UFC 190 takes place Saturday, Aug. 1 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. Reigning women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will be headlining the card, defending her 135-pound title against No. 5-ranked bantamweight Bethe Correia.
The undefeated challenger comes in boasting a 9-0 record, with her most notable victories coming against women’s MMA pioneers Shayna Baszler and Julie Kedzie.
Correia will certainly have her hands full, though—taking on a fighter arguably known as the most dominant champion in all of mixed martial arts.
The rest of the card is filled with several of the host-country’s most notable names, including the likes of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and the Nogueira brothers.
Predictions for the main card are as follows:
Claudia Gadelha vs. Jessica Aguilar
As if the idea of performing inside the closed doors of the UFC cage don’t place enough pressure on any two fighters from the get-go, these two strawweight competitors expect to earn a title shot against Joanna Jedrzejczyk with a victory in Rio. Expect the No. 1-ranked Gadelha to impose her grappling will on her more experienced, but less challenged opponent in the opening act of this event.
Prediction: Gadelha via unanimous decision
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva vs. Soa Palelei
The first of two heavyweight affairs at UFC 190 should be a pretty predictable one. You’ve got nothing but four-ounces of leather to soften the colossal force that comes from two 265-pound men with bad intentions. With 18 of his 22 wins coming by way of (T)KO, Palelei’s primed to take advantage of Silva’s recently suspect chin.
Prediction: Palelei via first-round KO
Stefan Struve vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Neither of these two heavyweights have looked anything close to impressive as of late. That’s pretty standard for the big boys, though. Both coming off of back-to-back losses to fighter’s currently outside of the UFC’s top five rankings, Struve and Big Nog are in desperate need of a victory to remain relevant in the heavyweight division.
Struve’s rarely made any use of his exaggerated reach advantage against smaller fighters in the weight class, and it’s cost him time and time again. That said, Big Nog doesn’t yield the same sort of speed or power that any of Struve’s recent victors possess—and that’s a problem for the PRIDE legend.
Prediction: Struve via second-round TKO
Reginaldo Vieira vs. Dileno Lopes
The first of two fights that were originally scheduled to take place in Florida last month, Vieira vs. Lopes is set to crown the first-ever bantamweight in TUF: Brazil history. Lopes was generally considered the early favorite to win the latest installment of the reality show, and little has changed since then. It’ll take quite a bit from Vieira to continue on his comeback trail and upset the favorite.
Prediction: Lopes via unanimous decision
Glaico Franca vs. Fernando Bruno
The finale fight between the lightweight contestants of Brazil’s TUF feels a lot closer than the previous one. Neither man enters the cage a heavy favorite, despite what we saw while the two lived in the TUF house for several weeks. Both are avid grapplers, but Franca separates himself with his capacity to find the finish. That said, Bruno’s ability to smother opponents through two rounds is something to worry about. Look for Shogun’s No. 2 pick to supplant himself as a suitable young talent in the UFC’s lightweight division.
Prediction: Franca via unanimous decision
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Despite what the UFC may want you to believe, this long-awaited rematch expired in 2010. The sport had five years to get these two warriors back into the cage together, and it failed. The 2015 iterations of Shogun and Little Nog are nowhere near as dangerous or durable as their counterparts were a decade earlier. Still, with both men falling down the UFC’s 205-pound rankings with each and every Octagon appearance, this was one of few match-ups that made sense for either man.
A couple of wars against Dan Henderson and beatings at the hands of Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson have left Shogun and his chin looking for help. Moving his fight camp back into the hands of his former trainer Rafael Cordeiro may just do that. But unless Shogun’s abandoned his barrage-style attack in favor of an approach that protects his chin a bit more, it’ll be a bad night for the former champion.
Prediction: Nogueira via second-round TKO
Ronda Rousey vs. Bethe Correia
Unfortunate as it may be for a main event title fight, you can color this one another fairly predictable bout. Rousey doesn’t necessarily possess the skills to dethrone Jose Aldo or Demetrious Johnson on the pound-for-pound rankings, but she has enough to make the rest of the women’s bantamweight division look helpless.
Correia may be the most vocal opponent Rousey’s had to date, but she’s nowhere near the most dangerous. Not even in the top five, if you really think about it. If Correia’s smart, she tries to pick Rousey apart from the outside. That’ll help her survive in the cage with the most dominant female champion of all time. But there’s no way she does it for 25 minutes. She might not even do it for two minutes. At some point, Rousey gets the clinch—and we know exactly what comes shortly after.
Prediction: Rousey via first-round armbar