UFC 203 takes place this Saturday at The Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. Ohio’s own, Stipe Miocic, will headline the event when he defends his heavyweight belt against the always dangerous Alistair Overeem. Also on the card, former WWE star CM Punk, who makes his long-awaited professional debut against 2-0 Mickey Gall. Punk has been training in Milwaukee with Duke Roufus, alongside Anthony Pettis. Although most people are counting Punk out of this fight, I’ve seen enough WWE to know there might be a steel chair under the octagon for Punk to use if needed. Last month I went 9-3 on my UFC 202 picks, so, I obviously know what I’m talking about. Here are my picks for UFC 203.
+125 Joanne Calderwood (11-2) over -145 Jessica Andrade (14-5)
Both Andrade and Calderwood are coming off of TKO finishes, and both are 3-2 in their last 5 fights. Even though Calderwood is a slight underdog in this one, I have her winning by decision. She will use her accurate striking and footwork to edge out Andrade Saturday night.
-135 Jimmie Rivera (19-1) over +115 Urijah Faber (33-9)
Although I have always been a fan of the California Kid, I think his best years have gotten behind him. He didn’t look bad in his last fight that he lost to Dominick Cruz, but he didn’t look like the usual Urijah Faber; Rivera is where Faber was 10 years ago. Rivera is on an 18 fight win streak, beating Iuri Alcantara by decision in his last outing. Expect Rivera to win but don’t expect it to happen before the end of the third round, he likes to go to a decision, where he wins this fight.
-450 Mickey Gall (2-0) over +360 CM Punk (0-0)
There’s not much to say here. Gall is a real fighter, who has trained with other real fighters, and has had some real fights. Punk is coming off a final four appearance in the Royal Rumble before being eliminated by Kane. Although I respect the man’s dream, I think Punk will find out real quick that Paul Heyman will not be there to get him out of this one. There are a couple ways Gall wins, either by KO or submission. If he goes the distance with Punk then Gall should go to WWE and get some training in before stepping back into the cage.
-210 Fabricio Werdum (20-6-1) over +175 Travis Browne (18-4-1)
Browne has hit a bit of a rough patch in his career lately. He has gone 2-3 in his last 5, he is coming off a TKO loss to Cain Velasquez, and his girlfriend refuses to go to work. Although Werdum is coming off his first UFC loss to Stipe Miocic where he lost his title, he was on a 6-fight winning streak before then. Probably would still be champ if he didn’t spend his last fight camp making that stupid face every time someone pulled a camera out. Werdum’s stand up is better than Browne’s and his BJJ is on a different level than him as well. That’s where Werdum will take this fight, and he will get the submission win, probably during the 2nd round.
+115 Alistair Overeem (41-14) over -135 Champion Stipe Miocic (15-2)
Was anyone else surprised to find out Miocic is from Ohio and speaks English? I for sure thought he was from some Eastern European country I’ve never heard of before, but he’s as Ohio as Lebron James or Bobby Womack. Miocic has finished his last 3 opponents by TKO, including when he won the belt from Werdum. Miocic has very heavy hands but so does Overeem, so this one will come down to who can get that KO punch in first. And like all heavyweight championship reigns, Miocic’s won’t last long. Overeem wins by KO getting one last notch in his belt before his age catches up to him and he hangs his gloves.
Jason Gonzales +150 (10-2) over Drew Dober -170 (16-7)
Francimar Barroso +160 (18-5) over CB Dollaway -185 (16-9)
Yancy Medeiros -125 (12-4) over Sean Spencer +105 (12-5)
Nik Lentz -420 (28-7-2) over Michael McBride +335 (8-1)
Brad Tavares -185 (13-5) over Caio Magalhes +160 (9-2)
Bethe Correi +125 (9-2) over Jessica Eye -145 (11-5)