UFC 165 Fight Card: Ranking Main Card Fights Based on Potential to Excite
Some UFC pay-per-views don't feature a strong lineup. UFC 165 isn't one of them.
The five-fight main card includes a heavyweight clash between Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione, a lightweight scrap between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Pat Healy and a middleweight bout between Costa Philippou and Francis Carmont.
The co-main event features a bantamweight title fight between interim champion Renan Barao and Eddie Wineland, while the main event pits Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones against top contender Alexander Gustafsson.
Like we said, not a bad lineup.
Before tuning in tonight, B/R takes a look at how the five fights rank in terms of the potential to excite. Will the lighter fighters shine? Or will Jones and Gustafsson put on the evening's most thrilling contest?
5. Costa Philippou vs. Francis Carmont
Costa Philippou went from relative unknown to middleweight contender in a relatively short period of time. With five straight victories, he's knocking on the door to contention.
Meanwhile, Carmont is 5-0 in the UFC, yet has managed to fly even further under the radar than his upcoming opponent.
Both fighters have an opportunity to make a push up the ladder tonight with a victory, which could lead to a highly entertaining contest. But neither fighter is the type to find himself in a true barnburner, neither has earned a Fight of the Night bonus in his UFC career and neither has the name value to amp up the excitement.
This middleweight fight should turn into an interesting contest, but Fight of the Night seems like a very long shot.
Prediction: Philippou via unanimous decision
4. Brendan Schaub vs. Matt Mitrione
Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione do not like each other. Instead of running through the pair's history—you can do that here—let's run through the fight's potential to excite.
This fight should be a thriller. Both guys throw heavy leather, and both have been knocked out before.
For those reasons, this fight should be extremely exciting and short. Anything less will be a massive disappointment, at least in terms of excitement.
Mitrione is the slight favorite in this contest, but it's basically a pick 'em fight. I'm picking this fight to be highly entertaining, but also quite short. The judges can take this portion of the night off, while the ring girls need not stick around after introductions.
Prediction: Mitrione via first-round TKO
3. Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland
Barao vs. Wineland could turn into an incredibly exciting affair, but it could also turn into a lopsided fight for points.
The interim champion, Barao, has strong kickboxing skills, while Wineland is known for his punching power. The former is unquestionably the better technical striker, and that should lead to a lopsided contest.
Wineland will look to land a big shot, and Barao will meticulously pick him apart from a distance with kicks.
This fight should be entertaining, but it likely won't be the crazy scrap we all are hoping for.
Prediction: Barao via unanimous decision
2. Pat Healy vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Pat Healy lost six figures in bonuses thanks to a failed drug test following his submission win over Jim Miller at UFC 159. But the failed test doesn't take away from the fact that the fight was one of the more exciting contests so far this year.
Khabib Nurmagomedov, like Healy, is no stranger to an incredible scrap. He's also displayed how much of a monster he can be in the cage, having yet to lose as a professional.
Lightweights are known for having good cardio—Healy and Nurmagomedov are not exceptions. Expect a fantastic scrap between two guys looking to finish. This could very well be the Fight of the Night.
Prediction: Healy via unanimous decision
1. Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Jones vs. Gustafsson may be lopsided as far as the odds go, but it's the reason you're dropping 50 bucks tonight. And when Bruce Buffer introduces the fighters tonight, a wave of excitement will surge through the Toronto crowd.
There's something special about watching a guy like Jon Jones—someone who is truly a master of his craft—perform at the elite level. This is not the most intriguing matchup for him at this point, but as long as "Bones" is fighting, we'll be watching.
Fans should expect an exciting contest, but one which Jones controls from start to finish.
Prediction: Jones via submission