The last time the UFC hit Seattle, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson watched the action from a prime seat in the crowd. That must have been a disappointment for Johnson; despite being born in Kentucky, Johnson has spent much of his adult life just up the road in Kirkland. It's where he lives and trains, where his wife gave birth to the couple's first child last week.
Fighters always want to fight in their hometown. It gives them the opportunity to show off in front of friends and family. After all, it's one thing to watch a loved one on television; it's another deal entirely to watch them walk to the cage to defend their championship belt in front of 12,000 or more screaming fans.
Johnson is getting his wish: He's defending the UFC flyweight title in front of the people who know him best, and he's doing it on network television.
Today, I'll give you my predictions for each of the four televised main-card bouts. I'll give you the most current odds I have available, and I'll also toss in some data points from Reed Kuhn, the premier data analyst in mixed martial arts. And while the idea here is for me to give you rock-solid predictions and projections, well, you're still acting alone if you take these to the betting window in Las Vegas.
Let's get started.