If you aren’t pumped for UFC 182, then you are not a fight fan. On Saturday, January 3rd, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will battle it out in front of a packed house at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.

This bout between bitter rivals Jones and Cormier is easily the biggest fight the UFC has had in years. On one side, you have Jones who while dominant, has become one of the most polarizing figures in the sport’s history. On the other side, you have Cormier; a two-time Olympian MMA fans can’t help but love. Aside from being two of the best in the world at what they do, there is real animosity between Jones and Cormier. Expect this one to be epic.

On top of that epic main event UFC 182 is loaded with big name fighters and interesting matchups from top to bottom. This is the kind of event UFC fans have been clamoring for and the kind of event the UFC used to always deliver.

Hector Lombard vs. Josh Burkman

Kicking off the pay-per-view maid card is a welterweight showdown between elite contender Lombard and returning star Burkman. It been just over six years since Burkman last competed in the octagon and man, is he getting the shaft here in his return bout. Lombard is an absolute killer and since dropping down to welterweight as he is 2-0 with impressive wins over Nate Marquardt and Jake Shields.

Burkman had an impressive run outside the UFC and he picked up some big wins, but Lombard is a different kind of beast. A former Olympic judoka and brutal knockout artist, Lombard is someone no other welterweight really wants to fight right now. Burkman has never been knocked out in his career, but he’s never faced a striker with Lombard’s power.

Prediction: Lombard via second round TKO

Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Louis Gaudinot

The UFC flyweight division has been dominated by champion Demetrious Johnson so much so that the UFC is currently hard-pressed to find worthy challengers. The title picture is wide open right now and a win for Horiguchi on Saturday night might just be enough to earn him a shot at UFC gold.

Horiguchi is one of the brightest prospects in the UFC today and he is currently 3-0 in the octagon with two wins coming by way of TKO stoppage. At just 24, Horiguchi has a great chance at making a statement and setting himself apart from the rest of the pack.

Prediction: Horiguchi via first round TKO

Brad Tavares vs. Nate Marquardt

This middleweight bout between Tavares and Marquardt is one to keep an eye on and should be a sleeper pick to earn the “Fight of the Night” bonus. Anytime you have an old lion looking for one last shot at glory taking on a young lion hungry to make a statement, sparks will fly.

Marquardt is on the downslope of his career and even though he looked impressive in his return to the middleweight division, time is not on his side. Tavares on the other hand is still a bright prospect even though he has lost his last two bouts.

There is a lot of motivation for both men heading into this bout and that will show up in the cage on Saturday night. At the end of the day though, Tavares isn’t ready for the high-profile fight and Marquardt just has too many tools and too many weapons.

Prediction: Marquardt via Unanimous Decision

Donald Cerrone vs. Myles Jury

The co-main event of the evening features a lightweight bout between two of the hottest fighters in the sport right now Cerrone and Jury. Cerrone is riding a five fight win streak with four of those wins coming by way of stoppage. Jury on the other hand is undefeated in his pro career and he is coming off of the biggest win of his career.

Cerrone and Jury are two of the most exciting fighters in the UFC, so expect fireworks. Even though Jury has yet to taste defeat as a pro, everyone loses sooner or later inside the octagon. Cerrone is just on another level right now and it’s difficult to see Jury being able to throw him off of his game.

Jury is extremely talented and he has a bright future in the sport, but he hasn’t even faced the level of competition the Cerrone has beaten. Jury will put up a good fight, but Cerrone will prove to be too much for the young fighter.

Prediction: Cerrone via Unanimous Decision

Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier

This is the one we have all been waiting for and the anticipation is killing me as a fight fan. The buildup to this bout has been legendary and when you look at the skill sets of Jones and Cormier, it’s easy to believe that this bout will live up to all of the hype.

Since winning the title and becoming the youngest champion in UFC history, Jones has been a dominant force and continues to get better and better every time out. Even though Jones has a loss on his record, no one has beat him and he has faced the elite of the elite in terms of competition.

But Cormier is a different breed of fighter and he has the tools to knock Jones off of his throne. As long as Cormier can get inside Jones’ ridiculous reach advantage, his clinch game, power and wrestling will be more than enough to win the title.

Prediction: Cormier via third round TKO

 

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.