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Preview and predictions for Saturday’s UFC 187 event

UFC 187 goes down this Saturday (May 23) from Las Vegas a the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The event will air live on pay-per-view, Fox Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.

UFC 187 will be headlined by two title fights. The main event will be Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson for the light heavyweight title and the co-main event will  be Chris Weidman (c) vs. Vitor Belfort for the middleweight title.

The preliminary card that airs on Fight Pass starts at 6:30 p.m. ET with three fights then the promotion moves to Fox Sports 1 to continue the prelims at 8 p.m. ET with four fights. The main card kicks off at 10 p.m. ET with #2 Joseph Benavidez vs. #5 John Moraga. Before the main events, #7 Andrei Arlovski vs. #3 Travis Browne and #3 Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi will go to war.

We will be providing live play-by-play coverage of this event this Saturday night.

Now on to the picks!

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET):

LW Title Fight: #3 Daniel Cormier vs. #1 Anthony Johnson

#3 Daniel Cormier (15-1) 6 KOs, 4 subs, 5 unanimous decision wins in his career and is 4-1 in his last five bouts. He is currently on a one-fight losing streak. DC has been a pro since 2009, he received his brown jiu-jitsu belt in 2013 and is 2-1 as a lightweight. In his last five bouts, he beat Frank Mir in April of 2013 by unanimous decision, he beat Roy Nelson at UFC 166 by unanimous decision then he beat Patrick Cummins at UFC 170 in his light heavyweight debut with a first round TKO victory. In his next two bouts, he is 1-1. He beat Dan Henderson at UFC 173 by third round rear-naked choke but lost to Jon Jones at UFC 182 in January of 2015 by unanimous decision.

#1 Anthony Johnson (19-4) 13 KOs, 0 subs, 6 decision wins in his career and is nine fight winning streak. In his last five bouts, he beat Andrei Arlovski in March of 2013 by unanimous decision and then Mike Kule in January of 2014 by first round knockout while fighting under the WSOF banner. He returned to the UFC at UFC 172 with a win over Phil Davis by unanimous decision. He then knocked out Antonio Nogueira in July of 2014 and Alexander Gustafsson in January of 2015 during the first round.

Prediction: Anthony Johnson by fourth round knockout

Middleweight Title Fight: Chris Weidman (c) vs. #3 Vitor Belfort

Chris Weidman (12-0) 5 KOs, 3 subs, 4 decision wins in his career and is undefeated. UFC 187 will be his third title defense as well as marking the first-time he has fought in near ten months. Weidman has been a pro since 2009, he has five first round finishes under his belt. In his last five bouts, he beat Demian Maia in January of 2013 by unanimous decision, Mark Munoz in July of 2012 by second round KO and then won the title from Anderson Silva at UFC 162 by second round knockout. He defended his title for the first time against Silva at UFC 168, which he won by second round TKO. In his first title defense, he beat Lyoto Machida at UFC 175 by unanimous decision.

#3 Vitor Belfort (24-10) 17 KOs, 3 subs, 4 decision wins in his career and is on a three-fight winning streak. He has won 10 of his last 12 bouts, eight by KO/TKO, a 13-6 UFC record and coached on TUF Brazil 1. He has not appeared in the octagon since 2013. In his last five bouts, he is 4-1. He beat Anthony Johnson at UFC 142 in January of 2012 by first-round rear-naked choke but then lost to Jon Jones at UFC 152 by fourth round keylock. He the ripped off a three-fight winning streak. He beat Michael Bisping in January of 2013 by second-round TKO, a first round heel kick knockout of Luke Rockhold in May of 2013 and then a first-round head kick of Dan Henderson in November of 2013.

Prediction: Weidman by unanimous decision.

#3 Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi

#3 Donald Cerrone (27-6) 4 KOs, 15 subs, 8 decision wins and is currently on a seven-fight winning streak. He has been a pro since 2006, he has won 17 of his last 22, In his last five bouts, he has finished two of them. He beat Edson Barboza in April of 2014 by first round rear-naked choke and then a second round knockout of Jim Miller in July of 2014. His next three bouts came by unanimous decision. He beat Eddie Alvarez at UFC 178, Myles Jury at UFC 182 and benson Henderson in January of 2015.

John Makdessi (13-3) 9 KOs, 0 subs, 4 decision wins and is 4-1 in his last five bouts. He is currently on a one-fight winning streak. He has five first round finishes in his career. In those last five bouts, he beat Sam Stout at UFc 154 and then Daron Cruickshank at UFC 185 both by unanimous decision. He knocked out Renee Forte at UFC 165 in the first round. He lost to Alan Patrick Silva Alves at UFC 169 by unanimous decision, but then rebounded against Shane Campbell at UFC 186 with a first-round knockout win.

Prediction: Cerrone by unanimous decision.

#7 Andrei Arlovski vs. #3 Travis Browne

#7 Andrei Arlovski (23-10-1) 16 KOs, 3 subs, 4 decision wins in his career and is currently on a four fight winning streak. He is 4-1 in his last five bouts. He lost to Anthony Johnson in March of 2013 by unanimous decision, but then rebounded with a hot streak of wins. He beat Mike Kyle in September of 2013 by unanimous decision, he beat Andreas Kraniotakes in November of that same year by second round KO and then returned to the UFC. He beat Brendan Schaub at UFC 174 by split decision and then knocked out Antonio Silva in September of 2014 by first-round knockout.

#3 Travis Browne (17-2-1) 13 KOs, 2 subs, 2 decision wins in his career and is 4-1 in his last five bouts. He is currently on a one-fight winning streak. He beat Gabriel Gonzaga in April of 2013 by first-round knockout, then knocked out Alistair Overeem in August of 2013 by first-round knockout and then at UFC 168 he did the same thing to Josh Barnett. He lost to Fabricio Werdum in April of 2014 by unanimous decision but rebounded with a first-round knockout of Brendan Schaub at UFC 181.

Prediction: Browne by first-round KO.

#2 Joseph Benavidez vs. #5 John Moraga

#2 Joseph Benavidez (21-4) 6 KOs, 9 subs, 6 decision wins in his career and is currently on a two-fight winning streak. He has only lost to Demetrious Johnson (twice) and UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (twice) and has won nine of his last 11. In his last five bouts, he is 4-1 and has won three of them by a finish. He beat Darren Uyenoyama in April of 21013 by second round KO, then beat Jussier Da Silva in September of that same year by first round TKO. He then lost to Demetrious Johnson in December of 2013 by first-round KO for the flyweight title. He then rattled off two wins over Tim Elliott at UFC 172 by first-round choke and then a unanimous decision win over Dustin Ortiz.

#5 John Moraga (16-3) 2 KOs, 8 submissions, 6 decision wins in his career and is currently on a two-fight winning streak. Moraga has been a pro since 09, he has five first-round finishes. In his last five bouts, he is 3-2 and has won two of them by a submission. He lost to Demetrious Johnson in July of 2013 by fifth-round armbar then rebounded with a split decision win over Dustin Ortiz in January of 2014, but then lost to John Dodson in June of 20144 by second-round doctor stoppage. He then rattled off a two-fight winning streak with a submission win over Justin Scoggins in September of 2014 and then Willie Gates in December by RNC in the third round.

Prediction: Moraga  by unanimous decision.

PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET):

#1 John Dodson vs. #9 Zach Makovsky

#1 John Dodson (16-6) 8 KOs, 2 submissions, 6 decision wins in his career and is currently on a two-fight winning streak. Dodson was a member of Team Miller on TUF 14, he’s been a pro since 04’ and has won eight of his last nine bouts. He is 4-1 in his last five bouts, finishing three of them by knockout. He beat Tim Elliott in May of 2012 by unanimous decision then he knocked out Jussier Da Silva in October of that same year. He lost to Demetrious Johnson in January of 2014 by unanimous decision in a Flyweight title bout. He then rattled off a two-fight winning streak with wins over Darrell Montague at UFC 166 by first-round KO and then a second-round TKO of John Moraga in June of 2014.

#9 Zach Makovsky (19-5) 1 KOs, 6 submissions, 12 decision wins in his career and is currently on a one-fight winning streak. He’s been a pro since 06’, he has won five out of his last six and has two first-round finishes. In his last five bouts, all of them have gone the distances. He beat Matt Manzanares in RFA during November of 2013 by unanimous decision then made his UFC debut against Scott Jorgensen in December of 2013 by unanimous decision. He beat Josh Sampo at UFC 170 by unanimous decision, but then lost to Jussier Da Silva in August of 2014 by unanimous decision, but rebounded with a win over Tim Elliott of February of 2015 by unanimous decision.

Prediction: Dodson by 2nd RD KO.

Josh Burkman vs. #8 Dong Hyun Kim

Josh Burkman (27-10-1) 7 KOs, 10 submission, 10 decision wins in his career and is 3-1-1 in his last five bouts. He’s been a pro since 03’, he has fifteen first-round finishes, he has won six out of his last eight. He appeared on TUF 2 and known for his power slams. In those last five bouts, Burkman beat Aaron Simpson in March of 2013 by first-round TKO and then a first-round submission of John Fitch in June of 2013. He then lost to Steve carl in October of 2013 by fourth-round triangle choke, but rebounded with a first-round KO of Tyler Stinson in March of 2014. All of those fights were under the WSOF banner. He made his UFC debut against Hector Lombard at UFC 182, but the fight was ruled as a no contest due to Lombards failed drug test.

#8 Dong Hyun Kim (19-3-1) 8 KOs, 1 submission wins, 10 decision wins in his career and is currently on a one-fight losing streak. He has world-class judoka, he has finished eight out of his last fifteen bouts by KO. He is 4-1 in his last five bouts, he beat Paul Thiago in November of 2012 by unanimous decision and then beat Siyar Bahadurzada in March of 2013 by unanimous decision. He knocked out Erick Silva in October of 2013 then knocked out John Hathaway in March of 2014 by third-round knockout. He then was KO’d in the first round by Tyron Woodley in August of 2014.

Prediction: DHK by third round KO.

Uriah Hall vs. Rafael Natal

Uriah Hall (10-4) 6 KOs, 2 submissions, 2 decision wins in his his career and is currently on a three-fight winning streak. In his last five bouts, he is 3-2, two of those wins have come by first-round KO. He lost to Kelvin Gastelum at TUF 17 season finale by split decision, then lost to John Howard in August of 2013 the same way. He then rattled off a three-fight winning streak with wins over Chris Leben at UFC 168 by first-round KO, a unanimous decision win over Thiago Santos at UFC 175 and then beat Ron STallings in January of 2015 by first-round TKO.

Rafael Natal (19-6-1) 3 KOs, 8 submission wins, 8 decision wins in his career and is currently on a two-fight winning streak. In his last five bouts, he is 3-2, he beat Tor Troeng in September of 2013 by unanimous decision. He then dropped two straight fights against Tim Kennedy in November of 2013 by first-round KO and then a loss to Ed Herman in May of 2014 by unanimous decision. He then rattled off two straight wins over Chris Camozzi in September of 2014 by split decision and then a win by unanimous decision over Tom Watson at UFC 183.

Prediction: Hall  by unanimous decision.

Nina Ansaroff vs. #4 Rose Namajunas

Nina Ansaroff (6-4) 4 KOs, 1 submission wins, 1 decision wins in her career and is currently on a one-fight losing streak. In her last five-bouts, she is 4-1. All four of those came by finish, three of them by knockout. She beat Tyra Parker in December of 2012 by second-round armbar, a win over Trisha Clark in March of 2013 by second-round TKO, a first-round TKO of Aylla Caroline Lima Da Silva in June of 2013 and then a second round KO of Munah Holland in December of 2013. She made her UFC debut in November of 2014, but lost to Julian De Lima Carneiro by unanimous decision.

#4 Rose Namajunas (2-2) 0 KOs, 2 submissions, 0 decision wins in her career and is currently on a two-fight losing streak. In her career (four bouts), she beat EMily Kagan in January of 2013 by third-round RNC and then a flying arm in just 12 seconds of the first-round against Kathina Catron in April of 2013. She then dropped a two-fight losing streak against Tecia Torres in July of 2013 by unanimous decision and then in her UFC debut against Cala Esparas at TUF 20 by third-round RNC.

Prediction: Ansaroff by 2nd RKO KO.

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET):

Colby Covington vs. Mike Pyle

Prediction: Pyle by 3rd RD KO.

Leo Kuntz vs. Islam Makhachev

Prediction: Makhachev by 2nd Rd KO.

Josh Sampo vs. Justin Scoggins

Prediction: Sampo by unanimous decision.






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