We had written a statistical betting preview for the Aldo vs. McGregor main event fight at UFC 189, but the fight has now been cancelled because Aldo has a rib injury. That preview has become useless, but here’s our complete UFC 189 predictions.
I’ll be analyzing each fight on the main card, including the new main event between McGregor and Mendes.
Conor McGregor (17-2) has through his UFC opposition (5-0) – with wins against Poirier and Holloway. Chad Mendes (17-2) only has two career losses – both coming against Aldo. So, this is the perfect fight for McGregor to test his ability.
Mendes is no slouch – he’s averaging 2.68 SLpM (48% Accuracy) and 4.10 takedowns per 15 minutes in the cage (54% Accuracy).
McGregor is the way more active striker (5.72 SLpM) and he has yet to be taken down in the UFC (100% TDD). McGregor will have an 8” reach advantage and his undeniable power should prove too much for Mendes.
The only way McGregor will lose is if he takes Mendes too lightly based on the circumstances, which would be a costly mistake.
With the interim featherweight title on the line – I expect McGregor to unleash his wrath on Mendes. McGregor can keep his distance, work his jab and look for combinations to open up – eventually Mendes will have enough of eating strikes.
The UFC Welterweight title is up for grabs too, as Robbie Lawler (25-10) will put his title on the line against Rory MacDonald (18-2) – Lawler is 1-0 against MacDonald in his career. These two fought at UFC 167 in 2013 and Lawler won a very close split decision.
MacDonald has beaten Maia, Woodley and Saffiedine since losing to Lawler – the last win against Saffiedine was by TKO.
The Canadian took the American down four times in the last fight – something he needs to focus on again. MacDonald averages 2.39 TD’s per 15 minutes and Lawler only has 65% TDD. I’m rolling with the favorite MacDonald (-175 at BetOnline).
Lawler will spend too much time on his back and this is the chance MacDonald has been waiting for – he wants the belt.
Dennis Bermudez (14-4) and Jeremy Stephens (23-11) meet on the main card – this is a must-win for Bermudez. He dropped his last outing to Lamas, after being submitted in the opening round. Stephens comes into this fight on a two-fight skid.
Stephens lost to Swanson and Oliveira. Bermudez has a small edge in striking – he’s much more active — but the big difference will be his wrestling. Bermudez averages 4.48 TD’s per 15 minutes and Stephens has poor TDD (62%).
Bermudez is -210 (TopBet) to beat Stephens and the over/under is 2.5 rounds (Over: -165 vs. Under: +145).
Gunnar Nelson (13-1-1) lost a split decision to Story last time – that simply can’t happen with a promising prospect. Brandon Thatch (11-2) just lost to Benson Henderson, but he’ll be looking to jump back in the win column quickly on Saturday night.
Thomas Almeida (18-0) opens up the main card at UFC 189 against Brad Pickett (24-10). Almeida is a huge favorite and should have no problem winning, but I believe Pickett will hang tough and my best bet in this fight is on over 1.5 rounds -140 (BetOnline).