Source: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Three of Liverpool's greatest exports include; The Beatles, Lecky Legs, and Darren Till. The latter of which is fighting on one of the most criminally overlooked cards in quite some time, now maybe that has to do with the likes of the MLB and NBA making their return but, goddamn, where is the love? Besides the main event (which is a doozy) the 3rd fight card feature a more than a few legends squaring off, and maybe a future legend fighting for the 2nd time in 10 days. With that said, let's predict some fights.
Darren Till vs Robert Whittaker
The Scouse vs The Kiwi, a tale of two guys who stopped at the welterweight hotel for a few nights but have finally found themselves a home at the Middleweight Inn. I love Till, but this is a nightmare matchup for him, Whittaker looked horrid against Izzy, but Till is not Izzy and most definitely has problems with guys who can close the distance and explode with power shots, that's Whittaker's game.
If Whittaker uses his movement and dosen't try to rush the kill then he'll more than likely pick Till apart. I believe the only path to success for Till is to catch Whittaker coming in, which is possibly, but the lack of overall output coupled with his one dimensional striking, I just don't think "The Gorilla" has all the tools he'll need to take out the former champ. Much love to Till though.
Prediction: Robert Whittaker, Decision
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs Shogun Rua
The first time these two squared was at one of the greatest Mixed Martial Arts events of all-time, Critical Countdown 2005. Some of the names involved in that card include: Wanderlei, Arona, Sakuraba, Cro Cop, Overeem, Vovchanchyn, Kharitonov, and Rizzo, holy fuck Pride was amazing! But I digress. Rua won the last meeting between these two and that pretty much means nothing at this point in their careers.
I will say as of late neither man has really done much to add to their legacies, losses to younger fighters sprinkled with wins over irrelavent names. I think Rua has aged MUCH better than "Little Nog" in the fight game, so I'll give him the nod.
Prediction: Shogun Rua, Decision
Alexander Gustafsson vs Fabricio Werdum
Listen, it is absolutely mind-blowing the lack of buzz surrounding Gus' switch to Heavyweight, but I love the move. The retirement talk was concerning, but I think Gustafson's skills actually translate well to the Heavyweight division as we know it today. Good boxing, good footwork, an underrated ground game, I believe Gus will have success, and more importantly Werdum looked horrible in his last fight.
Prediction: Alexander Gustafsson, 2nd RD TKO
Carla Esparza vs Marina Rodriguez
This fight basically comes down to whether or not Rodriguez can stop Esparza's wrestling. If she can I think she has a good chance of scraping by like she has in the past, but both women have made their last few fights awfully tough on themselves.
Prediction: Marina Rodriguez, Decision
Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs Paul Craig
When both guys lose, they lose hard, however when they win it's more than likely by submission. If the stare-down was any indication of the fight, it should be a good one. I'll go with the guy who painted his face though, style points count.
Prediction: Paul Craig, 3rd RD SUB
Alex Oliveira vs Peter Sobotta
On one hand you have a fan favourite in Oliveira who is starting to regress in his fighting career, but on the other you have a guy in Sobotta who hasn't fought in over 2 years. I just really don't know what to make of this one. I'll go with Oliveira due to activity, but I wouldn't be surprised if Sobotta puts it together here.
Prediction: Alex Oliveira, Decision
Khamzat Chimaev vs Rhys McKee
It's almost impossible not to choose Chimaev here, especially after his dominant debut, but McKee is no pushover and should provide a little bit more of a challenge. Ultimately, Chimaev will eventually engulf McKee with his grappling.
Prediction: Khamzat Chimaev, 2nd RD SUB
Rest of the Card
Trinaldo def Herbert
Dalby def Ronson
Aspinall def Collier
Evloev def Grundy
Boser def Pessoa Nunes
Kianzad def Correia
Emeev def Stolze
Wood def Castaneda
2020 Predictions Record: 75 - 48