UFC 213 is by far the most underrated card of the year so far, you’ve got two highly competitive title fights as well as the trilogy between Alistair Overeem & Fabricio Werdum. The opening fight of the main card is former champion Anthony Pettis’s return to lightweight against Jim Miller.
Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko
Odds: Nunes -146, Shevchenko +124
After a successful first title defence against the most recognised name in women’s MMA which came in shocking fashion, Nunes now takes on Valentina Shevchenko who is also coming off of impressive performances against Holly Holm and Juliana Pena.
These two met no less than 15 months ago at UFC 196, Nunes winning a decision despite facing some trouble towards the tail end of the fight. The late drama begged the question of whether Shevchenko would stand a better chance of winning in a five round fight and now she’s in a position to find out.
The animosity between these ladies has been increasing ever since the fight was announced, tensions came to a boiling point at the summer kick-off press conference in which Nunes initiated some contact during the face-offs.
Easily two of the best technical strikers in the division this fight should be everything the fans wanted Nunes vs Rousey to be.
Yoel Romero vs Robert Whittaker
Odds: Romero -167, Whittaker +130
The second title fight on the card is for the interim middleweight championship.
Yoel Romero has been long considered the number one contender ever since the fight with Jacare Souza. Although Romero was victorious he tested positive for a banned substance which was later proved to be a tainted supplement. The six-month ban following the USADA violation meant the champion Michael Bisping faced Dan Henderson in Romero’s absence.
Upon Romero’s return in November 2016 a fight with Chris Weidman was scheduled and again Romero was successful this time winning with a picturesque flying knee knockout during round three.
Following the victory over Weidman, Romero was yet again forced to step aside due to the return of MMA icon George St-Pierre. There is no doubt Romero had done enough to secure his chance to take on the champion, however, a matchup between St-Pierre & Bisping was too lucrative an opportunity for the UFC to pass up.
By contrast, Whittaker has earned his place in no time at all. Luke Rockhold (although AWOL) is currently ranked one place above him, Gegard Mousasi is arguably more deserving of the title shot yet Whittaker has jumped the Que with two consecutive finishes against Derek Brunson & Jacare Souza.
Those two wins have been so impressive that nobody is upset about Whittaker being in this spot, he’s now only one win away from taking on Bisping for the undisputed middleweight title.
Fight of the Night Candidate
Anthony Pettis vs Jim Miller
Once regarded as one of the top pound for pound fighters on the planet Pettis finds himself in a slump, 1-4 in his last 5 fights is unbelievable for someone with the talents Anthony Pettis has. This could be Pettis’s last chance in the UFC, moving back up to lightweight where he is most comfortable gives Pettis the best chance to rediscover his previous form.
Jim Miller is a name that’s been relevant in the lightweight division for quite a while it seems, to claim five fight of the night awards competing against the level of fighters Miller has since 2009 is nothing short of phenomenal. I can’t remember the last Jim Miller fight which wasn’t entertaining, and I’m certain this will be no exception.
Main Card Predictions
Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko (Nunes)
Yoel Romero vs Robert Whittaker (Romero)
Daniel Omielanczuk vs Curtis Blaydes (Omielanczuk)
Fabricio Werdum vs Alistair Overeem (Overeem)
Anthony Pettis vs Jim Miller (Pettis)