UFC kicked off its 2020 pay-per-view schedule with a bang in January with Conor McGregor's electric return to the Octagon. This month's UFC 247 promises to be just as fulfilling for fight fans, with the inimitable Derrick Lewis kicking off the main card at heavyweight, plus two title fights closing out the night. Jon Jones, the top pound-for-pound fighter in MMA, will aim to further add to his legacy with another successful 205-pound title defense, this time against the dangerous Dominick Reyes. Time for some 12uppercut predictions!
Heavyweight: Derrick Lewis vs. Ilir Latifi
Ilir Latifi will be making his debut at heavyweight this weekend, and it will be against one of the fan favorites of the division in Derrick Lewis. Lewis famously has no problem saying exactly what is on his mind, but "The Black Beast" is more than funny quotes. He possesses scary knockout power, and Latifi, who was knocked out by Volkan Oezdemir in his last fight, will face the same fate in this contest.
12UPPERCUT'S PREDICTION: Lewis by stoppage.
Featherweight: Mirsad Bektic vs. Dan Ige
Two great fighters with two losses each match up at a weight that is arguably the deepest in the organization. Mirsad Bektic has only fought four times since March of 2017, but his talent should be respected. His knockout power could be enough to win Performance of the Night honors. Dan Ige, Khabib Nurmagomedov's teammate, is carrying momentum in to this fight, having won his last four fights. It's a toss-up, but the edge goes to Ige.
12UPPERCUT'S PREDICTION: Ige by decision.
Heavyweight: Juan Adams vs. Justin Tafa
Another heavyweight matchup on the main card, this time between two fighters who like to look for the quick finish. Juan Adams' five victories all have come by knockout, but his last fight ended in embarrassment after being finished by Greg Hardy. Justin Tafa lost his UFC debut to Yorgan De Castro, and has never even reached the third round in his professional career. You'd be a fool to think this fight is going the distance, and expect Juan Adams to use his renewed maturity to defeat Tafa.
12UPPERCUT'S PREDICTION: Adams by stoppage.
Women's Flyweight: Valentina Shevchenko (c) vs. Kaitlyn Chookagian
The first title fight of the evening could be the best offering UFC 247. It could be easy to dismiss Katlyn Chookagian's skills, as she she has won all but three of her fights by decision. However, her ability to control the Octagon and get the judges on her side could prove effective in a title bout. On the other hand, Valentina Shevchenko is the second-best women's fighter in the world, and has a growing list of brutal knockouts on her resume. With Chookagian not possessing a legitimate threat to knock out her opponents, expect the "Bullet" to retain her crown.
12UPPERCUT'S PREDICTION: Shevchenko by stoppage.
Light Heavyweight: Jon Jones (c) vs. Dominick Reyes
Johnny Bones is the same fighter we've seen: no real weaknesses, an absurd reach, and deadly elbows. If there is one criticism from Jones' last couple fights, however, it is that he seems reluctant to take the big shot like in past years. It's what almost made him lose his belt last time out against Thiago Santos, after all. Dominick Reyes is undefeated heading into UFC 247 after destroying Chris Weidman, and has absolutely nothing to lose -- will this freedom win him this belt against the light heavyweight GOAT? As much as it is tempting to ride with the fresher fighter with massive potential, it would be foolish to pick against the pound-for-pound best fighter in the game.
12UPPERCUT'S PREDICTION: Jones by decision.
Featured Prelim: Trevin Giles vs. Antonio Arroyo
Trevin Giles didn't pick up the nickname "The Problem" for no reason. Look for him to top his last highlight-reel knockout on a preliminary card would love to have a star take over.
12UPPERCUT'S PREDICTION: Giles by stoppage.
Featured Early Prelim: Austin Lingo vs. Youssef Zalal
Austin "Lights Out" Lingo is making his UFC debut after winning in 25 seconds in his previous fight. A quick knockout would certainly send out warning signals across the 145-pound division.