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Cormier's X-factor: The Weight Cut
There has always been a lot of speculation about Cormier cutting weight to 205 due to his problems at the 2008 Olympics.
Cormier suffered kidney failure that summer after he admitted that he was not cutting weight the proper way. He chose not to lose weight gradually, but instead cut large amounts of weight the night before. That won't happen this time.
The science of weight-cutting in MMA has changed, and Cormier will have everything at his disposal to do it properly and safely. However, it will remain a question until we see him step off the scale on Feb. 21. Even if he completes the cut, we will have to wait until the fight to see if it hampers his cage performance.
Evans' X-factor: Diversity
Evans is the more-complete mixed martial artist in this fight, and he will need to show it in order to win.
Evans has to be more diverse with his game. Leg kicks will be dangerous. If Cormier catches one, he will put Evans on his back. Standing with Cormier's power is tempting fate and wrestling with an Olympian is a bad move.
That is why Evans needs to blend it all together seamlessly. The former 205-pound champion needs to make Cormier guess at every turn so that all of his offense lands cleanly. It is a tall task, and one that requires a great deal of skill. Evans has the ability to do so, but he needs a perfect night.