4 potential upsets at UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor
The best thing about UFC 205 is that it features tons of great matchmaking. The best thing about great matchmaking is that the outcomes of fights are hard to predict. Here are four fights where the underdog could end up getting their hand raised.
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Donald Cerrone over Kelvin Gastelum
Former (and current?) lightweight contender Donald Cerrone will face his first opponent ranked in the welterweight top five this weekend when he battles Kelvin Gastelum. Cerrone has been on a tear since moving to welterweight, winning three straight by way of finish. Gastelum will surely test Cerrone as he offers a well-rounded skillset that has helped him score victories in seven of his nine UFC fights. But if we’ve learned anything about Cerrone, it’s that he’s up for any challenge. “Cowboy” throws with incredible precision and fights best when going forward and pushing the pace. He should look to use his reach to strike from a distance and force Gastelum into the clinch if the power striker works his way inside. If he can do that and keep the fight standing, he’ll have a chance to walk away with his fourth straight victory at 170-pounds.
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Yoel Romero over Chris Weidman
Perhaps the only person with better wrestling credentials than former two-time Division I All-American Chris Weidman is his UFC 205 opponent Yoel Romero. Romero — who took home silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in freestyle wrestling — is a beast on the mat and has sledgehammers for fists, which often puts his opponents in a tricky situation. Second-ranked Weidman is no different. Whichever path he decides to go down Saturday night, fourth-ranked Romero will surely be right there with him.
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Stephen Thompson over Tyron Woodley
Stephen Thompson has one of the most unique fight styles in the entire UFC — Matt Brown was the only fighter in his 14 UFC bouts who has been able to figure it out. Everyone else has either been embarrassed over three or five rounds or finished by KO or TKO within the opening 5 to 10 minutes. Woodley has a huge advantage over Thompson on the canvas with his wrestling, but has chosen to stand up with his last three opponents. Thompson probably hopes Woodley continues that trend at UFC 205 because that’s his best bet at winning the belt.
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Eddie Alvarez over Conor McGregor
Eddie Alvarez might be the champion at a higher weight class taking on a lighter man challenging for his belt, but make no mistake: He is the underdog headed into UFC 205. Oddsmakers currently have Alvarez at +120 against McGregor (-150) — which puts the odds in his opponent’s favor but doesn’t rule out a victory for the fighter out of Philadelphia. Alvarez is well-rounded with a ton of fight experience. While he’s very capable on his feet, he’d be best served not turn this fight get into a strictly stand-up brawl with McGregor. Alvarez will excel if he can force the fight into the clinch, and punish McGregor with some dirty boxing before eventually taking the fight to the ground and controlling the action with his top notch wrestling. Alvarez also has good boxing and footwork, which he should use to close the distance and set up his takedowns. If he can do that, he can score an upset on Saturday night and nab his first UFC title defense.