UFC 205: Our big fight predictions

The UFC makes its debut in New York City on Monday morning as featherweight champ Conor McGregor looks to become the first simultaneous multi-division UFC champ when he takes on lightweight king Eddie Alvarez.

The card is stacked from top to bottom with three title fights heading up a five-fight main card bonanza.

Our MMA reporter Alex Rea makes his predictions for all five of the main card clashes.

EDDIE ALVAREZ vs CONOR McGREGOR

WINNER: McGregor

METHOD OF VICTORY: Second round KO

VERDICT: Eddie Alvarez’s style of wrestling is to back his opponents up against the cage and try to smother them to the ground but Conor McGregor has shown in the past his takedown defence is legit. In open space, the Irishman has the reach advantage and he’s incredibly accurate, a danger for a fighter who gets hit often.

TYRON WOODLEY vs STEPHEN THOMPSON

WINNER: Woodley

METHOD OF VICTORY: First round KO

VERDICT: Tyron Woodley comes into this as an underdog. That’s a position all-too familiar for him but don’t sleep on the welterweight champ. Yes, Stephen Thompson is one of the most unpredictable strikers in MMA – he’s more akin to a power ranger – but Woodley’s ability to burst into life and unleash his right-hand is deadly.

JOANNA JEDREJCZYK vs KAROLINA KOWALKIEWICZ

WINNER: Jedrzejczyk

METHOD OF VICTORY: Unanimous decision

VERDICT: In the battle between Poland’s best MMA fighters, Jedrzejczyk should come out on top. She has switched training camps, moving to American Top Team, so there are the question marks over that but the strawweight champ is arguably the best striker in MMA and will prove too much for an inexperienced Kowalkiewicz.

CHRIS WEIDMAN vs YOEL ROMERO 

WINNER: Romero

METHOD OF VICTORY: Second round KO

VERDICT: Possibly the hardest fight on the entire card to predict. Yoel Romero is a physical specimen. He’s built like a Hummer and gets the same depleted milage but the Cuban is efficient and has dynamite in his left-hand. Weidman has more ways to win and pressures incessantly but that left-hand is just too dangerous.

MIESHA TATE vs RAQUEL PENNINGTON

WINNER: Tate

METHOD OF VICTORY: Unanimous decision

VERDICT: A tough one to call because both Miesha Tate and Raquel Pennington are similar fighters. They’re both durable and crafty but Tate is vastly more

experienced and should grind it out. However, it depends on which version of the former bantamweight champ turns up after losing the belt to Amanda Nunes in July.

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