UFC 229 is the most anticipated card of the year. Take a look at our staff’s main card picks before the action begins.

 

Michelle Waterson vs Felice Herrig

Shane Connelly: These two women’s strawweight fighters are very evenly matched. Both of these women have fought some of the best that 115 has to offer, but neither has been able to get that signature win. I like Waterson’s chances when the fight is on the feet, and I think that ultimately gives her the edge in this close fight.

Winner: Michelle Waterson

 

Zain Bando: This is an underrated fight to kickoff the main card, as both women are vying for position in a crowded 115 lb division. Hopefully, this fight should add some clarity for whoever wins. Like Shane, I think that Watterson’s striking will be too much to handle, giving her the win via a close decision.

Winner: Michelle Waterson

 

Drew Zuhosky: The main card begins with this contest in the Women’s Strawweight division. No. 9 contender Herrig leads No. 8 contender Waterson in both reach and leg reach. Looking at Herrig’s fighter stats, she’s most successful when she lands her strikes while standing up.

Winner: Felice Herrig

 

Derrick Lewis vs Alexander Volkov

Shane Connelly: Lewis needs a win in this fight after his disastrous bout with Francis Ngannou. Volkov is a difficult match for him. If Volkov can use his length to fight from the outside, Lewis will have a rough night. Patience will be key for Volkov. If he rushes in and abandons his plan, Lewis can stop him with one punch.

Winner: Alexander Volkov

 

Zain Bando: The UFC is not doing Derrick Lewis any favors after his lackluster performance against Francis Ngannou at UFC 226 in one of the worst fights in recent memory. Volkov is a dangerous heavyweight with lots of power, as his fight with Fabricio Werdum comes to mind. If Lewis stays on the outside, it will be a long night. Ultimately, Volkov will most likely be in better shape, giving him the edge, and the win on Saturday night via TKO in round two.

Winner: Alexander Volkov

 

Drew Zuhosky: Like my colleagues have stated above, Lewis has been anemic of late. In Volkov’s recent fights, he’s gone 4-0, with half of those wins coming by knockout. If Volkov wins on Saturday night, I’d expect his next contest to be for the belt in the Heavyweight division.

Winner: Alexander Volkov

 

Ovince Saint Preux vs Dominick Reyes

Shane Connelly: This is a big spot for Reyes. He’s one of the UFC’s most promising young light heavyweights. Ovince Saint Preux has proven time and time again that he’s a tall task for young stars, as evidenced by his last win over Tyson Pedro. When two athletic freaks like these guys fight, anything is possible.

Winner: Dominick Reyes

 

Zain Bando: If Dominick Reyes is able to upset Ovince Saint Preux, it would put him on the map. However, OSP is a physical beast, and has consistently beat the best 205 has to offer, minus Jon Jones. OSP is simply the better and more experienced fighter, as his wrestling will be just too much for Reyes.

Winner: Ovince Saint Preux

 

Drew Zuhosky: This Light Heavyweight contest looks to be one of the most interesting of the night. As Zain and Shane have already mentioned, Saint Preux is going to be a rather tough customer on Saturday. Furthermore, he’s gone 4-1 in his last five appearances, and with all of them coming by stoppage it’s hard for me to pick against him.

Winner: Ovince Saint Preux

 

Tony Ferguson vs Anthony Pettis

Shane Connelly: Two former lightweight title holders square off in the co-main event. Ferguson is coming back very quickly from the brutal knee injury he suffered during UFC 223 media availability. On the other hand, Pettis was looking like he was on his way out of the UFC before his return to form against Michael Chiesa. This is a very interesting fight with huge title implications.

Winner: Tony Ferguson

 

Zain Bando: This is a huge crossroads fight in the co-main event. Tony Ferguson seems to not catch any breaks whatsoever as he returns from a five-month layoff. He still claims that he is the best at 155. With a win over Anthony Pettis on Saturday, it’s hard for the UFC not to deny him a shot at the gold.

For Pettis, though, a win here propels him to heights he has not experienced since 2013, and creates utter chaos in an already sporadic 155 lb division. It’s a fight that is being overlooked and has a lack of promotion attached to it. While it is evenly matched, Ferguson has been more active and has a better all-around skillset.

Winner: Tony Ferguson

 

Drew Zuhosky: Saturday night’s co-headliner features this Lightweight confrontation. In my opinion, this fight will be won through the kicking game. Check this out: both fighters are level in leg reach (40 inches apiece) according to the official UFC tale of the tape. Ferguson has won all five of his recent appearances, with the majority coming by submission.

Winner: Tony Ferguson

 

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor

Shane Connelly: This fight has been dubbed the greatest in MMA history. It’s a classic striker-versus-wrestler match. McGregor has shown that he can knock out the best of the best with his left hand, but Nurmagomedov has only been rocked once by a punch (from Michael Johnson). Surely McGregor has been drilling his takedown defense during training camp, although a fighter as sturdy as Nurmagomedov is difficult to emulate in practice. This is going to be one for the ages.

Winner: Khabib Nurmagomedov

 

Zain Bando: After two years of waiting, Saturday night can’t come fast enough. The build-up to this fight has been spectacular. Everything from the argument backstage at UFC 205 to the bus incident at UFC 223 media day has made this fight bigger than just a single fight. It’s become a cultural event. Politics, religion, fight camps and more has added plenty of extra flavor, making every moment leading up to the fight more special.

As for the fight itself, it’s an old-fashioned striker vs. grappler match-up. Nurmagomedov is a freak with absolutely no weaknesses, hence his 26-0 record. However, where he becomes vulnerable is when he gets hit repeatedly. McGregor can knockout anyone with one shot, and if he can stop the first takedown attempt, anything is possible.

Winner: Conor McGregor

 

Drew Zuhosky: Okay, this is the big one. I have already discussed this contest in detail in my UFC 229 preview on the site. The big takeaway is going to be how rusty is Conor McGregor? We’ll know within the first few minutes and that’ll tell the tale for the fight as a whole. Furthermore, Nurmagomedov has yet to lose in his MMA career.

Winner: Khabib Nurmagomedov

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Author Details
Content Creator at Armchair MMA , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
For as long as I can remember I have been a sports fan. There are plenty of photos of me wearing Jets jerseys and Yankees hats before I could even walk or talk. For many people in New Jersey, you adopt the sports teams that your parents follow. I got lucky with the Yankees, but not so much with the Jets. Football was my favorite sport growing up, and it was always disappointing to see the Jets do poorly. I got into MMA at a pretty young age. I’d watch fighters like Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz as well as the early seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. It didn’t take long for me to get hooked. Since then MMA has become my favorite sport to watch and write about.
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Content Creator at Armchair MMA , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
For as long as I can remember I have been a sports fan. There are plenty of photos of me wearing Jets jerseys and Yankees hats before I could even walk or talk. For many people in New Jersey, you adopt the sports teams that your parents follow. I got lucky with the Yankees, but not so much with the Jets. Football was my favorite sport growing up, and it was always disappointing to see the Jets do poorly. I got into MMA at a pretty young age. I’d watch fighters like Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz as well as the early seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. It didn’t take long for me to get hooked. Since then MMA has become my favorite sport to watch and write about.

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