Let’s take a look at the first three fights of the main card.
Edson Barboza (-550) vs. Jamie “C-4” Varner (+375)
Varner at one point was considered to be one of the top lightweights in the world, but since has been fighting promo fights and regional ones, taking him out of the world of important fights. He has won 2 straight fights, and one was a 40 second knockout of Drew Fickett at XFC back in March. He’s knocked out 6 opponents and won 11 by submission. Barboza, a 26 year old Brazillian, has a lot of great highlights, and is a superior fighter, at least now. Varner is also taking this fight on short notice, which won’t help either. Varner has a good skill set but hasn’t seemed to ever assimilate the finer aspects of fighting and is still very vulnerable to good strikers. Barboza wins this, as MMA oddsmakers have led us to believe by the -550 line.
Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve (-140) vs. “BIG” Lavar Johnson (+110)
Struve is a youngster at only 24 years of age, but he has a lot of experience in that time. Johnson doesn’t believe in winning by decision, and Struve will likely use that to his advantage and take him to the mat, for a submission. Struve could easily stand and bang, but against Johnson, that won’t be the best idea. He is taking the fight on short notice, but it shouldn’t matter, and the submission win for Struve is a pretty safe bet here.
Stipe Miocic (-165) vs. Shane del Rosario (+135)
This is a battle of two heavy sluggers. Del Rosario suffered a serious car accident in May, but seems to have recovered enough to take on Miocic. Neither fighter has lost yet, so they will come out confident and hard, striking a lot early on. The winner could get a shot at a number one contender position and it should prove to be an exciting fight, as between the two of them, in 19 fights, only one has gone to decision. Del Rosario has a lot of experience, but so does Miocic, so I am not going to discount him on those grounds. I think the underdog Rosario wins this fight, and it probably won’t even last that long, likely ending in a first round knockout. It’s rare that the underdog has such an advantage, but Miocic is going to have a lot of problems with Rosario’s strong boxing game.