UFC 238: Cejudo vs. Moraes

This weekend the UFC returns to the United Center in Chicago, Illinois for UFC 238: Cejudo vs. Moraes. This card is stacked from top to bottom highlighted by two titles and having all ten ranked fighters competing on the PPV Main Card. And on the ESPN Prelims, make sure you check out Long Island’s own, “The Funkmaster” Aljamain Sterling who will be battling Pedro Munhoz   to be the number one  contender in the up for grabs Bantamweight division. Let’s go Aljo! Action begins Saturday evening with:
  6:15PM/ET     UFC Fight Pass      Early Prelims   8:00PM/ET     ESPN                     Prelims  10:00PM/ET      PPV                      Main Card 
UFC 238 Main Card Predictions 
#11 Tai Tuivasa (-130)  vs.#13 Blagoy Ivanov (+110)
Australia’s Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa (8-1-0) meets former WSOF Champion Blagoy “Baga” Ivanov (17-2-0,1NC) in a Heavyweight matchup to kickoff the PPV main card. Both Tuivasa and Ivanov share losses to former Champion Junior Dos Santos. Blagoy Ivanov lost an Unanimous Decision to Dos Santos in his promotional debut  last July in the UFC Boise headliner. Ivanov rebounded in March at UFC Wichita, grinding out a decision win against Big Ben Rothwell, who was returning from an extended layoff. Tai Tuivasa suffered the first professional loss of his career to Junior Dos Santos via Second Round TKO last December in the main event of UFC Adelaide. “Bam Bam” previously defeated Rashad Coulter (TKO), Cyril Asker (TKO) and former Champ Andrei Arlovski (Decision). A big spot for both fighters, I will have to take the more experienced Ivanov to execute a winning game plan and continue climbing into Heavyweight contention. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Ivanov via First Round KO
D’Bo’s Picks: Tuivasa via Decision 

 #9 Petr Yan  (-335) vs.  #7 Jimmie Rivera (+270)
Petr “No Mercy” Yan (12-1-0) gets his toughest test to date as he prepares to face fellow Bantamweight contender, Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera (22-3-0). In his last Octagon appearance, Petr Yan picked up the biggest win of his career, defeating former two time Flyweight title challenger John Dodson by Unanimous Decision at UFC Prague in February.  Yan is a perfect 4-0 since joining the promotion slightly under a year ago. (Yan made his debut vs. Teruto Ishihara (TKO) at UFC Singapore on June 23,2018.) Not long ago, Jimmie Rivera was  5-0 in the UFC and on the cusp of earning a title shot. However, Marlon Moraes changed Jimmie Rivera’s trajectory with just one kick in the UFC Utica Main Event, ending Rivera’s thirteen fight win streak in just :33 seconds. Rivera would rebound with a Decision win over John Dodson at UFC 228, but then lose by Unanimous Decision to Aljamain Sterling at UFC on ESPN 1 in February.  This should be a battle mainly contested on the feet, where I give Yan the nod in boxing and hand speed. I think Yan continues his rise in the Bantamweight division. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Yan via Decision
D’Bo’s Picks: Yan via Second Round TKO

#4 Donald Cerrone (+125) vs. #2 Tony Ferguson (-155)
Just one month after putting on one of the best performances of his career, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-11-0,1NC) returns to the Octagon to duel the ever dangerous “El Cucuy” Tony Ferguson (24-3-0). Donald Cerrone improved to 3-0 inside the Octagon since becoming a father to son Danger last year. Since his son’s birth, Cowboy has put on a near flawless performances against Mike Perry, Alexander Hernandez, and most recently against Al Iaquinta in the UFC Ottawa Main Event last month. Cowboy has stated his intention to compete for the UFC Lightweight title, and knows he must go through a Murderer’s Row of contenders to get there. Next up for Cerrone is former Interim Lightweight Champion, Tony Ferguson, who is on a current eleven fight win streak. Although Ferguson was stripped of his Lightweight title due to a freak knee injury suffered during media day obligations for his scheduled showdown with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 last April, El Cucuy remains one of the top Lightweights in the world, as demonstrated in his latest wins over Kevin Lee (to become Interim Champ) and against former Lightweight Champions Anthony Pettis and Rafael Dos Anjos.  This matchup pairs the longest win streak in UFC Lightweight history against the record holder for UFC wins. Regardless of who wins, this bout should be a treat for all MMA fans. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Ferguson via Decision 
D’Bo’s Picks: Ferguson via First Round TKO
CO-MAIN EVENT— Women’s Flyweight Championship
{C} Valentina Schevchenko (-1300) vs. #1 Jessica Eye (+850)
In the UFC 238 Co-Main Event, Valentina “the Bullet” Schevchenko (16-3-0) will face Jessica “Evil” Eye (14-6-0,1NC) in her first title defense as Women’s Flyweight Champion. After losing a Split Decision to Amanda Nunes in her bid to become Bantamweight Champion, Valentina moved down in weight to the newly established Women’s Flyweight division. Schevchenko easily dismantled Priscila Cachoeira at UFC Belem last February, and ten months later, Schevchenko would go on to defeat former Strawweight Queen, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, a UFC 231 by Unanimous Decision to become the UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion. Following a four fight losing streak at Bantamweight, Jessica Eye dropped down a weight class and rattled off three straight victories in 2018 to earn a title shot.{Eye earned decision wins over Kalindra Faria (Split), Jessica-Rose Clark, and Katlyn Chookagian (Split).} While Eye certainly has the power to potentially hurt Valentina Schevchenko and spring the upset, I think the Bullet will be too much and overwhelm Eye in her first successful title defense. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Schevchenko via First Round Submission 
D’Bo’s Picks: Eye via Third Round TKO
MAIN EVENT—Men’s Bantamweight Championship 
{C-FW} Henry Cejudo (+120) vs. #1 Marlon Moraes (-140)
Olympic Gold Medalist and UFC Flyweight Champion, Henry “the Messenger” Cejudo (14-2-0) will be in pursuit of more gold this weekend as he moves up a weight class to battle “Magic” Marlon Moraes (22-5-1) for the vacated Bantamweight Championship. Henry Cejudo made quick work of TJ Dillashaw in his first Flyweight title defense, defeating the former Bantamweight Champion in just :32 seconds. Cejudo will aim to become just the fourth fighter in UFC history to be “Champ, Champ”—and simultaneously hold titles in two weight classes. The Messenger has quietly produced a record of 8-2 since joining the UFC five years ago,  with his only professional MMA losses coming against to former UFC Flyweight King Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Joseph Benavides back in 2016. Marlon Moraes has not taken any shortcuts since joining the UFC roster in September 2017. Moraes would lose a Split Decision to perennial contender Raphael Assuncao in his debut, and then go on an absolute tear, winning four in a row and finishing his last three opponents (Sterling via KO, Rivera via KO, Assuncao 2 via Submission). While Henry Cejudo’s wrestling and quickness has eluded him from all Submission attempts to date, I think the Magic Man will pose some serious challenges to Cejudo on the feet, and Moraes will find the eventual finish. Should be a great fight!
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Moraes via Second Round KO
D’Bo’s Picks: Moraes via First Round Submission 

In two weeks the UFC takes over the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina for UFC on ESPN+12: Moicano vs. The Korean Zombie. Share your thoughts and picks with us in the Comments section below and enjoy the fights!! 

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