Elsewhere on the UFC 224 card.
That could all start to change Saturday night at UFC 224 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - that country might be the most MMA insane in the world, and the main card is full of Brazilian fighters. We have a 13-fight slate on tap for Saturday night with Amanda Nunes in the main event as a -900 favorite over Raquel Pennington.
The co-main event is an intriguing middleweight bout between Jacare Souza and Kelvin Gastelum.
And if you're not yet a subscriber to BT Sport - the home of live UFC in the United Kingdom - just pick your preferred sign-up package here and we'll get you live for UFC 224. The "Lioness" has defended her title three times, including beating Ronda Rousey in December 2016 (Rousey's final MMA bout) and then a rematch victory over Valentina Shevchenko last September by split decision. I feel like whatever happens this fight, I will walk away with my belt. She has never been scheduled to go five rounds before, whereas Nunes averages just over six minutes of in-cage time... despite being scheduled to go five rounds on three occasions. Best of all though, what makes Pennington interesting to me is her consistent success inside the octagon.
What Kelvin Gastelum is giving up in reach, he should make up for in speed, as the 26-year-old draws the 38-year-old Jacare in Brazil. While Gastelum will turn 27 this fall, Souza turns 39 just before the winter. Souza can own this fight on the ground. Though Souza has the home crowd edge, I think Gastelum scores the upset. I like the champ to win. Mackenzie Dern is 6-0 and a Jui Jitsu practitioner and seems to be getting a big push from the UFC to be one of their future stars. She missed weight again before her bout with Amanda Cooper. She came in seven-pounds over on Friday.
Now, after a lengthly lay-off, Pennington faces the biggest test of her career, because not only is she facing a powerful world champion, but also a former training partner, and a good friend. After going 9-1 in his last 10 outings, he certainly deserves an opponent the caliber of John Lineker.
Lineker is a Brazilian ranked sixth in the bantamweight division, whose champion is TJ Dillashaw. While Nunes didn't finish Shevchenko, she did notch her second title defense. I am going to throw a few bucks on Nunes by decision at +230.
From Michael Bisping to Vitor Belfort to Johnny Hendricks to Nate Marquardt he's made a habit of being the grim reaper to old folks careers.
Nunes remains a prohibitive favourite, and rightly so considering only once has she gone the full five rounds - against Valentina Shevchenko in September of a year ago. Machida's most likely path to victory is through a decision. I have no doubt that "The Phenom" will want to put on a show and Machida may oblige at some points. But Nunes is the better fighter and has the power to give Pennington her first knockout loss.
That'll do it for the UFC 224 predictions.