After a clean sweep at UFC on FOX 19: Predictions, we look to try and emulate that achievement in this huge card taking place on Saturday night in Las Vegas. In the main event, Jon Jones and Ovince St Preux square off for the Interim Light Heavyweight Title and in the co-main, long-time Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson, takes on Olympic gold medallist Henry Cejudo.
UFC 197 kicks off an unprecedented series of title fights, which sees a title of some form in every weight class on the line over the coming months. With the pound for pound number one and two fighting atop the bill on this card, we are sure to be given a great spectacle.
In Part 1 we look at the feature fight on the FOX prelim card and the two opening bouts on the main card.
FOX Prelims Feature Fight:
Sergio Pettis vs Chris Kelades (Flyweight)
With both Sergio and Anthony Pettis on the card, they will be hoping for a better outcome than the last time when both fighters lost at UFC 185. Sergio (13-2) has come back since that defeat to Ryan Benoit to beat Chris Cariaso, and looks like he is improving all the time. With all of his wins in the UFC coming by decision, Sergio will be looking to buck that trend with a stoppage victory.
Kelades (9-2) has a record of 2-1 under the UFC banner, similar to Pettis, with both wins coming by decision over Chris Beal and Paddy Holohan. Kelades will look to get Pettis to the ground as the Canadian will feel he has the advantage on the mat.
Yair Rodriguez vs Andre Fili (Featherweight)
Two exciting prospects coming up in the featherweight division in both Rodriguez and “Touchy” Fili have provided us with exciting fights since they entered the UFC. Rodriguez (6-1) is a flashy fighter who has won all three of his UFC bouts thus far, but has yet to get a highlight reel KO he looks so capable of.
“Touchy” Fili (15-3), is a Team Alpha Male prospect with had a mixed bag of results since his introduction to the organization, but has certainly fought tougher competition than his opponent. With a first round TKO over Gabriel Benitez in his last bout, he will be flying high and hoping to keep his momentum going.
Robert Whittaker vs Rafael Natal (Middleweight)
Robert Whittaker (15-4) has completely turned his career around in the last two years. Coming off the back of two losses, Whittaker headed in to his June 2014 bout with Mike Rhodes needing a win to keep his UFC dreams alive. He beat Rhodes, kicking off a four fight win streak culminating in a decision victory over Uriah Hall in November. He will be looking to continue his march up the rankings with a win over another top opponent.
Natal (21-6-1) has an identical record over the past six fights, winning four on the bounce after back to back losses. One of his wins even came over the aforementioned Uriah Hall. Natal is a 15 fight veteran of the UFC now, and he has fought some of the toughest guys in the middleweight division. Looking to usurp Whittaker in the top 10 of the rankings, Natal will likely be aiming to finish the brash Aussie.
UFC 197 is yet another stacked card to join those of recent weeks, with plenty of contenders fighting contenders, and Champions fighting challengers.