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I love it once title fights take place on complimentary TV, don’t you? specifically when it’s two elite battle aircraft who have each been champion as is the case with the bantamweight title fight in between T.J. Dillashaw and also Dominick Cruz. This is Cruz’s possibility at redemption after ~ being forced to autumn his title due to inactivity. It’s the type of fight wherein the fans room the genuine winners, no matter the outcome.

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The co-main event is certain to be fire, a bout between two males looking to prove castle still issue in the lightweight division. So take our advice and lay part money under on these expert picks.

T.J. Dillashaw (c) (12-2) vs. Dominick Cruz (20-1)

Erik Fontanez: when T.J. Dillashaw began busting up bantamweights ~ above his means to beating Renan Barao for the division title, there to be a sense that I had actually seen his layout before. Ns told myself, “Why’s this man remind me so lot of Dominick Cruz?” The answer was in the footwork, and also Dillashaw looked like had matched the former champ’s dance moves, action for step. Combine that v the Jedi teachings that Duane Ludwig and you have a man who is wise in the methods of caged fisticuffs. Yet there’s always that thing around the originator that a style constantly having the top hand over those that mimic his methods. I’d apply that come this fight and pick Cruz to reclaim that belt he never shed as a an outcome of a UFC bout. Winner: Cruz via unanimous decision.

Matthew Roth: This is a great fight to put on free television. T.J. Dillashaw has occurred into a finish fighter through explosive striking under the tutelage the Duane Ludwig. Once he very first debuted ~ above “The ultimate Fighter,” he was a wrestler v rudimentary boxing. Now? He’s the optimal dog in the division. The fight against Cruz is an amazing one since in the past 51 months, Cruz has fought just once because of a litany of injuries. When he’s healthy, Cruz is among the ideal fighters in the civilization due to his footwork and ability to shift between boxing and also the mat. This is Dillashaw’s very first bout away from Team Alpha Male and will be really telling regarding who was truly responsible because that his title run. I’m counting on Dillashaw to win as he’s presented more. Cruz’s wellness is constantly going to it is in an issue and also I can’t depend on him coming in healthy until that fights regularly. Winner: Dillashaw, unanimous decision.

Joshua Molina: have the right to Dominick Cruz end up being the “Comeback Kid” when again? Cruz has combated one time in 4 years, if you can count a 61-second knockout in his critical fight together cage time. He to be arguably the best fighter in the civilization at the moment of his first ACL tear. Then he hurt his groin. Climate he tore his various other ACL. Cruz is a an excellent fighter, however he is injury prone. And he is stepping into the cage against champion Dillashaw, the new hot thing in MMA. If Cruz comes right into the hit in his old kind it can be a quick night for Dillashaw. Cruz is reasonably close to unbeatable as soon as he is at his best. Dillashaw is ~ above a roll and also knocked the end Renan Barao, a guy that everyone at the time thought was the best fighter in the world. Both males have an excellent mobility and also are true all-around martial artists. This fight have to be exciting, however it’s Cruz’s to lose. If Cruz is 100 percent healthy, he’ll victory a unanimous decision. Winner: Cruz, unanimous decision.

Steven Muehlhausen: Cruz has actually been wait for this moment since he was stripped that the location in January 2014. After all the injuries, he’s ultimately made it earlier to a title fight. Every that’s in his method is Dillashaw. Fans have actually been salivating for these 2 to battle. They are evenly matched. Both have an excellent footwork and also wrestling. The champion seems to have actually the advantage in the striking department. If Dillashaw can gain his hand on Cruz it will certainly be a long night because that “The Dominator.” The hit goes into the later on rounds and Dillashaw will certainly clip Cruz and end the fight. Winner: T.J. Dillashaw through fourth-round knockout to maintain the bantamweight title.

Anthony Pettis (18-3) vs. Eddie Alvarez (26-4)

Erik Fontanez: These two have actually held titles in a division that runs deep like the text from ice cream Cube’s “Today to be a great Day.” Eddie Alvarez dealt with in some wars through Michael Chandler in Bellator, and I honestly feel choose those 2 fights alone took a ton the end of him. Anthony Pettis, on the other hand, although injury prone, doesn’t win me together a fighter who chin has turned to record from the fights he’s watched in the cage. I can’t to speak the exact same for Alvarez, unfortunately. I obtained Pettis providing Alvarez the service in the third round. Winner: Pettis via third-round TKO.

Matthew Roth: Man, what might have been. This is just one of those fights the is happening in ~ a time it seems choose both fighters space on the backend of their careers. Eddie Alvarez’s UFC run has actually been underwhelming at best and also Anthony Pettis is coming off that terrible loss come Rafael dos Anjos in ~ UFC 185. This need to be an interesting bout yet it’s just missing … something? ns don’t know. There must be a most hype because that it, and instead it’s just blah. Alvarez has never had actually the finest chin and Pettis is yes, really dynamic in his capacity to soil strikes from different angles. I’m choose the former UFC lightweight champ to bounce back. Winner: Pettis, KO, round 2.

Joshua Molina: had this fight taken place three years ago it might have been a barnburner. Pettis has peaked. Alvarez has peaked. Both guys are fighting to gain back their reputations. Pettis desires to prove the he’s still one of the finest in the world after losing his title to Rafael dos Anjos. Alvarez wants to prove the he is belonging in the UFC. Alvarez has performed unimpressively in his very first two fights. He lost to Donald Cerrone climate squeaked by Gilbert Melendez by separation decision. Alvarez, the longtime Bellator champion who was clogged by Bjorn Rebney native joining the UFC, and also was only set complimentary by brand-new CEO Scott Coker, will more than likely experience more hard times versus Pettis. One thing around Alvarez is the he is an interesting fighter come watch. But he’s gained a glass jaw. Look because that Pettis come come out swinging and also knock Alvarez out. Winner: Pettis, KO, round 1.

Steven Muehlhausen: how will Pettis react after shedding his lightweight belt come Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185? Pettis once again suffered an injury and also had come pull out of his booked fight with Myles Jury in July. Pettis claims the time off helped him. After a shaky UFC debut against Donald Cerrone, Alvarez obtained his first UFC win versus Gilbert Melendez in ~ UFC 188. If you push Pettis favor Clay Guida and dos Anjos, Pettis seems to wilt. That plays right right into the hands of Alvarez. Winner: Eddie Alvarez through unanimous decision.

Travis Browne (17-3-1) vs. Matt Mitrione (9-4)

Erik Fontanez: Heavyweights, y’all. My simple prediction for every heavyweight fights is choose the male whom i think is going to land first, and measure that versus the call of his opponent’s chin. In this case, I’d suppose Travis Browne come land first, yet Matt Mitrione isn’t a male who knocks out easily. Browne, however, has actually experienced some challenging losses that late, among which to current champ Fabricio Werdum. And also his latest fight? A knockout loss come the one-time king of getting KO’d, Andrei Arlovski. He needs to bounce back, but ns can’t imagine he can trade punches through “Meathead” for 15 minutes. Winner: Mitrione by knockout, ring 2.

Matthew Roth: Bungalows. That’s what these two large men will be throwing at each other. I recognize that world have do a large deal about Mitrione’s claimed inability to take a large punch, but they also seem to forget the Browne has shown to also have a questionable chin. I think Browne has actually the far better footwork, however Mitrione is comes from the stronger camp. Browne requirements this success in order to stay pertinent in the heavyweight division. I’m walk to choose Mitrione because when the comes under to punching power, ns think he has actually the edge. Winner: Matt Mitrione, KO, ring 2.

Joshua Molina: If friend like fighting, this is your match. However don’t blink. You might miss Matt Mitrione come crashing come the ground. These 2 HEAVYweights will slug the for around one minute before someone comes down. That will probably be Mitrione. Browne was on a roll prior to getting KO’d through Antonio Silva and then Andrei Arlovski. But when he mirrors up and lands his kicks and punches, he’s pretty impressive. Mitrione isn’t recognized for his cagy defense so expect the mega strength to explode and Mitrione acquire flashbacks to Roy Nelson. Winner: Travis Browne: KO, ring 1.

Steven Muehlhausen: Both fighters space coming off a loss. Browne lost by knockout come Andrei Arlovski in ~ UFC 187, when Mitrione shed to Ben Rothwell by first-round entry at UFC fight Night in June. Browne has actually gone v the gamut outside of the sport with domestic abuse allegations from his ex-wife, which led to the slugging heavyweight to be suspended. Oh, and also he additionally started a relationship with Ronda Rousey. Mitrione claims he’s focused and the biggest obstacle has been him. That doesn’t seem prefer Browne is totally focused with all the distractions. Going to Australia 2 months before this fight mirrors he doesn’t it seems ~ to be too concentrated at all. This fight will end on the feet and Mitrione will certainly spring the upset. Winner: Matt Mitrione through first-round knockout.

Ross Pearson (20-9, 1 NC) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (18-4)

Erik Fontanez: *skips hit because NFL Playoffs run much longer than anticipated* Winner: Ross Pearson via unanimous decision.

Matthew Roth: i don’t think I have the right to be excited because that an opened bout any type of less. Ross Pearson is a talented fighter through pretty heavy boxing, yet it simply seems like a bout where I’m wondering if there’s any type of reason to really song in. Trinaldo has actually quietly placed together a four-fight winning streak yet it wasn’t against top talent. I dunno, I’ll pick the Pearson however just because I have to make a pick. Winner: Pearson, unanimous decision.

Joshua Molina: Pearson is younger, faster and much more experienced. He’s likewise smarter inside the cage. Trinaldo poses a severe power threat and also knock Pearson out at any type of time, however endurance and “fight IQ” have to prevail here. The younger man wins. Winner: Pearson, unanimous decision.

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Steven Muehlhausen: This is a fight of youth vs. Experience. I favor Pearson’s youth and also in-Octagon endure to it is in too lot for the Brazilian. Winner: Ross Pearson through unanimous decision.