What more could fight fans ask for this weekend? Both UFC Bantamweight Championships will be on the line this Friday night at UFC 207. This of course includes the return of the great Ronda Rousey as she will look to regain the women’s bantamweight title, which she lost a little over a year ago. This time she will take on a heavy handed striker in Amanda Nunes. Will Rousey regain her title or will Nunes reign supreme atop the bantamweight division? Dominick Cruz too, will be defending his bantamweight championship against an up and coming knockout artist, Cody Garbrandt. Let’s not waste anymore time. Let’s Get in the Cage!
Brandon Thatch (11-4) vs Niko Price (8-0) – Welterweight (170 lbs)
DK Salaries: Thatch – $9,000 / Price – $7,200
Vegas Odds: Thatch -190 / Price +165
Odds to Finish: -145 (u 1 ½)
Brandon Thatch is merely 2-3 in his time with the UFC and has lost three consecutive bouts. He could be on the verge of being cut if he loses this weekend. Thatch, after knocking out his first two opponents in the first round, has gotten submitted in three straight fights. He is very large for the welterweight division. He has finished every one of his professional victories to date. Thatch likes to switch up stances, which could cause problems for his opponent this weekend. He has very solid striking technique, but has trouble mostly in the grappling department, though I do not think that will be an issue here. Both men are primarily stand-up fighters. Thatch lands 42 percent of his strikes thrown and lands nearly three significant strikes per minute.
Niko Price will be making his UFC debut this weekend at 207. Price will bring a perfect 8-0 record with him as he enters the octagon for the first time. He has proven to be a knockout artist thus far in his young career. He has finished seven of his eight professional victories, which includes six TKO’s and one submission in no later than the second round. Price does not appear to waste any time from the few highlights I have been able to gather on him. He swings with intent to end the fight. Price utilizes a solid mix of both punches and kicks to take out his opponent. He will be a fairly significant underdog according to both Vegas and Draft Kings. Thatch will surely be his toughest test to date. This should be a stand-up war between both competitors. I will side with the more experienced fighter here in Thatch to come away with a knockout victory early on.
Fight Prediction: Thatch – Rd 1 KO
Alex Oliveira (15-3-1) vs Tim Means (26-7-1) – Welterweight (170 lbs)
DK Salaries: Oliveira – $7,800 / Means – $8,400
Vegas Odds: Oliveira -115 / Means -105
Odds to Finish: -125 (o 2 ½)
Tim Means appears to be a slight favorite this weekend at -105. Means is a winner of six of his previous seven fights. His only loss in that span was against a top ranked welterweight in Matt Brown. His last four victories, however, have been finishes, which includes three knockouts. Means showcases precise striking inside the octagon. He is an accurate striker with tremendous jabs. He lands roughly 46 percent of his attempts. Means showed off his lightening fast striking in his fight against John Howard, a very strong wrestler just two bouts ago. He dropped him in the second round with a nice left. He then finished Sabah Homasi in the second round of his last fight. He looked brilliant, landing 71 total strikes. Means certainly appears to be on the rise in the welterweight division. He has great technique and conditioning as well.
Alex Oliveira is a hard striker coming off of an upset victory of perennial contender, Will Brooks back in October. He will be at a slight disadvantage in terms of height here. Means will be three inches taller, which could take away from Oliveira’s striking power. Oliveira performed well when pressuring Brooks up against the cage and controlling the fight. He has been on the rise since 2015, losing just one of his previous six and that was against Donald Cerrone. This fight will likely go all over the place with the skill set of both combatants. I believe Means is the better fighter all-around, though Oliveira is a tough finish inside the cage. He likes to pressure his opponents up against the fence and wear them down. It is boring to watch, however, highly effective. If you are looking for a finish, I would side with Means here. For a cheaper option, Oliveira can come away with a victory here, though I think Means should win this one. He is so technically sound when inside the cage.
Fight Prediction: Means – Unanimous Decision