Cejudo tonight as well. TJ Dillashaw will become a two weight champion tonight and will most likely be the last flyweight champion in UFC history before they fold up the decision. I’d put money on that.