Update your UFC picks, as the UFC has stripped Jon Jones of his light heavyweight title. UFC 187 will now crown the winner of the Anthony “Rumble” Johnson vs Daniel Cormier as champion.
Anthony Johnson (19-4, 13 KO’s, 0 Subs) vs. Daniel Cormier (15-1, 6 KO’s, 4 Subs)
Anthony Johnson, the UFC’s light heavyweight top contender, was scheduled to fight Jon Jones for the title but a hit-and-run felony charge aimed at Jones has derailed that meeting after the UFC subsequently suspended and stripped Jones of his belt. Johnson must now train for a different fighter in Daniel Cormier. While both Jones and Cormier are mat tacticians it is Cormier who possesses Olympic caliber wrestling and is far more likely to take this fight to the canvas, exploiting what will be a sizeable disadvantage for Johnson.
Rumble’s last foray into the cage was a stunning first round knockout of Alexander Gustafsson, the man who took Jones to the limit in his own championship match but came up empty after a unanimous decision went against him. Johnson is perhaps the most feared puncher in the division and his explosive power only seems to be growing with every match. Prior to his destruction of Gustafsson he notched another first round KO over light heavyweight stalwart Antonio “Little Nog” Nogueira only 44 seconds after the opening bell sounded. That victory was not altogether unexpected as Johnson was a -600 favorite in UFC odds versus Nogueira but it was the speed in which he accomplished the feat that had tongues wagging. At UFC 187 he will face the most feared wrestler in all of MMA.
Daniel Cormier was forced to eat a big old slice of humble pie when he lost to Jon Jones in his title match back in January of this year. Cormier could not ignore the taunting and disrespect coming from the then-champion Jon Jones and began to engage in a combustible back-and-forth that culminated in a pre-fight presser turned violent. Cormier and Jones exchanged taunts and then blows before the melee was broken up. Eventually the two got together at UFC 182 and Jones punished Cormier for five rounds before the judges rendered a unanimous decision victory for the champ.
Cormier will not face the tall, spidery and unorthodox Jones this time but will instead square up against a slightly shorter though no less lethal Anthony Johnson. Cormier is more than capable of delivering the power as evidenced by his three KO’s over his last seven fights including a submission victory over an aging Dan Henderson at UFC 173. However, he will be an easier target to hit for the devastating Johnson and will not have the reach to keep Rumble at bay. Cormier is a squatty yet supremely powerful wrestler and if he can get inside Johnson before getting leveled he has an excellent opportunity to win this fight on the mat.
UFC 187 Pick
Before making your UFC picks, it should be noted that three of Johnson’s four career defeats have come by way of submission. That does not bode well for his chances against a wrestler as sublime as Cormier. However, before you rush over and plunk your heard-earned dinero down on Cormier also know that Johnson is a more complete fighter now than the one who was submitted by Vitor Belfort, Josh Koscheck and even the immortal Rich Clementi (at a 177 catch-weight back in 2007). All one needs to do is analyze his unanimous decision victory over NCAA Division 1 All-American wrestler Phil Davis in April of last year. Of course Cormier presents a greater challenge but that notch on Johnson’s belt suggests he now has the chops to deal with a top shelf ground-and-pounder. Even one as accomplished as Daniel Cormier.
Free UFC Picks: Play Anthony Rumble Johnson +127 in UFC odds at Pinnacle