UFC 247 Predictions

UFC 247
From Houston, Texas
Early Prelims available on UFC Fight Pass
Prelims available on ESPN
Main Card available on ESPN+ ppv
By Dylan Hager

2020 picks record: 10-13

It is pay-per-view weekend!! Two title fights on top of this card, and well, not a whole lot else. Dominant champions Jon Jones and Valentina Shevchenko defend their respective belts against Dominick Reyes and Katlyn Chookagian. Not the hottest start picks wise in 2020, but UFC 247 is where we turn things around! Time to pick!!

Jon Jones (25-1 (1)) (c, 1 P4P) vs Dominick Reyes (12-0) (4)
Jon "Bones" Jones makes his return to the octagon on Saturday night. Standing across from him will be the undefeated challenger, Dom Reyes. This is going to be a crazy good fight. Dominick Reyes may not be a household name yet, but I fully believe one day he will be.

Reyes comes into this fight ranked #4 in the Light Heavyweight ranking, and he has never lost a professional fight. He stopped Jared Cannonier, took decisions from OSP and Volkan, and in his last fight, he stopped Chris Weidman in only 1:43. Dom has a wrestling background and one punch KO power. He's young and confident. He's extremely athletic. No doubt in my mind he will be the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion one day. BUT.....he's in there with Jon Freaking Jones.

Jon Jones has one career loss, and that was by DQ. He has beaten Daniel Cormier, Alexander Gustafasson (twice), Machida, Shogun, Chael, Vitor, and Rashad. After missing a ton of time for personal reasons, Jones has fought three times in the past fourteen months, picking up wins over Gustafasson, Anthony Smith, and Thiago Santos. He can wrestle, he has KO power, he is a freak athlete, and he is possibly the greatest fighter of all time.

So what happens on Saturday? I'm not writing off a Dom upset. Dom has the power and wrestling to give Jon a problem. Last time out for Jones, Thiago Santos, with two bad knees, gave Jones absolutely everything he could handle. Live, I even thought Santos may have won three rounds to two, but in that fight, Jones may almost no effort to take the fight to the ground. I think that fight will be a wake-up fight of sorts for the champ. We are going to see a focused Jon Jones on Saturday night, and that is not good for Reyes. After fighting the full five rounds with both Anthony Smith and Santos, I think Jon is going to look for the finish against Dom. Reyes is a tough dude, but Jones is a different level fighter. Dom's best chance at winning is to get a quick KO, much like he did against Weidman. He has the power to do so. He even has the gas tank and wrestling to last five rounds, but I think Jon will be looking to make a statement before either moving to Heavyweight or fighting Middleweight Champ, Israel Adesanya. I really do beleive Reyes is going to be a UFC champion one day, but it will not be Saturday. Prediction: Jon Jones 4th Round TKO

Valentina Shevchenko (18-3) (c, 2 P4P) vs Katlyn Chookagian (13-2) (1, 10 P4P)
I think people are sleeping on this fight. Flyweight Champ and the #2 ranked pound for pound female fighter, Valentina Shevchenko will defend her crown against Katlyn Chookagian. Katlyn is the top ranked contender in the Flyweight division and #10 in the pound for pound rankings.

Valentina was a great fighter at Bantamweight, and she is even better at Flyweight. After losing an extremely close decision to Amanda Nunes in a Bantamweight title fight in September 2017, Valentina has gone 4-0 at Flyweight. She defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win the vacant title in December 2018, and she successfully defended the title against Jessica Eye and Liz Carmouche last year. Not only did she win all four Flyweight fights, but she completely dominated all four fights.

 Not only does Katlyn finally get on a main card, but she gets the co-main spot in a title fight! Katlyn will have the reach and height advantage in this fight. She has a good standup game and a good ground game. She has won five of her last six, including wins over Joanne Calderwood and Jennifer Maia in her last two.

I said Katlyn has a good standup and a good ground game, but she will need to be more than "good" to become the Flyweight Queen. Valentina is a very good striker, and she has seven career submission wins. Katlyn's last eight fights have gone to decision. She hasn't finished a fight since March 2016. All eight of those fights were three round fights, and this will, of course, be a five round title fight. Will Katlyn's gas tank hold up? Will it matter? Valentina has finishing ability, but she did dominate Carmouche for five rounds instead of pushing for the finish. I am a really big fan of Katlyn, but I do not see this fight going well for her. I'm not sure Valentina gets the highlight real KO like she did against Eye, but I do see the champ retaining her crown. Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko 3rd Round TKO

Juan Adams (5-2) vs Justin Tafa (3-1)
I'm going to keep this short. This fight does not belong on ppv. Both of these fighters are up-and-comers in the Heavyweight division. Adams has more hype coming in, but he is on a two fight losing streak and did not look good at all last time out with Greg Hardy. Both Adams and Tafa have that heavyweight KO power, and Adams has a solid wrestling background. If we are lucky, this will be a fun 1st Round KO from either fighter to give us a bright spot in the middle of this card. I like Adams to get back in the win column. Prediction: Juan Adams Decision

Mirsad Bektic (13-2) vs Dan Ige (12-2)
Two exciting Featherweights square this Saturday. Mirsad Bektic is 13-2 overall and 6-2 in the UFC. He was KO'd by Josh Emmett last July, but had won his previous two fights. Dan Ige comes in on a four fight win streak, including a decision win over Kevin Aguilar last June. Both of these fighters are super quick and very well rounded. I'd probably give Bektic the advantage on the feet and Ige the advantage on the ground, but neither fighter has a huge advantage. I'm hoping for fifteen minutes of pure fire. I think Ige gets the job done. I'm not sure if he gets the finish, but I think Ige does enough to get the win. Prediction: Dan Ige Decision

Derrick Lewis (22-7 (1)) (6) vs Ilir Latifi (14-7 (1)) (12 LHW)
Interesting fight in the Heavyweight Division kicks off the ppv card. The "Black Beast" Derrick Lewis welcomes Ilir Latifi to the land of Heavyweights. Lewis is 1-2 in his last three. He lost a title fight to Daniel Cormier and was KO'd by JDS before taking a decision from Blagoy Ivanov in November. Latifi is moving up to Heavyweight after losing his last two Light Heavyweight fights to Corey Anderson and Volkan Oezdemir. I do not like this fight at all for Ilir Latifi. I think there is a number of Heavyweight fighters that would be better for Latifi in his debut. Lewis has ridiculous power. Just crazy power. I don't think Latifi can handle Lewis on the feet. I think his only chance is to get this fight to the ground and out grapple Lewis. Lewis is never out of the fight. He KO'd Alexander Volkov with only 11 seconds left after losing the entire fight. Latifi probably has the better grappling, but Lewis does have damaging ground and pound. This is probably my most confident pick of the card. I'm taking the "Black Beast." Prediction: Derrick Lewis 2nd Round TKO

Seven more fights round out the prelim card. I'm most excited for the Women's Flyweight fight between Lauren Murphy and Andrea "KGB" Lee. Quick picks for the prelim card.

Trevin Giles (11-2) vs James Krause (27-7) Prediction: James Krause

Alex Morono (17-5 (1)) vs Kalinn Williams (9-1) Prediction: Alex Morono

Lauren Murphy (11-4) (7) vs Andrea Lee (11-3) (8) Prediction: Andrea Lee

Miles Johns (10-0) vs Maurio Bautista (7-1) Prediction: Miles Johns

Journey Newson (9-2) vs Domingo Pilarte (8-2) Prediction: Journey Newson

Andre Ewell (15-6) vs Jonathan Martinez (11-2) Prediction: Jonathan Martinez

Austin Lingo (7-0) vs Youssef Zalal (7-2) Prediction: Austin Lingo

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