FansBet MMA expert Ryan O’Leary previews the upcoming UFC 232 card. The massive year-ending card comes with two title fights, and just six days prior to the event gets a new location in a bizarre twist of events as Jon Jones had a suspicious drug test with the Nevada commission not allowing the fight to take place. The card planned for the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, will now take place in Southern California with all 13 fights moving on short notice.
Check out the preview of the stacked “Gustafsson Versus Jones 2” card headlined by Alexander Gustafsson versus Jon Jones for the vacant light heavyweight belt, and reigning UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes moving up a weight class to face champ Cris Cyborg for the featherweight belt in a champ versus champ matchup.
UFC 232 Promo
UFC 232 Early Preliminary Card
Bantamweights Brian Kelleher and Montel Jackson will kick off the big card, assuming that it happens this time. Last time the bout was cancelled on the day of the event when Kelleher had a medical issue but has been rebooked for UFC 232. Welterweight Curtis Millender comes into the fight with 8 straight wins, including two in the UFC, against heavy hitter Siyar Bahadurzada. Injury prone Siyar has won three straight by stoppage, but will have his hand full in this exciting matchup coming in as a slight underdog. #14 ranked Uriah Hall is back in action versus Bevon Lewis. “The Ultimate Fighter 17” finalist has lost 4 of 5 bouts and will be facing Lewis that will be making his UFC debut in a pick em. Headlining the early prelims will be the much-hyped Londoner Nathanial Wood, who will take on Andre Ewell. The former Cage Warriors bantamweight champ gets a fighter in Ewell who impressively won his UFC debut over former champion Renan Barao.
UFC 232 Preliminary Card
You know it is a stacked card when BJ Penn (16-12-2) is on the prelims, but the former champion is on the decline and will face grappler Ryan Hall (6-1). The “Prodigy” is on a five-fight losing streak and his speed and cardio are non-existent. The former champ Penn should have an advantage on the feet while he is fresh. If there is one fighter on the roster the Hawaiian could still beat, Hall may be the man. With Penn a huge underdog, look at a play here for old time sakes.
Douglas Silva de Andrade and Petr Yan were originally set to face each other at UFC Moscow in September, but the Brazilian was forced out of the card with an injury. Yan took the opportunity to beat Jin Soo Son in a “Fight of the Night” battle. The bantamweight matchup should be another good one as the former Jungle Fight champ returns to the cage.
A rare female featherweight matchup joins the title fight as Cat Zingano moves up a weight class to take on Megan Anderson. Anderson had much hype as she was the Invicta champ and headed to the UFC on a four-fight winning streak, but Holly Holm spoiled her UFC debut. “Alpha” will move up to face Megan, and with a win over Amanda Nunes, could be looking at another title shot if Nunes is at the featherweight throne before the night is over.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (27-17, 1 NC) will try to keep his career alive with a matchup against Walt Harris (11-7). The “Pitbull” had won two fights in a row. but now has lost his most recent outings. Harris is coming into the bout with a TKO win over Daniel Spitz and will look to add a former champ to his winning streak.
UFC 232: Inside the Octagon – Jones vs Gustafsson 2
UFC 232 Main Card
Mendes (18-4) v Volkanovski (18-1)
An exciting matchup kicks off the main card with explosive wrestler Mendes facing “The Great” Volkanovski. After a two-year layoff due to a failed drug test, Mendes looks refreshed and better that ever in his return. The American will need to beware of the Australian born brawler that comes into the fight with 15 straight wins and 4 in the UFC’s octagon. “Money” is the favorite, and from the recent stoppage over Myles Jury in his comeback in July, that is where I would bet my money.
Latifi (14-5, 1NC) v Anderson (11-4)
The “Sledgehammer” join his teammate Alexander Gustafsson on the card, as he faces another wrestler in Anderson. In his last outing, the Swedish fighter shocked #5 ranked Ovince St. Preux in February, rocking the much bigger fighter with a counter left hand that dropped OSP leading to a standing guillotine finish. While he called for a title shot against Daniel Cormier, he will have to face Anderson who interestingly enough filled in for an injured Ilir in July to beat former title challenger Glover Teixeira. Latifi is a favorite here.
Condit (20-1) v Chiesa (14-4)
Chiesa finally moves up to welterweight after a career of tough weight cuts and two recent loses at lightweight. Hard to believe but Condit has lost four straight fights and has teased retirement talk as of late. With Cheese coming in as a favorite here, I like a play on Condit to keep the fight at distance and use his kickboxing style to keep an advantage to secure two of the three rounds.
UFC 232 Countdown: Cyborg vs Nunes
Cyborg (20-1, 1NC) v Nunes (16-4) – Featherweight Title
UFC Women’s Featherweight title holder Cris Cyborg will face Bantamweight belt holder Amanda Nunes, who tries to become the rare “champ champ.” Cyborg has been nothing short of dominant in her career. She has held belts with Strikeforce, Invicta, and the UFC. With an 85% finishing rate, she is already the greatest female fighter of all time.
The “Lioness” does have high-profile wins over Rhonda Rousey and Miesha Tate, and two over the now flyweight title holder Valentina Shevchenko to build one of the most impressive resumes.
The question is how the smaller fighter will do against the Cyborg that has the size and power advantage. Chris has shown some weakness on the ground, but Nunes will likely come into the fight to see if her striking is up to par with her fellow Brazilian’s. The odds like Cyborg, and it is easier to see her path to victory over five rounds.
UFC 232 Countdown: Jones vs Gustafsson 2
Jones (22-1, 1NC) v Gustafsson (18-4) – Light Heavyweight title
Alexander Gustafsson and Jon Jones will fight for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 232. Their first bout took place in 2013 in Toronto, Canada, and saw the Swede come just short of securing the win (48-47, 48-47, and 49-46) in a decision loss against the then champion “Bones” at UFC 165.
The “greatest light heavyweight title fight of all times” will now continue with their much-anticipated rematch. Their last bout was mostly a striking match, where Gustafsson used his length and cut Jones early. A surprise take-down from the Swede early, shocked the American that had never been taken to the floor in his previous 23 bouts. Jones however showed that he was the most experienced fighter and took the championship rounds.
Both fighters have not been in the cage in over a year, but the training camps for both have looked to be successful with both fighters coming in ready. Who knows what the last-minute change of venue and drug test results have played with the minds of both fighters. Jones comes in a huge favorite and based on their close last fight and recent drama, why not take a chance on the Swede to get this one.
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