History is in the making this weekend. For the first time ever in The Octagon®, the UFC Heavyweight Champion and Light Heavyweight Champion will face off when Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight championship against Daniel Cormier on July 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Two titles will be on the line Saturday in Vegas, with UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway defending his crown against No.1 contender Brian Ortega.
With a main card full of intrigue for hardcore and casual fans alike, let's break down each fight and what the possible outcomes will be!
STIPE MIOCIC (C) vs. DANIEL CORMIER
It's arguably the biggest fight in UFC® history, and it promises to be a classic. While he's the reigning light heavyweight champion, Cormier has an elite pedigree at heavyweight. Cormier is 13-0 in his career at the higher weight class, and proves to be Miocic's most decorated challenger to date. Miocic, on the other hand, is riding a six-fight winning streak with four coming by way of first round stoppage.
Cormier is aiming to become the second fighter in UFC history to hold two belts simultaneously. Conor McGregor was the first to accomplish the feat when he knocked out former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205.
As far as the actual fight goes, this one is tough to predict. Both fighters come into Las Vegas with insane momentum and a game plan that could easily expose the other fighter if orchestrated correctly. Miocic is the superior striker, and if he can close the distance between himself and Cormier, he may be able to stun the larger opponent early. The heavyweight champ possesses some heavy hands that have helped him carve his legacy as the title holder, but Cormier proves to be a tough fighter to silence. He's only technically been knocked out by Jon Jones at UFC 214, but that decision was overturned to a No Contest after Jones tested positive for Turinabol in his system after the fight.
If Cormier can take the fight to the ground, the Olympic wrestler should thrive. He's dismantled former light heavyweight contender Anthony "Rumble" Johnson twice by taking the fight to the mat, and conquered his last challenger, Volkan Oezdemir, with the same game plan.
We may be dealing with two of the greatest fighters of all-time, so an official prediction is really a grab bag. So here we go.OFFICIAL PREDICTION: Miocic by Knockout
MAX HOLLOWAY vs. BRIAN ORTEGA
There's something special about the new era of fighters emerging in the UFC. No name ranks higher in that group than that of Max "Blessed" Holloway, the UFC Featherweight Champion. The 145-pound title holder is on a tear currently, winning his last 12 fights (the fifth-longest streak in UFC history). His most recent victories include two consecutive TKO's of all-time featherweight great Jose Aldo.
While Holloway has practically cleaned out the featherweight division, the toughest opponent of his title reign awaits him on Saturday. Brian "T-City" Ortega has an undefeated 14-0-1 record with every victory of his UFC career coming by way of stoppage. Ortega is efficient and dangerous, and even made history in his last fight by becoming the first man to stop Frankie Edgar -- Ortega knocked Edgar out in the first round of their fight at UFC 222.
Similar to Miocic and Cormier, Holloway against Ortega is somewhat of a toss-up. Holloway will look to use his reach advantage to keep the distance and utilize his world class striking, while Ortega will try and close the gap to get Holloway to the ground and display his elite level Brazilian jui-jitsu. However, Ortega also possesses one punch knockout power, making him completely unpredictable.
But at the end of the day, Holloway is only 26-years old and I think his reign is just getting started. I think this fight goes the distance.
OFFICIAL PREDICTION: Holloway via unanimous decision.
FRANCIS NGANNOU vs. DERRICK LEWIS
If you've used up all of your fireworks on July 4 don't worry because this fight promises to supply even more. Two of the biggest names in the heavyweight division will collide inside The Octagon for what should be a slugfest.
Ngannou is a knockout artist akin to Picasso with picture-perfect KO victories over Alistair Overeem and Andrei Arlovski. His ascent up the ranks of the sport has been astronomical, and even landed him a title shot against Miocic in his last fight. That bout may have showed Ngannou's youth in the sport, however, as he was outclassed by Miocic for five consecutive rounds. But still, Ngannou holds one of the most threatening right hands in the entire sport.
Derrick "The Black Beast" Lewis also holds a special place in the knockout hall of fame. Seventeen of his 19 career wins have come via knockout, and only one victory has ever gone to the judges. Lewis is 7-1 in his last eight fights and could be in line for a title shot with a victory over Ngannou.
This fight should be short, but in the best way. One of these competitors will land that perfect punch to silence their opponent, and my money would be on the younger, faster Ngannou to make the connection.
OFFICIAL PREDICTION: Ngannou by Knockout
MICHAEL CHIESA vs. ANTHONY PETTIS
Michael Chiesa is hungry to get back in the cage following a lengthy layoff after his submission defeat to Kevin Lee at UFC Fight Night 122. Chiesa was riding a three-fight winning streak before the loss and will be looking to get back on the road to a potential lightweight title shot against Anthony Pettis.
Pettis is a former UFC and WEC lightweight champion and could throw his name back into the hat for a championship fight with a win over Chiesa. The former champ recently returned the lightweight after a stint at featherweight. Pettis could use a push of momentum from this fight after losing five of his last seven bouts.
This fight was originally scheduled for UFC 223 in Brooklyn but was postponed after Chiesa was injured in the Conor McGregor "bus" incident.
It's out with the old and in with the new, and I think Chiesa could be a face in the lightweight division for the foreseeable future. Expect him to get Pettis to the ground within round one and try to end this fight early.
OFFICIAL PREDICTION: Chiesa via Submission
GOKHAN SAKI vs. KHALIL ROUNTREE JR.
With a name like Gokhan, you're bound to garner a lot of attention. Saki made his UFC debut under a year ago by knocking out Luis Henrique da Silva. Saki made his name in the kickboxing realm, winning the Glory light heavyweight championship in 2014. He transitioned to mixed martial arts in 2017 and was quickly signed by the UFC.
Rountree Jr. comes into this bout with less name value, but is still a dangerous foe for Saki. He was on a two-fight win streak before settling for a no contest in his last bout with Michael Oleksiejczuk.
Simply put, I think Saki stuns Rountree with a kick early in this fight to capture momentum and take this one easily.
OFFICIAL PREDICTION: Saki by Knockout