UFC 197 features some of the UFC’s prolific fighters featuring the return of, possibly, the greatest fighter to step foot in the octagon Jon “Bones” Jones. Jones is fighting the late replacement for Daniel Cormier, up and coming prospect Ovince Saint Preux for the interim Light Heavyweight Title. The main event is accompanied by a second title fight. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson fights undefeated, Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo for the Flyweight title. In the remaining bouts, ex-Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis attempts to end a two fight losing streak against the always tough Edson Barboza. Middleweight contenders Robert Whittaker and Rafael Natal put their four fight win streaks on the line. Intriguing Featherweight Yair Rodriguez, a walking highlight reel, faces Team Alpha Male product Andre “Touchy” Fili.

Yair Rodriguez vs. Andre Fili

Chad Milburn:

Predicted Winner: Andre Fili by Unanimous Decision: Andre “Touchy” Fili has been a very good prospect who, I feel, has gone under the radar in this fight. I know everyone loves the outlook for Yair Rodriguez, but he eats a lot of punches and loves to fight off his back in full guard. I think it will be a fairly even stand up fight with Fili controlling the majority of the exchanges and grinding out a decision victory. There may be opportunities for Fili to get the finish, but he will play it smart while he is winning on the score cards knowing Rodriguez’s potential to finish a fight with his diverse striking.

Andrew Smolen: 

Predicted Winner: Andre Fili by Stoppage in the 2nd Round: Although Fili is the underdog here, he has been impressive in his professional fights and I fully expect him to win this. The only way Yair Rodriguez is to win is if he takes it to a decision, otherwise I see the Team Alpha Male product running this fight and getting a stoppage in the 2nd round.

Robert Whittaker vs. Rafael Natal

Chad Milburn:

Predicted Winner: Robert Whittaker by 3rd Round TKO: Robert Whittaker is going to be looking to his name thrown around for a title shot or at least a number one contender fight after this fight. He is the overall better athlete, being faster and stronger than Natal. He will take this fight wherever he wants to, blasting him with strikes or out wrestling the crafty Brazilian. Natal, will be worn out and beat up by the third round and Whittaker will go for a big finish and he will get the finish.

Andrew Smolen:

Predicted Winner: Rafael Natal by Split Decision: In what on paper is the closest fight of the main card, I again have the underdog, Natal, squeaking out a win via split decision. I think that its unfair to count either of these fighters out as they both are coming off of a nice win streak they built up but I think Natal’s added height and 2.5 inch reach advantage will help here just barely win.

Anthony Pettis vs. Edson Barboza


Anthony Pettis is looking to regain his title form Saturday night against Edson Barboza.

Chad Milburn:

Predicted Winner: Anthony Pettis by 2nd Round KO: Anthony Pettis will be looking for another highlight reel finish to add to his collection to get back into the Lightweight title picture Saturday night. He is coming off of back to back loses and seems as hungry as ever, going to Arizona to train with Greg Jackson and notable Lightweight contender Donald Cerrone. Edson Barboza is a great fighter standing and on the mat, but he will be facing the best Anthony Pettis we will have seen. Pettis will be much more assertive on foot, moving forward unlike his last two fights and controlling the fight. I do not see this fight going to the mat. Pettis will dictate the pace and look as great as ever, eventually getting a finish in the second round against Edson Barboza.

Andrew Smolen:

Predicted Winner: Anthony Pettis by 2nd Round KO: Barboza doesn’t stand a chance in my view. I think he fights through and just barely survives through the first round, trying to clench and take Pettis down as much just for a rest from all of the blows he is taking. Pettis, seeing that comes out strong in the second and finish him off quickly.

Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo

Chad Milburn:

Predicted Winner: Demetrious Johnson by Unanimous Decision: I think Henry Cejudo will surprise a lot of people Saturday night, including Mighty Mouse. Cejudo definitely knows how to rise to the occasion when the spotlight is on him, being a gold medalist in wrestling. However, Demetrious is just too technical and pushes a rapid pace that does not slow down over a 5 round fight. Demetrious will get taken down a couple times and Cejudo will even win a round or two. In the end, however, Mighty Mouse Johnson will come out on top as us fighting fans have been accustomed to see him doing since the beginning of the UFC Flyweight division.


Andrew Smolen:

Predicted Winner: Demetrious Johnson by Unanimous Decision: Demetrious Johnson hailed the way Floyd Mayweather Jr. fought, this being hit and don’t be hit. Although many will say it is a less interesting point, Johnson made a sound point saying to him its not about entertaining all of us, but taking care of himself and his business. Once again Mighty Mouse will stay cruising through they Flyweight division, where we haven’t seen a very good contender to him in quite some time.

Jon Jones vs. Ovince Saint Preux


As you can see, Jones has really taken his suspension seriously, becoming a monster in the weight room. Here he is deadlifting 585 lbs.

Chad Milburn:

Predicted Winner: Jon Jones by 3rd Round Submission: Ovince Saint Preux will definitely surprise a lot of people early in this fight. His 80″ reach will give Jones problems just like Gustafsson’s did at UFC 165. Saint Preux is very athletic and has some decent take down defense using his strength and athleticism. However, the tall task of fighting Jon Jones off of his one year hiatus will prove too much for Saint Preux. It will be a competitive fight, but look for Jon to control the action standing and on the mat. Ovince does hold his hands very low and with Jon’s new dedication to lifting weights, that could mean trouble for Saint Preux. Bottom line, Jon will tire out Ovince like Glover Teixeira did when they fought and get the finish a couple rounds into the fight.

Andrew Smolen:

Predicted Winner: Jon Jones by 2nd Round Submission: Saint Preux may, in a year or two be the biggest threat to Jon Jones’ title than anybody we have ever seen, but he is not that finished product yet. This may cause an uproar among all those who LOVE Daniel Cormier, but teach OSP how to work better on the mat and pace himself in fights and he will be a much better fighter. Until then I don’t see anybody but Gustafsson giving Jon Jones a run for his money in his reclamation of the title, including Daniel Cormier. Ovince will gas himself in the first round in this fight, being it for a title Jon Jones will know how to pace himself, and with OSP gassed in the second get the takedown and submission.


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