UFC 198 is one of the cards I’ve actually been looking forward to since they first started announcing the line-up. It’s disappointing that the Anderson Silva/Uriah Hall fight is no longer happening, but we still get a heavyweight title fight, a middleweight showdown that will absolutely see the winner with some sort of title eliminator implications, and the debut of women’s MMA powerhouse, Cris Cyborg. If you can’t get excited for this card, you might wanna check your pulse and make sure your name isn’t Bernie (that’s a movie reference for all you youngsters that might not get the quip).

The best thing about this card is that once again, we’ve got some bouts that present real upset potential. Joe Silva and Sean Shelby are obviously great at their jobs and routinely present us with intriguing match-ups that are genuinely hard to pick a winner from. This card has four live dogs that I’ve chosen to showcase, so get your keyboards ready to make yourself a winning team in one of our fantastic DraftKings games. Remember, you can’t win if you don’t play!

Werdum vs. Miocic

Werdum has evolved into such a great fighter over the last 4 years or so, and he legitimately possesses one of the best ground games in the sport. His striking has improved tremendously, and the most important thing about him is that he trains smart and fights smart. He is a force to be reckoned with.

That said, I think Stipe Miocic beats him. Stipe is a much better striker and also trains and fights smart. He’s got cardio for days and is a very durable guy who can take a licking and keep on kicking. His fight IQ is excellent and he has the youth advantage, both in chronological years and fight years. This bout could really go either way, but for me Miocic is the clear choice based on striking alone. When you factor in excellent cardio, a good wrestling game and durability…no can defend.

Stipe Miocic Decision

Souza vs. Belfort

Anderson Silva. Jon Jones. Chris Weidman. Those are the only 3 losses Belfort has on his record in the last 9 years. All were at the top of their game when he faced them. All were champions. Just. Those. Three. Vitor Belfort is not done by any stretch of the imagination, and he still packs serious power despite his 39 years. He’s a super crafty veteran who knows all the tricks, and is extremely competent on the ground. Let us not forget that he is the only one who has come close to getting a finish over Jon Jones back in the first round of their fight, via a tightly wrapped armbar. His head kicks can turn the lights out, as current champion Luke Rockhold found out. His hand speed, while slightly diminished, is still some of the quickest in the sport, and definitely better than Souza’s.

Jacare is an accomplished grappler and great fighter overall, but the level of competition he’s faced hasn’t been anywhere near what Vitor Belfort has. He looked terrible in the fight with Romero, and at 36, seems to be showing some drop-off in reaction time and cardio. While I feel Souza has the ground edge, I doubt the fight spends much time, if any, on the canvas.

Vitor Belfort Round 1 TKO

Maia vs. Brown

Matt Brown is tough as nails. There are no two ways about it. Demian Maia is as slick as they come on the ground, and has improved his striking a good deal. The thing is, I believe Brown’s striking is better. His durability is pretty much legendary, and he’s never one to panic if caught in a bad situation. He has a very strong grappling game of his own, and snapped Tim Means’ 4-fight win streak with a nasty guillotine last summer. Ultimately, I feel this fight plays out on the feet, and if that is indeed the case, then this fight should belong to Brown. Even if it plays out on the ground, I feel that Brown is strong enough and crafty enough to get it back to the feet and secure the victory.

Matt Brown Decision

Tukhugov vs. Moicano

Tukhugov is a great prospect, and on paper one would think that this should be his fight to lose. However, if we peel back a few layers of this complex onion of a fight, we find that Moicano has marvelous grappling and a considerable reach advantage, allowing for very competent striking work from the outside. He’s great at capturing and maintaining control of the distance in his fights and will likely set the pace early on. He is undefeated against decent competition, with his last win being a R2 RNC over Tom Niinimaki. Tukhugov, while talented, is still developing and pretty raw and unpolished at this point. I see Moicano’s accomplished ground game being the game changer here.

Renato Moicano Round 1 submission